October 11, 2011
Davao City, Philippines
Another chapter of my life begins today… My record says the 12th because someone messed up my birth certificate when I was born. And so to avoid the hassle of changing it in court, we chose to follow what was written there. But really, I become 40 years old today!
So I would like to thank God for my life. If not for the works of his hands, I will not be here. No matter how small I am, I am big in his eyes. And I will tell you why…
I grew up in a tiny town in Davao Oriental. We had to walk about 3 kms to and from school when I was in Elementary. I remember, I always looked forward to seeing my Uncle Eddie on the road, because he used to give me “baon”. 🙂
I have always been an early riser. That time, I had no choice. We had to go to a place called “pasto” to buy vegetables for resale before going to school. As I grew older, I learned most of the barrio fiestas, because this is when we sell ice candy to the basketball players, the barrio visitors, etc. On weekends, we sold boiled eggs, banana que, orange (not the fruit but the softdrink), “whatever have you’s” at the bus terminal. You would think that it was difficult, but for a kid that was fun. I remember, I had to be extral careful not to be ran over by the bus. Even then, the drivers drove like crazy!
I finished Valedictorian in my class. That paved the way for my scholarship in High School. That was a big help to my parents because it meant that I can go to school for a lesser expense. But since the school is far from our house, I had to take a jeepney. That’s the reason why, I washed dishes in one of the “karinderyas” in our place for fare money.
My life may sound difficult, but no matter how poor we were, my sisters and I always had fun. I remember our friends making “double body” for us. And then, every afternoon we would go to the hill at the back of our house and slide from top to bottom. Oh we hit a lot of coconut trees along the way, but it didn’t stop all of us from having fun! haha.. I also remember, getting sacks of firewood with my best friend Ibing, taking water from a “poso” where the handle is bigger than us, it looked like we were in a see-saw as we try to get water from the well. haha.. In between those things, we had time to play bending, “lastiko”, jack stone, etc.
Christmas time, this is when I remembered feeling sad. Mama and papa had to work extra hard so they can buy us something for our school party. Sometimes, that’s just impossible. So I went to those with old clothes and shoes. One time, I sat outside our house as 12 midnight came. I could see our neighbors having a feast. But we had nothing like that. We had dinner earlier and that was it . Then, Manong Ladie, our neighbor, came over and gave me one peso. That action may be very small to him but it was a big thing to me. In our poorness, somebody came to give me a gift. Looking back now, I realized that it was God’s way of telling me that I’m special. (This is the reason why for almost 10 years now, I try to give a little to the people of Buda. I wanted to help others, specially the kids so they will also feel special on christmas day. Maybe someday, when I am gone, they will continue the work that I’ve started).
Then we moved back to Davao. My scholarship then was sponsored by the Rotary Club. That was when I was able to join conventions with other Rotary Scholars for free. And that was when I started knowing that I loved to write. Thanks to my teacher, Mrs. Montebon, who gave me the chance to be a part of the school paper and to join the contests as well. I still cherish the memory of going to Cantilan, Surigao Del Sur for the Regional contest. I did not win but I loved the trip. hehe.. For the first time, I saw the river inside a cave in Surigao. I think that has something to do with my wanderlust spirit now…
I graduated with honors in High School. And again, it paved the way for another scholarship in College. I worked during daytime. And went to school in between till 9:30 in the evening. So yes, I’m used to working.
With what I’ve been through, I don’t believe when people say that nothing happened to their life because they were poor. Poverty is never a hindrance to success. It is God’s way of training us to become a better person. And it is up to us to shape our future through it.
Looking back now, I have no regrets. Our being poor was the best thing that ever happened to me. It gave me the opportunity to appreciate my parents more and the things they’ve done for me and my sisters. It shaped me to who I am today.
If not for the selling experiences I had when I was growing up, I probably would not be an effective Real Estate broker now. 🙂 If I was a rich kid, I probably would not have learned what hard work and responsibility meant.
And then, I would not be managing our own business now.
So today, I would like to thank God for everything.
For giving me John, my funny and wonderful husband.
For my family, specially mama and papa, who have been with me through thick and thin.
For my friends: Ibing (BFF), Marlic, Beng (who’s like me in so many ways because we have the same birthday).
Ma’am Kayking (who was God’s instrument that I became a Licensed Broker),
My classmates in High School and college.
Manong Danny and Manang Alot. Lola Nene, Lola Lucing, Nanay Ligaya, Auntie Elsa and Nanay Rose. You know what you all did for me. Thank you.
And my two sisters: Pearlie and Daisy. You two are my super best friends. We have our differences, but then again , everybody does. I love you both. Life wouldn’t have been beautiful and fun without the two of you.
And to my nephews, Matt, Blaire, Marco, Franco and Wemce. I love you.
To all the people who became a part of my life, personal or business-wise the past 40 years, thank you!
Salamat, Lord. Again, for everything!
I don’t know what the future holds. But as I said, I am big in God’s eyes. 🙂 So I believe that he has something better in store for me. So as I face the 2nd chapter of my life, I pray for more happiness, love, good health and wealth.
The things that I would like to do: (now till I’m 90, hopefully I get to live longer… )
a) Visit my parents-inlaw and the rest of John’s family. People from the US embassy, please be nice
and help me make this happen. 🙂
b) Trip to europe. (dream big right? who knows, God will grant this! 🙂
You’ll think me crazy but when we pray, we have to be specific right? So I asked God in 2003 that since I’m done with family obligations, maybe it’s my time to get married already. (My 2 sisters got married first, you see). I specified what I wanted in a husband and the last thing I remembered saying – “Lord, one more thing, please do not forget – gwapo ha”. 🙂 In 2005, I got married to my gwapo husband indeed. See, I told you I am big in God’s eyes. 🙂 Prayer request, granted!
d) Baby?! – We would love to if it’s God’s will.. 🙂 Hopefully before I get old enough that people would think I’m taking my grandchild to school. hahaha
e) Meet Vice Mayor Rody Duterte in person. – What can I do, I admire the man! If not for him, Davao will not be as safe and developed as it is now.
I think I’ll stop here. I’m giving God a lot of work to do already. hehe.. Thank you Lord and happy birthday to me!
Lea C. Walker