Celebrating life's victories, lessons

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By Susan Palmes-Dennis

Straight from Carolinas

Saturday, March 29, 2014


AS WE end the annual observance of women’s month, let me share my thoughts about how we women become busier over the years with careers and family that finding time for ourselves becomes a rarity nowadays.

Despite the greater freedom, women today are also weighed down by expectations from society and from themselves in their respective roles as mothers, daughters, career women, wives and community leaders.

Many, in fact, have no time for themselves at all, or don't even bother knowing that they need time for themselves. I remember my punch line on my TV/radio programs that women are busy with the three “Bs” – that is balay, bata and baboy (Visayan for house, children and pigs).”

I was tempted to add “bana (husband)” but that may not be agreed on by those who watched and listened to my programs. Still, the punch line has drawn favorable, even amused reactions.

Here in the US, women are fortunate. But that's not actually my topic. Haha. This piece is about the women who gathered last Friday to celebrate their friendship and their womanhood.

My friends and I met with both old and new friends of the gracious host Rosalie Kirkley. It's an all ladies party and the moon outside was a welcome sight as it was the first night of spring.

Spring signifies the emergence of new life, a providential period in life. The months of spring evoke blossoming, meaningful growth and rejuvenation in its wake.

Spring enriches one's natural beauty and it seems as if nature is dressed in a beautiful green gown. Sorry for the poetic detour, there are times I am just carried away.

Those images were actually on my mind when I arrived at Kirkley's home. I was welcomed by the flowers in bloom on the road; the chrysanthemum and other trees decorated with flowers whose names I've yet to know.

I also didn't know what to expect from the party and who were invited. When I arrived at the house, I saw faces: Dr. Nini Bautista de Garcia, Grace Basilan, Andrea Lee, Alce Torres, Cora Gallagher and Malou Cordery.

Dr. Nini described Rosalie's home as very immaculate. I couldn't agree more. The guests were seated and eating already when I joined them. I remembered there were green salads, fish, chocolate fudge and nuts.

In particular, Rosalie's menu consisted of baked spinach tomato and chicken pasta, salad, baked flounder, fudge, appetizers, homemade chow and pickles, fruit salad and carrot cake.

I think I heard music while we talked about just anything. The topics mainly delved into the years the women had been in Charlotte, what it was then and we eventually ended up talking about driving. Topics were close to my heart.

I heard Dr. Nini saying she was surprised many years ago that Malou Corderey was already driving anywhere in Charlotte. Malou, a native of Villanueva town that used to be part of my hometown of Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental in Northern Mindanao, Philippines, was immediately drawn to me.

Malou used to be Malou Tabada of Villanueva before her marriage in the US, and her mother is a Tadeo of Barangay Casinglot. I think I met her once when I was still working at the 6th Municipal Circuit Court of Tagoloan-Villanueva.

Over a glass of wine, Malou and I talked about common friends and relatives and even the dead loved ones that we knew. Cora Gallagher is a common face as we always bumped into each other.

She originally came from Surigao, so her native tongue happened to be Visayan. Of course, Dr. Nini, whom I called an excellent global Pinoy for her achievements and the service she extends to Filipino communities wherever she may be based in.

Grace Basilan is always the loving woman at the Eskwelahang Munti (Little Schoolhouse) and is always the educator. The party was a free-wheeling, carefree evening and we were having a blast.

Then Andrea made a beauty product presentation, which she said would transform one's facial skin in three months. When women usually gather, beauty secrets usually crop up in their conversations.

Andrea talked about Nerium, an extract from adelfa flowers which I was surprised to learn about because the Philippines has a lot of it. Andrea said Nerium Skincare developed “first of its kind” natural skin products supposedly created from new technology.

Such promises of an elixir of youth usually catch a woman's undivided attention. It's unfortunate that my husband and driver Ronnie signaled me it was time to leave. But I remembered what Andrea said, that in using these products I would see good results in 90 days.

Otherwise it was a perfect evening, the one time when we forgot about the cares of our daily living and celebrated the good and bad times, re-connecting with and gaining wisdom from our collective and individual experiences.

Would there be another gathering after 90 days? It depends if Rosalie invites us the second time. Me, I'd just record what happened to our faces after we used the products Andrea suggested to us.

What a pleasant way to end women’s month. I can only wish that other women have the chance of experiencing the best that life can offer. “I had a blast at our fun-filled soiree of oldies but goodies,” Dr. Nini told me. I couldn't agree more.

(Susan Palmes-Dennis is a veteran journalist from Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental, Northern Mindanao in the Philippines who works as a nanny in North Carolina. This page will serve as a venue for news and discussion on Filipino communities in the Carolinas. Read her blogs on susanpalmesstraightfrom the Carolinas.com. These and other articles also appear at http://www.sunstar.com.ph/author/2582/susan-palmes-dennis. You can also connect with her through her Pinterest account at http://www.pinterest.com/pin/41025046580074350/)https://www.facebook.com/pages/Straight-from-the-Carolinas-/494156950678063)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 29, 2014.

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