Sunday, December 25, 2005

Happy Holidays!

It's funny that I get to choose this picture as my blog christmas card since I live in a tropical country wherein the only snow we get are the fake ones (or the ones coming from certain people's heads). But it reminds me so much of Christmas due to the help of Hollywood films.

I read somewhere that a certain religious sect in the US is denouncing a certain company for changing their greetings from Merry Christmas to Happy Holidays. Apparently, the company wanted to encompass all religions in their greetings (Christmas, after all, only pertains to Christians/Catholics. Muslims and other religious denominations believe differently) thus the change in greetings.

I'm a Catholic so I should send out my greetings as Merry Christmas. But I do concede that I have friends who are non-Catholics/Christians; so instead, just let me bid you HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

My Christmas celebrations are a bit bittersweet. Leo and I spent Christmas Eve at my grandparents at Makati. Everyone was there, even my not-so-favourite relatives. Believe it or not, I do not get along with all of my relatives in my father's side. I have this image that I can get along with everyone, but I draw a line at those people and of course, there's a story behind it and since I have nothing better to do, might as well tell it.

When I was in College, I used to live with my grandparents in Makati since my school ends at 9 pm. The room I was given is some sort of communal room. It's a passageway from the main house to my aunt's store in front. I just lock it at night when everyone has gone home.

One day, I was going through my stuff when I noticed that the gold chain with a dragon pendant that my godmother gave me has gone missing. I didn't raise a fuss but kept quiet about it. I knew someone had taken it but I was not that fussy with my jewelry before. Some weeks after that, some friends took me to Duty Free and I did some chocolate shopping--which I stashed under my bed. When I got home that night, I was surprised to see that half of my stash was missing. I confronted my aunt (who fortunately was not a blood relative of mine--she's the husband of the brother of my dad) about it and she said she did not see anything (after I saw her discretely tuck a chocolate bar in her bag). I stormed out of the room and called my mom and believe or not, cried over the phone. In my misery, I did not notice that she was torn between laughing and getting mad. Thinking about it, it really sounds hilarious. I get upset over bars of chocolates instead of a missing gold necklace. She just told me to pack my bags and I'm going home the next day--which I did.

After that, I refused to talk to my aunt anymore. I barely acknowledge her presence and stay away from her during family gatherings. It does not help that her personality is something that you would really despise. She's jobless and she screams at her husband and her kids. Am not talking about momentary bouts of shouting, but the hell raising kind of screaming. She hits her kids and gets mad at them for every small slight. She also disrespects my grandmother and treats her like dirt even if she (my grandmother) supports them. She gives them food and money, yet they don't give her the respect and love she deserves.

Everything snapped a few months ago when she (the aunt whom I shall now christen as Evil-Bitch) pushed my lola causing my lola to fall on the ground. That made my tita (who I shall christen the Good-Bitch, and I mean that in a good way) go after her. The Good-Bitch is my lola's youngest daughter and I live with her and her sons. Though some people might see her as bitchy, she actually has a big heart. Her sense of humour is the wackiest that I've seen and she has informally adopted me and my half-sister.

But I digress.

The Good-Bitch called a conference with her brother (my dad) and other sisters and they decided, together with my lolo, to send the Evil-Bitch back to her home province together with their two small kids. They've tolerated her as much as they can but they draw the line of her hitting our lola.

My uncle (Evil-Bitch's husband) was quite bitter at first. I mean who wouldn't blame him? He's jobless and he feels like the whole world is against him. I still can't figure out why he's still insistent on keeping their family together even if he has seen that his wife is the way she is. But he got his act together and started joining the family during dinners and such.

But well, good things never last.

The Good-Bitch also informally adopted Evil-Bitch's two elder daughters. She took them out shopping and brought them to the parlor. It's no wonder that Evil Bitch's malevolence rubbed onto her kids. My two cousins repaid the Good-Bitch's kindness by lying to her AND their teachers. They were coming home late and they said that they had a project and the such. The Good-Bitch called the school and they said the contrary. So upon checking, she discovered that the two girls were going to an internet cafe and playing online games. Moreover, they're spreading stories at school that they have no money and that they're tired and hungry since when they get home, they still have to do the laundry and cook--when in fact, they do NO HOUSEHOLD CHORES. My grandmother does everything for them. We also learned recently that the Evil-Bitch has returned together with their two small daughters and are lying low at their apartment (which is located inside my grandparent's compound in Makati). Call me heartless but I gave no present to the Evil-Bitch and the two youngest daughters. As far as I’m concerned, they’re not supposed to be there. I was not formally informed by their return.

So a joyous celebration is marred by feelings of sadness, pity and annoyance. I actually pity my grandparents since they don’t need the stress at their age. They’re already in their 80’s and they need to relax and take it easy! But as it happens, my lola is still taking care of them and finds money to give to them. My lolo, is fortunately deaf so he barely hears whatever it is happening around him (unless he’s wearing his hearing aid). As one of my Christmas gifts to my grandmother, I gave her 3 moonstones which mean peace.

Leo and I left around 9 pm since we wanted to catch the 1030 pm mass at St. James Alabang. I was a bit teary-eyed in the car since seeing my siblings reminded me how much I miss them, especially Cheryll! She’s due to give birth next month and her stomach is humongous! I also saw her stomach move! It looked like a scene out of the “Alien” movie! I thought I saw a body part poke out of her stomach. I felt a mixture of awe and fright. Awe that she’s going to produce a miracle in less than a month, and fear since her stomach’s so big. I hope there won’t be complications during the baby’s birth.

I also missed our mom. She called earlier that evening and greeted us Merry Christmas. I just realized that this is our first Christmas as an official broken family and in a few years, we will further break apart when my siblings migrate to the US.

After Leo and I heard mass, we went to their house where I had a nice chat with his father over bread and queso de bola. Leo took me home around 1 am.

This morning, my tita left with her whole family to go to Pampanga and visit relatives. Leo picked me up before lunch and we went to their house where there’s another celebration going on. Leo’s immediate family and close relatives are having their own Christmas get-together. This is my second Christmas with them. This time around, Leo’s dad bought a Magic-Sing! I tried not to hog the mike and alternated with Tricie (Leo’s sister). Of course, I wowed them with my, ahem, singing voice. Even Leo’s mom was impressed (woohoo!!! Pogi points for me!!! Hehe).

I stayed there the whole day while I chatted with Leo’s relatives and ate lunch and dinner. I particularly love the salad. Leo’s two nephews got a junior drum set and guitar. Too bad I don’t know how to tune both. I was excited for them since it’s been a long time ever since I held a guitar and a pair of drumsticks. I could’ve impressed them further with my musical skillzzz. Haha.

In retrospect, Christmas celebrations for our family are fast losing their meaning. Anger and pride are more dominant than the virtues of forgiveness and love. Of course, I don’t exempt myself from that. I don’t know if I have indeed forgiven my aunt for what she has done to me and my family. But I just try to steer clear from her and I just know that it is NOT my life’s mission to make her life better. I have enough problems as it is and I do not wish to add to them. Besides, if any change should happen, it should come from them.


Second Week of Block Leave

My last week of block leave starts today. Since I spent last week preparing for Christmas, I will do my have-to-dos next week. I'm scheduling an appointment with a derma to have my warts on my face removed and skin whitening done on my neck (funds courtesy of Leo as his Christmas gift or me. Hehe). Will also be enrolling at A-1 to finally learn how to drive. It's high time that I learn how and hopefully, I get to practice it.

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