Posted by: Leap of Faith | December 26, 2006

Our first Christmas

Contrary to what I was expecting, our Noche Buena celebration did not turn out as bad as I thought. Actually, Pinky and I were quite harassed.

We wanted to attend the 8PM mass in Aramco. However, our sponsor, Tita Sweet, told us that we had to be at the Aramco gate by 6PM since the que to get in the Camp can get really, really long. Worried, I had to rush off from the office at excatly 5PM to pick-up my colleagues, Obet and Vic (both from NCB) and then brother cousin before the rest of the family. Also, the weather was surprisingly windy that night with some light rain. I was getting concerned that if there was a downpour, it would definitely make it more difficult for us to go to Aramco. Fortunately, the rain cooperated and we easily breezed through the Aramco facility.

We arrived shortly after 6PM so we had to kill time in the house of Tita Sweet. We tried calling our families back home but, most of the time, we were unsuccessful. By 7PM, we decided to go to the gym where the mass was to be held. It was terrible. Traffic all around and parking was so difficult. The inside of the gym was less inviting. I think there was easily 400-500 people in there. Luckily, we came in quite early so we had a chance to choose our seat.

Our family was chosen to be the offerors that night. Something we felt was very special considering that this is our first Christmas here in Saudi Arabia and since it was also Pinky’s birthday. I’m sure God’s hand made that possible.

After the mass, we met some of our Doctor friends from SAAD hospital who rode with us to their accommodation. The car was packed but we had enjoyed swapping stories of how we all ended up in Aramco that night. The Doctors also had a unique experience on their way to the Church – something definitely God sent. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to give more details of their experience in this blog.

We arrived at our place at around 11PM where Pinky still had to deep fry our Jean Pierre (JP) whole chicken and make our Saudi Champagne. It was very harrassing but very worthwhile. Dr Berly brought her crispy salad (yummo!), I bought Pancit Malabon (from one of the Pinoy restos), while Pinky cooked deep fried chicken ala JP, meat loaf and clam chowder. Until today, I think I am still burping the food I ate three night ago!

After dinner, the children were looking forward to opening the Christmas presents. These are things they actually bought from Toys R Us and City Plaza a few days back. By the way, thanks Wiwa and Wowo, Grammy Dollie and Tito Rinel, Tita Ge and Ira for making all of it possible.

The boys slept early that night – hoping to see Santa’s gifts in the morning. We drove our friends back home and retired afterwards. I think it was around 2AM then.

We thank God for keeping us sane throughout the holidays. Like our friends in Singapore and the US of A, who are also celebrating Christmas outside of the Philippines for the first time, we can now claim that “we survived!”

Next Christmas again? Hmmmmm, maybe not!



  1. Good to hear you had a great Christmas! Not bad after all huh? C u next year in manila for Christmas!

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