We finally got to talk to them; turns out they're far from the fires. It sure is a big relief to know my sister and her family are OK.
Tragically, many other people are not OK because of the fires; property and lives were lost. My deepest sympathies go out to those who lost loved ones there.
There's one picture related to the fires I saw on the Internet, on Nic's News, the blog of Nicole, an Australian expat living in Sweden. The caring, empathy, and sweetness in this photo are almost palpable.
(Nicole also answered some questions about expat life in Sweden in an expat interview).
This reminded me of something that happened to me fairly recently, though it didn't involve fires and in no way was it a tragedy of epic proportions. But the caring directed toward me at the time, which I only learned about some weeks later, touched me deeply.
Normally when I go to a place here in the Philippines that I haven't been to before, it's always with my friends. A few months ago, however, I went to a couple of places on my own. One time on that vacation, I ate something that my city-girl stomach rebelled against. As a consequence, I spent the next day in bed, getting up only to run to the toilet to either throw up or to void my stomach in an even
In between toilet breaks, I sent a text message to my friend Marnie to ask her to contact a doctor friend of hers (whose number I didn't have) to find out what medicine I could take to stop the godawful stomach cramps (which felt almost as bad as labor pains) and the puking and diarrhea. At that time, the relative I was staying with in a remote part of the province was trying to find out what medications I could take to ease my pain.
Some minutes after I sent Marnie my text message, I had to throw up again. While I was doing the dirty deed, I didn't notice my phone was ringing, that Marnie was calling me. Who the hell notices a ringing mobile phone while they're puking their guts out? A few moments later, my relative informed me about the medications I could take (I'm allergic to some drugs) and that she had sent someone out to buy them for me. I was then able to tell Marnie that help was on the way.
What I didn't realize then was just how worried Marnie was about me during those few minutes between my sending her my first text message and her trying to call me. She didn't know I was staying with a relative at that time; she knew I'd be moving around. What she imagined when I failed to answer her phone call was that I had collapsed all alone in a hotel room in the province. She had whipped out her credit card and was going to book a flight to the province where I was if she didn't hear from me within the next few minutes. And then she was going to do her damnedest to find me once she landed in the province.
That struck me as unimaginably awesome. She had no idea where I was exactly; it's something like booking a flight to California to rescue a friend in need, without knowing exactly where in California that friend is. Geography and logistics be damned, she was going to do what she could to help a friend.
Also, this wasn't the first time she had been there for me in my darkest hours. Even when I didn't think I needed anybody, she was there. I found that I did need a friend those times...and she was there to hold my hand (figuratively speaking) and to fill that need.
You can probably understand why I feel so damn lucky having the friends I have, like Marnie. Sometimes life feels like one big shithole. But people like them can make life feel like a treasure chest instead, because they enrich the human experience in so many ways and on so many levels. They are a major part of my life's blessings. I've said this before, and I'll say it again: I wish I'm as good a friend to them as they are to me.