Friday, November 30, 2007

MAINe Event: Part 1

Will you marry me? Is it a perfect interrogative statement? Or is it just an inquiry? A simple question and yet it is over-rated, over-used, and over-valued. Well, what do you expect? We live in a world where one's personal achievement in life is weighed by relationship and its uphill-downhill sequels. We live in a world where some people still believe in fairytales just to avert the painful reality of the cruel one. We live in a world where some girls would make-believe that they are princesses waiting for their knights in shining armor ready to be swept off their feet. We live in a world where a lot of people hope to live happily... ever... after. And we live in a world where fantasy is so much better than reality. I lived there too. I believed in fairy tale. I believed that I was once a princess waiting all my life for my knight in shining armor to sweep me off my feet. I still believe in the perceived happy-ever-after kind of ending. And I lived in fantasy longer than I can remember.

Everything is perfect. Life goes on in fairyland vis-à-vis reality-show world. The balance between the two kept everything in perfect synchronized harmony that makes earth a nearly perfect planet in the universe. And I was caught in between. I was caught 10,000 miles half across the world. And I was caught between high heavens and deep blue seas. I was out of the Philippines and transported here in Maine. It is summertime, the air is crisp... the flowers are in bloom... the fruits are ready for the picking ... and I am still dreamy.

Summer in Maine is short, chilly and unpredictable. Honestly, Maine is the last place in the planet where I would ever be. That’s what I thought. But you cannot contradict your destiny. Your destiny will bring you where you belong, as we all grown to believe and you cannot contest that. And for me, here, is where it should happen... here, is where I should be... here, is where my destiny. This is Maine. And this is my love story. Ehemmmm!

It was one of those early cold summer dawns in Maine. The sky was still gloomy but I could vividly see the awesome silhouette of the colossal maple tree in the backyard from the window. And as the maple leaves danced in the gentle blow of the cold mid-summer breeze I stretched my aching joints as I would always do every waking morning of my life. I was already awake but I couldn't get my body to function right away that early morning. Or maybe I never really did get a sleep at all. Maybe I was just there lain down on the bed the whole night long trying to get some warmth under the pastel quilted-design comforter and from my [then] fiancé’s body heat. The day was no ordinary day. It was cold at 54 degrees and I got “cold feet” quite literally and figuratively. I'm not used to that kind of temperature. Coming from a tropical country where there are only two kinds of weather... wet and dry... and where temperature never goes lower than 80 degrees, I was freezing right out here, literally. And figuratively, I was nervous and having some thoughts about what was about to happen that day.

"Am I dreaming?", I recalled asking myself. "Aren't things happening too fast? Don't I need more time?”, I thought. Yes, maybe I needed more time. I needed time to think and ponder about what was about to happen in a matter of few hours from that early July morning. I needed a lot of time for adjustment in my new home, the new weather, and the new acquaintances. I needed more time to stay in bed. I wanted to stay longer in bed [since the alarm clock said it was only 4 am]. But I can't. And I was no longer dreaming. I hurriedly got up almost knocking myself off the floor when I suddenly remembered I needed to do something very important that day.

As I climbed the stairs up still half dreamy, half sleepy, I said to myself… "This is the day! This is the day that the Lord has made. Halleluiah! This is the day I have been waiting for all my life. This is the day I will have a closure. This is the day I will finally exchange vow. This is the day I will marry my Knight in shining armor who swept me off my feet. This is indeed the D day. The big day is today. Today is July the 7th, year 2007. Today is my wedding day. Today is the first day of my happy-ever-after." And today, I will cook chicken adobo, pork Hamonado and steamed rice... yes, rice!

My Gosh, I was already frantic because I was totally awake and panicking. Time was running out. I was on a countdown and I still had to do my nails, take a shower, style my hair, put on my make-up and slip into that beautifully embellished wedding dress that I worked hard on since the day I came to the U.S. of A. Good thing my multi-tasking ability saved the day. At 30 minutes passed nine, my knight and his princess [a.k.a. ME] trekked Route 77 heading north to Cape Elizabeth with Uncle Doug and Aunt Sally to Fort Williams Park.

