Category Archives: Close to Heart

Talking About Birthdays

Since I was little, I do not normally have a birthday party on my own. My sister’s birthday is three days later than mine. So almost all the time, we have joint birthday parties. We have one party and two birthday cakes. We have lots of pictures opening gifts together. In fact, my eighteenth birthday was even celebrated on her birthday.

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My older sister and I (Germany, 2005)

So strictly speaking, I always share my birthday with someone else. But now, my sister and I are in different parts of the world. Therefore, I can have the party on my own!

But then I married somebody whose birthday is three days earlier than mine. Therefore, I will never have a party on my own as long as we both shall live…but I don’t mind that at all.

Birthday photos on my own

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The Highest Point of Zurich (2003)

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Atomium, Brussells, Belgium (2004)

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The River Danube, Regensburg, Germany (2005)

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Hills of Edinburgh, Scotland (2006)

But joint birthdays are always fun!

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Foot of the Alps, Heidiland, Switzerland (2003)

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Who took my picture? — Brusells, Belgium (2004)

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Danube River, Germany (2005)

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The Modern Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh (2006)


Simple Pleasures in Life

Picture: An Impression of Myself (2005). A creation of Ben, my little nephew, when he was three and a half years old.

Here’s my share of the fun:

Instructions: name 10 of life’s simple pleasures that you like the most, then pick 10 people to do the same.


Being a testimony that there is a God.

Getting a big hug after a day that is busy and exhausting.

Doing little acts of kindness to people whom I meet everyday.

Talking to my mom, dad, brothers, sisters and Benjamin.

Receiving and sending hand-written letters. If you receive one from me, you must be special.

Having time to myself once in a while, either reading a book, practising my creativity, or just doing nothing.

Treating myself to a stick of cotton candy and a bucket of popcorn.

Looking at the sky or the sea. They remind me that there is a Creator.

Having a good nite sleep being hugged or hugging something.

Eating my favourite Filipino dishes that I didn’t cook.

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Taken during one of my on-my-own-watching-the-sea-moments (February 2006).

I am tagging Ate Ewok, Cleng, Dave, Jonathan, Mark, IE, Ted, Eden, Eric and Princess Fiona. Have fun guys!

Say ‘I do”, please?


In a few weeks’ time, a girl who is very close to me is getting married to her prince charming. This inspired me to talk about the ‘special moment before I do’ — the wedding proposal.

I’ve heard so many lovely stories of a man proposing to her girl and I say a few here:

  • The man asked for the waiter’s help by putting the ring as a topping for her ice cream dessert during a dinner date (good thing she saw the ring or else, it would have been a real messy treasure hunt!)
  • The man proposed while aboard a ferries wheel (top of the world-like?)
  • A girl was asked by his boyfriend to marry him at sunrise in El Salvador (very artistic guy! There’s not a lot of them around)
  • Plain “Will you marry me?” asked during a formal dinner date, accented with a diamond ring. 

Please share some romantic stories that you know. I am very interested to hear more stories about love.

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Pictures from the top: a couple sitting along the banks of Danube River, Regensburg; Pigeons caught at the walled city of Canterbury; and Cupid (obviouslly!)

Love is all around.

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(Piccadily Circus  by MALT, April 2005)
“Love is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person that
often requires personal sacrifices.”
— Author Unknown
Reflect on these phrases…
  • unconditional commitment
  • imperfect person
  • personal sacrifices

Do you know how to love?

(I heard this definition of love about fifteen years ago. I did not put in in my diary nor in my scrapbook, but it was well recorded in my mind.)

Wedding Traditions

Isn’t it amazing how different cultures have different wedding traditions? I once was invited to attend a Scottish wedding. Julia, the bride, is from the Orkney Islands. It was held in England so it wasn’t totally Scottish. However, we had a great time dancing – the Scottish way!

But there is a very nice tradition that we’ve experienced. The bride and the groom went in each table and offered the visitors to drink from a vessel that looked like a big bucket or a pail without the swinging handles. Instead, it has two vertical handles (see picture).

I asked Julia what’s inside the cog. She said that it is a traditional drink, a heated punch of home-brewed strong ale, whisky, sometimes rum, brown sugar and herbs.What a nice experience! Drinking from that cog, I felt that it almost drowned my whole head. But funnily, I didn’t even think about acquiring or passing on infection from and to the other guests! Oh well, never mind, it was a good experience anyway.

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imagine if I will drink all of its contents!