Family Friends

Dearest D,

First month of the year has passed and I am still hung up on the turn from 2019 to 2020. It feels like being in limbo; drifting between a mobile and stationary state. From the matching-attire family dinner and photo op to staying up through the loud night with my troubled thoughts in my attic-slash-bedroom. The latter making for a cranky mood and a bad first day of the new year.

Throughout January I was pondering over what was there to be thankful for from the previous year. Of course there is the house, the car, the new job, and the somewhat questionable state of personal health. However, none of them felt fulfilling. There’s my family; my folks and siblings, but for too personal reasons I would not focus much on them. Then there are my set of friends.

As I try to recollect and make an account of all my friends from early childhood to work life, I have lost touch with most of them since leaving the world of social media. There were those I have cut off and completely ignored but there were a handful that I kept in touch. Some of them are worth mentioning to you, D.

As I reminisce more about the times I spent with them, they were worth being thankful for not just the past 2019 but all the past years since I first met them. Being with them kept me going; they kept me sane, grounded, and away from my troubled thoughts.

They are three very distinct set of families and are all good friends of mine, D. They don’t judge me for who I am, what I wear, how I talk, or my upbringing. They are all down to earth and easygoing. Yet, despite these similarities, I did mention they were distinct from each other.

Ventura-Espadero Family

College sweethearts who, for me, are the epitome of the expression, “Through Thick and Thin.” The wife was a former colleague in a previous work and the hubby I met later on for spending too many sleepovers at their humble abode. I have known them as a couple and the family of four that they are now today. Their two daughters are just adorable!

The kids tend to be weary of me when I am around but I connected with the family in many aspects. Besides being within the same age group, the wife was also a child of a diplomat whom I felt knew what it was like growing up distant from their folks on certain levels. The hubby who was tech savvy and handy with a tool was someone I can connect with on all technology and DIY related stuff that manly man do. I love their sense of humor that is subtle and only meant to be discussed among ourselves. Laughter with them has always brought me a sense of calm. I enjoy moments when we talk about almost any trivial topics over social media, friends, current events and the latest trends. However, nothing beats the feeling of being at ease with myself whenever I am around them; like being at home.

Garcia-Tobias Family

When I want someone to be frank, blunt, and no-holds-barred straight forward with me, I turn to the Garcia-Tobias family. A family of five with a rich history… family-wise. I am not particularly close with their kids but I am especially fond of seeing their little tyke walk around like Boo of Monsters, Inc.

They are your typical Kabitenyos where cussing is not cussing but a part of a normal conversation; as in, putang inang decent conversation. I enjoy their combination of lively and laid back aura and their outlandish humor. Hardworking and resourceful, I admire their resilience. When I want a good slap, a wake up call in life, and a good round of unhinged teasing, jokes, and insults, I turn to them. When I want to get butt-naked wasted, I turn to the hubby and drown our worries away during sleepovers at their awesome mansion. Being around them reminds me of what I am taking for granted and my lack of gratitude in life. Despite their own set of challenges in life, unbeknownst to them, they have a way of taking away my worldly cares.

Penaverde-Ilarde Family

D, I saved the best for last. They are the family that caters to my intellectual and emotional needs. When I want a meaningful, deep, and thought-provoking set of conversations, I turn to the PenaLardes (pardon the portmanteau). A family of three who some might consider as unorthodox. I, on the other hand, have never seen a family so strong swimming against the current that many perceive as the social norm.

Homeschoolers, Adventurers, Outdoors-men, Ambassadors of Humanity, and an overall awesome children of mother nature. I met both husband and wife in one of my outdoor excursions and even partook in one of their hosted events—I think it was the other way around. Either way, since then the universe has made a point to bring me and their family together on certain meaningful occasions. The christening of their adorable ROYGBIV making me a god parent. Their daughter’s first climb. The series of summer camps for kids. Other activities I could no longer recall for lack of social media reference which also brings to mind the then extensive witty and humorous comment-exchange in our respective social media posts. Most recently, I have taken to spending some time with them in their nature-inspired warm and humble abode. Which is where I was most fortunate and grateful to have experienced spending one sleepover (Family Friendship Level Up Achieved). Being around them gives me a sense of invigoration that counters my hopelessness in life. Their passion, drive, and sense of patriotism somewhat rubs off on me. The very thought of them keeps me moving forward one step at a time.

Looking back at all the time I have spent with all of them, I realized how much I have to be thankful for these past years since my meeting them. They haven’t the slightest clue of the impact they have made in my life; How their very presence counters the dreariness that is my life or so my thoughts portray. They remind me of the saying I once read, “Friends are the Family you choose.” In this case, literal.

Do not worry, D. Your coming to being has immensely helped in what I hope is my road to my mental well-being.

Yours truly,



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