Saturday, August 26, 2006
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
I just got back today from a 3 day retreat with Leo. The retreat designed specifically for engaged couples or couples seriously thinking about marriage. I have never felt so happy and so at peace with myself. Moreover, I can honestly say that my relationship with Leo is stronger and more solid than before.
The retreat ran from Friday night to Sunday afternoon. As the venue is at Commonwealth (Oblates of Mary Immaculate Retreat House in Mapayapa Village near Don Antonio Heights) and the check-in time was 530, Leo and I had to leave early to make the check-in time. Unfortunately, my boss is holding an important meeting that afternoon and he wanted me around but when I told him that am getting married and I need to attend a pre-wedding seminar, he agreed to move the meeting at an earlier time and even instructed his secretary to provide lunch for us. It was embarassing though because during the meeting he announced that I was getting married next year. I just grinned throughout the congratulations and made small talk regarding wedding preparations etc.
Leo arrived in the office to pick me up at 330. As the meeting was not yet through, he waited for me downstairs while the meeting wrapped up. I hurried downstairs and by the time we were able to leave, it was 430 already. We were unfamiliar with the traffic going north so we were a bit nervous that the traffic might be bad. Fortunately, EDSA was very cooperative that day and we reached OMI around quarter to six. I took it as a sign that we were really meant to be in that retreat.
The first session started after dinner. There were 28 couples all in all and the facilitators asked us to introduce one another and add to that, cite the attributes which attracted us to each other -- physical and "ugali". As we were sitting at the back, we were the second to the last couple to stand in front and do our speech. Leo surprised me by being a comedian during our introduction. He started first and he introduced me by my whole name. He then listed the things of what he likes about me and everyone, including me, almost fell out of our chairs from laughter (well, I was bent over). He pulled out his kodigo (he was the only one who had that) and said: He likes it that I let him sit at the aisle, he also likes it that I introduced him to cheaper shopping alternatives even if he lost his phone at Divisoria but his savings are more compared to the phone that he lost. And the physical attribute that first attractive me to him were my eyes, they were so brown but then after he got to know me, he found out that I wore contacts. It maybe not be funny here but the way he said it really made us laugh. It was even affirmed by some of our batchmates. Kenkoy raw si Leo. When it was my turn, I was giggling throughout my speech. I introduced him as someone O.C. and proceeded to tell the story of our first date wherein after dinner, Leo asked me if I wanted to watch a movie and he pulled out a listing of all movies showing in Greenbelt 3, and the other cinemas around Makati. In hindsight, it was pretty humorous but at that time, I was impressed, VERY impressed. My heart went pitter-patter.
The whole retreat is divided into four parts wherein there are talks tackling these four stages: the "I" stage, "You and I" stage, "We and God" stage and the "We, God and the community" stage.
In the "I" stage, we were taught on how to express our feelings. Feelings were identified to be positive and negative and we were made to write down these feelings in a journal depending on the question or issue involved. AFterwhich, we shared these feelings with our partner.
It was an exhausting but productive first night. I woke up 430 Friday morning and we were up until midnight Friday night. I shared the room with another girl who's very personable and we got along pretty well. I crashed and work up next day when the wake-up bell rang.
Saturday morning and afternoon session dealt more in the "You and I" stage. Hay naku Tita Norrie, Leo and I talked and talked and talked or as the facilitators say, we dialogued to death. We did not realize that there were so many issues affecting married couples and we were made to talk about them one by one. There's the issue of money, family, in-laws/relatives, sex, death and what have you. There were sharers who have been married for 30 or so years wherein they shared their love story and marriage challenges.
Disocovery Weekend has a stigma wherein most of the couples who undergo such a retreat end up separating. It was one of my concerns when we signed up for that, but basically the reason why they separate was that after the end of their discernment, they realize that they really not meant for each other. Fortunately, that was not the case for Leo and I.
By Saturday afternoon, Leo and I have a plan and timeline for our married life. We'll be taking a two week vacation for our wedding and we'll be having our honeymoon in Palawan or Hongkong. When we get back, we won't be working hard to have a baby but we'll wait for another year. Basically according to our timeline, I'll be giving birth to our first baby by year 2009 (if there won't be any problems). We'll have a gap for 3 years and we plan to have our next baby by year 2012. We only plan to have 2 children.
Not only are we able to share our plans, but we were able to share each other's feelings. All the while, I thought I knew Leo and his feelings and that we were close. But after this activity, we developed some sort of intimacy based on our sharings. I appreciate Leo better and I know I can never find another man who I would want to spend the rest of my life with.
