Has it been one year already? Really?
Wow! Time does fly so fast!
It seems like it was only yesterday when I published my post on my daughter Arra Upshaw’s 16th birthday. Now, I’m writing about her 17th. Oh boy!
I know it took me almost three months to share this with y’all and I once again apologize for the delay, but y’all had been recently made aware of the challenges I’m facing regarding blogging backlog. I’m ‘slowly but surely’ trying to catch up – one blog post at a time.
So, here are a few photos I’ve been meaning to share with you, Guys, from three months ago, when my daughter Arra Upshaw celebrated her 17th birthday. There probably was nothing spectacular to report as you will later see, we did nothing out-of-the-ordinary basically. However, it was the first time she celebrated her birthday outside of the Philippines so I’d just like to give you a glimpse of what it was like for the Upshaws to celebrate a birthday apart from loved ones and friends from back home.
Before I get to that, let me just say that celebrating a birthday far away from the rest of the family is really tough, especially in our (Filipino) culture, where no birthday is ever complete without gathering with family and friends. What would have been a traditional “feast” involving no less than ten people, ended up being a simple dinner for three.
On the upside though, it saved us a lot of money (Paka-totoo na, diba? Haha!).
For those of you who read my post on Arra’s birthday last year (as well as those of you who follow me on Facebook), you remember me saying that it has been an Upshaw Family tradition to celebrate a member’s birthday for an entire week, an entire month, or a weekend, depending on schedule, budget and chosen activities, right? This year, Big Daddy and I committed an entire weekend to celebrate this joyous occasion because of two reasons: (1) Arra’s birthday fell on a Sunday; (2) Big Daddy was in the middle of his Detox Program at Atmanjai and he was permitted to “get away” for just a day.
So this was how Arra Upshaw’s Birthday Weekend went…
Day 1: Lai Thai Nail Spa
Day 1 was a pre-birthday hands-and-feet pampering date with Arra at Lai Thai Nail Spa at Home Pro Village in Chalong, Phuket. For very obvious and understandable reasons, Big Daddy couldn’t join us on this date.
There were many other Nail Spas and Nail Salons around Phuket that were bigger and more popular but that day, Arra and I wanted to go somewhere closer to our resort (10-minute drive) and one that wasn’t very crowded. We weren’t looking for anything with elaborate or monumental interiors either. All that was important to us was the quality of the service and the peaceful, relaxing ambiance. Lai Thai Nail Spa met those requirements. It was clean. It was quiet. The Manager was very accommodating and even spoke some English, while the staff was very cheerful and efficient.
Day 2: Pacquiao vs. Rios
We spent the first half of Day 2 (Arra’s actual birthday) watching the Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios fight. No, not in Macau, but only via live telecast. To use Arra’s exact words, Pacquiao’s victory practically made her birthday!
First Class Screening Of The Hunger Games
After watching the Pacquiao-Rios fight on TV, our family went to catch a movie – something that Arra had been looking forward to seeing.
The Hunger Games Trilogy was an integral part of Arra’s birthday last year. She received the whole book collection as a gift from Big Daddy and me. This year, it was as though Heaven personally sent Arra a gift because The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was released in Phuket on her birthday! Needless to say, this further raised her ecstasy level to a new high!
We were also able to enjoy “first class” screening of this film at SFX First Class Cinema in Central Festival, Phuket. First Class Cinema – much like SM’s Director’s Club in Manila – is a VIP cinema equipped with state-of-the-art theater systems and fully-reclining La-Z Boy armchairs. The only difference between the two was that a ticket to First Class Cinema also includes a snack buffet and some cocktails, on top of the complimentary popcorn and drinks.
Our friends from Friendship Beach Waterfront Resort surprised Arra earlier in the day with a present…
Being the great person that she is, Arra Upshaw, asked to be given nothing else in terms of wrapped presents in light of the recent tragedy in the Philippines brought about by super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). She assured her Dad and me that she was perfectly content and happy with what we had already done for her. Rick and I, of course, respected her wishes and blessed her even more for having such a humble, loving and grateful heart.
So aside from surprising her with this Triple Layer Strawberry Ice Cream Cake (by Swensen’s) which we pre-ordered the day before and was delivered to our room (and placed in the fridge by the resort staff) while we were out…
I also dedicated a couple of songs (via SingSnap) to our Birthday Girl, along with this message:
Arra, along with you, we are celebrating God’s goodness in your life – for protecting you all these years from unnecessary heartaches and for showing you the things that you should be giving utmost importance and focus in your life. I believe with all of my heart that He who began all this good work in you will carry it to completion until the day we meet our Savior Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6). Please don’t ever forget that He loves you and we – your Family – love you too, so much!!! You inspire and amaze us each passing day with your humility, simplicity, honesty, obedience, respectfulness, perseverance and great love for the Lord. May He bless, protect and guide you all the days of your life.
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