April began with me getting over my disappointment in shows I didn’t want to watch anymore. I also met with my spiritual director while attending a vocations-related event. I spent time with my friends preparing for another Awakening retreat in September.
But the coolest thing that happened during the month of April was when I traveled to California for my cousin’s 18th birthday party. In Filipino culture, a girl’s 18th birthday is the equivalent of the American Sweet 16. The last time I was in California, I was finished with my first (or second) year of college. And this time, there wouldn’t be any trips to theme parks. But I had just as much fun doing regular stuff because I was with my cousins.
One thing that I found out in California that I didn’t write in my previous blog entries is that I was starting to discover things about myself I never knew before. For one thing, manicures (while nice) felt fake on me. I also remembered the dreams I had during vacation, and I don’t usually remember the things that I dream.
I also learned that while I liked getting dressed up for the party, I didn’t feel like myself or even the best version of myself. I had a great time at the party, but in spite of the many likes that I got on the picture of me in my dazzling party dress, the girl in the picture wasn’t really me.
The real me was the girl who changed into her pajamas after the party ended and watched a live stream of the Canonization Mass, which declared Popes John Paul II and John XXIII as saints. The real me was the girl who smiled when Pope Francis carried the cross that John Paul II used as the procession began and greeted his predecessor.
I had a lot of wonderful experiences during my time in California. But if I had to choose my favorite moment, it was when I was out on my own, meeting the Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Although their event was more of a party and not much of a come-and-see event, they showed me where to go for Mass and I went to Mass all on my own. I haven’t done that since college.
I met so many wonderful people in this event, including some women from the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa’s order). Again, it felt like a celebrity sighting. Even though these meetings were brief, I felt very happy that I had this opportunity to even see them.
In a way, my trip to California was a bite-sized version of Eat, Pray, Love. I did eat a lot of good food and I strengthened my spirituality, and I experienced love with my family and their friends. But I only stayed in California for a week, the kind of spirituality I experienced was different, and there was no romantic relationship, although I kept dreaming of love.