It's my first Christmas away from home or any family member, but I'm surprisingly calm and okay about it. Not that I'm jumping for joy, but I've expected a good amount of tears and inevitable sadness which never came. Another senseless worry that never happened. Maybe it helped that I started thinking about spending this day alone the moment I said yes to this adventure. But this has to mean something more. Perhaps it's because I've come to a point where I know what I believe in and what I'm here for. That being in a foreign land, alone in time for the biggest and most important occasion in any Filipino family, is not an accident. It's too early to tell what living on my own will do to me, but I'm very keen to know.
However, spending Christmas alone for the first time (and the last time I hope) sure has its perks. For one, I don't have to worry about holiday weight. Haha. Filipino cooking, especially during Christmas, is totally fantastic, you have zero chance against food. All the lechon, menudo, hamonado and embotido won't go easily on the treadmill. And we haven't even talked about the desserts. But seriously, spending Christmas alone taught me a lot of things which will stay with me for a long time.
1. It's okay to ask for help. You are miles away from home, and something will always come up no matter how hard you try to set things in advance. In case of emergencies, don't hesitate to dial a friend.
2. Communication, not talking, is key. A nice conversation over Viber or Skype can mean much more than mindlessly talking about everything, every single time.
3. I would never rejoice over the misery of other people. But it's sad to admit that you will always find someone in a worse situation. It shouldn't make you feel better, but it should make you feel grateful. And you have to act on it. Be more patient, be extra kind to people, you have no clue what they are going through.
4. Christmas is always a good time to make new friends! I miss giving gifts so much, that I decided to buy something for my neighbor I hardly see. You should see the look on her face when she saw me standing before her door with a bag of cookies. Priceless.
5. Joy comes from everywhere. Yes, everywhere! From joining the open house Noche Buena prepared by the parish, to drinking a cup of tea from Bangladesh, to talking about marriage, patriotism and freedom from traditions with a new friend to getting a random hug from the nice old lady who reminds me so much of my beloved lola. Joy finds you if you open your heart to it. :)
6. God will always have the best plan. Ever. I have nothing fancy for today, but the Big Man has other plans. I got a spontaneous lunch visit from friends who's on transit from Singapore. I never had the chance to meet them in the Philippines before I left so it's nice to have a mini reunion after so many years. And right before I finish this post, remember the nice old lady who hugged me just this morning? She came back with a huge present. How amazing is that! You really see God's face through people. :)
|Thanks Jeck and Mitch for making my Christmas super funny! Proud of your success. Love you both! :)|
I'm not home for Christmas. But I have friends and family, far by proximity, but always in touch, always caring and always reminding me that there's really no reason to cry and feel kawawa. I have new friends and gained inspiring experiences. Christmas, just like love, transcends time, ethnicity and geography. Most of all, this is the season to be joyful because it reminds us of the higher Being who's so fond of us despite our imperfections.
Merry Meaningful Christmas, everyone! Thanks for another year of sharing journeys through this humble blog. I hope you get the blessings you totally deserve! :)