My Brother’s Wedding: My big sister speech

My brother got married last January and even though I’ve always been terrified of public speaking (a shock to a lot of people,  considering that I’ve been told I have a mouth on me), I was tasked to give a speech in behalf of our family. Writing the speech made me feel a bit sentimental and nostalgic especially since when we were younger, my brother was my sworn enemy.

I swear, this is is not an exaggeration. We took sibling rivalry to another level, and our fights would sometimes get WWF-violent. Infact, I remember bashing his head on doorknobs on a couple of occasions (I still feel guilty about this until now because I think I caused permanent damage. I apologize to his wife and future kids for his loopyness, I take full responsibility). Given our bloody past, it amazes me how great we get along as adults. We’ve managed to keep bickering to a minimum in the last decade or so. And even though I’m sure we still get on each other’s nerves every so often, we’ve learned to deal with conflicts in a mature manner (rather than engage in potentially hurtful and damaging confrontation , we  breathe, take a step back and do the sensible thing: we backstab each other :P).

Over time, my brother has grown to be a confidant and one of my closest friends (we really have no choice, no one can truly understand our  family’s crazy better than the two of us, so we have to stick together), and it turned out to be a joy to be able to say some nice things about him and his wife during one the most monumental milestones of his life.

I pretty much copy -pasted the speech verbatim, including the niceties, but added a couple of anecdotes  that I did not share during the wedding.  I had to keep the speech to 5 minutes max, in order to be considerate to guests. But since this is my blog, I can write as much as I want and feel no inclination to be considerate since you can always stop reading anyway.

Good evening everyone. I just wanted to start off by saying, that in behalf of our family, my mom, my husband and most especially my dad, who is probably happily watching us from heaven, drinking all the beer that he was not allowed to consume when he was alive,  thank you so much for being here to celebrate Det and Sheann’s wedding with us. It’s very heartwarming to see friends, and family from The Yu, The Gliane, The Dysangco and The Garcia side, all here to show how much they love my baby brother.

And to the Moleras and the Sorillas, to Tito Gene and Tita Lina, to Paolo and Tracy, thank you for welcoming us, most especially my brother,  with open arms.

To tell you honestly, I never thought this day would come. Not Det marrying Sheann ofcourse. They’re actually perfect for each other, but me being able to walk my brother down the aisle without the two of us killing each other. I wish we could say that we’ve always had the close relationship we have now, but the truth was, when Bodet was born, it was dislike at first sight.

I wanted a baby sister. Instead, I got a bald, flat -nosed baby brother. My mom said I was crying so hard when he was born and I wanted to have him exchanged in the nursery.  Unfortunately, they did not let me.  As a way of consoling me, my dad let me name him. So if you’re wondering where Det’s funky name came from, it’s all my fault. I wanted to name him Voltes V. My dad decided to legitimize it a bit, and went with Voltaire.  (The Vitus, however, was not my doing. You can blame some  saint calendar for that).

That naming incident probably characterized the first decade or so of our relationship. I called the shots and my brother had no choice but to go along with whatever I said. BUT before you feel sorry for him, please note that he wasn’t exactly a joy to be with either. He used to follow me EVERYWHERE, and would play with all the toys that I wanted to play with. He wasn’t even very careful with my stuff. Infact, I had to bury a dozen headless Barbie’s because of him.

Eldest child woes: It  seriously baffled me  that my little brother got all the attention when I was obviously the cute one

Eldest child woes: It seriously baffled me that my little brother got all the attention when I was obviously the cute one

To add insult to injury, he wanted the toys that I was interested in at the moment. So the minute I gave him the toy that I had, and I started playing with another one, he would discard the toy I had just given him, and go after the one that I was holding.

There was this one instance that I couldn’t forget. I had this very cool Fisher Price sink. It spouted real water, so I was using it as a bathtub for my Barbie’s. Siyempre, because I was playing with it, Bodet wanted it too. And he cried and threw a tantrum until I gave it to him.  Knowing that getting a new toy would just cause a vicious cycle, I decided to one up him. I scrounged around in the carpet for something to distract him, and found a piece of hair. I played with that piece of hair with as much enthusiasm as I could muster, until he finally noticed.  As predicted, umiyak nanaman siya and demanded that I surrender my new find. I gave it to him, snatched my sink back and locked myself in the room.

So Sheann, if you want some advice on trying to get Det to do what you want, we can have coffee sometime. Promise, expert na ko dyan.

Thankfully, our relationship started improving when he got older.  A part of it was because we both matured. But a bigger part, is that almost against my will, I started seeing that despite his pesky, annoying ways, mabait talaga si Det. And as much as it pains me to admit it, mas mabait talaga siya sa ‘kin. He has a big heart and does not hesitate to show people around him that he cares .

