this is serious

“Thus the Lord answered me: if you repent, so that I restore you, in my presence you shall stand; if you bring forth the precious without the vile, you shall be my mouthpiece. Then it shall be they who turn to you, and you shall not turn to them; and I will make you toward this people a solid wall of brass.  Though they fight against you, they shall not prevail, for I am with you, to deliver and rescue you, says the Lord.  I will free you from the hand of the wicked, and rescue you from the grasp of the violent.”  Jeremiah 15:19-21

early morning on february 21 of this year, i was waiting for my bus just in front of our gate when a light green, shiny new car stopped in front of me, and the driver who was a foreign national started saying something which i cannot quite comprehend right away.  since he was pointing the way ahead, i thought he was asking for directions and so i asked where he was heading.  he opened the door on the passenger side, tapped the seat and waved at me to come and hop in.  still giving him the benefit of the doubt that maybe, he’s just trying to get help in finding his way, i politely said no and told him my bus was coming and he just need to get moving ahead because it was a one way street.  but already, my instincts told me otherwise, and apparently they proved to be true.  he got a sr500 bill from his wallet and continued to signal to me to get in.  the street was empty and i started to get nervous unsure what was about to happen.  but i stayed calm and firmly stated that i am not for sale and that he should just leave.

both my hands were in either pockets of my coat.  the left holding my keys inside and the right holding my rosary.  it was a habit of mine to say the rosary while i stand there every morning to wait for my bus.  i usually finish my prayers before the bus arrives.  but not today because of this creepy, sick guy.   instead i was saying a different kind of prayer in my subconsious.  the guy closed the car door and left. or so i thought.  i felt relieved.  but no! it was not over yet.  the guy parked his car just a few meters ahead and hurriedly walked towards me.  my heart was pounding.  i thought if i try to open the gate and get in, i wouldn’t be able to insert the key in time because my hands were already shaking.  so i stuck to my weapon which was always on my right hand.  my rosary.  i knew deep in my heart that if i just prayed really, really hard, nothing bad would ever happen to me.

but suddenly there he is in front of me already about to grab me the money still in his hand.  i never felt that terrified in my whole life because i didn’t really know how to react to that kind of situation.  deep inside, i wanted to talk the man out of it because i was such a naive and tried to convince myself that maybe, just maybe he was not that evil.  otherwise, he could have grabbed and dragged me already the first time he opened the door.  

but then, i realized how weak and helpless i really was. at the same time, i have never believed as strongly before; that nothing bad would befall me because the Lord would protect me.  i have never clung so tightly to my faith.  not before all that happened.  i just stood there. and believed that the Lord is there watching over me.  i just believed.

before i can utter another word to this man, there was my bus.  i ran hurriedly towards its door and got in immediately.  my hands still shaking.  but thankful it was finally over.  i don’t know whatever happened to the man.  what i’m certain of is the Lord saved me.  and i was happy that i did not let go, and held on to Him. 

my friends in the bus was as shocked as i was when they learned of what happened and worse.  they had a good look at the man, but we were not able to report everything to the police.  apparently i wasn’t able to get the plate number of his car. and i just wanted to get over all of it.

looking back, i knew it could have been worse.  what if circumstances were different?  could i have done something more? and  then i received an email yesterday which narrated something similar to my experience.  and i realized i should have done something more. not for myself.  but for others who might have been potential victims of the same man too.  so i now i write about it no matter how traumatic it may have been.  and i decided to pass on to you a copy of the email i got as well, so that it could serve as a warning to all of us.  being informed may mean saving lives.

email goes:



Forwarded by Jim Paredes of Ateneo69.
Jim Paredes wrote: Katipunan , QC incident
Dear friends,
Many of you may not have heard of the incident that happened to a friend of my son last week at about
 6:30 pmright in front of  the thickly-populated area of BPI-Katipunan, near shoppersville. she parked her car right in front of BPI to make a withdrawal and to do some groceries.
As she was getting into her car after doing her chores, a man suddenly appeared beside her and tried to bully her into moving to the passenger seat. when she pressed her car horn to call attention, he pushed her in the car and pinned her down with his elbow on her neck. it was a good thing that she had the presence of mind to continue to struggle and press on her car horn to catch attention(even if she had to use her foot to do this) Her assailant even tried to make people believe that it was a domestic matter by telling the crowd not to get involved as it was a “private matter”. But with the  onlookers multiplying by the second, her assailant finally gave up and ran. that was when she stood up and shouted for help. Thank God the guy got caught and is now under police custody.
Last saturday, during the inquest, she told me that what gave her the guts to fight her assailant was the article “THROUGH A RAPIST’S EYES” forwarded to our e-groups! about a week prior to her attack. I am re-forwarding the article (you can find it at the bottom of this (e-mail) for everyone’s benefit. please tell your friends, family, and loved ones about this. It works. may i just add that to a certain extent, we have to get ourselves involved if we see violence being committed on anyone like calling on a security guard or a police officer even if it appears to  be a domestic matter. It seems that a lot of attackers use that tactic to get away with violence. Not many people know how to take care of themselves when faced with such a situation. Everyone, please be very, very careful.
FYI – Through a rapist’s eyes! A group of rapists and date rapists in prison were interviewed on what they look for in a potential victim and here are some interesting facts:
1] The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle. They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun! , braid or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets.
2] The second thing men look for is clothing. They will look for women who’s clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around to cut clothing.
3] They also look for women using their cell phone, searching through their purse or doing other activities while walking because they are off guard and can be easily overpowered.

