Sunday, January 2, 2011


 I welcomed 2011 in a unique and special way. Believe it or not, I was alone in my room. But before you react how pitiful was that, let me tell you that I was NOT alone, figuratively. Hindi kita tinatakot. Hindi ko sinasabing may mga kaluluwa akong kasama. Truth is, I was with my family via Skype. Yes, oh yes. It’s the wonders of technology.

Hours before 2011 walked In, I was busy plotting out my plans for the new year. On the side, I also reflected on what I achieved and not in 2010. I must admit, 2010 was sooo good to me that the year went unnoticeable.

Now, let's go with how I welcomed 2011.

Since our office didn’t dismiss us early as what I was hoping, I ran into last minute shopping for the ingredients I need for my first-ever spaghetti. Good thing, unlike in the Philippines, my last minute shopping was not exhausting. Since Brunei is unpopulated, there were few people on queue. Imagine, I was done after an hour. And oh yes, there was no traffic when I went home. In short, everything went smooth!

As I reached home, Troy, my colleague helped me in cooking spaghetti. Actually, he assisted me in buying ingredients. And so, in return to his good deed, I asked him to bring the half of the cooked spaghetti since he's going out with his friends. Soon, I was enjoying the spaghetti in the kitchen and preparing for the ushering new year.

Apart from cooking spaghetti, I also bought some bread. I didn’t prepare much for New Year’s Eve because I was scheduled to celebrate a post-New Year’s Eve celebration at my friend’s house, Lisa. Plus, I was traumatized last Christmas. I had to finish all the food (super dami at parang walang bukas mode) I prepared despite the fact I already gave some food packs to my friends. Seriously, I felt bloated that I wanted to puke because I had too much food.

On traditions...
As part of Filipino traditions and superstitions, I placed coins in my window and threw some in my room to attract prosperity for 2011. More importantly, I had 13 round fruits on my table. Seriously, I rushed to the Supah Save just to complete the fruits. Now, my only problem is how to finish the fruits. As of writing, I guess my housemates will help me. On the side, I'm thankful to Jomai's gift, the gold coin chocolates. I was looking for this for the past weeks because I wanted it as a prosperity offering for the coming year.
My banquet! Naks!

Fruits and sweets!

Hours before 2011 came, I was watching Bandila via Live Streaming. On the side, I was chatting with my family via Skype. Goooood! I felt I was in the Philippines. I witnessed the sea of excited people, heard the news, and imbibed the happy voices of my family as we wait for the coming of a new year. And as the countdown fired, I was screaming inside my room with my family (virtually) and shaking a jar filled with coins. Yes, oh yes. I was chanting: "Happy New Year! Wohoooo!" Prior to such merry making, I prayed the rosary and offered a prayer, a thanksgiving for the many blessings I received for the past year and will have in 2011.

Bandila and Skype!

Countdown! Woot Woot!
Past 12, I ate the spaghetti with the bread. After sometime, I one-by-one opened the gifts which I received since the start of December. Thank you very much for the gifts!
Unwrapped gifts from friends and family!

Thanks Doc Joey and Family!

Nice Coin Bank! Thanks Matet!

A card and daily bread book from my Papc!

Gift for myself!

Thanks Matet, again!

Necklaces from a free voucher.

Soon, I packed the food inside my room and prepared to go to Lisa’s house. Our celebration at Lisa’s house was simple yet very intimate. We were six in the gathering: Me, Lisa and her husband Kuya Rhenee, Xenia and Dave, and Christine. As my contribution to our potluck, I brought an Oreo cheese cake from Mum.
Lisa, Xenia, Dave and Christine

Lisa and me!
 Lisa and Kuya Rhenee prepared a scrumptious stretch of dishes. We had spaghetti, Pork BBQ, Queso de Bola, and Fiesta Ham. For dessert, they had some cupcakes and fruit salad. Sobrang di lang ako nabusog (physically), pati emotionally and spiritually. Parang kapamilya ko na rin kasi sina Lisa at Kuya Rhenee. Thank you talaga for inviting me! =)
Lisa and Kuya Rhenee!

Master Chef Kuya Rhenee serving the yummy Pork BBQ!

The Food!


Fruit Salad!

BBQ Pork!

Queso De Bola!

After the chit chat, I headed home because I will be attending mass in a few hours. To be exact, I went home at around 3 am and the mass is 8 am. But I didn’t regret hanging out with some close friends. After all, welcoming the New Year is about strengthening those relationships that we’ve lived over the past year.


I realized that in my two years of stay in Brunei, I acquired a collection of cute and cuddly character merchandise in my room. I haven't thought a name for each except for Pepper. Pepper is the black dog stuff toy that I got way back in 2004 in the Philippines. I was still working in ABS-CBN then.

The Brunet Family!

The coin bank I got from KFC two years ago!

The rechargeable lamp I got from the Philippines in 2009.

The coin bank from SCB in 2010 given by a friend.

The Teddy Bear (a gift from a colleague), Pepper, and Cute Lion given by Sheila!

 As of writing, I haven't thought of a name for each. But one thing is for sure, they are witnesses to my ups and downs in living an OFW life. Positively, they cheer me up in times of sadness. Especially Pepper, "IT'S" (no gender) always with me whenever I go to sleep.

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