He is also very loyal and protective. When you are a part of his life, he will love everyone that you love, and even fight with the people who are not treating you right. 

My younger nieces can attest to this. Whenever they had a new guy crushing on them, my brother would make it a point to “drop by” whenever that particular suitor was there. Then he would find a particular flaw to harp on and would tease my nieces mercilessly, until they give up and stop inviting the guy over.  In hindsight, I’m not sure if it was Det’s way of making sure that they don’t get a boyfriend until they’re old enough, or if he’s just being a pest. Either way, their dad, our cousin, is eternally grateful to him for helping drive these boys away. 

His friends  know that Det would always have their back and would always be the first one  there  whenever they get into car accidents (which seems to happen quite often in their group),  or if they simply needed to drink and lament about life  and/or  ex girlfriends.  

My brother would also always make sure that he got to know his  friends’  significant others, and would be one the first ones to to make them feel comfortable. Infact, their girlfriends actually call him for relationship advise quite frequently. The thing is though, these girls understand that  the minute something untoward happens and you end up messing with any of his  friends, it’s friendship over. Infact, there was a certain incident  .... (let’s just save that for another day)…

Because I’m older than him, he really doesn’t meddle with my love life unless I ask him to. Takot lang niya di ba? But whenever he sensed that I was nursing a broken heart, he would offer to take me out, or bring me to his barkada gatherings just to cheer me up.  I also find it very endearing, that Det, who is four years younger than me, makes it a point to hold my hand whenever we cross the street (he knows I’m spatially challenged and did not learn basic life skills like dodging over -zealous drivers). 

When my dad died, I saw my little brother transform from a carefree young adult, to the man of the house. He took it upon himself to take care of me and my mom. And if you know how emotional we both can get, this is no easy feat. Until now, years later, my brother still takes this role vey seriously. He would take my mom on dates and trips, whether she liked it or not, and would call me up regularly to schedule family pow-wows or  to  consult with me about pressing  matters. 

My brother and I get along splendidly when we engage in one or a combination of these activities: 1. drinking 2. making fun of people 3. making fun of each other.  The endeavours have kept us entertained in various trips and in otherwise uneventful family gatherings.

My brother and I get along splendidly when we engage in one or a combination of these activities: 1. drinking 2. making fun of people 3. making fun of each other. These endeavours have kept us entertained in various trips and in otherwise uneventful family gatherings.

Needless to say, I was very happy for him when he found Sheann. After all the emotional responsibility that Det took on after Papa’s passing, it was nice to see someone taking care of him for a change. More importantly, it was nice to see him happy.

Sheann, my brother loves you very, very much. I know because I’ve always been his confidant when it comes to girls.  And I can give you the low- down on just about every girl he has dated.  Truth be told, I’ve never seen him so excited and so giddy about anyone.

I know he will make a loving husband and God-willing, a fantastic father because he’s always been a great brother, son, friend, cousin, tito and nephew to all of us. I won’t even wish you guys a happy life because I KNOW you will have a great life together.

Just a piece of sisterly advice though, ingat ka. Masungit si Det pag gutom. Siguraduhin mo na lang na laging may combos sa bahay niyo. So cheers guys!  Cheers to finding each other and cheers to a lovely life together.

I was perfectly fine during my walk down the aisle until I saw my brother crying. Naturally, I started bawling myself.

I was perfectly fine during my walk down the aisle until I saw my brother crying. Naturally, I started bawling myself. (Photo taken by Jorem Catilo of Catilo Photography)

 

My mom, my brother and I watching my sister in law walk down the aisle.  My annoying husband  taught him to smile when he  feels he's about to cry, so it doesn't reach sobbing and snorting levels. Damn you husband! You have robbed us of poignant wedding moments! (Photo taken by Paolo Molera)

My mom, my brother and I watching my sister in law walk down the aisle. My annoying husband taught him to smile when he feels he’s about to cry, so it doesn’t reach sobbing and snorting levels. Damn you husband! You have robbed us of poignant wedding moments! (Photo taken by Paolo Molera)

 

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Moving to Subic… Finally!

 Fast forward from my last Subic post. We had finally gotten married! Yey!! We wed, we partied, we conquered.  Now it’s back to the real world.

We stayed an extra night in Kamana after the wedding then checked out the following day. The nice people in the resort offered to extend another complimentary night, but we were both eager to roll up our sleeves and get our moving on, so to speak. In hindsight, I regretted that over-eager decision. Another extra night in a sea view luxury hotel with ROOM SERVICE wouldn’t have hurt. Not one bit.

It was a 30 minute drive to Kalayaan Heights, our new village. The minute I stepped into our new house, reality sunk in. I was living with a boy!!! I wanted to cry.