Well, the "over-rated, over-used, over-valued question" was actually popped up a year back. It was one of those ordinary hot, sweaty and humid nights of August, 2006 and a couple of days before Liliw Town Fiesta. I was getting ready to sleep when out of the blue he popped the question. It's not that I was surprised. God, no! I've been expecting and praying for it… as a matter-of-fact. It's not that I was caught off-guard. Hell, no! I’ve been wishing hard for it since the time I met him early on that year in the internet. It's not that I was playing innocent. Goodness' sake, no! I've been prepared for it a long time ago and thought it's just about time. But when it actually happened... when I was finally asked... when I finally heard it... my mind went on a ferry’s wheel spin and sent my tummy to a rollercoaster ride... it was simply remarkable! Err… no, this is an over-dramatic detail of the feeling I really felt that night. Oh by the way, I forgot to mention, aside from being a princess I was a drama queen too.

Honestly, it wasn't that romantic. It was memorable but not sentimental enough to make me fly to the moon. The truth is, it wasn't how I actually day-dreamt it would come out to be, it wasn't that staggering and it didn't have that utopian feel about it [the way I often imagined it]. But I was stunned, I was tongue-tied, I was dumb-folded. He was trembling, he was teary-eyed, and he was mushy. The world stopped… time stood still... moment suspended. He looked into my eyes... searching. He popped the question again but this time... no words were uttered, only our minds were the ones talking... communicating... connecting. And we both understood deeply, strongly and firmly. He took out the ring, slipped it into my left ring finger and I said yes!

(NOTE: Continued to the next post.)

MAINe Event: Part 2

The huge pale blue canopy of the cloudless bright sky is a picture of endless promises. It was a perfect setting for the wedding of the century. Traffic was perfectly smooth in both sides of the road and motorists were clueless how important that day was. The maple and pine trees in the gentle hills seemed to be conspiring to make that day a special one for they created a landscape so awesome that could make true-blooded painters weep. While the wild flowers in the meadows seemed to be aware of how significant the day was too for they were in full bloom and dressed in ravishingly gorgeous vibrant hue making any young teenage girl flushed in envy. The air was seasoned with the sweetest smell of freshly cut hay and had a calming and soothing effect on a vexed psyche. Meanwhile from a nearby ranch, a herd of grazing cattle stopped doing their business and paused to watch with admiration the passing bridal car as it cruised downhill while several chipmunks on the grassy sideway seemed to be nosey trying to have their share of what was going on. Inside the bridal car, my fiancé on the other hand, seemed to be quiet, nervous, and lost in his own reverie. But my secret gentle hand squeeze was enough to bring him back from his dreamy field trip to where he rightfully belongs… by my side. Obviously, he too was too absorbed with his own thoughts. Or was he having some second ones?

Fort Williams Park was packed with visitors that Saturday morning. It was so packed that I almost backed out. I was so nervous and shy, my knees were shaking. But the nice warm day kept my anxiety at bay. The sun was so bright and looked happy like I could literally see its smiley face just how kids would usually draw it with two round eyes and arced one-liner brows, straight line nose, upright curved mouth and spiky sun rays sticking out around its perky face. The Park was sun-drenched, balmy and momentous. I could see the lighthouse standing proud and welcoming from the car park as we pulled over. It was so majestic in the real sense of the word. It was the perfect place on earth to have this moment I've waited for all my life. The ocean was calm and tamed. And the imposing rock foundation where the lighthouse was standing tall seemed to be strong and powerful. The seagulls were on holiday that day too and happily sun bathing amongst the huge rock formations facing the Atlantic Ocean. The lush garden was sprinkled with hundreds of flowers in different colors, sizes and species and offered a wonderful landscape for the well-manicured garden. People roamed around the park like no tomorrows… families, friends and lovers alike… were all pictures of a happy and harmonious well-being. And the Portland Head Light… was a fixed onlooker to all the goings-on that day.

I got out of the car, fixed and adjusted my nicely beaded beige corset as I simultaneously straightened my matching silky beige long back trailing georgette skirt and delicate ankle-length sequined tulle veil. My Knight on the other hand, was swarmed by his two lovely daughters Heather and Stephanie and mom Mary Ann struggling to pin that pink rose corsage on his equally nice and finely embroidered beige Barong Tagalog that I bought from Divisoria. After some few picture-takings together and with family and friends we walked down the hillside heading to the verdant garden near the light house.

