Friday, December 23, 2011

IT'S (ALMOST) CHRISTMAS!

It's that time of the year again when the whole world celebrates a day of Jesus Christ's birth, Christmas. Okay. While everyone is just uber busy on preparing for either the Christmas Eve mass or some family reunion on Christmas Eve or on the 25th, I am also busy preparing myself for my 4th Christmas in Brunei. Unimaginably, this is my, yes, 4th Christmas celebration in the abode of peace. As you all know, I never had the chance to go back in the Philippines for the past years on Christmas time because my leave is always scheduled on April or May, which is the summer season in the Philippines.

So how does it go to celebrate Christmas in Brunei, especially that I'm single and away from my family? Read on to extract more kadramahan. Yes, this is a MMK story telling. Nah. No lah. Lah. Lah.


So last night, I started buying the ingredients that I need for my Christmas Eve pa-dinner. I've invited some of my friends to come in my place. Actually, it's just the two of them. And since my officemate/housemate is staying in the staff house, I've also asked to join in my pa-dinner.

Last night, I felt a bit of the Christmas rush. Well, it's not really that nakaka-haggard because not everyone in Brunei is into the shopping craze in preparation for such holiday.

I ended up doing my grocery Utama Grand at the mall. Since I'll be cooking Afritada, Tuna Pasta and we'll be making fruit salad for dessert, I searched for my main ingredient. Apart from looking for the tomato sauce, I checked out Nestle's cream. On the side, I also bought the fruit cocktail, peas, pineapple tidbits, kaong, and a lot more. Thankfully, I got all the items that I need except for one: the Mang Tomas All Around Sarsa. That's despite my visit in three shops. Obviously, it seems a lot of Filipinos will cook pork tonight or some roasted meals and to not have Mang Tomas All Around Sarsa is a no-no.

I also shopped for some gifts. Actually, I already have my gifts for my friends since July. But as I wrapped each gifts, say, two weeks ago,  I realized that I lacked some. So last night was the best (and only) time to shop for add ons. So, I ended up in the chocolate section and splurged (a bit).

As I reached home, I relaxed a bit and started wrapping the gifts. Since I don't have (anymore) a budget on Christmas wrappers, I just used some old newspapers. I also added some Christmas cards to express my warmest greetings to my friends. For the gift tags, I used some coloured papers that I still have.

I slept late last night. But I was very happy in preparing for the coming Christmas day. 

As I lay myself to bed, I had some mixed feelings. I am happy that I'm able to share some of God blessings. I am also happy that, indeed, it's really a fruitful year for me and my family. On the side, I kinda felt homesick as my family is in the Philippines and I am here alone. But I didn't fret the whole night. In fact, I was very positive that in 2012, I will be home for Christmas. I really promise this to myself especially before I embark on a new journey on overseas studies, which I have to ask guidance from God.

On the other hand, I am excited with my upcoming visit in the Philippines on January. I will be presenting my paper in a conference. Although at the moment I don't have yet a ticket, I am just excited about my coming home especially that my boss had already signed my leave form.

Tonight, I'll be singing in the church. I will be (once again) share my talent to the people around me, to God's people. I am looking forward to that. I will be singing some parts of the song "Have yourself a merry little Christmas" and "Oh Holy Night" with Lisa.

Christmas is the much-awaited time of the year. It's the time to share more love through gifts or by giving our heart-warming messages to our loved ones. It's the moment to forget about diet, eat to our heart's content and enjoy family reunions. Yes, there's gift giving and there's a lot of surprises to take.I miss that. It's really not easy to be away with my loved ones.

I really miss the Filipino Christmas Celebration. I miss the Filipino cuisine, celebrations, reunions, parties, and the decors. It's just massively festive. Unlike in Brunei, the only close encounter that I can get for Christmas joy is by visiting some Christmas-themed parks, hearing some Christmas songs in selected shops, and being greeted by friends as we practice the songs for the mass.

But with my years of stay in Brunei, I already got used to the environment. I recreate my own Christmas. And just to remind that Christmas is just around the corner, I play songs, decorate my room, give gifts, and pray to God.

I am also blessed with a lot of friends in Brunei, whom have become my foster family (naks!). While most of them went back to the Philippines for the Christmas season, they never miss to extend their love for me. With all the greetings, I couldn't ask for more in comforting my nagdadramang puso.

Despite being away, I get to understand the real meaning of Christmas. Inspite of the spark of sadness, I come to digest that Christmas is not about me or about the gifts or scrumptious meals. Christmas is about thanking God for all the blessings, small or big. It's the time to reflect on a fruitful and challenging year, while hoping for the best in the coming year. That at the end of the day, the celebration should be within the genuine beat of our hearts. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, a new beginning of love and faith.

Before I end this entry, let me greet all of you...


Maligayang Pasko sa inyong lahat!

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