Take note that my husband lived in this house for two whole years before we got married.  I was expecting to see some stuff but the place was completely empty!!! I could literally count the number of objects  he had inside:

1. There was an  old bed that was there even before he moved in  (which, by the way I found disgusting. That bed had been there for years! Who knew what action and mystery excretions were left in that mattress. He even used the same sheets!!!!!!!)

2. An old refrigerator (He did not have anything in the inside. Not even a pitcher of water. Okay, change that. There was one bottle of Yakult. It was 2 months expired. He told me that the refrigerator did not keep stuff cool anymore, that’s why he didn’t like using it. More on that later).

3. A rickety dining room set

4.  A couple of side tables

5.  A dying stove

6.  A center table (there were no couches or seats in the living room. Just a center table. Go figure.). 

7. An old, 90’s style television set (WITH CABLE!! Yey! This made our maid so happy).

He bought some kitchen stuff when he moved in, so we had plates that were in mint condition and some usable utensils.  There was also a  a kitchen knife, a can and a bottle opener and a rice cooker. (Okay, this is what I don’t get. We bought that rice cooker  prior to his moving. And he barely cooked. I had no idea how it had become worn out and why that kitchen knife was falling apart).

I knew the house was bare, but I didn’t really realise how neglected (for the lack of a better term) it was until I was about to move in. Don’t get me wrong. My husband is a pretty neat person, and the house itself wasn’t dirty. (Even though it’s probably only been cleaned four times in the two years he’s lived there.) But I guess that was the problem. He had left  it practically untouched that entire time.

It was obvious that he literally just stayed there to sleep. It had that musty, vacation-house smell that was characteristic of empty living spaces. There were also a lot of stuff that he did not bother to know about the house. For instance he did not bother to check that most of the plugs did not work ( if they did, they were 110 volts) nor  did he have any idea how certain built-in gadgets, such as the washing machine and the water heater, turned on. (Come to think of it, I don’t think he even knew whether they were working). 

Surveying the grounds brought even more dismay. The yard was filled with overgrown grass and weeds. Knowing that we were in the middle of a forest, I wouldn’t have been surprised if we had a snake underneath that mess (Eep! We did have a snake! Our maid found one when  we finally got around to having the grass cut. Thankfully it was dead. Probably got suffocated by all the dead leaves).  And the bathroom and bedroom outside the house, which our new maid was supposed to use, was covered in dirt. (Truth be told, I was more concerned about our future maid’s welfare than I was about me. I didn’t want her to take one good look at the house, decide she can’t take our “minimalist” lifestlye and leave).

Needless to say,  I knew it was going to be a rough first night for us newlyweds.

Prior to moving in, I had asked our driver to at least bring a spare queen-sized mattress I kept in my room, some sheets and my bedroom pillows. (There was no way I was going to sleep in that decade old mattress!!)  But other than that, we had NOTHING. Minutes after dropping off our bags, we went out again. This time to buy stuff.

We slept in this mattress for a few days after we got married. It's actually comfier than it looks, so it wasn't so bad. My husband did not appreciate being on the floor though. I'd take this over a decade old bed any day.

We slept in this mattress for a few days after we got married. It’s actually comfier than it looks, so it wasn’t so bad. My husband did not appreciate being on the floor though. I’d take this over an unknown person’s bed any day.

Buying stuff in itself was a quandary and production.  Both of us had to figure out what we ABSOLUTELY had to have to make it through the next week or so.  Thanks to our generous family and friends, we were given some money to spend on new furniture and appliances.   But we had spent a huge chunk of both of our savings on the wedding so I personally didn’t want to spend more than was absolutely necessary (I may be a priss, but I’m a practical priss). Plus, we had also gotten some house stuff as gifts but not all of them have been delivered. It seemed like a huge waste to buy a lot of things only to realize that we were about to receive similar gifts later on.

After much deliberation we bought the following items:

  1. A new bed (An absolute must!! The cheapskate in me though, chose the cheapest,  decent  bed we could find. It cost us a whopping 9000 bucks! Mighty proud of that fact and would brag to anyone who would listen).
  2. A mattress (This was my idea of a splurge because we had my almost -new mattress at home. But my husband really wanted a brand new one, so fine. He slept in a gross mattress for 2 years anyway, so he deserved it).
  3. A small  oven that could microwave, grill and  convection (At that time, I didn’t know what convection meant. It sounded fancy though, so I was sold!  :P)
  4. A refrigerator (Ok, this caused a lot of debate. I was insisting that his refrigerator at home would suffice in the meantime. He said it hardly kept anything cool—it was only when we had bought the new refrigerator  and were installing it did we discover that it was plugged to a 110 volt socket. Facepalm).
  5. A water dispenser
  6. Cleaning materials like rags, disinfectants, deodorizers, soaps etc.
One of our first pieces of furniture. Yey! Ofcourse, we did not waste any time sticking our pictures on it.

