Part I of many. Unpacking is a series of stories and reflections from the Tap Dancer’s trip to the US last March. Bear with the tap dancin’ delays, dear reader, for even the tap shoes are jetlagged (and the NY snow in them has not completely thawed yet.)

After almost a month of tugging luggage through over ten airports in the US—and all the unforgettable experiences, people, and insights jam-packed in between—I’m back where I started. As I sit here in my room with Hobbes, my trusty computer and the closest thing I have to a pet, two wheeled travel bags and a backpack await my unpacking. But, as in most things, I procrastinate. I’m more in the mood for a different kind of unpacking. For now, I feel that to start “unpacking” my stories on this blog is more pressing than dealing with dirty laundry or tidying my shoebox of a room. I sense that this unpacking—of the reflective kind—will take longer than the physical unpacking. There is just so much to remember, tell, and reflect on. Long after my three travel bags have been emptied, after the pictures are paraded and printed, after the mementos are tucked away, the unpacking will continue. Until the next journey.

* * *

The Birthday Gift. I am a forgetful creature. I have recently discovered my need to deliberately set up reminders—memorials, if you will—to ensure that significant life events do not go the way of oblivion. A birthday present had taught me this.

On the eve of my departure for the States, my co-workers and friends (led by Ivy, the best actress, in cohorts with Gladys, the best child actress, and Roovin, well, the best pwen) threw an advanced birthday videoke-dinner for me! That night, I received the best birthday present ever in my 27 years. Buried in a big bag of paper shreds was a beautifully-crafted scrapbook. On the cover was the picture that I’m perhaps most embarrassed about: funny-faced me in pigtails! Underneath the looney picture was the title: “The A-Files.” It’s a collection of 27 notes, articles, letters written by dear friends and family about moi; some poignant and heartwarming, some funny and embarrassing—but all very precious. All alone in my hotel room in Colorado Springs on the night of my birthday, I opened the scrapbook and had the best birthday party of my life with 27 dear people and their words of affirmation and blessing. This line of a song couldn’t have been more apt: It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to, cry if I want to, cry if I want to…. But tears of warm joy they were, not angst as the song had originally intended. Thank God for friends and family. Thank you to all the friends and family who took time to write something for The A-Files. Thank you for helping me remember bits and pieces of myself I didn’t realize I had forgotten.

I couldn’t think of a better way to start an adventure than with the affirmation and encouragement of friends and family beautifully compiled in a book of cardboards sewn with abacca yarn. (Thanks, Ivz! That was quite a feat you pulled.)

To be continued


  1. Hi Alex! Yay! nagsimula na syang mag-“unpack”! Super belated hapi bertdey, hindi ko alam you celebrated your special day here. Hope you have a great time unraveling your (mis)adventures with us here. We miss your presence already. Take care.


  2. Hey Cathz! Thanks for dropping by and thanks for the greeting 🙂 Bagal ko nga mag-“unpack”. I need to regain my blogging momentum. Hehe. Nakakamiss din pala ang NY. Hehe. Hi to Mare and Esteban. Never mind Gelo; we’re in touch. Hehe


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