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Friday, June 1, 2012

Happy Birthday, Lola!

Today was going to be my lola's 102nd birthday. But sadly, she's already passed on last year. Still, I wanted to do something special today to remember her birthday by so I woke up early today to fix some pasta for breakfast. I made some Shrimp and Bacon Aoili Angel Hair Pasta (a slight twist from a favorite recipe in our household) which my family shared heartily. 

I am also publishing this post that I started last October (after we laid my lola to rest) but never got to finish. I thought I'd publish it as is because what I wrote there were my fondest memories of lola. 

Happy birthday Lola! Please continue to watch over us! We love you and miss you!


What Lola Has Taught Me

We finally laid her to rest last October 9th. Despite the bad weather that we've been experiencing for almost a week, Mr Sun came out on the day we were set to bury my 101 old grandmother.

At 101, yes you can say my lola has a chestful of wisdom to impart to us grandkids. She was a story teller. She loved farming. She was proud to call herself a farmer and she was active at it till she was in her 90's. And even while she was wheelchair bound, she made sure she was updated at the going-ons of her farm lots. She was a very hard worker. She taught us that you don't earn easy money. And that you have to work hard for your dreams.

Lola was one of the reasons why we also make it a point to be home during long holidays. We looked forward to this 'pocket' reunions which are usually just spent sharing/swapping stories at the dinner table. We might not be the perfect family but Lola made sure we valued what we have.

I remember when we were little, our house was located about a kilometer away from Lola's. Every Fridays, we looked forward to spending the weekend with her (because she tolerated late night TV time - Doggie Howser, Beverly Hills 90210, Baywatch). When I need to write book reports, I would hie off to my Lola's because her house was really just so conducive for writing. Now that I've mentioned it, it was probably in my Lola's that I started to write in journals too.

Lola loved to tell us stories. Usually they were tales of their lives during the war. Lola's been through TWO world wars and boy she had a lot of stories to share. Our bed time stories were mostly about that. She'd sometimes sneak in some 'horror' stories as well probably to scare us and drive us to sleep (hehehe).

My parents were both working. It was Lola who looked after us while they were away. And when they travel, it was lola who would keep us preoccupied so we won't miss them too much. I was also a big worrier then (probably because I was the eldest I always have this fear I might end up taking care of all my siblings). My lola made sure however that we relish our childhood and yet taught us how to survive independently. She taught us how to cook our own meals at an early age. She bought us clay pots to practice on. And at 7 years old, my sisters and I can easily whip out a meal of laswa and fried fish. We learned to cook rice as well the old school way. We also learned the benefits of healthy eating from lola. She lived to be 101 because she was careful with what she ate (she wasn't intentionally careful but well she just really hated eating pork and beef and would always prefer veggies over anything else). 

I think if I would summarize the values that I picked up from lola they would be:
  • Resilience and Hardwork
  • The Importance of Family 
  • Goal Setting
  • Communication
  • Farming is a respectable, rewarding job only if you put your heart and soul into it.
Apart from my parents, Lola also became our primary teacher when we were little kids. But what she taught us were not about academics but really about what was practical and basically how to survive life as it is. 

Maia calls this Apoy's (that's our vernacular term for greatgrandma) new home 

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