The happiness list

Stuck in traffic on a rainy day with only a notebook and pen to keep me sane, I share with you the happy list I came up with in the 47 minutes it took me to get to my destination… I hope you enjoy it and are encouraged to make your own, sometime soon, with the rainy weather as your perfect backdrop.

Happiness is:

• Enjoying a bowl of lomi on a rainy day;

• Waking up to a child’s chubby arms and legs entangled with yours;

• Secretly watching your daughter play dress up;

• At 32, having a dad who still finds time and reason to leave a bowl of your favorite fruits on your work table the way he always did while you were growing up;

• Parents who still call you by that little nickname you grew up with;

• Treating myself to Nestlé Premium Full Cream Milk after a hard day’s work;

• The low-fat version after a lazy, slow day;

• Eavesdropping on an innocent conversation between toddlers;

• Handwritten letters received by snail mail;

• Classic pancakes from Pancake House, mocha cake from Goldilocks, and Bread Pan from Oishi, Jack & Jill Chippy and Potato Chips forever in your pantry;

• Candid photos that capture a moment in time perfectly;

• A great love story;

• Orlando Bloom cast in the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy (a fourth, fifth, sixth still with him in it… please…);

• Great onscreen romances and kisses;

• Holding hands with the one you love while watching the news;

• Chai latte from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf;

• A man’s strong legs;

• Mashing your face against the crook of a child’s neck, knowing that she smells like cookies and rain at any time of the day;

• Waking up to find the one you love staring at you;

• Watching him as he sleeps;

• Finding a pair of shoes you adore and, upon buying them, realizing they are on sale!

• Walking out of a bookstore armed with a pack of books picked at random, not because they came highly recommended or had great reviews, but simply because the title spoke to you, the cover design reminded you of that great summer, a beautiful time in your past, or a secret hope for your future;

• Balancing your checkbook;

• Knowing you have an extra 15 minutes before you really have to get up from bed;

• Lingering in bed on Sundays;

• Waking up to the sound of rain, falling asleep again, and finally waking up to find out that, yes, it still is raining out there;

• A tomato sandwich — yes, just buttered toast and fat slices of fresh tomatoes sprinkled with salt and pepper;

• Staying up till dawn and knowing that you do not have to be up early the following day;

• Being able to laugh or smile about something that once made you cry;

• Baby pictures;

• A new box of crayons and sharp scissors;

• Friends who pass the bar;

• Waiting for the next baby to come;

• An unexpected kiss from your husband in the middle of the day;

• Watching the one you love walk across the room;

• Lighting a scented candle;

• Receiving a rosary as pasalubong from out of nowhere;

• Having a mother with a great sense of humor who laughs hard and prays even harder;

• Having priests and nuns for friends;

• Crazy girlfriends who make you laugh, who cry with you, who cheer you on;

• Grilled cheese sandwich and chocolate chip cookies from Gretchen’s Kitchen;

• Dinners with Ben and Miguel, Tito Ver and Tita Ne, and Keren Pascual;

• Knowing that your parents are still crazy about each other even after 34 years together;

• Running into a classmate from elementary whom you have not seen since grade school (hello, Pereger Canin!);

• Almost nine years after graduation, finding the classmate in college you always meant to thank for helping you pass your math subjects (thank you, Gligorick Garupa!);

• Instant noodles;

• Knowing that I will never outgrow parlor games, fairy tales and cartoons and books about Amelia Bedelia;

• High school pictures and yearbooks;

• Witnessing how your younger brothers fall in love;

• Doodling on paper;

• Lysol Spray in Linen Scent;

• Having an older sister who loves you in many funny ways and days;

• The first happy thought after your heart has been broken;

• Househelp who stay with you forever and ever and become like family;

• The smell of garlic being sautéed when you’re hungry;

• Al dente pasta anytime;

• Having a husband who touches your face after kissing you hello;

• All four CDs of Rod Stewart’s “Great American Songbook”;

• Staring at the Boracay sunset, enjoying its many pastel hues;

• Building sandcastles;

• Dancing the rumba;

• A child’s drawing;

• Finding a cheap pen that makes your handwriting look oh-so-nice;

• Pressing the “Send” button on the computer and knowing that you have met yet another deadline;

• Getting the call you have long been waiting for;

• The arrival of your magazine subscriptions;

• Reading and re-reading Gilda Cordero-Fernando’s The Last Full Moon;

• Finding notes and letters you forgot you had;

• Love letters my Lolo Julio wrote to my Lola Carmen, kept in a tin box;

• Crocheted and embroidered linens and things;

• Milk and honey;

• A freshly made bed and the sun’s rays making the room bright;

• The sound of music, ocean waves, and a child’s giggles;

• Peanuts with Coke;

• Buttered popcorn;

• Watching The Notebook and reading The Bridges of Madison County over and over again;

• A long embrace;

• Books by Ruth Reichl;

• Fresh flowers in a nice vase in your home even when there is no occasion;

• Baroque pearls and finding the perfect pair of jeans;

• Wearing a dress;

• Guiltlessly daydreaming;

• Praying to God that His will be done and meaning it;

• Five nights in Hong Kong;

• New notebooks with crisp pages;

• Ube ice cream;

• Being able to laugh at myself;

• Realizing that, slowly but surely, many of my little dreams are coming true;

• Loving my work so much it feels more like play;

• Loving the people I work with even more;

• Marrying the one I have loved since I was 13 years old;

• Knowing that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that you cannot pray for and talk to God about;

• Knowing that He always listens;

• The gift of family and real friends;

• Making wishes and finding out that, more often than not, they do come true;

• Wrapping presents thoughtfully, lovingly;

• Learning to ride a bike, falling, and getting up again;

• The feel of baby oil and lotion on my skin after a hot shower;

• Wearing beautiful under-wear;

• Saved text messages;

• Little presents packaged in many pretty ways from my Tita Inday;

• Afternoon siestas;

• The summers you spent as a child;

• Falling asleep in the spoon position;

• Knowing that you are entitled to your one last cry;

• Listening to the iPod uploaded with inspirational audio books that Kris gave me;

• Knowing that you are loved and appreciated;

• Walking in the rain;

• Buying school supplies;

• Having your heart broken into pieces and knowing that this, too, will pass;

• David beating Goliath;

• Laughing until tears fall from my eyes;

• Dreaming big dreams and believing that they can come true;

• The first time I tried bagels with cream cheese;

• Eating in a restaurant with your one great love and hearing your song being played on the piano;

• OPM;

• Knowing that I can call a wise man like Tito Dougs any time of the day;

• Making lists like this and knowing that even when I have already filled 10 notebooks with entries about what makes me happy, there will always be reason to fill up 10, even 20 more.

Happiness is the beginning of joy. Go on, make your own list too, and find yourself smiling along the way. Happy Sunday everyone and to all the dads out there, Happy Father’s Day! To my dad, thank you for being the kind of dad that you are, have been, always will be to me; Caren, Matt and Jules, even to Mommy. You are one of our greatest blessings and we love you very much. To my husband Richard, I only have to see how you spend and make time with Juliana to understand how much she adores you. You are her hero, and I say mine, too. Thank you for so much.

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Announcement: On June 16 and 30, July 14 and 28, there will be an information seminar about migrating to Australia. For those interested, you may call 744-5893 or 0918-9037200, or e-mail koalaimmigration@yahoo.com for more details.

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