Today you turned nine. And let me tell you what happened when you were eight...
A year before you were still emotionally charged with the changes happening around you. The trip to the Philippines where everything's strange and new; but exciting yet frightening and threatening.
You experienced how the typhoon Ondoy flooded our house and saw how all our things floated. You were with me when we watched another typhoon bringing strong wind enough for all the trees around us to break. You kept vigil when there were no electricity for two days; and there were no water for a day.
You had a bit of difficulty with the environment and the new friends and the new school; but with the help of everbody around you; especially the family, the new friends and the school, and our househelp and the friendly neighborhood -- everything turned around with joy though with some caution.
It was in that school that you proudly received your Junior Certificate for Swimming after jumping three feet from the temporary jumping board, which is the rooftop on your school's poolside! Though you admitted, you almost didnt do it; and you did, you closed your eyes before jumping and then, jumped three times more, wow!The pool and the swimming lessons at school were definitely the hit for you.
You didnt want to leave the Philippines because the school there offers warm food. Plus, you could always go swimming anyday! You love the beach, too.
With your classmates, you got interested in Facebook but learned later it wasnt for you.
You also got comfortable with sleep overs; especially with Rosa, your new found best friend. You had friends sleeping over with us, and you were able to enjoy a few sleep overs in other friend's houses, too.
You go around the village confidently with your bike. You had pets. The birds that died one after the other, who made you cry. But I am proud because you took care of them personally -- feeding and cleaning their cages.
Then you got a mixed-breed dog, Candy, that you loved so much. Candy who you agreed to give up to a friend because we explained everything about the difficulty of bringing him with us to Germany, and you cried for him, too. I remember you were a bit frightened of him and yet you always offer to walk Candy. And you learned to wash him, to feed him, to play with him comfortably.
You also discovered you love lumpiang shanghai, siomai and rice with hotdog. That you could also eat fish and shrimps best than pork and beef. You also learned to appreciate spinach, peas and lettuce already! You hated them before, you know! Yet you missed picking fruits and climbing on trees in opa's garden.
You hate shopping and would rather stay at home than go for long drives. You would rather choose comfort than being beautiful. Barefoot is best for you.
You would have wanted any kind of portable games but would rather buy other toys than give a lot of money for one game. You learned to tell time and for that you choose a Hello Kitty wristwatch, in black with small dots of pink -- the choice of color suprised us, too.
You helped in the household chores, even though we have a housemaid. And when the housemaid is off duty, you accept your duty with pride. And back in Germany, you owed up to the cleaning of the bathroom, not the toilet seat of course :-D
You hated math, we always fought while learning, but in the end; with the right rhtymn, you are slowly being comfortable about it. You have also started reading for me at bedtime, instead of me reading for you.
As always, you love to talk about everything during bedtime. You ask very interesting questions which makes me think and learn more and be creative with my answers, too.
You also had your first communion with another close friend Erika, and your first confession. Your teacher and the priest; together with family and closest friends joined us in your chosen restaurant to celebrate. You invited your friends from Germany, unfortunately, all of them said Manila is too far away. Papa gave you a mobile phone that day, without with approval. But you were using the phone with respect and even learned more English words because of 'texting.'
You still love Spartacus, although you have a crush on the Jonas brother. You love watching Barbie series and hates it that they translate the songs into German because then you cannot sing along.
You sang the German version of Happy Birthday during a village party and you received a gift for your effort. (I didnt know you would go up that stage yet you did and I almost cried!!!)
You always think of the Opa. And was sad when you cannot talk to him properly over the phone. And was worried when he was hospitalized. And was shocked during your visit to him. And you cried when he died. And you bravely viewed his body. And was present during his funeral. You have a certain strenght in you.
Yet you also tell me of your fears -- you want to stay in the same neighborhood, you want to stay in the same school, you want to be with something familiar. Yet you are not afraid to nose around adventure; though it would take you time to decide when plunging in.
After 15 months in Manila, you understand and could speak a little Tagalog and I am really proud of that. You have mastered the English language, and have not forgotten your German.
In the beach of Huahin, Thailand you left a message in a bottle, would you receive any response at all?
During the visit to the Christmas market lately, you told us that your body cannot take a carousel ride anymore because you get headaches.
I know a lot about you because you love to talk. In fact, even if you are in one your tantrums, you could still talk a mile.
You are kind. You cannot resist opening your windows to beggars and street kids. You are careful, too. Taking time to sweeping a space with your eyes for fear of leaving anything. You notice a lot of things, too -- small, big, unnecessary and you share them to us.
I just hope you wont stop talking to us; being a wonderful sister to IC (I know, sometimes you cannot resist arguing and fighting with each other); being a wonderful daughter... although it was this past year that you were clinging more on your Papa than with me, but I understand that, too. He needed your warmth more, right?
I know you have still a problem with Math; to be frank with you, I still do, too. But we could solve that together, I just hope you would learn to ask for a break instead of crying and shouting and screaming. But you did promise you wont have any dramas while learning. I am crossing my fingers. Let me tell you this, I enjoy learning the German language with you and keeping up with my numbers, too.
For your birthday dinner, you requested spinach, fish chips and potatoes. We would enjoy that while listening to you again and again excitedly recounting how your day, your special day, went.
My darling MC, happy birthday. You are loved, very much!