Sweet Sixteen

On this side of the world, a girl blossoms into a young lady not at 18 as is the custom back in Manila, but rather at 16. Alan and I are attending a Sweet Sixteen tomorrow at a posh venue here in Long Island. So I bought a nice black dress (nothing too vampy or sexy) and I had to get a nice pair of shoes to go with it. So I’m all set, and I’m all excited. This is a Filipina lass so there are bound to be a lot of kababayans there.

I have a full day of work tomorrow so I will have to pull off the manicure in the office. (The boss is back.. and since I don’t see him until next Friday, I have no plans to cut out early.) I have my make up all planned, my accessories laid out, my choice of a teeny-weeny purse to carry, and I’m all set. When I was 18, I had my own debut but I chose to hold it at home. It was a fun party with lots of guests, a gown of my choosing, a guest chef (a very amiable lady who offered to cook for us free of charge.. Tita Eppie Ramos who lives behind the Circle theatre in Quezon City), I had my own poem printed on my invitation, a nice souvenir and I was happy.

My Mom had blown the whistle on my having a boyfriend to my Dad just days before so Dad and I were a little distant but he was my first dance. Except for that major crinkle, everything went beautifully. I didn’t particularly feel my world change much after that 18th birthday but I felt like I had hit a milestone. That day now seems a whole lifetime ago.

My best photographer

I take very good photos but I cannot take pictures of myself.  I have comte to discover through the years, though, that my best photographer is Alan.  Although I can name only three or four, my favorite pictures of myself in the last 6 years were all taken by him, this one (the scrapbook layout of which I posted in Pinay Francophile) included.  It’s actually a cut out of a bigger picture which came out really bad originally, having been taken when the sun was behind me while we were in a shady tram in Paris.  After retouching the photo by changing its balance and contrast, though, the picture that came out was actually a photo within a photo.  Embedded in this photo is a reflection of Alan taking the picture in the shades I was wearing then.  Priceless!

Which brings me back to the point of who takes the best pictures of me.  They said good photographers have “an eye”.. and if I were to take it from there, then he sees something no one else can.  He can bring out the best of me, making me look my best even in the quickest shots where I had no chance to pose, compose the elements of the photo or think about my angle.  And yes, I often scold him for putting the subject’s head in the middle of the frame instead of on the upper part of the window.. but with me, he always manages something different.

Must be love? 

On BLINK and Speed Dating

I’ve been trying to get some reading done in between commuter stops, so today I moved on with BLINK.  I’m in a section which I am sure will be helpful and interesting to those who are Speed Dating right now like my friend Demi.  

While I cannot reprint the section here in the interest of brevity, I am sure Powerbooks or National Bookstore has a copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s BLINK under Non-Fiction.  Go straight to page 61 and read the section that starts on that page and you don’t have to read very far to get what I mean.

I think you will find this portion of the book insightful and perhaps even helpful, as you go about speed dating.

For the rest of the population wondering what speed dating has to do with the book, it was just mentioned as one of the instances wherein our first impressions tend to become the basis of our judgment, and how we can hone our instinct to zero in on what we truly desire.

Let me save the rest for you to read in Gladwell’s book.  

My copy of ILLUSIONS by Richard Bach just arrived after a two-week wait.  (Hey, I’m not complaining, I got free shipping.)  This is one of my forever favorite books which I eventually lost in the borrower’s circuit, and I just hope that whoever has it right now knows the value of the book they failed to return to me.  I will re-read the book after BLINK, while reading Clinton’s MY LIFE.  (It was from an interview with Bill Clinton where I got the idea that I don’t have to stick to reading one book at any given time.  Do you know that the ex-president reads at least 5 books at any given time?  It can be challenging and not for those who live by the excitement of thrillers or the passion of romance books, but I have discovered it IS doable… not five for me, though.. the most I’ve done at any given time is 3.)

But back to the subject of speed dating — it is nice to know that people in Manila are open minded enough and daring enough to indulge in this social exercise — it’s just sad to see that people have to resort to structured social encounters in their hopes of (a) widening their social circle, or (b) finding THE one.  I’m not putting Speed Dating down — I’d probably be in it if it picked up speed in Manila 6-8 years ago.  I think it’s a good way to get the more introverted types out into the social scene.  One thing Alan and I always tell our friends who are still looking for that special someone is that you cannot sit at home in a corner and wait for your knight in shining armor to come.  If it’s a knight you want, you have to be where he will be so you can snag him before he dies in the next joust.  

It’s not easy finding your special someone.  Both Alan and I took more than half our present lifetime to find each other, going through a lot of challenges along the way.  And when we did find each other, it was a big gamble on both our parts to see the relationship through.  The biggest obstacle was the 10,000 miles separating us.  One of us had to uproot from home, the other had to make that happen.  We did not have a long engagement — in fact we married 11 months after we hooked up again after ages and ages of no contact.  (I’ll save our love story for another post.)  And although we continue to face major challenges in our married life, I personally feel we have a very strong relationship founded on a good sense of humor and a true friendship.

So if you’re still out there waiting for THE ONE to show up, make sure you’re where he might be, not waiting by the window sill for him to come knocking at your door.