People we passed by [in the moving cars, the walkways, the garden and the benches] greeted us with big smile and nod of approval. Some stopped to admire our matching outfits, others just gave us their sweetest smile and shown heartfelt appreciation, and few ones bravely came up to really congratulate us while a couple of Japanese tourists took pleasure in taking pictures and video coverage of the entire ceremony for their own personal memento. [“Huh? Are you serious?” was the question I thought you people reading this write-up would ask. “Well, yup!” is my answer. I was surprised too but what the heck? Obviously, those Japanese dudes appreciated the event themselves just as we did.] I was so carried away that I felt I was like a famous celebrity on red carpet during those premier nights waving, beaming and flashing smiles to all those fans and paparazzi, who literally were part and parcel of that special moment. I was an instant sensation.

As I prepared for my grand entrance, a sweet scent of happy memory hanged in the mild ocean breeze giving my cheeks the most natural blush that I wasn’t able to achieve from the most expensive make-up in the world. I was so happy and pleased with this new accomplishment of mine. But I know there was still something missing otherwise, everything was just faultlessly wonderful. It was not the right time to be sentimental because I didn’t want to ruin my most natural-young-virgin-bride-look make-up. But still I know at the back of my mind, this moment would have been more complete if only my brothers Japol and Gary were there. It would have been great if Cherry, the kids [Jade, Lara and Toby], my friends, and favorite relatives were there to share that moment [that they too were waiting all their lives] to happen to me. But as I have said, I can’t afford to be emotional. I needed to get it over and done with.

With Dad Alan on my side, that walk in the garden which my new American family, friends and strangers were witnessing and observing was the longest I ever taken. My Knight was just a few yards away amidst that nice flower bushes and light house backdrop. He was patiently waiting for me. The rite was instituted right on as soon as I approached him and took his hand. Gloria Warrick [my new acquired friend and a wife to one of my only two Pinoy friends in Maine, Kuya Danny] officiated and oversaw the rite. After she had delivered the most solidifying words that would eventually seal our everlasting undertaking, I heard my Knight saying – "I, Michael, take you, Ruthinian, as my friend and love, beside me and apart from me, in laughter and in tears, in conflict and tranquility, asking that you be no other than yourself, loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not know yet, in all the ways that life may find us."

Then, with the gold bond [which we chose and bought from Cross Jeweler in Portland] in his hand, he proceeded – "Ruthinian, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you, in the name of God." As my Knight said those words, he never took his eyes off me. Looking into his eyes too, I was listening so attentively as if it was the first time I heard those words. Though I already knew what he was saying because we already rehearsed it, I was still surprised by the outpouring of emotion within me as I listened to his nervous narration. The impact of the words he was saying was so powerful, it almost blew me off. Then, it was my turn to do the same. I found myself looking into his hazel eyes too as if it was the first time I’ve ever looked at them. And as I said my vow, the words were echoing a tremendous sense of sentiment unknown to me. The moment was ceased for some seconds only God knew. It was magical.

Then Gloria continued… "With this statement made of love and trust, which we have just heard, I now wish you to greet Michael and Ruthinian, as husband and wife." “Wife… did she say wife?” I asked myself while batting my mascara-smeared eyelashes and looking around in amazement as if I was suddenly awaken from a deep sound sleep. “Finally”, I thought, “I am a wife!” And it was official too. Yehey!

And Gloria went on – "May this day shine eternally in your lives… May it add brilliance to every achievement and cast a divine light over any misfortune… May you care for each other in all sadness... May you give cheer to each other… May you give vitality to each other in all undertakings… May all that is virtuous, beautiful and honest, remain with you always."

(NOTE: Continued to the next post.)

MAINe event: Part 3

As the day progressed into a celebration of love and commitment, the pictorials at Fort Williams Park concluded the ceremony. Back in the bridal car we headed back to our home for the second part of the event. The wedding reception was held at 278 Cape Road, town of Standish. The colossal maple tree in the backyard was the first one to greet us as we entered the driveway. It seemed to be rejoicing for our new beginning as husband and wife. The two blue canopies that mom bought from Wal-Mart stood side by side in the lawn and seemed to be waiting for the visitors to settle in. In no time, cars quickly filled the driveway and my new family and friends were gathered in our newly mowed yard. Mom, Heather, Stephanie and Aunt Sally busied themselves preparing the buffet table. We had two kinds of dish prepared that day, American and Filipino. The merging of the two cultures started in the park and ended at the buffet table. The chicken adobo, pork hamonado and the rice, plus the pansit and lumpiang shanghai [brought by my other pinoy friend in Maine, Medy and her hubby David, who instantly became our official wedding photographer] were a different treat for our American guests. But I ate more of the sandwiches and salad that day for I didn't want to ruin my diet, of course.

