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.


Dirk_Star said...

Yes, I'm first?

Happy birthdays to you both!

Yours is still my favorite...

Happy anniversary, ten years, wow!

Good to see you back! Don't be so long between the next one?

Two friends of Felicia and I just gave birth after invitro. I've been working on a post about it...

Sorry about your friends...

Amery Celiza said...

and to think I was bitching about my non-existent lovelife.

JOb-hunting for me is over--for now, at least. i finally caved to my mom's request of entering a call-center. she wants the pay. hehe. i figure that it could also be a great thing for me, i oculd hone my communication skills and then, maybe when i decide on pursuing advertising, i'll knock their socks off, no? hopefully, when i become an accounts person (manager/exec, whatever) I won't cause my workmates migraine. hehe. :) have a great week, russ!

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

A belated Happy Birthday to you and your wife!

I'm sorry to hear about your friends. I pray that they will be able to find the child that they want so badly.

Your beautiful friend Monday said...

Yahoo! Have a blast friend!

So you think Tatum and Elliott are meant to be? Pareho sila ng birthday.

russkal said...


Thank you my friend. Can't wait to read your post about IVF.

Don't worry, I already have something in mind for my next post.

Good things come to those who wait...


Hey, you're 19. Don't be too hard on yourself. glad to know the job hunt is over. Don't worry, I know a couple of people who used to be in call centers but are now working in advertising.

Who knows?


Thank you dear friend.

I am sure they will appreciate that.


Thanks friend!

Really now? Magka-birthday sila? Pero mas bagay sila ni Sanjaya. pareho silang mahilig gumiling.

Wizened Wizard said...

A very nice and thoughtful post. You moved gracefully from what might have been a birthday "meme" to some of the things that really matter in life: family, friends, sharing, caring and hoping.

I hope you have a wonderful anniversary celebration in Thailand!

Dirk_Star said...

Uh, I think there may be something wrong with my eyes...

Could you come and have a look?

foam said...

well, happy birthday to the both of you..
i don't think it is at all surprising that two strangers from different cultures and races can connect. after all, deep down, we are more alike than we ever are different.
also congrats on your anniversary. out of the country for the first time? how exciting. bangkok to boot.
wow. now that just sounds so very very far and exotic to me.

foam said...

I hate it when my comments don't take. I left one yesterday.
happy belated birthday to the both of you!
It is amazing how everyone and everything in the world is connected. especially with the internet and this blogging stuff. I don't know if it's that surprising that different races and cultures can connect. Deep down, way down, we are all the same.
I'm sorry the procedure didn't work out for your friends. Trying unsuccesfully to have a baby can be heartbreaking. I do hope that eventually things will work out for them.
I think this evening i'll settle down to some pinot-noir...

Dirk_Star said...

By the way, is this a Pay Per Post?

russkal said...


Cheers! Yup, blogger does that sometime.


'Course not! I didn't even know what a Pay Per Post is until you wrote about it!

I'll let you know when I spot one

russkal said...


Thank you. I missed you and our lil band of gypsies!

Stay tuned for my Bangkok adventures post. Can't wait!

Dirk_Star said...

Please extinguish all smoking materials and return your karma to an upright position.

Now, off we go into the wild blue yonder...

Antoine said...

We sincerely wish you a Happy B-day to both and hope you will have a blast in Thai...:)

We cherish our new friendship and look forward to see u soon. Thank you for sharing your heart warm felt story; your compassion, good will intentions & sincerity left us with the hope & strength, to keep the candle burning!...
Cheers my friends...Love, Tony & Liezl OXOX

russkal said...


What are you up to now?

Tony wrote:

"We cherish our new friendship and look forward to see u soon."

- Likewise my friend.

foam said...

no, in this case it wasn't blogger, it was your comment moderation which i didn't pay attention to that you had..tsk on me..:)

russkal said...


uh-oh. sorry about that : (