4] The number one place women are abducted from / attacked at is grocery store parking lots.

5] Number two is office parking lots/garages.

6] Number three is public restrooms.

7] The thing about these men is that they are looking to grab a woman and quickly move her to a second location where they don’t have to worry about getting caught.

8] If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for! them to realize that going after you isn’t worth it because it will be time-consuming.

9] These men said they would not pick on women who have umbrellas,or other similar objects that can be used from a distance, in their hands.

10] Keys are not a deterrent because you have to get really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. So, the idea is to convince these guys you’re not worth it.


1] If someone is following behind you on a street or in a garage or with you in an elevator or stairwell, look them in the face and ask them a question, like what time is it, or make general small talk: can’t believe it is so cold out here, we’re in for a bad winter. Now that you’ve seen their faces and could identify them in a line- up, you lose appeal as a target.

2] If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you and yell Stop or Stay back! Most of the rapists this man talked to said they’d leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would not be afraid to fight back. Again, they are  looking for an EASY target.

 3] If you carry pepper spray (this instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it with him wherever he goes,) yelling I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY and holding it out will be a deterrent.

4] If someone grabs you, you can’t beat them with strength but you can do it by outsmarting them. If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker either under the arm between the elbow and armpit or in the upper inner thigh – HARD. One woman in a class this guy taught told him she used the underarm pinch on a guy  who was trying to date rape her and was so upset she broke through the skin and tore out muscle strands the guy needed stitches. Try pinching yourself in those places as hard as you can stand it; it really hurts.

5] After the initial hit, always go for the groin. I know from a particularly unfortunate experience that if you slap a guy’s parts it is extremely painful. You might think that you’ll anger the guy and make him want to hurt you more, but the thing these rapists told our instructor is that they want a woman who will not cause him a lot of trouble. Start causing trouble, and he’s out of there.

6] When the guy puts his hands up to you, grab his first two fingers and bend them back as far as possible with as much pressure pushing down on them as possible. The instructor did it to me without using much pressure, and I ended up on my knees and both knuckles cracked audibly.

7] Of course the things we always hear still apply. Always be aware of your surroundings, take someone with you if you can and if you see any odd behavior, don’t dismiss it, go with your instincts. You may feel little silly at the time, but you’d feel much worse if the guy really was trouble.


I know you are smart enough to know these pointers but there will be some, where you will go “hmm I must remember that” After reading, forward it to someone you care about, never hurts to be careful in this crazy world we live in.

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do: The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do it.

2. Learned this from a tourist guide to New Orleans : if a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you…. chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car: Kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won’t see you but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping,eating, working, etc., and just sit
 (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc. DON’T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side,put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU CLOSE the DOORS , LEAVE.

5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage: a. Be aware: look around your car as someone may be hiding at the passenger side , peek into your car, inside the passenger side floor, and in the back seat. (  DO THIS TOO BEFORE RIDING A TAXI CAB) .

 b. If you! u are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.

c. Look at the car parked on the driver’s side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And  better paranoid than dead.)

 6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot).

7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN!

8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP IT! It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked “for help” into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.

I’d like you to forward this to all the women you know. It may save a life. A candle is not dimmed by lighting another candle. I was going to send this to the ladies only, but guys, if you love your mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, etc., you may want to pass it onto them, as well.

Send this to any woman you know that may need to be reminded that the world we live in has a lot of crazies in it and it’s better safe than sorry.