Mom did a great job in the preparation of the food and the table paraphernalia. She was indeed a great wedding coordinator cum wedding planner so to speak for the wedding preparation was literally undertaken by her but the wedding gown. I had to admit, I only focused on doing the beadwork on my dress. I didn’t have the time to think about the other aspects of the wedding extravaganza. I was totally surprised when my [now] hubby announced the wedding date just two week before that day. The two-week notice was not enough for me to finish the beadwork but it was all what my mother-in-law needed to put up a good show. God Bless Mothers-in-Law!

For a span of two weeks I did nothing but beadwork. It was all that mattered to me. I wanted to be the best-dressed best-looking bride in Maine at least I had to be because my very competition that day was no other than Eva Longoria, one of the stars of the Desperate Housewives and her famous basketball prayer fiancé Tony Parker who had their big day in Château de Vaux le Vicomte, one of the castles in France. Oh, hers was a real fairytale wedding. Well I was still a princess in my own right… right?

The wedding that any princess dreams about is always fancy… always extravagant… always over-the-top. I did dream about it too. But as I get older, my fantasy wedding seemed to depreciate. Maybe because I was already losing hope that time and had stopped dreaming… or I was afraid that it would scare the guys out of their wits to know about it and would not dare to take the first base at all… or I was simply growing old and had loosen up a bit. When I met my Knight, I never thought I would marry him until he decided to come to the Philippines to meet me personally. Things then took a 360-degree turn. I started dreaming again. But this time I was just hoping to find someone I could grow old with. Someone I could share my past… my present… and my future.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned about life is that reality will sink in one way or another. When you are in the brink of not knowing where you really are heading to, you tend to lose grasp of your sanity. You tend to be gone astray by the pressure brought to you by the society where single women beyond their ripe age remain… what else? Single! You'll go crazy to evade any question that has the word “marry" in it. And eventually you will hate the world entirely for the stigma that it has affected women who are still single. But God is good. What else can I say? I found my Knight, though not riding a white horse and in shining armor but aboard Northwest Airlines Boeing 747 and wearing orange and gray stripped collared shirt, shorts and docksides. I had my fairytale wedding not in the castle but in a light house park. And I no longer live in fantasy but reality. And I am thankful. I am very grateful for all the blessings that I received and will still receive. After I finally given up all hopes and had totally conditioned myself that perhaps, I am destined to single-blessedness or blessed-singleness [whatever is applicable], I found myself accepting a real honest-to-goodness 100% genuine marriage proposal.

The ceremony at the Portland Head Light lasted for only fifteen minutes flat but the excitement it created… the happy memory it etched on my heart… the momentum it carved in the history of my existence is something I will surely cherish for the rest of my life. Time flies fast since that humid August night. Mike and I did everything to be together after we finally realized that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together… after we decided to grow old together… after we knew that we can’t live without each other. So mountains were moved... oceans were crossed... 10,000 miles away and a continent apart... love conquers all. The question was popped. The vow was pledged. I walked down the isle... [Oops… the garden I mean] and I was pronounced “wife”. Now I am ready for that happy-ever-after ending. The End!

(NOTE: This was published first at naggingTHOUGHTS on September 13, 2007)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Panunuyo: American Version

Panunuyo is a Filipino tradition associated with courtship. There are lots of Filipino courtship traditions that are now neglected or taking a back seat in modern Pinoy romantic relationship. Gone are the days of the "harana" (serenade) because young couples nowadays have videoke to boost their relationship. But I am proud to say that I experienced "harana" when I was younger. I am not that old, okay. It was not that long ago actually. And it just so happened that in my province it was still being practiced "that" time. Anyway, I may be a Filipina at heart and a hopeless romantic that is why when I committed myself to this American guy, I had to convince myself that my being a hopeless romantic has to take back seat too.

When my Mike came to the Philippines to visit me, I was only hoping that he will like me and that the feeling will be mutual. I was just hoping that he would pop the question so that I could take the last train ride without looking back. And I was hoping that everything will be fine.

I got what I was hoping for and more. I had the Panunuyo. Well, he didn't chop woods for the wood stove of course because I am using propane for the stove. He didn't fix the fences because our fence is made of concrete. But he did fetch a pail of water... because my water supply that time was too little it wouldn't reach the bathroom. He did paint my window because the old paint was already chipped and worn out. And he did fix me a clothes line so I can hang my laundry in the backyard.

