12:00:00 AM

On Franco's birthday weekend, we went to Crystal Beach Resort in Zambales. It was a three-hour drive from Manila, and I absolutely loved passing through SCTEx! Anyway, on the way there, I was still getting phone calls from work, which forced me to open my laptop at our first stopover in Pampanga.

I was so irritated at the idea of having to work while I was supposedly on vacation that I snapped at JR. Here's what happened: when I took my laptop out of the bag, he opened his mouth and I knew he was going to jokingly reprimand me for working while we were supposed to have fun. Because I was in such a foul mood, I cut him off and I asked him in a very serious tone, "Do you think I want to be working while we're here?"

There was a bit of awkwardness after. But when I came to my senses, I immediately apologized to him. He just nodded, and then he walked away for a bit. He was gone for a few minutes - he went to the convenience store with Franco and Reese, and he went to the car for a bit. I just stayed in McDonald's, pounding on the keys of my laptop until it was time to leave.

In the car, we were already okay, and I was relieved that he accepted my apology. At our second stopover, he even asked me to go with him to the convenience store to buy drinks for the weekend. I apologized again and he told me not to worry about what happened anymore, which is awesome because I didn't really want to let work get in the way of an awesome weekend.
At the resort, when I was unpacking my stuff, I saw a Stitch (from Lilo & Stich) stuffed toy. I don't really own stuffed toys, and even if I did, I wouldn't take it with me to a beach trip. I asked JR if he knows where it came from, and he told me that he got it for me to remind me that no matter what happens, we'll always be family. (The movie Lilo & Stitch is where the line "Ohana means family, and family means nobody gets left behind" came from.)

I wanted to cry (I managed not to). I felt awful for having snapped at him, but I also felt overwhelmed with gratitude. I couldn't wrap my head around how blessed I am to have friends who have become family. We've been saying it for a while now, that we were a family, but I guess finding Stitch in my bag totally sealed the deal. I said this before, and I'll say it again, family is not necessarily the people who are your blood, but rather those who can become your blood.

Thank you, Bata. And Franco. And Alfred. You guys are my family now and I love you all fiercely.


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