See you Ate Portia

A few days ago, my mentor and a very dear friend of mine went home to be with the Lord. It took me a while to process because it feels so sudden. Needless to say, I'm heartbroken.

I met Ate Portia (I called her Teacher Portia then) in my junior year of highschool. I initially gravitated towards her bigger than life personality. She's loud and funny and always so animated! But as we grew closer, I found out that it's her wisdom and her deep love for God that made me want to be like her.

Our relationship started as mentor-mentee, but over time, it grew into a great friendship. And like how great friendships are, we remained close despite our distance. She has always been there during all my most memorable milestones...

... when I had my first boyfriend -- Ate Portia even invited him to practice our cotillion dance for our Junior prom! I will never forget that day because that's the first time I held his hand in front of so many people. For a young teenager, that was big!

... when I had my heart broken for the first time -- Ate Portia was there too when that relationship ended. I remember it was our NSAT summer classes, I told her that "we" broke-up. She made me feel so heard and valdated. For a young, insecure girl, break-ups can be damaging. But she empowered me with her encouragement that "this" is just a part of growing-up.

... when our class experienced a tragedy -- During our Junior year, we lost two classmates. An accident occured while doing ROTC exercises. I was not there when it happened, but most of my classmates are. I was so confused then... so guilty that I wasn't there to help. But she was the one who consoled me and gave me permission to get confused while grieving. It was a dark time for all of us. But ate Portia, together with Teacher Beth, became my pillars of strength.

...Our Junior Year Prom -- oh, she and Teacher Beth and Rene fought for us to have one! And the best part, they allowed us to plan it just the way we want it too!

... during our Senior year -- oh, I have to put this in just one paragraph because the memories are just too many to mention! Geez, she was there for everything! For the time that I wanted to just skip my Senior year all together and just get home-schooled-- Ate Portia didn't discouraged me on that, by the way... she said that I should do what's best for me... guess what? I stayed in school. For that time that I was involved in the fieldtrip scandal! OMG! Totally a misunderstanding, but she made sure that she was there to protect me. It was hard to follow her at that time, but I'm glad I did. For the honor roll fiasco-- I remember wanting to just give up being valedictorian just to keep peace. She's the one who taught me to stand-up for what is rightfully mine... and that I should not live bending to other people's rules. For all of that and for so many more!

... when she started liking Kuya Noel -- Okay, this is her milestone, but I'm so privileged that I was involved early on in their relationship. And I loved seeing the giddy side of her... I love that she was so comfortable with me. Oh, we shared so many stories of our "kilig" moments. I can still vividly remember how fun that was!

... when I moved to the US -- it was hard for me to move away, but Ate Portia was always in touch. Friendster first then Facebook. I am grateful because she always finds time to check on me even if it's just a hello!

...when I got married -- When I met the man of my dreams, Ate Portia was one of the first people I shared this with. I remember her being so happy for me. I love that she was always very supportive.

... when I had Micah -- Being a mom too, Ate Portia easily became one of my confidantes. Being a great mom herself, she's always there to be an encouragement to me... most especially during those times that I am feeling so unglued. I love how she always compares Micah to me and I love that she always tells my daughter all the good things about her mom. It makes me feel so blessed to have a friend like her who always sees the greatness in people.

Ate Portia has been one of my greatest influencers. I will never forget all the great things she has taught me...

... That I am made to be great

... That I am loved and treasured by a God who has made me to be great.

... That living a life of integrity is the best testimony

... That I am who I am and I should celebrate who God made me to be

... That I should enhance my God-given abilities and never settle for anything other than the best

Ate Portia, I am going to miss you very much. But I am so happy because I know this isn't goodbye. I know we will see each other again. Thank you for everything! I love you very much!

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