Monday, March 26, 2007

This time, it's personal

Enough excuses about work. Frankly, it’s getting old.

Every year, my wife and I anticipate the coming of March with both excitement and trepidation. Excitement, since we both celebrate our birthdays this month (15 and 16 – yes, our birthdays are just one day apart, yes, we were born on the same year, and yes, you missed it) and apprehension because of the same reason – we’re turning a year old, not to mention the cost of treating two sets of friends and relatives on the same day can be overwhelming.

It has its ups and downs, having (almost) the same birthday as your spouse. It was cute when you start dating, learning about it for the first time, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe our birthdays are just one day apart! We must be soul mates!” For which she replies, “Oh my gosh!” and then you realize that when you’re married, your “soul mate” will always steal your thunder the morning after. And all the gifts, cakes, and party leftovers are not yours to hold and treasure anymore. I’m guessing you already know who was born when.

Speaking of birthdays, 2 weeks ago, my wife and I found ourselves willingly participating in an unforgettable and life-altering endeavor. We helped a couple as they go through their IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) procedure. Having tried to conceive for almost 5 years now, the couple is considering this their last shot. Procedures like this can be very costly, mentally and physically taxing, after all. I would not divulge any more details because it’s a sensitive topic. And I don’t want to offend anyone by posting it in this blog, my wife, included. Let’s just say we found ourselves helping an acquaintance in need, and found new friends in return. The couple, who flew in from abroad were sweet and kind souls. They were giving, generous and very thoughtful, despite the fact that the husband, an American, is a stranger in Philippine soil. Unexpectedly, he was warm, soft-spoken and very friendly. And my wife and I tried our best to show them the world-renowned Filipino hospitality. We exchanged views over French cuisine, chatted till the wee hours of the morning about advertising, culture, religion, almost about everything including George W. Bush. And up to now, it still amazes me, how two perfect strangers, of two completely unidentical races can connect on a spiritual, emotional and intellectual level. It’s baffling, really, when you think about it, how everyone and everything in the world is connected.

Unfortunately, the procedure didn’t go as everyone expected. Sadly, the couple went home, bereft of success. Our newfound friends are heartbroken and my wife and I can’t do anything about it. Except pray that they don’t lose hope, and pray that somehow soon, they get what they always wanted.

Like I said, enough excuses about work. Work is such a petty thing compared to all the things that we, people, are often neglecting. There are birthdays, for instance. Triumphs and failures. Friends and relatives. A glass of Pinot Noir and medium-well Fillet Mignon. Conversations over ice-cold beer and a pack of smokes. Gifts to open, cakes to eat and friends to treat. Places to go to and food to eat. Sickness and health. Weddings and anniversaries.

And this is where I end this post. Speaking of anniversaries, I have to search for a travel agency. My wife and I are celebrating our 10th year wedding anniversary on April 19, in Bangkok, Thailand.

My first trip out of the country.