After living and working outside my country for the last four years, I usually smiled when I see faces of parents and children enjoying the family time and the quality of life in malls, theme parks, children learning centers, and restaurants. These children were lucky because they belong to the new generation. Their parents from Generation X (Gen X) were the offsprings of the baby boomers; they now belong after the Generation Y (Gen Y). Most nations now have stabilized economy as compared to circa ’70s when nations in Southeast Asia are still developing.
Photo taken at Bugis Junction, Singapore last 2005.
I was born without the golden spoon in the mouth; not even silver nor bronze. My father didn’t have stable job and when he has a job it’s always carpentry related… Another historical job that he has when I wasn’t born is being a game dealer in our provincial version of casino. He’s into the gambling business because he’s smart. My mom was a plain housewife. Her previous job before she married my father is being a maid to any family that can afford to pay her services. I’m the youngest of the eight siblings. I’m the unexpected child of my parents. My mother was under contraceptive pills for the last ten years before I was born. I’m considered as the ‘accidental daughter’ or ‘ooopppss’. The seventh sibling, my brother, is treated as the youngest in the family.
There’s a huge age gap between me and my brothers and sisters especially those belonging to the eldest category. To them I’m their eldest daughter because their kids and I belong to the same generation. I got lucky to be born few months before my eldest niece was born; otherwise it would be awkward to call me as aunt when she’s older than me.
Since I was born, my health was very weak. As young as first month I already paid my visit to the hospital. My family was struggling financially and my father was working far away from us as a carpenter. If you’re a parent of eight with your youngest as sickly as me and you still have seven mouth to feed, what would you do? When you are having the toughest time to make ends meet, who will you seek?
Life is tough.
And so we know it.
I remember when some of my older brothers and sisters recall their memories of our childhood, their eyes are still teary… they still linger the pains… I guess it’s because they weren’t able to achieve their ambitions… I guess they weren’t able to make their best in their teenage years… They have to give up the honors and medals in school because they have to work and sell native pastries so that the family will have dinner…
My health as a baby didn’t improve. Every month I paid visit to the hospital with different illness. My mom always tells me it’s because I’m her menopausal baby. She reached to the decision that she would rather give me up rather than sacrifice the other siblings needs. They’re all studying when I was still few months old.
We were living in Cebu, Philippines circa 1975 – 77.
That’s where I was born. Every week my mother and I as a baby always attend the Catholic mass in Sto. Nino Church. When she decided to give my life up, she went to the same church and prayed deeply to God. She offered me to God. If I live it is because of God’s decision and mercy. She doesn’t want to fight with my life anymore. She still got other children to attend to and she cannot give all her time for me. She still has to work.
Sto. Nino Church in Cebu is very famous for the ‘Singing Ladies in Red’. They are the elderly women whom you normally see outside the church holding red candles and singing while they pray. When my mom went out of church, one of these ladies approached my mother and talked to her. The elder lady has actually hold me and told my mom how beautiful baby I was; telling her as well to just give patience and fight with me as I’m bound to do great things in life. The lady told my mom that I will undergo a terrible sickness when I reached seven years of age which will decide if I’m bound to live. If I overcome that sickness I won’t be sickly as I used to be; otherwise, it’s God’s decision to take me back to His loving care.
My mom cried and the lady disappeared.
True enough, my mom took care of me as every month I usually got sick. My family adopted my situation and they prepared themselves that I might leave them in the upcoming months and years. When I reached age seven, I got sick with H-Fever on it’s way to Thypoid fever. It was a deadly condition during that time as it can lead to death. With God’s will I survive. I even took my first communion in the hospital. After I overcome the sickness, my health started to stabilized. I didn’t get sick anymore. I become healthy.
I graduated as Valedictorian during my primary school years.
I graduated again as Valedictorian during my secondary school years.
And though I was struggling financially, with all the roller coaster challenges of university, I still made it and graduated top five of my batch when I graduated in University. I’ve finished bachelor of science (BS) major in computer engineering.
I started my career at the age of 20. A decade after, I decided to pursue my master’s degree and is still completing it as I am writing this.
If there’s one thing I wouldn’t forget is that quote from my high school literature:
A Filipino is like the coconut tree. No matter how high it grew, it always bows its leaves to the ground recognizing the roots it came from.
And so it does. The gratitude. And I hope this blog would be my contribution to having a bubbly life though there are pains and downturns. A simple smile can always make a difference in someone else’s life. (wink).
Live life with grace.
Live it with passion and ofcourse, live it with style… live it with … FASHION….
That’s me when I was 8 years old; my friends would just say I look like a Chinese doll. This is my first medal of recognition in school right after my health stabilized. The beautiful lady beside me is my eldest sister.
Til next time. Au revoir.