THERE are welcoming committees and there IS a welcoming committee. Mine was arranged by Sandy. It would be the first time I am meeting this no ordinary girl and it will definitely be the last. There are just some welcoming committees that you wouldn't want to encounter after they made their first impression.

Sorry, I wasn't impressed by Sandy's welcome for me when I visited the Big Apple for a second bite. Sure, she brought out a storm of a fanfare all the whistling, a rain shower of transparent confetti, and an engulfing tide of love, which I could honestly say I could do without. A sunny smile and warm hug would have sufficed.

But no, she wanted to keep me indoors.... for three freakin' days! That's three days sans power, lights and heating, no TV, no internet, can't read in the dark, can't even play on the smart phone so as not to drain the remaining juice in case of emergency. That's three precious days minus exploring the city that doesn't sleep. I had cabin fever. Ugh.

Thank goodness, there was hot water running through the faucet and gas to power up the cooking range. But that was in Jersey. In NYC where I stayed with Nuhma, it was a different story-no power, making it compulsory aerobic exercise going up & down the flights of stairs (picture this: the flat is on the 10th floor), no hot water, it was a boil to bath daily habit making us Pinoys smelling good because we grew to using the balde and tabo (so who's laughing now?).

Sandy surely paralyzed everyone with her presence. Tunnels were flooded, transportation systems were crippled, people were stranded and cold, the city was losing millions by the day. Surprisingly, Upper Manhattan was spared from the storm's aftermath. As if nothing happened in that part of the city, tourists milled about by thousands doing what they do best- shopping at the festively glowing shops, while at the other half of the city was thrown in pitch-black darkness at nightfall as if time was on a standstill. It was surreal.

If there was something positive that came out of this episode, it was the bonding moments I had with friends over candlelight dinners sans any distraction, electronic or not. It gave us enough time to catch up after not seeing each other for the longest time. Sandy, this was your bright side.

I always believe everything happens for a reason. Sandy's slap to Lady Liberty's domain may be her way of telling me to spend time where it is due. A seemingly tongue-in-cheek statement but believe me every word is true. In fact, I never had so much fun playing with a diva cat for days. Now, what's the cat's name again, Jenny? LOL.

Oh, NYC. You're still my favorite place to visit. Expect me to be back in your arms soon... and keep Sandy and her brood away, please.

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