I have been posting throwback photos of my siblings who are celebrating birthdays, but for you, Nina, it's an entire blog entry, just because there is not just one photo that will capture and tell the world just how precious you are. You-- Quintessential Gemini: analytic, dependable. Me-- Pisces of the first Order: drama queen and all passion. It's like Murphy Brown hanging out with Maria Elena from Vicky Cristina Barcelona. But to say that we click is putting it oh so mildly. Blame it on the blood running through us, the ties that bind and the closest I can get to unconditional love for another human being. So for your birthday, here are my top Nina moments (I came up with a dozen!):
1. When Mom brought you home from the hospital a few days old, I thought that she was away on a trip and brought home a doll for me. I didn't know at the time that you would teach me everything to learn about being a sister.
2. I took your school entrance exam for you but...
3. You learned to tie your shoe laces before I did.
4. Nina and Anna in Chicago, age 14 and 12, on our own! Everything from that first summer: putting up the reading program at the Children's Museum, learning to commute, going to SSA for me and Sacred Heart for you.
5. New York for my 16th birthday with you.
6. Taking you to soccer practice and picking you up after. You'd put your feet up by the AC in the car. Gee, thanks! But years later, you would do exactly the same thing for Mia and Giko (and even more!).
7. Mom left for LA the summer between sophomore and junior year in high school. The minute she was gone for the airport, I insisted on you comng with me to the limited engagement of The Lover in the 900 N. Michigan theater. I conned you into it by saying that it would impress your French teacher that you had gone to see the film. I was horrified that you had started to cry after realizing that it was a more mature film than what you were used to. So sorry for that!
8. And Europe! Particularly the head butt in Italy, the dog running after me in Vienna, and Papa complaining that you and I were worse than all the three boys together!
9. The summer after Manila in 1999... you picked me up in O'Hare Airport and cried hopelessly, saying that it will never be the same because I was off to grad school in Providence a few days after.
10. But we called each other at 1 am almost every night in grad school, you in Baltimore, conquering your dream career. When we didn't have anything else to say to each other, we'd sing along with the ad for the Christian Praise CD's, karaoke-style. Only we will ever get away with that!
11. And I even bunked with you in Baltimore as an intern with SOM in DC. That summer was all about Italian ice, Annapolis and you complaining that I left you out of everything I did with the ex. Not true! Case in point: who do I still speak with now? Hahaha! And actually, who did I do a reprise with as roomies on LaSalle St. in Chicago? YOU!
12. Nina in Vegas then Nina in Monterey, CA... Founder of Dare to Dream and Imagine College. After being an investment banker, a developer, now working in the not-for-profit world, giving it away. I am so proud of you every moment, and I continue to watch you and cheer for you all the way.
See, it's always been that way, and it will continue to be so.
Now for the throw back photos:
To my bestest best friend in the world, happy 32nd!!! Sending you lots of love from Manila!!