Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Warming Our Home and Other Post-Valentine's Day Thoughts

On Sunday, H. and I held our housewarming for our not-so-new apartment (some loyal readers will recall that we moved way back in July!). But before that, we had our friend L., who's a spiritual healer, come and cleanse and bless our home on Saturday, effectively chasing away any negative energies and bad spirits (well, except the noisy neighbors, although she was able to get the little kid downstairs to stop crying so much, miraculously). The apartment felt lighter and more 'ours' afterwards, and we spent most of Saturday cleaning, decorating, moving furniture (some of it new from the Ikea aisles) and setting up for the party. I was so excited I couldn't hardly sleep all night.

The housewarming was a brunch with a Valentine's day theme. I was thrilled that people took to it so readily--some guests showed up wearing pink and red (not a requirement by any means), several people brought us flowers, and most people went along (some more enthusiatically than others) with my wacky idea of writing valentines for each other. I got a whole bunch of those store-bought ones--Star Wars, Spongebob Squarepants, Hello Kitty, and the old-school Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat (the most popular ones by far)--and people sat around writing valentines to each other after gorging themselves on homefries, turkey sausage, lumpia, zucchini frittata (I made all the hot food), homemade chocolate truffles (my Kumareng M.'s over-the-top contribution), rum cake (courtesy of Efren and Howard) and various other sweets and savories.

The last few years--starting when I found myself single in 2000 after a four-year relationship/engagement--I've been thinking of Valentine's Day as more of a time to celebrate friendship or non-'romantic' love versus the gushy, lovey-dovey, couple-y kind of love that it's known for. Not that I'm not a big fan of the latter--H. and I are both big fans of romance and are very affectionate with each other--but I just felt that we, as a society, don't spend enough time celebrating and honoring our friendships. And after having a few friends whom I thought would be there for me for the long haul ditch out of my life (all, ironically, because of some strange hangups/weirdness about relationships with men--mine or theirs), I found the need to ritualize my honoring of my real friends especially important. True friends are, I've found out the hard way, a rarity indeed. And on Sunday I realized that I am blessed with many of them.

Back to the party, which went fabulously well. Gura and Tatang Retong attended, as did about thirty other friends/well-wishers, including my godson, K., and his friend S., both about two years old, who entertained the crowd by dancing to Joe Bataan/s "Nuevo Jala Jala", one of my favorite songs. Funny, K.'s Filipino and S. is Black--I guess Joe's energy resonated for both of them.

When everyone left---our last guest stayed 'til almost 10:30pm, which made it a record 10-hour marathon party for me--H. and I sat in the afterglow of so much love being brought into our home and shared with us and everyone else, between friends who were glad to see each other, between strangers who wrote each other valentines anyway, and realized that we were home, our home. It finally felt right. The most precioius feeling in the world.

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