This August, I had the “ride” of my life as I was tapped to head our district‘s first ever singles’ retreat. (Side note: I provide event planning/conceptualization services for affordable rates, FYI.) Never did I expect that I would meet 31 people–19 of them new friends, and 12 existing acquaintances I got to know more–who’d give my 2014 a very welcome breath of fresh air. Oh, and this blog post is entitled as such because the event was, in a pun-ny way, called “A Missing Rib”–with the design scheme patterned after The Amazing Race. A Missing Rib, by the way, is a reference to Eve being taken from Adam’s rib ’cause though we do not admit it, the singles’ retreat has a matchmaking aspect to it. Hahaha.
That said, let me introduce you to some of the people from the retreat who I got to spend 12 hours straight with, and who have changed my life in one way or another (in alphabetical order):
I remember first seeing Jhenny and remembering one of my friends from the office. It instantly gave me a comfortable feeling as she was all smiles with eyes as bright as the morning sun. She did seem easy to talk to, though I held back a little as I saw that she was usually with the friends she came with. Eventually though, during the day-long activity that we got to be with each other, my comparison with my office friend was confirmed to be true. She is indeed really comfortable to converse with–I feel like I can talk to her for hours! We were able to hit off during dinner, as she shared experiences about being their church youth leader, and her side comments about her being single (I feel ya, girl). Oh, and I almost forgot to share that she’s a teacher! When I found that out, I knew why I was at ease with her–she was analytical, firm if needed yet gentle most of the time, opinionated (in a good way) and responsible. A good friend match for a teacher’s pet like me!
To be honest, when I first saw Jin, I was worried that we wouldn’t click at all. We were playing some board games in the balcony, and she was wearing huge sunglasses and had what I assumed to be an annoyed frown on her pretty face. I spent the next 12 or so hours not really interacting so much with her ’cause she reminded me of those pretty Regina George personas I met in college. It looks like God wanted to correct me on my initial notion on her because during the Day 2 race around Baguio City, she ended up being part of the group I facilitated. The first time we got to talk was when we sat in front of each other in the jeepney on the way to our first stop, and I remember all the glass walls I put up being shattered when I saw how nice and ‘game’ she was. Jin reminded me of the sweet naivete of high school. The way she shared during reflection time and interacted with the rest of the group as we struggled in the rain was innocent and unassuming. I specifically remember how even while we were walking under HEAVILY POURING RAIN down a slope, she insisted on having a picture taken with a pine tree–’cause it has always been a dream of hers. That’s what I call being positively child-like.
If there is one living person in the world whom I would want to talk to during times of distress, it would probably be KJ, then, next on the list would be this guy. His words are so wise that I feel like I’m talking to a 30 year-old man who already has lots of life experiences (#compliment). I remember the first time that I saw him interact with someone during the retreat. We were lining up to board the bus and when I called his name, he went to his place in the queue and immediately introduced himself to the person in front of him and shook his hand. I love seeing people who exude such quiet confidence. No wonder that some of the ladies have gushed about him, especially his being a good conversationalist. And mind you, they did not gush in an “OMG kilig!” way but in a “Wow.” way. (#girltalk) Even with his lanky built, this is one guy who can stand tall with the respect that his demeanor naturally draws. I am glad to have met Josh.
Boisterous and spunky, Madel is this lady whose small stature makes you wonder where she gets all her energy from. I did not have much recall on her for Day 1, but she did become very remarkable during our Day 2 bonding experience. She’d go ahead of us each time we’d trek–scouting if we’re going the right way or actually get lost, and she’d usually check on me when I was lagging behind due to fatigue. During dinner that day, I eventually found out that she works as a field researcher, making those long walks and asking-random-people quite easy for her. She also shared that she is actually a single mom, and that she works far from her hometown, and I was just left in awe with how strong this small lady is. (Oh, and she spilled about her 3 crushes from the retreat while we were eating! But that’s another story :p)
I remember Nats being very quiet and shy during the first day of the retreat. I was in fact quite worried that he wouldn’t enjoy. I was glad that he was in my group to get a chance to see him outside his shell. Well, during the 2nd day, he still proved to be quiet yet I somehow knew that it was really just the way he was :) The awesome thing is that he was still very ready in case he needed to channel some extroversion–like when he danced as part of the birthday presentation for one of the retreat attendees. It was nice to found out that he likes anime (something I don’t appreciate much but definitely respect), and that he makes graphics for their church (something that I do as well). Nats, to me, is a reminder that if you look closely, you’ll find that there’s almost always something in everyone that can make you appreciate them.
While I may have not found my “missing rib” during the retreat, it is very refreshing to find new friends. I’ve learned that it’s good to surround ourselves with people who can offer us various perspectives–and that we cannot attain by just retaining old/current friends and never getting to know someone new. Especially for my case, I graduated with a degree in Computer Science and am working for an IT company. So yes, my life is mainly surrounded by lovely geeks. Also, I’ve attended the same church and lived in the same city ever since I was born. It’s nice to finally know some people literally outside of my comfort zone.
As the song says–make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other’s gold.