Monday, June 11, 2007

Ten and now (no, that's not a typo)

In movies and TV shows, people look forward to attending high school reunions with as much excitement as they would go see their dentist for root canal. The dread, fear and loathing can be for various reasons: some can't shake off bad memories of being teased, bullied, or ignored; others still nurse old wounds from heartbreak, grudges and feuds; some have changed so much (whether it's their physical appearance or personality or gender orientation) that they'd rather not revert to their former selves or subject their new selves to scrutiny, judgment or criticism; and then there are those who simply don't give a rat's ass.

I used to think I would grow up to become one of those people: reclusive, antagonistic, insecure, and haunted by my past as teenage nerd extraordinaire (no popular clique, no boyfriends, no social life, no fashion sense). I also thought I'd be pathetically single and overweight, with no professional or personal achievements to speak of. I never dreamed that ten years after I graduated from high school, I'd actually be one of the people helping to organize our reunion, with an enthusiasm that surprised my tends-to-indulge-in-antisocial-behavior self.

Ultimately, I'm glad I did get involved though. We had our 10th graduation anniversary reunion last Saturday night, and it was a hit, if I do say so myself (luckily, I was not alone in declaring this). Sufficient funds gathered from payment collections and sponsorship solicitations allowed us to rent a nice venue (the Hampton room at Astoria Plaza); hire a photographer, singer, mobile, DJ; produce souvenirs (mugs with the reunion logo and buttons with our individual grad pix); and even give out raffle prizes and game prizes and awards. Attendance exceeded our initial conservative expectations (about half the batch, hurray!), the food was palatable enough (enough to keep anyone from demanding their money back), the program was entertaining and kept everyone engaged (thanks mainly to the terrific emcees), and the awesome AV presentation provided the needed touch of nostalgia (props and kudos to the amazing Trisha Uy, who also designed the reunion logo, buttons, e-vites... suffice it to say she was the creative genius without whom we'd have had a very, very dull event).

The seven months of planning and preparations the organizing committee put in definitely paid off that evening. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, and people were game and good sports. It was certainly a far cry from the painful experience I had imagined before. I mean sure, I AM overweight, inherently antagonistic, still a tad insecure, and single (but not pathetically so), and I can never erase my past as Aileesa the four-eyed nerd. But I've come a long way since high school, and so have my batchmates. And I'm proud of that, and proud to have played a part in orchestrating this milestone event.

I can't end this blog post without sending shout-outs to the following people:
  • Angge, the mastermind, our fearless commander-in-chief, the wind beneath our wings-- thank you for your strength, wisdom and leadership. We would walk to the ends of the earth and back for you.
  • Trisha, the brilliant and tireless creative master-- thank you for your selfless commitment and passion for this project. We're not worthy. Really.
  • Diane, the database wizard-- thank you for bringing organization and order to all the information we had to keep track of. And for effortlessly recruiting your barkada to help at the registration table. :)
  • Mishy, the uncomplaining secretary-- thank you for letting us bully you into keeping the minutes of our meetings, and for your patience, tact, and perpetually sunny disposition. Mwah.
  • Gennet, the consummate pro hostess-- thank you for your great ideas for the program, for conceptualizing the flower arrangements, for assisting Trish with her multifarious tasks, and for being a fabulous emcee. Snaps to you!
  • Dennis, the boisterous banker-- thank you for helping us set up the batch bank account, for keeping tabs on our finances, and for bringing humor to our meetings. And for changing my opinion of you. ;p
  • JB, the voice of reason-- thank you for your decisiveness, honesty, and objectivity. Whenever we wavered, it was always reassuring to hear what you thought.
  • Argel, the other fantastic emcee-- thank you for being the life of the party, getting our batchmates revved up and responsive throughout the evening. It would have been a totally different (and dead) event without you.
  • The sponsors: Irwin, Reg, Kathy, Eug-- thank you for your generosity, and for putting up with my pesky follow-up text messages. I really, really appreciate your support.
  • And last, but not the least, my barkada, Raqs, Mishy, Jen, Ma, Vins, Jo, and Be, for showing their whole-hearted support despite personal reservations, busy schedules and foreign residency (Be, thanks for your video message!). Winning that award for best barkada attendance proved just how lucky I am to have you guys as friends. Who needs a popular clique when I have the Family? :) Love and hugs!


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