Our letters to each other were super mushy (as encouraged by the facilitators). The facilitators also gave advice on how to fight and how to tackles issues such as jealousy. It was all very interesting and I could relate to each one of them.
Saturday night, they started the "We and God" talk. I thought they were going to get all preachy but I appreciated the way on how they handled the subject. As their program is designed for couples of different religions, they tackled the issue of God in a general way. They talked of God as a Supreme Being and how he's related in the concept of love--which most religions are based. In fact, our class was very diverse. We had two foreigner classmates with one of them speaking fluent Tagalog. There was a Hindu, Baptist, Iglesia in Kristo and others. Oh and we also have the son of a famous director/actor as her batchmate. They do not enforce the specific rituals involving the Catholic religion although they did offer the sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) that night but they did it in a way that is again, religion-friendly. We were made to sit with our partners and we held hands. Then, we were made to think of all the hurtful things that we've done to each other and in our hearts, we forgave each other by squeezing each others' hands. After that exercise, we were made to write our wrongdoings in a piece of paper, showed it to the priest which he gave back to us and after blessing us, we burned the piece of paper.
Being a Catholic-based organization, they still preached against pre-marital sex, although in fairness, they did not mention it in their talks but they did give out notes afterwards about contraceptives, and they separated the males from the females in terms of sleeping arrangements.
Sunday morning, we learned that one couple have left the compound Saturday night. They said that they've realized that they're really not meant for each other and opted not to go through the whole thing anymore. We were very sad for them and prayed that they'll be able to separate as friends and not hurt each other too much in the process.
We capped the whole activity Sunday afternoon with a mass. I managed to fill half a notebook with my reflections and love letters to Leo and to God. We read and discussed each other's thoughts and feelings and my heart is overflowing with so much love and joy.
After the mass, the men were made to go out of the room and us ladies stood at a straight line and we were made to sing this song called "You and I". I don't know if you have heard of this song but the lyrics are indeed very poignant:
You and I will travel far together
We'll pursue our little star together
We'll be happy as we are together
We may never get to heaven
But it's heaven, at least to try.
You and I are going on together
'Til the time we have is gone forever
Watch the evening drawing on together
Growing older, growing closer
Making mem'ries that light the sky.
That only time can make
That only love can make
That only we can make
You and I.
So we sang it once and we were made to sing it again. On the second pass, I could feel the tears pricking my eyes. I don't know why I wanted to cry but maybe I was touched by the song. We heard the guys coming back into the room and they stood behind their respective partners. In the last part of the song, we were asked to turn around and face our partners and there they were holding flowers for all of us. Leo was standing there with a smile on his face while he gave me my rose. He hugged and kissed me and I started to cry. All the girls were crying and no one could finish the song. I was crying so hard and I could feel Leo's laughter as I buried my face on his chest. He could not understand why we were crying, I just told him I was just touched.
All engaged couples should really go through a retreat such as this. If my parents attended this maybe things might have turned out differently. I'll also encourage my siblings to attend the retreat for married couples as it will make their respective marriages stronger.
I can't wait for our wedding so Leo and I can start our married life together. It holds so much promise that I hope we won't end up a disappointment to one another. But we know we can survive any obstacle as we were equipped with the right tools in ensuring that our marriage will last.
I don't know how long this euphoria and feeling of lightness will pass, but I know my love for Leo will not. :)
Monday, August 07, 2006
As it was a benefit concert, there were other guests who performed before the star. One guest was a 9 or 10 year old child who was supposedly a product of a singing school. I knew it would be a different performance when she strutted out onstage wearing an outfit that should not be worn children her age. I suddenly sat up on my chair when she started screaming her first notes out. All three of her songs required her to stretch her vocal cords to the limit or as they say it in Tagalog, "birit".
Her songs and her spiels were also not appropriate for the audience. The audience was mostly of high society and even the star performer is not just any other star. I really pitied the child and wanted to strangle her guardians and her supposedly singing school for training their students to sing that way. Whatever happened to angelic voices? One does not have to sing ala-Regine Velasquez to impress the audience.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Am out of the office since today until Thursday for a seminar. Am so glad to have that break. Although when I passed by the office this evening, some bad news greeted me and am panicking a bit. As I won't be here the next two days, am leaving the issue to be settled by my capable department-mate. I can't be here in the office as my training has been paid for by our cost center and I hope to maximize it. I haven't attended any training in two years!
Oh by the way, check out this site. It's another online journal that am working on. Hehehe :)