[ Note : On her birthday, Ganda leaves her native land for New Zealand. What could be more eventful for a young girl of 19? ]
AT THE risk of raising eyebrows among your bros, I have so many good and funny memories about you Ganda, and they threaten to blot out all the negative memories (if any) I have of you.
Finishing half of a huge piece of brandy-laced fruit cake, and sleeping it off for hours and hours afterwards (at four years old). Looking after the 14 newborn puppies of the pet dog and crying your eyes out when all but three of them died (at eleven, I think). And changing your Facebook profile pic every week, after every batch of pictures taken, and after every new outfit worn (last I checked).
I remember the very first time I came home from overseas, and you would not allow me to sleep anywhere else but beside you. You insisted on holding my wrists even as you were falling asleep, and of course I smiled at your vigilance, because before long my wrists were free, and of course when you woke up I was long gone.
I admit these memories are years and years apart, but they constantly remind me of the most beautiful thing in whose creation I have proudly made a small contribution, and that is you. You are the one thing that I will never stop being proud of, and my one out of very few accomplishments (if you can call yourself that) that will never tarnish. Your brilliance continues to dazzle, and your wisdom continues to grow. I can honestly say that you have, enhanced by your youth, unlimited options ahead of you
It might be presumptuous of me to say so, but if you work hard, apply yourself to learning everything you can about New Zealand, and be unafraid to ask and ask some more, there is every reason to believe that you will fulfill your dreams and reach your goals. Filipinos are known to be overachievers and success stories wherever they go, so you enjoy a rich tradition of success by those in whose footsteps you follow.
It is perhaps no coincidence that you leave the land of your birth on your birthday. Old milestones are a great way to set new beginnings, and I can think of nothing more portentous than starting a new life overseas on your birthday.
I remember a nice quote from one of those Matrix movies that made your early teens so memorable, and I can’t resist saying it today : Yesterday is history, tomorrow’s a mystery, but today’s a gift. That’s why it’s called the present. And what a great present you have Ganda! To start the rest of your life in a better land, full of promise. I can’t think of a better birthday gift !
I’m sure you will look back fondly on the Philippines, but after tonight you look forward. I can’t wait to see you and Bunso, I’m so happy for you.
I love you always, happy happy birthday! Kaawaan ka lagi ng Diyos anak!
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