Renz’s 18th

Four packs of Arnotts Jatz crackers and one Uncle Toby’s strawberry yoghurt bar. That was all I had for breakfast and lunch yesterday, a self-imposed fasting to make enough space in my stomach for the dinner that awaited me at Krisfaye’s to celebrate Renz’s 18th birthday, who was only 9 years old when I first met him.

Time flies.

Anyway, Krisfaye organised a boodle fight, which is a Filipino way of preparing food that’s meant to be shared as in a communal feast. Traditionally, the food is laid on a long table covered banana leaves and everyone eats off it with their bare hands. Something typically done in the military to show camaraderie which has now become popular amongst civilians as well.

But this being Australia, there isn’t exactly an abundance of banana leaves that you can simply ask from your neighbors. Not in this part of the country, anyway. And Krisfaye ordered the set from another Filipino who served it on a long cardboard box wrapped in foil and covered in a plastic wrap for the sake of convenience and ease of transport.

Nonetheless, it looked so pretty! Definitely worth starving myself for several hours. The spread looked so good I have eight photos of just that tray alone. Eight! I kid you not. Like, how much more angling can you do to give it the aesthetic justice it deserved?

It literally had everything — prawns, mussels, fish, pork, chicken, chorizo, salted eggs, okras (yum!), eggplants, tomatoes, cucumbers, bok choy, watermelon, green mango, shrimp paste, and of course, rice underneath it all because what Filo doesn’t have rice in every meal?

I went crazy! I literally stuffed myself full I was just about ready to pass out. Except that I still had enough stamina in me to have dessert. My mother didn’t raise a wimp.

Aside from Renz’s friends, it was a rather intimate gathering. The Chia Seeds Girls. My best friends here in Australia, united in law through Jeff’s family.

This is as tight as my circle here can get and I’m truly grateful to have them in my life.

My sister was there, too. She lives far away from us now. 20 minutes far, but still. As far as I’m concerned, that’s far. Raven missed her. It’s been a while since they last saw each other. Say, three weeks ago? I’m being dramatic. I have to admit I miss having her around too.

Although thinking about it now, I think I miss the orange jacket she stole from me more. Guess I’m gonna have to steal it back to reclaim what’s rightfully mine because her definition of “borrow” is sketchy and I’m petty.

And, of course, my little family. The loves of my life.

Thank goodness I didn’t have to go to work today. Gave me a whole day to rest and digest all the food I ate last night. Back to intermittent fasting for me. Because I’m a lazy cook and would rather go without food than turn on the bloody stove.

*Raven at 6 years old

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