First Holidays

My fiancé and I are sitting at a fancy café, waiting for our scheduled appointment with a wedding supplier, as I draft this post. He’s only been here for three weeks, but it felt like I have been away for far too long from my personal blog. Not that I am complaining because it’s been wonderful having him around for the holidays and all, but my fingers have been itching to write and share with you about these things, too.

Miggy and I have been together for three years (going four next month!), but we’ve only spent time together for about ten weeks on different occurrences. Being in a long distance relationship sucks the most when you are surrounded by couples on special holidays such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve. You have gotten used to not minding, but you will eventually realize that lovebirds are all over the place. It’s as if the entire universe conspired to rub it in your face that you and your loved-one are 10,000 miles apart.

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Last year (more like a few days ago), however, was a completely different story. Miggy and I spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve, together with my family, for the first time. It was in 2009 when Miggy last spent the Christmas holidays in town. He actually spent the New Year’s Eve airborne at a C-130 plane in one of his connecting flights to Manila. Amazingly weird, isn’t it?

Even before he left the US, I already asked Miggy where he intends to spend the holidays with. Without much thought, he was certain that he’ll be spending it with my family. Miggy arrived just in time for the Simbang Gabi. Apart from the frustrating bumper-to-bumper traffic caused by back-to-back holiday weekend sales, this is one of the highlights of Christmas in the Philippines. It is a devotional nine-day series of Masses practised by Roman Catholics and Aglipayans in the Philippines in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary in anticipation of Christmas. I have completed Simbang Gabi for two consecutive years. For Miggy, however, it was his first time. It’s always believed that whatever wish or petition you prayed for on the first day of novena masses will come true. While I didn’t ask Miggy what his wish was, the mere thought of him joining us every night to attend the mass overwhelms me.

As always, on Christmas Eve, we heard Christmas Eve mass at our parish. It was such a beautiful sight. Everyone was in their best clothes, smiling, wishing each other a Merry Christmas. My mother wasn’t able to cook for our Noche Buena because she was too busy with something else, so we just grabbed dinner at a nearby restaurant. Regardless, our family was complete and content on that day, and that’s all that matters.

Remember my post on a memory I wish I could relive? Although my grandfather has long passed away, I felt the same happiness on Christmas Day last year. Miggy joined my family and I in visiting my relatives at my grandfather’s house in Cubao. My relatives had been informed of our plan of getting married this year, but it was the first time Miggy met my extended family in the flesh. The last time we’ve seen them was at my other grandfather’s wake in May 2012, but Christmas Day was the best time to catch up on each other’s lives.

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While we observed Christmas Eve at peace in the comforts of our home, New Year’s Eve was spent otherwise. Everyone was up early for general house-cleaning which is an annual thing. My mother and I, however, were busy working in the kitchen as we prepare for our Media Noche (New Year’s Eve dinner).

The New Year’s Eve mass at the chapel within our village starts at nine o’clock, so we all got ready by seven. Luckily, we were able to finish everything that needs to be done, so we didn’t have to rush. As the day came to a close, the sound of fireworks in the neighborhood grew thicker. Children (or kids at heart) were making noise, blowing their party horns all over the place. Five to ten minutes before midnight, we all gathered outside for yet another annual tradition. Every New Year’s Eve, Mom and Dad would ask us to write our letter of thanks and petition for 2012 and the coming year. Miggy willingly participated in this family practice which I truly appreciated. We all then tossed them at a bonfire as we silently offered our prayer for the year that had been.

Moments later, the ceremonial lighting of the fireworks began. We never buy firecrackers; only aerial fireworks. It’s more fun to watch enchanting lights fill the sky as we welcome the new year. Perhaps the highlight of the night is when Miggy and I kissed at the stroke of midnight. Soon after, we walked right up to Dad: I kissed and hugged him; Miggy shook his hand, and wished him a Happy New Year. We did the same with Mom and my brothers.

Our New Year’s Eve dinner has always been special; this year was no exception. I think it’s even more special with Miggy around. My father began with a solemn prayer, a wish for an even better year, most special to us, soon-to-weds. We then poured ourselves with wine—a toast to 2013—and had dinner not only with a happy tummy, but also with a happy heart.

The Soon-to-Weds on New Year's Eve 2012

Miggy and I were at the right place at the right time. We’re happy and very much in love.

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