This is my first blog post.

Today is one of my best friends, Lawrence’ birthday. I met Lawrence in 2011. He e-mailed me introducing himself as a Filipino nurse living in British Columbia. He said he was not recruited by Mercan but is friends with some nurses who arrived in Canada through the company I work for. He said he is moving to Montréal to work as a nurse at Montréal General Hospital and is looking for a place to stay. I advised him to look around Kijiji or Craigslist.

A part of me said he might get scammed and I should offer more help. I told him I live in a 450 sq feet studio at Imperial Lofts downtown with my son Yuri and my foster sister Ate Econ, and that if it’s fine with him, he can stay with us while he looks for a place. I have a bunk bed he can use. Yuri was only 9 and we shared a bed. Ate Econ takes the big sofa bed. When he arrived, I picked him up at Pierre E. Trudeau International Airport. The following day, I took him for a tour at the Old Montréal area with then newly arrived intern at Mercan, Melissa from Mexico. Lawrence was the one who took the picture of me walking barefooted at the Montréal Old Port.

Lawrence began working immediately and took early morning shifts. He was a quiet roommate. The bathroom was beside my bedroom (with a not so tall partition) and I never got awaken by him getting ready for work. He is neat and puts away the dishes. I never saw his laundry. He arrives early afternoon and plays with Yuri while I’m still at work. Yuri told Lawrence that he is his best friend. When I feel sick or when Yuri is sick, he’d be our private nurse. He is not a picky eater and loves my adobo. I introduced him to some of my close friends and he got along with all of them.

People say it’s better to share stories with a stranger and I had Lawrence for my relationship issues. He became one of my best friends, always guiding me to follow my heart, always reminding me that I am smart. He boosts my self-confidence. When Lawrence moved back to BC, I felt a bit sad. But our friendship didn’t end and we never lost touch, thank you Facebook and Instagram! Once a year, we would talk for hours on the phone about our previous trips and wonder when we could travel together like the coincidental meet-up in Manila in 2015. He was in Russia for a tour and in Africa for an outreach, to the US and another country we haven’t talk about now. As for me, I was travelling like a jet-setter, so I had more updates to share and would talk more and he just listens. In March of 2017, on my way back to Montréal from a trip to Philippines, I arranged for a layover in BC so I can visit him and his family in Surrey. They prepared a nice meal for me, and I had a shower then they drove me back to the airport. I am the one who usually apologizes for forgetting his birthday. He would call me on the dot at midnight of my birthday.
I had to make sure I don’t forget to greet him today through this blog.

PS: Actually, when Melissa didn’t like her apartment, she also lived with us. She took the upper part of the bunk bed and Lawrence moved to the bottom. And also came Ernest who moved to Montréal from Turks and Caicos but lost his job a few weeks after. Ernest moved in when Melissa took the next door unit and Lawrence took a room in an apartment a few blocks away, shared by another Melissa, a very pretty Canadian lady, with whom I became close friends with over the years, although we haven’t seen each other for since I met her when Lawrence moved in.

My other friend, Laurence helps me with this blog site.

I have friends who have the same names. I gotta make sure it’s all clear so there’s no confusion when I write about the others. This is my first blog post.