Jim Paredes
 The Maverick


Solomon’s wisdom

“Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong…”1 Kings 3:9

bedtime is always an issue when we deal with teen aged kids. every night, i sound like a recording saying to my boy that it’s already 10 pm and it’s already time to bed.  and the same story goes that we debate first for about 10 to 15 minutes.  he argues that even if he’d lay down at 10, he usually gets to sleep between 1 to 2am.  naturally for me, it’s not acceptable because he has to wake up early for school and i insist that the later he lays in bed, the harder it will be for him to fall asleep.  we already tried various strategies besides nagging.  like if he’d shut down later than 10, he would be penalized the next day.  no computers.  no tv.  if you have your own teen aged kid too, you would probably know more or less the ending of our story.  the kid complies, but not after seeing you turning into incredible hulk!  with that smirk as if he’s having a ball seeing me all green. grrrrr!

but every morning when i wake him up, the hulk in me is gone with the night.  instead, i turn into my old self again while i prepare his breakfast, and the uniform he would be wearing.  and i focus on him until i see him ride the school bus, and finally out of my sight.  aaahh! mothers. 

what keeps me sane through all this, is the realization that discipline is a relative term and one can not really measure how much a kid needs.  some kids are by nature subdued, rational and responsible.  so they need less.  some are bratty, careless, apathetic, wild.  sometimes these kids need OD.  ooops! and it will take a genius of a mother to know the exact dosage of discipline to give their children.  and when. 

you see, i am not a genius.  so i do the trial and error method.  and with this method, i learn from my children too.  the usual dosage i give is discipline with a dash of firmness and a pinch of consistency taken with a glass of understanding.  and like king solomon, understanding of what is right and what is wrong, is what i always pray for in dealing with difficult issues.  especially with raising my kids.  because on my own, with my human nature, i can never fully comprehend the complexities of it all.  only solomon can do that.  but i am ready to learn, if only to raise my children well.  because i love them.  and i want them to grow up pleasing before the eyes of the Lord.   maybe that’s what king solomon and i have in common, not wisdom.  but love.  (you see, even this hulk has a heart!)

a mother’s love

“The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Him with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask for something.  He said to her ‘what do  you wish?’ She answered Him, ‘Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom’.  Jesus said in reply, ‘You don’t know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?’…” Matthew 20:20-22

drugs, premarital sex, early pregnancy, abortion, scandal, the list goes on. these are just some words that makes a mother, with all her strength and courage, cringe.  yes, especially in our present society, when what we often watch on tv and the movies, hear over the radio and  see on the internet mostly focus on materialistic gratification.  even most magazines and other reading stuff offer a very wide range of things that disguise as necessities for a better life.  they showcase things, not values.  no wonder that after watching the news, we are left more discouraged and frustrated even, because there is very little airtime for good news, if there is at all. 

so you can just imagine how mothers like me feel, whenever our children goes out of the door to school or to any other activity they are headed for.  scared to death that along the way, the claws of these evils of our society might catch up on them. poor little ones.  but we need to let them go for them to be able to run their own race here on earth. so we mothers, go on through our day doing our own stuff too.  but at the back of our minds we convince ourselves they are safe and sound.  but the fear is there. always there until the time that they come into that door again now safe in the comfort of our homes.  and as we lovingly look at their innocent faces as they sleep, we can just sigh with relief that they “survived” another day from the clutches of the gory reality of our present times.  and we wake up again to the same fear all over again.

now i understand better how the mother of James and John must have felt when she asked the Lord that her sons sit one at His left and the other at His right.  who would not?  by the Lord’s side is the safest place to be.  but as we contemplate on the Lord’s response to this wish, to sit by His noble side equates with such sacrifice and service.  are we willing to sacrifice as much as He did? for others, our children too for that matter? 

maybe we can’t answer that question with an absolute yes or no at this moment.  so maybe now, we might not make the same wish as the mother of James and John did. not because we don’t want to sacrifice, but we don’t want to be presumptous.  we believe that the Lord knows best.

let us put our complete trust in Him that He wants all His children in a better place.  not necessarily by His side.  somewhere even better.  how about in the sweet safety of His embrace.  that’s where we all want to see our children in our minds whenever they walk out that door.  pray and believe in your hearts that the Lord keeps them safe day and night.  because unlike mothers, He sees them through, wherever they may go.  He puts angel wings in their feet so that the evils of our society will never ever catch up on them as they run their race. just pray and trust fully in Him.

if only all the mothers would do that, then our society would be a better place to live in. and the headlines will all be good news.

can you see?

