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Moses and I met in high school. I was fourteen and he was fifteen. Fresh from Manila my family had just moved in to Abu Dhabi for my father’s post at the Embassy of the Philippines. On my first day of school Moses and his classmate were assigned to raise the flag. He became my crush right away and it went on for a long time. A few weeks into the school year I learned that he had a crush on me too and that was how our story began. This all happened more than ten years ago. Over the years we were on and off, not because we had relationship problems but because of our young age. I was immature and he was going away for college. We tried to stay in touch but life happened and we went our separate ways. He was living in Baguio, Philippines while I carried on with high school in the United Arab Emirates.
We were reunited once again when I went back to Manila. This time I was in college but the distance still didn’t work out for us and being the fickle-minded freshman I was, I wanted to focus on my studies first so we broke off again. Several years later we never lost touch because one of us would say hi on Yahoo Messenger whenever we could. I’d like to believe that we were separated for important reasons– to strengthen us and make us grow as better people so that one day when we meet again we can let our love grow and finally make it work. Neither of us saw that we would end up together but several years later I just woke up and knew that if there was one person I would like to end up with, it is with Moses.
After my father passed away all of my previous life plans did not seem to fit in anymore. I wanted to start over and try to move on fresh. I decided to pack up my things and change my environment. I moved back to Abu Dhabi and that was when I reconnected with Moses. It was like finding a long lost best friend all over again. We were kids when we first got together but when we spent time again after being several years apart, it felt like coming home. We got engaged two months after our reunion and it has been an amazing journey since.
On November 10 2013, I married my soulmate. I found my light after a long period of darkness. He saw me at my worst but still believed in my best. He never left me and still loved me for all the broken pieces I was before. He inspired me to HOPE again and to believe that finding my light was the most important aspect of my moving on from the loss of my father. Most of all, he has made my mother and the rest of my family happy because of the good man that he is.
On the day of my wedding, a lot of people asked if I cried. I did but not as I expected. I would like to think Papa made me strong that day and put a stop to a dam of tears that has been accumulating over the years he has been gone. I pictured myself as a wailing bride while walking down the aisle to my light but it didn’t happen. I managed to be strong and the entire day I was not sad. I was happy. Maybe that was my father guiding me and reminding me to hope for the flowers and enjoy my big day because he was smiling too.
I love our story and it will always be my favorite– of finding love, losing it, getting hearts broken into pieces, falling and rising back up and clinging on to hope to be strong enough for a new day. I always say that it would be difficult for us to warn our future child(ren) about puppy love. Ours started as a crush, a puppy love but after a love story of more than ten years in the making we found each other again. This time it is forever.
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Our wedding was source of great stress but more importantly, of great JOY as well. All the stress was worth it. I came home to Manila two weeks before the big day, caught the flu for a week and had to battle bad cough for a month. Then I had to meet suppliers, my wedding coordinator, dress fittings and other commitments. Sleep became elusive and my bad cough gave me a bad back. Two days before the wedding I snapped a neck muscle. Woke up beside my groom-to-be and wailed in pain because I couldn’t move my neck. After an hour of applying hot and cold packs and topical pain creams, I became okay again but I had to see a therapist for my neck injury because I couldn’t move it normally. The day also came right after superstorm Haiyan. Manila was spared but it spread its wrath in the Visayas region. Our hearts ached as we celebrated our joyous day while in another part of the Philippines lives were lost and homes destroyed. So Moses and I agreed that we would share our blessings by donating a portion of our wedding gifts to those who are in need.
The following wedding photos are by Jeff & Lisa Photography, the wonderful couple photographers who are so warm and talented. Moses and I are both shy people and we hate the limelight but Jeff & Lisa made us feel at ease in front of the cameras and they gave us a CD gift of on-the-day edited photos.
Wedding Coordination: Celebrations by Marianne Chua | Photography: Jeff & Lisa Photography | Wedding Preps: Marriott Hotel Manila, Resorts World | Ceremony: Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus | Reception: Enderun, McKinley Hill | Hair & Make Up: Jo Barba | Styling and Flowers: Casa Fiore | Videography: Highlights of Klasse | Bridal and Entourage Gowns: Larinna Bridal | Cake: Bethany Cakes
September 5 was World Charity Day but because I was on the road and out of town to go flat hunting in Sharjah, I wasn’t able to properly blog about it so now I am going to do my Charity Day blog because I have something very important to announce.
I am launching Be the Miracle Project, a project my husband and I have started. I created the blog last week and we started blogging on it already. Basically, here is the initial description of the project that I have drafted on the “About” page:
“Be the Miracle Project” was born in 2013 from the hearts and minds of two young twenty-something couple with one passion– to be the miracle in others in any way we can. It is fueled by our drive to live life according to the desire to serve, be inspiration to people and seek inspiration from them too.
The project is simple– to just be the miracle we all wait for. How? Be an inspiration, help out the best way we can in any way we can and remind another each other how delightful it is to live, to chase after dreams and most importantly– that we are never ever alone in this journey.
