At my Surprise Party! They wanted to see what all the talk was about!
Well, as all of you know I just got back from the Philippines for the WEKAF 10th World Championships. While I was there I reached my dreams and beyond and won 2 Golds and 1 Silver. The Golds were in Multiple Traditional Weapons, and Full Contact Double Stick Fighting. I got the silver in the Single Stick Division. The competition was tough this year more than my last worlds because it was in the country that the Art originated, the people of the Philippines are great at what they do. In order to win the gold in double stick fighting, I had to first fight an American girl from Denver (Erin) who was much bigger than I. After I won that round, I had a bit to rest then went back at it with a girl named Bonnie from Australia. Both the girls were good, but i wanted it more, and i trained my heart out to go there and WIN! (thanks Steve for reminding me abt. that!) While it was amazing to win the world championships, touring the country was amazing too. While there for three weeks we went all over with GM Bong who led the way. We saw places like Bohol, Cebu, Manila and Boracay. I saw things that would just blow you away. In the Jornales System, we have a form named Mayon, after the largest volcano in the Philippines. We went there and saw the exact thing that had inspired GM Bong to create that form! It was amazing, we went more than half way up the huge mountain and we just in awe. The view was breathtaking yet shocking at the same time. From there you saw how far apart the towns really were and to know that the people from there have to walk everyday to work for at least 5 miles. We also saw the tarsier, the worlds smallest monkey and got to hold and feed them, swam and snorkeled in the coral reef where the water could easily pass as glass because it is so clear. There I saw all the tropical fish, the beautiful coral, sea snakes, eels, starfish, and much much more! I also go a horrific sun burn while snorkeling. And for those who were wondering...YES I did eat Balot (2 to be precise). It was not my favorite thing in the world. Neither were the tiny feathers in my teeth afterwards - but it was not BAD. I am very glad that I took the time and had the guts to try the cultures delicacy and what they like to eat.
So being away from my Mom and Brother for three weeks, I was a little homesick at the end and I was glad to be home this past Tuesday. Little did i know, my mom had pulled together a whole bunch of my friends and family and they all met me at the airport as i got off the plane and they all chanted "U-S-A! U-S-A! over and over! ( they even announced that i was a world champion over the airport intercom!) Then, the next day we took a ride downtown Lowell, and we saw like 5-6 signs with my name on it saying congrats. The support of my small community is just amazing! Everyone cares so much and so many people are behind be cheering me on and it makes it all worth while!
BUT, thats not all!On Saturday my Sensei's wife Jamie took me out to get my hair and makeup done at the salon for a gift to me for winning (which was AMAZING!!!), and then we headed to my house to bring me home after a long night of babysitting and helping with the garage sale :). But again little did I know, it was all a big set up. My parents had put together a big huge surprise party for me! There had to be 150-200 people there! I had a blast and I performed on the fly for everyone, but it was the best night a girl could ever ask for! We had a pig roast dinner, a bonfire, and FIREWORKS! Everyone was there to support me and congratulate me...and it felt amazing to know how many people are really truly behind me! Then, my 6 girlfriends and I slept in a tent in my backyard and everything was just the best! So, before i bring this to a close, I have to say thank you to everyone who helped me, believed in me, and kept me in your prayers! I could not have done all of this if it were not for all of you wonderful people! I cannot tell you how much I appreciate everything you do for me! God Bless YOU!~
The Church buried by Mayon's eruption...The people who took sanctuary are still in the church, buried.