My Lil’ Reindeer

This morning Coco said she wanted to get some hot ‘shocolate and since I had a planned to surprise her with a mini Christmas and was up late wrapping gifts (more on that in another post), I agreed it was a fine idea.  Knowing there were Christmas photo ops ahead I thought it would be fun to give her some reindeer antlers to wear.  She was so sweet.  She loved them and thanked me and then sang a song thanking God for them!  Funny girl.

It was a really nice morning here.  The rainy season is supposed to be over but for whatever reason it is not.  I have kind of gotten used to it but I was happy that it was just overcast this morning and not raining.  You could (almost) say it was cool.

Coco always picks me flowers on her walks.  When I don’t go with her she picks one for me anyways and gives it to me when she gets home.  I have told her she should leave the flowers alone for all to enjoy and she picks fewer now, but truthfully I love that she does this!  I love she is so sweet and thinking of me when out with her yaya.  🙂  As we rounded the corner from our building and came across this first set of flowers, Coco immediately ran over to them and picked me one.  I wore it in my hair.  That made her happy.

Our apartment is right smack in the middle of the city surrounded by many other apartment buildings.  On our walk to the coffee shop we pass a number of security guards out front guarding other buildings.  All the apartment buildings around here come with security.  Our building alone probably has ten guards or so.  Once when I told one to have a great weekend, he told me he had no weekend cause his hours were 7pm-7am, 7 days a week.  Sounds brutal and inhumane to me but he seemed genuinely fine with those hours because he knows he is one of the lucky ones making money here in Manila to send home to family in the Provinces.

The coffee shop we chose is right across from the playground so Coco does this walk often.  And around these parts she stands out so of course everyone knows her.  We got close to the building where this guard works and Coco said she wanted to “say hi to her ‘kuya’.”  “What is a kuya?,” I asked her.  “Oh, that means he’s my friend,” she replied.

I asked him what kuya means and he said it means ‘older brother’.  When I got home I looked on Wikipedia.  It confirmed what he said:

“Kuya” and “Ate” are also titles used to address older male and female cousins (regardless if they are the eldest or not, but older than cousin addressing them) as a sign of respect. It may also be used for people who aren’t necessarily relatives but are older. The criteria would be gender (first), age (second), degree of affiliation (third), with actual blood or non-blood relationship being the least important…

Filipinos would generally greet each other using their title like: “Kamusta Ate Jhen”, or “Kamusta Kuya Jay”.”

Seriously, how cute is that?  I love that!

(Coco and her kuya)

Along with our gingerbread, I got a latte´ and she got some fresh-squeezed orange juice.  I was happy she switched from hot chocolate when I heard it was fresh-squeezed.  “Fresh?” I inquired, “Really? No sugar or sugar syrup added?!”  “Yes, ma’am, fresh”, I was told.  And it was.  Amazing.  Even with all these lovely fruits found here, juice without sugar added is so hard to find!


We walked back and as soon as we got to our lobby, Coco flopped down and said she was “so tired”.  She is always this dramatic.  Always so tired or so hungry or so happy or so angry.  She is passionate about everything all. day. long.  People are always amazed at her energy level and I always tell them that she is like that all day long and at bedtime I have to remind her to stop moving and to close her eyes or she will remain alert, even in the dark.  She is exhausting but my little reindeer is so much fun and I may be just a teensy bit biased but I think she an adorable reindeer, too!

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