Hellos & Goodbyes

My mom’s sister and her family live in Virginia, USA. I remember when we were very young, their family would come and visit the Philippines every two years.

I also remember babysitting my two younger, adorable half-Italian, half-Filipino cousins E and GP, whenever they were here. From teaching them nursery rhymes when they were very little, to bringing them to arcade games… I would truly spoil them to their young hearts’ desires.

As we got older — when they turned teenagers, and I was already a young working woman,  I would always tag them along, bring them with me to my office. We would walk around the mall, hang out at Starbucks during my free time.  

We were always happy just hanging out. Most of the time, E and I will make fun of GP (because he is the youngest)… Or we would all make fun of everyone else — like other relatives, strangers, etc. Yes, we could all be pretty immature when we were together.

We saw each other grow up — grow old — well, every two years.  But I can say that we always made the most of their time here, however long or short their vacation may be.

Goodbyes were always, always difficult. 

I remember when I was much younger, I would lock myself inside my room and cry my eyes out the moment my cousins say goodbye. I would cry until I start feeling sick from crying. Maybe that was just part of my teenage drama, but I really hated goodbyes.

It was just so lonely and whenever they left, it felt like they also left a hole in my chest. Though I knew that they would be back in two years’ time, I still couldn’t help but feel bad.

Nobody likes saying goodbye. Nobody likes being left behind. 

In time though, I have come to realize that people do come and go. Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes… and hellos once again. I often say that friendship knows no distance.  I believe more so with love.

I have not seen my cousins in quite awhile. One has gotten married and is now residing in China with his lovely wife, while the other is in Virginia living la vida loca.

We may be living in different continents, but I know that the care, the love will always be there. Our shared history and stories bind us.  

I do miss them dearly, but I know that when we see each other next, it would be like no time has passed. We would hang out, have coffee, reminisce. They would still be my adorable little cousins and I will always be the cool — and gorgeous—  big sister that they never had. 

And we would still be talking and making fun of everybody else…. Because we are immature like that. 😉 

With GP then & now… 

I got older — he just stayed adorable. 

For some reason,  I couldn’t find a photo with E… But I am sure he knows that he has always been my first favorite… 😉 

Photo with baby GP from my treasure trove of memories. Photo with adult GP taken about three years ago… 🙂

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Pandora’s Box of Memories

Some people are good at chronicling events. Others are good at keeping souvenirs.

One of my high school besties is a master of doing the latter. Pictures and letters from way back when, various memorabilia — you name it, she has it. She has a treasure chest of high school souvenirs which can put our school museum to shame — that is, if our high school even has a museum!

How she kept and preserved them all these years is beyond me. Simply amazing.

She can blackmail all of us in our little clique with those photos that she keeps… And I am pretty sure the thought had crossed her mind more than once.  Continue reading

Dear Betsy…

Not so long ago, when the word email was still unheard of, people used the good old pen and paper to write letters to loved ones, friends, lovers…

I, for one, enjoyed writing letters.  My best friend lives at the other side of the world and the only way to communicate then was thru letter writing.  Long distance calls were costly.  Plane tickets were even more expensive.  So if we wanted to stay friends and be updated with whatever was happening in our lives, we HAD to keep in touch… and the only way to stay in touch was by writing letters and sending them by snail mail.

Ah, snail mail.  How so very apt.  I remember waiting for at least three weeks before her letter gets to me or my letter gets to her.  I think when we got to college, the waiting time decreased to one week… if you want it delivered faster, you can rush mail it — but you will have to pay more for the stamps (if you are a young, non-working person, chances are you have no choice but to just wait for three weeks).

And yet I loved writing letters.  I would patiently write down my thoughts, my stories, the recent happenings… Sometimes I end up with 3 pages, sometimes 5.  Back to back even.  Somehow I wasn’t afraid that my best friend will get bored reading about my blah-blahs… because I know that when she send hers, I will be getting a 5-pager, as well.  Truth be told, I have always, always looked forward to reading her letters!

Because of modern technology, we now have email, we have Yahoo and Facebook messages, etc.  I believe the good thing about all these is that you get the news in an instant.  Somehow it has made the world seem smaller, people you love seem much closer now even though they are physically far away.

Yet I still love reading handwritten letters.  Somehow it makes me feel more special — because I know that the person writing took the time to gather his or her thoughts and write them down on paper, where every mistake would mean an erasure or a torn paper.  I know there is more work involved in handwritten letters.  One does not have the option to do shortcuts.  You cannot just press delete when you err.  Chances are, you will have to start over.

A handwritten letter, I believe, is a product of love and patience.  In this fast and crazy busy world, it is always nice to be reminded that someone, somewhere out there, is taking time out to remember you.

***

Imagine my thrill when I got this just yesterday…

dated January 23, 2014

dated January 23, 2014

And I found this in my cabinet just the other day…

dated May 23, 1996

dated May 23, 1996

Some things are truly for keeps.

*****

photos from my Instagram 🙂