Well, I didn't get the "harana" because he is shy. But I was happy with the effort that he exerted. He showed me that he is willing to embrace my tradition and culture. He showed me how he cares for me. And he showed me how important I am to him. And that sealed the deal.

A pail of water for my bath.


Painting the windows.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My Mike


I met him early this year... in a most unexpected place... in a most unconventional way... in a most unordinary manner... in a very significant moment... and in my mind... HE WAS JUST A GUY.

We talk a lot after that first meeting... everyday (except Sunday). One hour... then, one hour became one hour and a half... then, one hour and a half became two hours... and time flies so fast when we talked. But most of the time we dont talk at all. Most of the time we just look at each other... stare at each other... and we are satisfied. "Words are not enough...." as the song goes... and we both can relate well. BOY, COULD HE BE THE GUY?

And then he thought it was time to see each other. NWA was voted to fly him to my arms. Two months booking was not too exaggerated. It was well-thought of... it was well planned... it was too long! Then, the "waiting". We were both impatient yet apprehensive... we were both excited yet worried... we were both crazy! The waiting was so cruel. HE SHOULD BE THE GUY!

And the moment has come! We will see each other for the first time. And for the first time in my life... I was nervous... I was never been this nervous in my entire life. I was too vexed. What if he isn't the one? What if he isn't that nice? What if he isn't that sweet? What if he isn't interested in me? What if? And NWA touched down. OH GOD! LET HIM BE THE GUY!

Two weeks have passed since we said goodbye in the airport. The kiss was as sweet as the first time I tasted it. His eyes were as remarkable as the first time they looked at me. And his smile was as affectionate as he first beamed at me. For a span of two weeks... we fell more deeply in love with each other. For a span of two weeks... we saw the best and the worst in each other... and for a span of two weeks... we were able to accept each other without hesitation... without doubts... without conditions... without limitations. And for a span of two weeks... I KNEW THEN... HE IS THE GUY... INDEED!

(NOTE: This was written in September 20, 2006 after I have met the "love of my life" for the first time)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

the way you look at me


He said they were hazel…
But I don’t believe what I see
I think they were green
Like the meadow bathe in morning dew

He said they were hazel…
But there were times
I think they were blue
Like the cloudless sky at early morning dawn

He said they were hazel
But now I get a bit confused
I think they’re neither green nor blue
Like the meadow or the sky at morning brew

He said they were hazel
But, what the heck!
I think I don’t care what color they are
As long as I see them when I wake up every morning of my life

(NOTE: This is the first poem I wrote for my Sweetest. I wrote this on October 13, 2006)

Monday, November 26, 2007

habitual

Everything starts from something. I started the day with a new hope today. And the day's routine knocked me down with a new spirit despite the familiarity of it. Washing my clothes [that were soaked the night before] at 5 in the morning is almost a habit now. I don't know about other people, but I do change a habit every now and then. And yes, there are times that I do develop new ones from time to time too. But no matter how I look at it, I still can't imagine myself picking up other people's habit.

It's been two months since he left. And I can't seem to get used to not having him around. (Another habit that I need to acquire, I believe so.) The emptiness he left seems to blow me off with bits and pieces of our memories together. But why do am I complaining now? I practically start and end the day with him, quite literally and otherwise. With all the wonders of modern technology... we were blessed with the amazing benefits of the internet... webcam and all. But an hour or two is always a killing time, so to speak. Oh how I miss him just the minute we started talking. And oh, how I prayed that time would stand still [or that MSN won't lose connection] so I could have him forever. And yet, towards the end of each moment we go online... the "see ya" always signals that it's time to miss him some more.

For the past 20 years or so, I almost forgotten how to feel this way anymore. It has been a couple of decades now since the last time I fell in and out of love. And the familiarity of the feeling... I seemed not to recollect now. I'm happy. For the first time... in 20 years or so... I'm perfectly happy. And this feeling... is becoming a habit now!

(NOTE: This was written 2nd November of 2006 when I was missing my Sweetest so much)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

the search is over


day and night
night and day
clock is ticking
soon... sooner... soonest...

the eagle will fly
the eagle will soar
the eagle will land
and then the longing

will soon be over
no more sleepless nights
no more extended days
no more empty bed

and I will be right here waiting for you...
My Sweetest

(NOTE: This poem was written October 6, 2006 for my Sweetest, the "love of my life")

Saturday, November 24, 2007

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