Less than a decade ago in my hometown, I heard from my mom that there was going to be a girl about my age visiting her grandmother who lived next door to us. I was so excited because she was traveling from across a country I’ve always dreamt of visiting, Japan. Also, I didn’t have any friends around my neighborhood so the news thrilled me away. I can’t exactly remember the details on how we first met but all I know was that I didn’t find it difficult to be friends with her because: number 1, she spoke a little tagalog; number 2, she had a warm smile (even when her teeth back then were zigzagged); number 3, she was wearing glasses so I thought she was pretty cool. I don’t know if it’s just me or if there are also other kids who wish they could wear glasses even though they enjoy perfect eyesight. :P Anyway, we’ve gotten so palsy-walsy and amiably close right away. I turned their house into a go-to place to hang out whenever I got a chance. She would teach me some basic Japanese words and how to write my name in Japanese. At the same time, I taught her some Tagalog as well. We talked about everything and anything under the sun till the two of us somehow became chummy and inseparable. However, since she was only visiting, it didn’t quite occur to me that she had to go back to Japan where her life was. She was preparing to go to a Japanese University at that time. I remember I felt so sick and missed school the day she left the country.
Nevertheless, the computer, internet, even snail mails helped a lot in keeping us in touch. I remember on my 18th birthday, she mailed me a package all the way from Japan and that was my first package ever! I was so touched! Then one day, she wrote me an email saying her family and herself were moving back home and that she decided to study in the Philippines! I was so ecstatic that our friendship would carry on and it wasn't cut short. Since then, we hung out more and more and shared so many wonderful memories together. We called each other “Sis” because it felt like we’ve known each other forever. On one of our slumber parties in her room (we were like around 18 yrs old), this was one conversation I would never forget:
Joselle: Sis, I wonder how we can always be there for each other like real sisters do.
Sis: I know how! You can marry my Onii-chan! (kuya/big brother)
Joselle: Woah you must be kidding! :P
Fast forward 7 years, her brother and I got married!! No pun intended!
Little did we know that the silly joke would come to life and we would become real sisters! Sisters-in-law! Hehe. Certainly, life is so full of surprises! If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have known my husband. Appropriately, I made her my maid of honor for I couldn’t thank her enough for bringing the two of us together. Now, wherever life may take us, we know that we’re still going to be there for each other no matter what because we’re family!
I am so thankful to God for letting our paths cross. No matter how far away I am right now, you will always be in my thoughts and in my prayers. On your birthday, I pray that God will always bless and guide you every single day. That your warm smile will continue to shine so that you can touch more lives the way you touched mine. I am happy and proud in everything you do especially when you chose to walk genuinely with Christ. May He abundantly bestow you all your dreams and your heart’s desires. You’re one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met, inside and out. (Below is a picture as proof, edited by our little sister, Nerisa :)
Happy happy birthday Nina! I love you Sis! Daisuki! Best friends forever! (:
"A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure." -Sirach 6:14