Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Debut

I celebrated my debut last Saturday, 22 years too late. It was worth the wait though and was magically perfect.

Being an introvert I see-sawed between wanting to have a party and not having a party. There were days I'd be gung-ho at celebrating and there were days when I just wanted to hide in a hole on my birthday. I didn't actually want to be stressed out about worrying if people would actually go to the party and entertaining a lot of people in one go is just really hard for me. It was Boss (yes that's the name of my friend) who swayed me to celebrate. His winning statement was, "You don't just celebrate a birthday just for yourself. Your friends also want to celebrate it with you." And so I said yes and promptly emailed Jigs to book a room at AIM Conference Center.

A lot of people asked me, why at AIM? AIM is a core memory I have with my Kuya. When he was a student there I would hang out at the SA Store all day, decorating the window, selling stuff, generally being a nuisance at the school. I think I was just 10 or 11 then, but I spent a whole summer at AIM learning retailing and getting to know students and professors. I naturally chose AIM because it's a comfort zone for me and they already know what I like.

After booking the place I promptly left for Singapore and apparently left Sweetie and friends a lot of time to scheme for my party. You see, I was kept at the dark about what was going to happen at my celebration. I had no idea who was actually organizing the evening and I had no idea what was going to happen. Sweetie wouldn't even give me the list of organizers because I wanted to buy gifts for them. I managed to get a list though using Google Calendar! Sweetie forgot that his calendar is shared with me and so I saw the list of the mafia scheming to organize my party.

I wanted to be at the venue before 6pm because I wanted to welcome the guests, but Sweetie insisted that we come at 6:30pm. I kept tripping on my long dress on the way to the room and was nervous about falling flat on my face. I had no idea what to expect. When we arrived at the room I saw familiar faces, all smiling and excited to greet me. I was welcomed by my Mom who exclaimed, "Are you really now 40? But you're still my baby!" Mom then hugged me tight and whatever nervousness I had went away.

I had no idea about the program so when I arrived I went ahead and went table to table to greet everyone who came. It was overwhelming to see all my loved ones in one time! When I finished greeting everybody I was ushered to my seat and the program started with a very beautiful prayer by Ate Edith. After that Ate Neysa and Harry did their rendition of some of my favorite Disney songs. Then we had dinner and a few speeches from my Mom, Sweetie, and Miguel (finally broke his silence!).

After that the Gaylas Filipinas  (Gab, Iosif, PX, Sephy, JK, James, JD and Philip + Rose) marched in and transformed me into a fairy (watch at 22:45 on the vid)! After dressing me up they did a fabulous 80s dance number. It was then followed by my best friend's, Darwin, speech (who I had a huge row with a month before my birthday). You have to watch his speech (at 27:55) to hear about his big revelation (we're good now, row forgotten). And then I was surprised with a sharing from my favorite brother, Kuya Jojo, who described by turning my name into an acronym. He made everyone laugh and cry and everybody thought he was on a live hangout (he was good at anticipating my reactions too!).

And as we always do in work events I run, we had a breakout session! Each table was asked to work on a craft project. I managed to read through and appreciate the projects made just before I left for Singapore. I'm still trying to figure out how I could best preserve and make the projects easy to re-read (haha). So I thought the evening was over with the craft project, but there was still another huge surprise -- a flash mob!

I was talking with TJ about crisis response when Gab pulled him away from me. And then I saw Sweetie approach me and he just suddenly started dancing (35:05 on the vid), the gaylas joined in and then almost everyone in the room was also dancing! It was a feast! I'm glad we have it on vid so I can appreciate the gesture again and again.

The evening capped off with me blowing my birthday candles. Jay really wanted me to use his 40th birthday candles but he left it at home (haha!). I just made a simple wish and heartfelt gratitude to everyone who tirelessly prepared for my birthday celebration (the list is very, very long!).

Thank you to all my family and friends who prepared to make this the happiest birthday I ever had! I've been working on this post for over a week now and I'm still very much overwhelmed, happy, joyful, galak, on cloud 9 (insert all happy synonyms here)... Thank you to everyone who travelled to come -- Marcus, Shirni, Andrew, Darwin, Mica, JR, Jas! And thank you for those who braved the traffic (and the INC protest) to come over, your presence was much, much appreciated!

My debut came 22 years too late, but I must say the wait was well worth it.

And now let's wait another decade when I become a golden girl.

Life begins at 40! Weeeeee!