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Published: June 16th 2014
The Tango Lady, Dancing Dave & Lili Ram
What a mah'velous meet-up! We were just too happy to finally meet. And right on my sister's 70th birthday celeb. Hi there you Dancing Duo!
Back again down under. This time, under better circumstances. Surprise, Surprise! Pulled a major one on my sister (the only remaining member of my original, immediate family) who turned 70 last April 27. Yes, the same and only sister I visited "on an emergency" last year. She did beat the odds and came through that surgery last year. All the more reason to celebrate!
Really, life is fragile and memories are all we have to treasure the rest of our lives. So it makes lotsa sense to make those wonderful memories with loved ones. And springing surprises like this one took a whole team to mount. ----- wisdom from an old friend of mine.
The Decoy I emailed my sister to tell her how happy I was to join this convention/workshop in Moscow in April 2014. That's to dash all hopes (on her part) that I'd be visiting her on her 70th birthday. "It's a short-term project, and I need the money", I told her. And to support that claim, I emailed a copy of my "invitation" from my Russian friends.
Meanwhile, her children and our niece cooked up a theme for the April 27 party. GREAT GATSBY! Great because it's a privilege to turn 70 especially after her "major scare" last year. Gatsby? In our local dialect, "gatsby" is colloquial for "bigat" meaning heavy. With our parents gone, she's now the oldest surviving member of
The Great Gatsby Ladies
Sisters. Levy and Lili Ram. Oceans apart, 10 years apart. (You'd never guess....)
this closely-knit 3-generation family. The Matriarch, so to speak. The "heavyweight". In reality though, she's the "spoiled kid" in the family. My sister has never, ever lost the (spoiled) child in her. But that's another story. Having decided on the theme, each one of us divided up the assignments: decor, party fare, menu, my sister's wardrobe, party program, etc. We delighted in our assigned tasks. I confess I thoroughly enjoyed shopping for hats/headware, long gloves, beads, fake moustaches, even wigs! And the gods smiled on us as our national carrier, Philippine Air Lines, came up with a promo fare for Manila-Sydney-Manila flights! We quickly grabbed seats for myself, Then almost without thinking, for my 2 grandchildren, then my niece, and my 2 couple-friends who used to be our neighbor. We surprised ourselves, with that quick decision. Now, that's a lot of surprises 😊
Surprise Fatigue? You can say there were a lot, but fatigued? Never. Technology even allowed those not present to witness the entire episode. I arrived with the 2 teenage grandchildren. But only I rang the doorbell. You should have seen the look of surprise when my sister Levy answered
Surprise #1 and #2
Two grandchildren to complete the brood of 6 grandchildren. Two teens from the tropics meeting their 4 Sydney-based cousins , all under 10. What a riot!
the door. Shrieks of laughter and joy. All that while the 2 teenagers were hiding by the garage. Then, the next doorbell. Of course I was "busy" somewhere in the house so Levy had to answer the door again. Voila! Her joy was complete. She hasn't seen these 2 grandchildren for a while and having them meet their 4 Sydney-based cousins was her dream come true.
We allowed Levy to "rest" just a couple of days before springing another surprise. This time, my niece arrived. Her 2nd visit in a long while. A week after, our neighbors came. After that, she sort of expected there were more coming. It took some convincing that that was it. End of surprises. But she remained hopeful. 😊
The Big Day I didn't waste the chance to get in touch with the Hoopers whom I failed to meet last year. I would have accepted their invite to meet them and other TB members then if only I wasn't so worried for my sister's health who went through a major surgery. But times are better now. All anxieties gone. I'm in a party
These 2 did a fine job - with lots of help from others - of fixing up the place, coming up with invitations, designing the cakes and deciding on the food ,
mood, and so was the Dancing Dave and his Tango Lady.
I need not tell you what a great TB Family we have. David and Denise arrived ready to rock. I was swinging to a beat myself when I met them at the door. Hugs and kisses. We're like old friends catching up with each other. What a wonderful meet-up! The two sat through a program cooked up by my sister's children. Grandchildren dancing and singing, and my brother-in-law doing a duet with one of the daughters. An audio-visual presentation filled with birthday greetings and a trip to memory lane which drew laughs and a lot of ribbing. The garage was converted into a studio of sorts. The verandah looking out to the playground served as the reception area where a buffet of local Filipino dishes was served. (There was a long debate on whether we should serve Gatsby-inspired cuisine but the young adults insisted on their fav local foods)
Before the party was over, I just knew I have to make regular visits. My sister and I are no spring chickens anymore. The grandchildren are
My Sister's Lovely Family
They all grew up in. Manila and settled in Sydney in the 90's. Kids no more.
fast growing up. And the cousins had such a great bonding time that it would be heartbreaking to deprive them - 2 sets or generations of cousins - the chance not to see each other often enough.
it would have been great to see the Hoopers once more before I headed home but my weekends were all spoken for. Same for the weekdays as my nieces and nephews took turns taking leaves to be with us and bring us around Sydney . Daytrips out of the city were the order of the day. I only managed a trip to Melbourne to see a sick friend as well as to visit some sites I missed the first visit I made. No worries, I'd be back again, for sure.
Feel free to click on the links (Sydney & Melbourne) for more photos and travel details. Till next time, mate!
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