This project also aims to inspire people to discover their full potential, live their most meaningful life today and inspire as many souls as they can while they are at it.
For now, we will start by utilizing the power of words, social media and the entire forces of the Internet, in general. Our aim is to create a community so we can all be miracles for each other.
If you would like to contribute inspirational tidbits, articles or even photographs/graphics, please email them to gailmoniqueATgmailDOTcom and we will accommodate them. Share your thoughts, spread the love, BE THE MIRACLE!
I haven’t had the chance to properly draft a Mission and Vision for the project because right now these are baby steps. Our Vision for the project is great but for now it is to build a community of people who will inspire each other driven by passion and bring together people like us– those who aspire to inspire, make a difference and be of service to others.
Yesterday we went on a day trip to Sharjah. I only remember going there once when I was in high school on a field trip to the science museum. I was expecting a quaint Emirate with low buildings but lo and behold, Sharjah has changed so much! Although traffic, I think, is more horrible than the wider roads of Abu Dhabi, Sharjah isn’t so bad! In fact, it’s awesome! The day trip was for an ocular inspection mission and while we were at it we got to drop by the Central Souk and Chatime.
Prior to this visit, I was reading up on Sharjah and this Souk got my attention. My friends and I who have lived here in Abu Dhabi for years have lamented the demolition of the old textile and gold souks here in Abu Dhabi in place of the new modern structure that they call the Central Market Souk. We keep reminiscing how fun it would be to raid the old souk for some good and exotic finds like accessories and scarves and some things you can find in an old souk. So imagine my delight when I read about this treasure trove in the middle of Sharjah called Central Souk!
The Central Souk, according to the Tourism of Sharjah’s Website:
“Open since 1979, the legendary Central Souk is the most famous market in Sharjah and is a definite destination for all shoppers. Discover an extraordinary collection of handicrafts, brilliant in colour and magnetic in appeal. Delve in a maze of more than 600 exciting and intriguing shops split between two levels with spacious corridors that take you from store to store to uncover unusual treasures, and traditional gift items, handmade goods and regional imports. In between shopping and discovering relax and enjoy a snack in the friendly cafés followed by a walk around the scenic Khaled Lagoon. The shops are usually open from 9 am to 1pm and 4 to 10 pm.”
Basically, it is this huge exotic building with a magnificent and intricate architecture. I vowed to take a better picture with a better camera the next time we get to visit because when we paid a visit yesterday it was mid-day break so all the stores were closed. The inside is huge and there are a lot of quaint stores with carpets, ready made garments, textiles and accessories.
Here are some photos my husband took with the GoPro camera and some of these are from my phone:
One of the reasons why I was psyched to go to Sharjah was Chatime. The Asian in me was so delighted to finally have real milk tea, just like the one I get in Manila! Although Chatime is really an international franchise, their milk tea isn’t far from all the milk tea places in the Philippines. There aren’t too many milk tea places in Abu Dhabi except for Argo Tea who has bubble tea. And nothing comes close to Chatime. I can’t believe I’m going to be living in the same city as Chatime soon!
Sharjah has a lot of lagoons and they have their own Corniche too! Here we are walking under the sun. It was so hot I got a migraine!
This is my trying to shield myself from the harsh sun. Obviously, I failed because I still got a migraine attack.
Can’t wait to really explore this city the next time! The Mallos are off to a new adventure in less than a month!
Every aspiring writer’s dream is to see her byline on any printed medium like a magazine or a newspaper. Today I got a call from Abaad (only the coolest 3D printing company in Abu Dhabi, UAE and the rest of MENA region that I always rant about) that our article on the Khaleej Times, one of the major newspapers in the UAE, was published on today’s newspaper. This happened a few days after a writer from The National, another major newspaper in the UAE, contacted me on my opinion about a piece she was working on. This article came out the other day and I saw the online version of it. My blog got mentioned and my quotes too, which made me a really happy little girl!
Anyway, here’s today’s edition of Khaleej Times with my article on it!
I’ve always had a fascination with death and dying. Going through grieving myself and staring death in the eye as it took a loved one away, it shook me to my core further pushing me to believe that life is short.. When I was younger my friends would tell me that I was “morbid” to be fascinated by death yet psychology studies have shown that those who are not afraid to think about death are the ones who are more optimistic in life. This is because they have a sensitivity and appreciation for life and they try to make the most out of the present rather than building grand plans for the far away future.
I haven’t updated in a long while. This blog needs more loving from me! Anyway, I have been quite busy with wedding preps. As you all might not know, my husband and I only tied the knot in a civil wedding ceremony. The whole church wedding and reception shebang is happening on 10th of November this year, which is roughly three months from now (there goes my stomach!). I’m nervous and excited. I can’t wait to be home and celebrate this joyous occasion.
So in between my job and running and resting, I squeeze in some wedding planning before the end of the day. I have some wedding tasks still waiting to be ticked off the list from me and I’m trying my best not to panic and just finish what I can.