Friday, June 27, 2014

59 but not counting

These flowers wet with the previous night's rain greeted me when I stepped out of the house as an officially 59-year-old person.

"Maligayang bati sa iyong kaarawan, Babeth. Sana'y ulanin ka ng marami pang biyaya! Dalangin ko'y hindi ang iyong kalungkutan o kaligayahan kundi ang pagmamahal na maaaring umusbong sa dalawa. (Trying to be makata on your birthday, ha ha ha)." - Noel Soler Cuizon

By far Noel's message was the most touching message I received on June 24 along with that of G, my former student at a private school. Part of his email went:

"Good evening po, Teach. Happy Birthday again to you. Kamusta na kayo? How are you celebrating your 59th Birthday? I texted you this morning & also received your reply. I'm doing ok in college. I'm just a 1st timer pa lang. I have 7 subjects but no major yet. I've met new people already, but haven't made new friends yet. I'm only talking & hanging out with my friends like Luis, Milo, my Kuya, etc. There are some works I'm doing already. I have HWs too. Sometimes, I get to do them in my free time & sometimes I forget. Pasensya na. I'm only missing my years sa High School. I still do my best in college. All the things I've learned in (my former school) are naiipon pa rin with me. I learned a lot from you, T. Ruth, T. Maite & other teachers out there. I consider all of you as my 2nd family...Tnx. God bless."

Even if I cringe on reading the word "thanks" spelled as "Tnx," that's okay. I continue to emphasize in the new composition class I'm handling now that short cuts in spelling like "tnx" are acceptable in SMS but not in classroom work.

Except for Ida, our overseas daughter, everyone is accounted for in this picture. Thanks for picking up the tab, Kimi!

Another nice part of my day was being with my foodie family, sharing a meal at O'mai Khan restaurant in Baguio. Since I arrived ahead of the others, I used my prerogative, the way President Aquino did in proclaiming the new National Artists and dropping the name of actor Nora Aunor (something I strongly and vehemently disagree with), I ordered a la carte one rice meal with ulam that suited each family member's taste: Korean spare ribs for Rolly, tempura for Kimi, Mongolian fried chicken for Mackenzie for sharing with Kai and Korean beef strips for me with lots of honey-sweetened but still crunchy dilis and vegetable sidings for the birthday girl. And apple pie a la mode for all!
Oh, you beautiful pie, you great big beautiful piece of pie!

The Little One sidled up to me twice during lunch to say she wanted to blow my birthday candle. Of course, she did so to everyone's applause. Nota bene: she was too shy to blow her own birthday candles in April. I guess the number of guests then made her shy.

Kimi at first objected that she wanted the kalamansi tart, but when she tasted the apple pie, her big eyes bulged bigger and she said, "Masarap nga!" Later in the evening when I was on the road back to Manila, she texted that she was having a strong craving for apple pie (that can only mean that she's returning to O'mai Khan on her own one of these days to appease that hunger).

All in all my body and spirit are full! Belated tnx, God and all ye saints (friends and family alike)!

What's a birthday without a cupcake? Odette Mills of Cake Baby baked my order of a dozen goji berry cupcakes for sharing with Rolly's colleagues, who're my friends, at the Inquirer's Baguio bureau. Most photos by Babeth Lolarga
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