Birthday Blues

Before anything else, I would like to greet myself a very happy birthday! Another year has passed; a year older, and hopefully, wiser. One can wish.

This year, I didn’t plan on celebrating my birthday. I kept it low – key. I changed my name on Facebook, turned off the birthday notification, and just stayed quiet about the whole thing. I don’t want to be bombarded with greetings just because Facebook told them to greet me on my special day. I don’t want to make it a big deal, too. It’s just another day, I guess, just the day I was born.

After a year of spiritual renewal, I decided to celebrate my birthday with God. And since I always wanted to return to Quiapo Church after going there last March, I decided to go back there. Also, I promised God I’d go there on my birthday. My first item on my birthday bucket list, pray in Quiapo Church.

I woke up early so that I could catch an early morning bus ride from Lucena to Quezon City. From where I live, it took me about 5 hours to arrive at Ortigas. From there, I rode an RRCG Bus headed to Quiapo. It took the bus an hour so I arrived at the church at 11 am. Sadly, I missed the mass but got there just in time for the morning novena.

After praying the rosary, since it’s about lunch time already, I decided to eat at the nearest restaurant just across the church. After crossing the overpass, I looked for a decent but also a very safe place to dine, and finally settled with Jollibee. No one could go wrong with Jollibee spaghetti with Chicken Joy.

Since I’m really not familiar with transport routes of Buses and Jeepneys on Manila, I decided to just window shop around the area first for bike parts, and accessories. I still have some time to kill, you see. I only needed to go to Gateway Mall, and find Fullybooked to buy myself my birthday presents, the second item on my birthday bucket list.

All I can say is I’m actually surprised with the bike shops that span a boulevard in Quiapo. You can actually see how much alive the biking community is to this day. There are a lot of customers in the shops considering it’s a work day. And you can also buy original parts at a lower price compared to how they are priced in the province especially in my experiences when buying parts, and accessories in Lucena City. I had fun. So much fun.

So after window shopping, it’s time to go to Quezon City specifically in Araneta.  Since I can’t find any bus to take me from there back to Ortigas, I decided to take the jeepney. There are confusing routes for jeepneys there so I hoped to not get lost. After observing the jeepney signboards, I saw one of the dashboards with the sign for Araneta. So without hesitation, I jumped into that Jeepney.

The ride to Araneta was longer than I expected but considering I’m coming from Manila, well, that’s acceptable in hindsight. I actually liked that I rode that jeepney since I could sight – see. I saw the streets I just read on Facebook. P. Noval. I read that a lot from confessions pages. I think the jeepney even passed the University Belt area. Students in, and out of the jeepney. So, U – Belt it was. I just took it all in. It was fun.

The jeepney reached Araneta Center at last. And the first place I went to is Gateway Mall. I was so excited I was sprinting already. Memories flashed back to me about the time I would walk from TIP – QC to Araneta Center just to ride the bus home back when I was still having my Master’s. Memories, and adrenaline. A very good combination.

I looked for Fullybooked as fast as I could. It was the excitement I could not contain, I guess. When I finally saw it, a smile I automatically released. I can’t help it, I just love bookstores.

The smell of the books, the colors of the covers arranged beautifully, the ambiance, I just felt at home. Since I still had ample time, I looked for titles I was curious about. There are a lot of books I want to own but this time, I’m only buying three so I just took the opportunity to peruse some. I just love the feel of the paper on my skin. It just feels so alive and full of life, the stories written in ink. I can’t explain it. I can’t find the right words to describe the feelings I have for books.

But the time came for me to part ways with the books. I grabbed the three titles I’m buying, and went to the cashier. Parting is such a sweet sorrow. I hated it. I felt like I don’t want to leave that safe place.

From Fullybooked, I went to Araneta Bus Port. Confusing as the new process may be, I’m just glad I got home safe, and sound. It was a smooth ride, and I got to contemplate on my life as the bus took me home. It was a tiring, and surprisingly, a very great day. It was one of the best birthday celebrations I ever had. God, bikes, and books. What a great day.

Going home on my birthday with greetings from those who actually cared enough to remember it made me realize that this is the life I want to have from now on. I want to spend it low – key with the right people, in the right places, doing my favorite things. I don’t want to live it for others. I want to live it on my own terms. I want to be happy. And spending my birthday without the blues is the step in that direction.

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