This decent-sized refrigerator (Don’t ask me how many cubic inches) was one of our first pieces of furniture.  Believe it or not, sticking pictures on the refrigerator  was my husband’s idea, not mine. He even chose the zebra magnets. Good job!  (Photos taken and printed by our prenup photographer, Joshua de Guzman)

Our fancy microwave. It also has grill and convection functions. It took me a day to figure out how to even figure how to work the convection function, but it was a pretty good buy.

Our fancy oven. It took me a day  to even figure this thing out (prior to my getting married, I had never even opened a microwave,  I was that much of a princess), but it was a pretty good buy. By the way, I was making some ribs dish when this picture was taken. It was my first time to do anything kitcheny on my own, so I was freaking out. I actually stood guard in front of the oven until the ribs were cooked.  I called a tech service guy before I used it and he said it was perfectly fine to use aluminium foil inside as long as it’s on PURE convection function.  I did not believe him, but  did it anyway. So I took a picture of the oven  to show him that I was doing it the way he taught me just in case it exploded (for warranty purposes, you understand).

Our awesome 9000 php bed with our new mattress. Pillows were wedding gifts. Sheets bought from Royal Subic by my husband as a mini surprise for our boyfriend-girlfriend anniversary a few months later. I was coveting these sheets, but I was too stingy to buy them.

Our awesome 9000 php bed with our new mattress. Pillows were wedding gifts. Sheets bought from Royal Subic by my husband as a mini surprise for our boyfriend-girlfriend anniversary a few months later (at that time I was obsessed with sheets and was looking at this set for quite a while but was too stingy to get it).

The following day,  with the help of a couple of people that we hired, the house was finally clean.  (And yes, mom and relatives, I did not sit there and command my troops like you’re probably picturing in your head. I did more than my fair share of cleaning and scrubbing).

On a sidenote, our helper came a few days later, and we were also able to procure new stuff for her so she doesn’t think that we’re heathens Thankfully, our new maid was a trooper and stuck with us. We also gave her the one and only tv that we had in the house. Having access to all her telenovelas probably contributed to her staying power.

Anyway, believe it or not, we lived in that almost-empty house,  with just the stuff written above,  for quite a while. It took us months to be able to buy/transport all the things that we needed.
And this prissy princess turned reluctant housewife learned a few lessons from this first quarter of our marriage:

  1. All these “essentials” that I thought I needed didn’t really matter. You could live quite comfortably with just a few basics in the house. Everything else is fluff.
  2. It is much more practical to buy stuff as you go along living together. There were quite a few things that we thought we would need that we ended up discarding, and quite a few things (mainly kitchen things, we’re both duds in the kitchen) that we thought were just luxuries that we ended up needing.
  3. Don’t force yourself to have pretty decorations /furniture immediately. If you buy these things from the start, not only will your budget get mucked up with nonsensical, rushed, mediocre finds, you will end up having too much stuff as time passes.  I also realised that a house will look richer (and I mean richer in a non-monetary, interesting kind of way) if you buy these little things in unexpected places (such as flea markets when you’re traveling, hole in the wall places that you accidentally discover etc) instead of just getting them all in one generic department store.
  4. If you have the time and a trusty carpenter, it’s actually cheaper and   more enjoyable to hire someone to make or refurbish your stuff.  Most of the furniture we have now, were hand-me-downs from my old nailspa. We just had them reworked and repainted. The tables and some benches, we had made. It’s fun because you get to choose the dimensions, materials and the colors you want. Plus,  given the materials used,  it’s a fraction of the cost of even reasonably priced department stores.
  5. Living a near-bare house adds dimension to your relationship. This sounds cheesy I know, but we actually got closer because we didn’t have a lot of things to begin with. At its most basic, we lived with no television and no form of entertainment for quite a while. So we were forced to talk and talk and talk and talk. There’s also something about making lists of things that you needed, going around and checking at stores (at leisurely pace—not at a we’re -about- to -get married -we -have -nothing -pace) that makes you discover new things about each other.  You get to relearn and discover each other’s priorities and tastes. Plus, we got to practice compromising. So in hindsight, I’m pretty glad we did things the way we did. It wasn’t exactly how I pictured our supposed honeymoon period to be like, but it was a great much-needed first lesson on the reality of marriage .
Yes, you don''t need a lot of  things to make a home but moving day made us so happy anyway. My uncle hooked us up with a HUGE truck. We had more than enough space for all our stuff.

Yes, you don”t need a lot of things to make a home but moving day made us so happy anyway.  My awesome uncle hooked us up with a HUGE truck. We had more than enough space for all our stuff.

We finally have seats in the living room!  Yey! I had these couches repainted and had new covers made a few months later.

We finally have seats in the living room! Yey! I had these couches repainted and had new covers made a few months later. (And just incase you’re wondering, we gave my husband’s center table back to SBMA. :P)