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Tuesday, June 10

A Sad 30th Birthday  

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I felt so depressed a few days before my birthday. I didn't understand why I just didn't feel like celebrating at all. My siblings asked for a simple celebration. So I agreed to prepare a simple dinner that was supposed to be last Friday night. We were supposed to have mudslides and beers and sing our hearts out all night long. This celebration never happened. I'll explain why later.

Last Thursday, the morning of my 30th birthday, I woke up to texts and calls from loved ones greeting me on that special day. Even parents of my former students in Laguna texted me birthday greetings. I prayed silently that God bless them with all the blessings He has given me through the years. I am really grateful that I am loved by so many people. Dadijun had to go to the office for a training he had to attend. I tried getting back to sleep because Rap's still asleep. I was obliged to get up anyway because my mother-in-law played our birthday cd on the cd player. I was treated to an extra special breakfast of fried rice (yup, I totally forgot about diet that day), hotdogs, eggs, bagoong and tomatoes. I also thank God for giving me a super caring mother-in-law.

Rap and I went to Greenwoods a few hours early for his swimming practice for the swimming competion the following day. Mama cooked pancit for me. It will be a shame if I didn't eat lunch with them that day. I bought ice cream and Andok's for everyone. Late in the afternoon, Dadijun picked us up from Rap's swimming practice and we went to SM Taytay afterwards to watch Prince Caspian. A late family dinner followed at Shakey's.

Now back to the Friday dinner that never happened...

This Friday, during Rap's swimming competition. I received a text from Manay, my mom's older sister. She told me to tell Mama that Tata Digoy has already passed away. Tata Digoy (Rodrigo Racal) was my mom's older brother. He's one of our closest uncles because he was always there during the summer vacations that were spent in Siniloan, Laguna.

Back in the late 80's, we had a small ricefield and an irrigation pump in the area. Neighboring farmers also avail of our irrigation services for their fields. We always spend our summers there in time for the harvest. I remember happy times with my cousins swimming in the river beside our property from where we get the water that was irrigated to the fields. My memorable experience with Tata Digoy was when I joined a singing contest during the barrio fiesta. I think I was around 10 years old back then. A rule in the contest was that contestants should be locals of the area and not dayo. A neighbor of ours suggested that I pretend to be their neice which I did. On the night of the contest, I sang my piece and won the first prize. Unknown to all of us, Tata Digoy came to watch the contest and, at that time of the night, was already drunk from their early merry-making. When my name was announced, he shouted at the top of his lungs that I was not a Padilla (our neighbor's surname) and that I am his niece. I ended up getting a 100 peso consolation prize instead.

I will really miss Tata Digoy. May his soul rest in eternal peace. It's just a shame that I wasn't able to attend his burial because of my busy schedule.

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