“This is why I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.” Matthew 13:13

during sunday mass, our parish priest shared with us in his homily that a human being has three kinds of eyes.

first is our set of physical of eyes. these eyes are the organs in our body that detect light which enables us to view the world.  they send whatever they capture to the brain which translates it according to what we are able see.

second, is our inner eye.  this is often referred to as our third eye.  if our physical eyes are the windows to our world, our inner eye is the gate that leads to a higher consciousness such as visions, precognitions, out of body experiences, and clairvoyance which evokes our mental awareness that sometimes we don’t necessarily believe.

third, are our eyes of faith. these eyes enable us to see through the mysteries of our faith.  the Blessed Trinity that there Three Persons in one God, the Immaculate Concepcion when Mary conceived through the Holy Spirit, and other such teachings that we cannot explain in human terms but still, our eyes of faith enable us to believe. to prove further the existence of our eyes of faith, the Lord said in Matthew 13:16-17 “But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears because they hear.  Amen I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

apparently, there are times when the eyes that we have don’t function well, therefore we see things differently or we don’t see at all.  there may be obstructions that hinder our full view.  sometimes we ignore their importance that we eventually neglect them.  or in time, they just fail as we age.  whether, they are our physical eyes, our third eye or our eyes of faith, there are ways to keep them working for us as they are intended to.  because if not, we will go blind and we won’t be able to see our way. and we will get lost.

as for our eyes of faith, in order for them to see clearly, the Holy Bible provides ways and means.  we just need to pick it up, turn the pages and read.  it’s most effective to give you the most beautiful eyes you’ve ever seen.

the rock

“Be my rock and my refuge, my secure stronghold; for you are my rock and my fortress.” Psalm 71:3

according to dictionary definition, a rock is a relatively hard, naturally formed mineral or petrified matter; one that is similar to or suggestive of a mass of stone in stability, firmness or dependability.  in the Holy Bible, the Lord is always referred to as our rock.  during times of weakness and despair, we are strengthened by the truth that the rock of our lives is the Lord. the Lord provides our stability because He is ever present in our lives no matter how we often we take Him for granted.  the Lord is firm in a way a father disciplines his child not to punish but to give direction.  the Lord is dependable. whenever we are weighed down, He always lifts us up until we are able to stand and walk again.  but still, He stays on, ready to catch us when we start falling down again. if only we trust in THE ROCK.

coping with solitude

“He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’ People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat.”  Mark 6:31

solitude is the state of being alone.  to some it is a relief from stress.  to be isolated in silence doing nothing.  it is a luxury to those who had to deal with the hustle and bustle of life, day in and day out of their busy lives.  solitude is a privilege to hear the voice of God.  solitude gives us the chance to wait for what God has to say to us and feel his presence in our hearts.

but to others, solitude is simply just being alone.  being isolated.  being left out.  some even equate being alone with being sad.  some suggested ways to cope with it are:

1.  start a hobby.  gardening maybe, or art crafts.  they calm the mind and body.

2.  raise a pet.  maybe a dog or cat that you can cuddle or play with. 

3.  read.  a book, newspaper or magazines that would stimulate your intellect.

4.  exercise. sweat it out.  (pick up that dumbbell that’s collecting dust already) or dance around. 

5.  be techy.  surf the net, call mom and dad, chat with friends, play with the psp, blog

6.  cook.  be creative.  experiment with new recipes.

7.  watch a movie.  unable to go to the theater lately?  now’s the time to catch up.

8.  introspect.  there’s no better time to examine yourself, reorganize your life and plan your future.

9.  go out.  meet new people.  meet old friends.  see new places.

after all these have been tried and tested,  and still nothing worked, go back to the paragraph about solitude and try see it in this perspective.  listen to the voice of God.  listen. and then, pray.  praying is our way of answering back the messages that we had listened to in our hearts.  it is such an awesome feeling to know there is always someone we can talk to.  we may not see Him through our human eyes, but if we looked deeper using the eyes of our faith, we can actually see his presence in our lives. and surely Jesus is there all the time.  keeping us company. and amen! we are never alone after all.

on being alone

“…You are my help; do not cast me off; do not forsake me, God my savior!  Even if my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me in.” Psalm 27:9-10

new places, new faces… it is such a frightening experience to go to college and live in a dorm.  it’s like going to the airport and boarding the plane for the first time.  we are reminded how happy it was to come home everyday knowing mom prepared warm, delicious meals that we need after grueling days in school.  it was a delight to kid around with our baby brother whom we share the room with, to throw pillows at each other even after lights out.  and how secure we were whenever father comes home knowing ahhh! we’re finally all together, complete and safe in the warmth of each others’ love.  now in the cold four corners of our dorm room, they are still with us…smiling back at us…only this time, just in that one happy photo which captured that sweet moment when we were still together. nothing beats that oneness of a family.  not even the perks of independence.

