Sunday, January 21, 2007

My cup runneth over

A few posts back, I said I was expecting a quiet birthday. Little did I suspect that a group of sneaky college freshmen were already planning to spring something on me even before I wrote that blog post.

The day started peacefully enough. At the stroke of midnight, my mom handed me my first birthday present, from her and Pa. The sight of the Coach paper bag was enough to make me giddy-- I was actually hugging and beaming at the paper bag for a good few minutes before opening it-- and the denim patchwork bag inside kept me occupied for another couple of minutes. In the morning, I woke up to find a package from Fara waiting outside my bedroom door, and even though I was running late for class, I stayed for a few minutes to see what she had dropped off. It was a CD case in the shape of a furry black pig, and it was heavy because inside were CDs of 3 of my favorite TV shows, which she had burned for me (you da bomb Farapot! mwah!). Then, after my Business Chinese class at Dela Costa (which I manage to stay awake through thanks to a big tumbler of coffee I bring every week), I rushed back to Greenhills to meet up with some members of AP-Annex for lunch at Italianni's Greenhills.

I was in the middle of chewing a mouthful of pasta when a bunch of my Openness kids led by master planner Rach arrived, bearing a blueberry cheesecake from Bizu and a framed card signed by their classmates. I was really, really touched that they took the effort to congregate in Greenhills and drop in to greet me when they could have been doing other things on a Saturday afternoon. To Rach, Tarin, Erica, Anne, Pamy, Den, Stef and Bea-- love and hugs all around. You made this 26-year-old very, very, happy.

With a full stomach and a fuller heart, I arrived home and was puzzled to find the entryway to our living room festooned with pastel crepe paper streamers. I remember thinking, "This is so not my siblings' style" before I stepped through and saw that our living room had been given the same pastel treatment. Blue, yellow and purple balloons and crepe paper garlands (and even a crepe paper smiley face) adorned the furniture and walls, and "Hapy Birtdy Ms. Lim!" was spelled out on a wall, a couch, and the floor (awful spelling done deliberately to tick me off, I later found out :p). A yellow balloon used to dot the exclamation point declared, "Love, Openness". I stood there slack-jawed thinking several things at once: oh my God, there's been a pastel explosion in our living room... how in the world did they manage to get in... I can't believe my mom let them do this to her furniture... who's going to clean this up? Then I ran to get my camera and snapped photos of their handiwork (courtesy of Rach, Anne and Erica), all the while grinning as I imagined my students blowing up balloons and placing them in the most ridiculous places like inside the cup of one of my dad's golf trophies. After taking enough photos, I reluctantly started removing the decor (for a mad moment, I contemplated leaving the room as it was for a couple more days) because my brother said he had been hearing balloons popping from the heat all afternoon. I saved the one that said "Love, Openness" and the pink and blue garland hung above "Birtdy". It was such a crazy, sweet stunt (and I thought nothing would top waking me up at 7 in the morning and making me stand on top of our driveway in my nightshirt), and I sat there looking at the pile of balloons and crepe paper wondering what I had ever done to deserve such devotion.

Later that evening my sister told me one of my students had texted my mom for permission to invade our house, and I marveled at the fact that my family had been in on the whole thing (Rach, your resourcefulness astounds me to no end). When I asked my mom about it, she was smugly mysterious and kept on answering my queries with the ever-infuriating reply of "Secret!" I let it go at that. :)

Dinner with my family at Makati Shangri-la's Red was lovely. Between courses, I opened multiple gifts from Auntie Nene and my sibs, and read/replied to the non-stop stream of text messages from friends and students. With all the attention I was getting, the super-cool tee my sister picked out for me summed up my day quite nicely: "As a matter of fact, the whole world DOES revolve around me." Presents and surprises and birthday messages aside, it felt like an intense concentration of love was enveloping me that day, and I was awed and humbled by it all. I felt utterly blessed, and deeply grateful for the people in my life and the joy they bring to it.

So to everyone-- to AP-Annex for celebrating with me; to my biatch Kat for conspiring with Rach to execute their surprise; to Openness for being my one and only; to my loyal LM peeps (Angelo and D.I. included) for never forgetting me and who I am; to Sir Tirol for affirming who I am; to my agent Mishy for her faith in me and for delivering on her promise to help me prep for the Oscars; to Raqs for everything in this lifetime and beyond; to all my friends new and old for being confidantes and counselors, love doctors and troubleshooters, YM chatmates and blog fans, fellow bookworms and TV addicts; to my cousins for being friends; to my family (Auntie Nene included) for being my rock and my core-- thank you for being my reason for living, and giving me every reason to look forward to my 26th year in life.


At Tuesday, January 23, 2007, Anonymous Krystle said...

Belated happy birthday Ms. Lim! : ) And congrats on your BBC thing too! I'm very proud to tell all my friends and family that my teacher is on BBC's Oscars panel. ; )

At Tuesday, January 23, 2007, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Thanks Krystle! =D


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