Look at that! Christmas time went by in the blink of an eye. It’s been years since we had our shoebox project through our wedding 2.0 in 2015.
In lieu of the usual congratulatory gift, we encouraged our guests to make a kid smile by bringing a decorated, unwrapped, regular-sized shoebox full of children items.
Much to our surprise, our humble request was met with an overwhelming response. Shoeboxes filled with numerous children’s items were pouring in during the wedding 2.0 event. Some people even gave cash which we used to purchase additional items like toys, school supplies, and personal hygiene products. Our guests were amazingly generous. Once again, our heartfelt gratitude to all of you!
The shoeboxes were intended for the kids in my Barangay (a.k.a. community) back home in the Philippines where we had enlisted my parents, siblings, nephews and sister-in-law to help coordinate and hand the gifts out. Logistics took longer than we estimated, and it became a Valentine’s gift instead of a Christmas gift. 😀
Since then, it has become an annual tradition for my husband and I to participate in the Operation Christmas Child (Samaritan’s Purse) shoebox project. We figured, instead of buying Christmas gifts for friends and extended families, we will focus on the Operation Christmas Child.
Ten (or more) countries are working together to give gifts to children in more than 100 countries… isn’t that amazing? The shoe box not only brings a smile to a kid’s face but also gives hope. Click this link for more details. (Disclaimer: This is a personal advocacy without profit involved.)
Arnel phoned to inform us (Juvy and I) that he needed to pick up first his “lady friend” before going to our hotel to fetch us. He further mentioned that his college friends will be joining us in our night out (a.k.a. gimik).
Gimik Venue: Metrowalk (Ortigas, Philippines)
Arnel, Reyn, Juvy (the “Singaporean”), NoliPogi, Deo, Cynthia, Rosvie, Elma and I met up in Metrowalk. It was Reyn and Juvy who were the lovely guests in our gimik because majority of us graduated from Lorma Colleges so in a way, we all know each other either by name or by face.
Elma was late and was mumbling unintelligible excuse when she arrived. By that time, the early birds were already enjoying a “kilometric” babble and exchange of demure smiles. Little did we know that Elma will become the “star” of the night.
She practically stole the limelight with a “thunderous lightning strike” (if there is such thing). L How? See for yourself. Below is the excerpt of the group’s powwow with the unconventional and spontaneous remarks of the “star”:
Elma:(Looking at Juvy) How do you find the Philippines?
Deo, NoliPogi, Arnel, Cynthia, Rosvie, Reyn, Juvy and I exchanged confused glances for few seconds and then we instantly realized that Elma assumed that Juvy is a Singaporean (I came from Singapore at that time and Elma concluded that I brought Juvy “the Singaporean” with me.)
Juvy just smiled sheepishly. (Then she looked at me and we exchange knowing looks. )
Elma: (Speaking in Ilocano, a language used in Northern Luzon (Ilocos Region), Philippines) Apay haan na ammo ag English? (Translation: She doesn’t know how to speak English?)
Cynthia: (Speaking with certainty) Juvy can speak English, she’s a bit shy. She’s the daughter of TheCuriousme’s boss.
Elma: (Turning to Juvy) I went to Singapore last year. It’s a very beautiful country. I saw the Merlion. You know the half fish, half lion.
Juvy: (Smiling) Philippines is also a beautiful country.
Elma: (Speaking in Ilocano) Hayna! Agparigatak nga ag English! Nose bleed**! (Translation: Geez! It’s so difficult to speak in English!)
**Nosebleed is an expression in the Philippines. It’s normally blurted out when you’re talking to a foreigner or any English-speaking person and you’re running out or pretending to run out of English vocabulary.
Looking at Elma’s expression, we can’t help but let go of hearty laughters that we have been trying so hard to suppress.
Elma: There were so many Indians in Singapore. Give them “tawas”*** as a gift when you go home. They will absolutely love it. (Speaking in Ilokano) Hayna! Pirmi met ngatan ti “banglo” da. (Looking at Juvy) Baka met maka awat Ilokano datoy.
(Translation: Geez! They really smell “good” (referring to Indians in general). Maybe she can understand Ilocano.) TheCuriousMe Note: No Pun Intended ***Tawas is a white powder used as deodorant.
Cynthia whispered something to Juvy. Shhhhhh… Apparently, Elma’s ex boyfriend was an Indian.
Juvy: (Taking the cue from Cynthia) That’s perfect! Can you accompany me tomorrow? I’m going to buy an enormous amount and give to my boyfriend. He’s an Indian.
This elicited an ear piercing chuckle from the group.
Elma: (Looking alarmed) Oh! Don’t do that. Don’t tell that to your boyfriend. (Speaking in Ilokano) Hala! Kasatnu ngayen data. Baka agapa da. (Translation: Oh no! What should I do. What if they will end up fighting?)
Juvy: But why? You said Indians love “tawas”?
Elma: (Looking so helpless and worried) No. Please don’t. Ignore what I’ve said earlier.
Oppzie! Let’s end it now. This is becoming a “novel” (as usual). :p
I have no idea how the conversation was diverted into different mirthful topics and the “tawas” issue soon became a thing of the past. One thing is certain though, the exchange of banter and Elma’s facetious rejoinder tickled our funny bones to the maximum level! She really made our night memorable. Ha!
Up to the moment when we bid goodbye, Elma was still in the dark on the real “identity” of Juvy. By now, Cynthia and Rosvie must have told her. I wonder what her reaction was? 😀
Way to go Elma! You’re such a great sport! Until next time… Remember, don’t be late. See yeah!