now we are independent.  or maybe learning to.  every morning we manage our own time; go to school and back; pass by the library or student center anytime.  no hurry coming home to dorm now.  maybe cook or eat out- whatever we feel like eating. don’t care if it’s healthy stuff or not. go to bed early or late. whenever we want to with no one to check on us if we are still wide awake or already dreaming. the following day would turn out most likely just the same.  if we are the normal and disciplined type, this routine follows until graduation day.  then we had to move on again. and that’s already another story.

but we go through the process.  we miss our family.  we crave for their company.  we cry out our loneliness.  all part of the process.  but change is constant. after all the tears have dried, a part of ourselves is watered like that of a plant that needs it for its flowers to bloom. we learn to become stronger.  we discover capabilities that we never imagined we had.  and the one thing most important about being alone is that, we learn the value of the people we love who we always take for granted because they were always there.  these people who annoyed us because they tend to  become overly caring and protective of us.  now we learn to realize how much these people meant to us.

and with these people that we love in our hearts, and in the depths of our solitude, that is when we feel the Lord’s presence in our lives.  no distractions.  only the Lord and us. isn’t it such a comfort to feel that we are not alone after all? and never we will be.  for as long as we had been born up until we breathe our last, our Lord is the one constant in our lives.  and like the plant that was watered, we ought resolve that wherever our future may bloom like a flower, our roots remain deep in our home’s sweet ground, and our arms be lifted up like branches towards our special place in heaven.


“It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than in a roomy house with a quarrelsome woman.” Proverbs 25:24

last night, my husband and i had such a hilarious time watching the movie ‘duplex’ on tv starring ben stiller (alex rose) and drew barrymore (nancy kendricks).  it’s about a newlywed couple who moves to their new home.  it was a dream house, perfect to raise a family in and ideal for a writer like alex who needed just the right mood to finish his novel. but there was just one problem, there lived on their top floor as a tenant an old woman, mrs. connelly.  at first, alex and nancy thought she was just an old lady and tried to get along with her.  but mrs. connelly became overly demanding by asking the couple to do chores and ran errands for her.  she was even such a nuisance rehearsing with her brass band and watching tv at top volume all night long.  because of mrs. connelly, nancy messed up with her magazine job and eventually lost it; and alex’s laptop with his finished novel burnt and ran over by a truck.  these major disasters to their lives caused homicidal fantasies that led to evil plans on how to finally get rid of the old lady. 

so what was hilarious about all that?  it was the funny way that the couple’s story was told, highlighting how they tried to overcome each frustrating situation caused by mrs. connelly.  this is just a movie remember? but after the final scene was shown revealing how scheming the old lady was, we stopped and pondered.  how could she? mrs. connelly was just an old lady.  she’s not supposed to be a ‘treacherous witch’ anymore.  not at her age.  but that’s just one of life’s harsh realities.  evil chooses no age. it disguises itself to achieve its goal.  if not with age, maybe with looks, in other ways we’d always be surprise it can.  the movie also showcases how such nice people like alex and nancy, could be driven by such rage and forced to do bad things given the circumstances that they had gone through.  it was hilarious. because it was just a movie, remember?  but in real life, it is just one sad story.

let your light shine

“Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:16

oh yeah it happens all the time.  we enviously stare at the other side wondering why it’s always better on that side where others stand on.  on our side there’s always something petty or silly  to complain about.  we keep feeling sorry for ourselves and end up in despair for some things that are not really meant for us in the first place.  but how many times did we ever glance at where we stand? did we not consider that maybe, those on the other side may also be staring at us thinking how fortunate we are, and how they wish they are in our shoes?

yes we all are indeed fortunate in different ways, most of the times we don’t even realize.  the past days i kept trying to keep the website i built a week ago ‘alive’.  but i was drained of ideas and lacking of technical know-how because i was only a beginner.  i was frustrated.  maybe it was just the grand idea of having a unique website of my own that i forgot why i even need to have one in the first place.  i was busy browsing from one page to another in awe that i felt such pride that oh!  i can do that too.  and boy! i was wrong.  really very wrong.

the Lord has given me such gifts in another field that i am thankful about and yet i am not cultivating.  gifts that when nurtured and harvested don’t drain me at all.  those that come naturally and makes those who taste them see better, feel better and think better too.  the same way some web pages also do. 

i’m not giving up on learning how to build a website with lots of traffic and stuff.  but surely then, it will showcase not what my interests are as i first intended, but those ‘gifts’ that i already had, which i forgot to open, because the ribbons and the wrappers on the other side looked more attractive.