My little brother was ordained as a priest yesterday. He started his long journey just after my daughter was born. I mean journey in a figurative and literal sense. He has become very well traveled - he is fluent in Spanish, acted as a missionary in Guatemala, attended school in Washington D.C., was part of the Newman Center at Arizona State University, and lived in Alaska for several months. He visited all of these places and more as part of his training as a holy man. It's ironic that he is so religious...and I am not, but that is what it is. Our relatives from the Philippines, Washington D.C., and all over California came to see his ordination in San Francisco, CA. It was a beautiful ceremony. I was able to take a video of his procession with his classmates after they took their final vows:
Afterwards, my extended family went to visit Fort Point underneath the Golden Gate bridge. I must mention that my immediate family and I missed a turn and were forced to pay another toll to get back into SF. Word to the wise, don't ever ever get lost in SF. You will pay for it if you do - in more ways than one! Well, we found our way back to the fort and found my relatives. It was freezing. I was glad that I wore my sweater and that I brought warm clothing for both of my children. They had a wonderful time playing with my cousins' kids, most of them their age. My husband was not so lucky. All he had on was a short sleeve polo shirt and jeans. However, he found a way to survive the freezing wind, partly by mind over matter, and partly by convincing me and our children to go into the fort to check out the rooms. I have to say that I am very glad that I did - I have never been in a fort before, much less one that is as old as Fort Point. The downstairs rooms were dark, and I felt claustrophobic. It was neat to see cannonballs just sitting in a pile on the floor or barrels that carried gun powder.
I was amused by the sign describing the wages received by the soldiers living at Fort Point in the 1800s:
The stairs intrigued my daughter who wondered why they were arranged in a spiral. The upstairs rooms were sparse and very cold! I mentioned that I would have hated to live there - there were wind tunnels at every turn, and even if you could find shelter in your room, it was bound to be drafty. We reconnected with my relatives on the top of the fort. Boy it was windy there! Nevertheless, we were able to take some pictures.
Here is a picture of my cousin, Miriam, and I. We used to play together when we were babies in the Philippines, before my father moved my mother and I to Pennsylvania.
We left the site to return to Oakland for the reception. I forgot that it was a Friday; traffic was crazy and we were stuck at the bridge for a good hour. We finally got to St. Albert's Priory and went into the garden area for the reception. Tables were set up around the main area and my family sat with my mom and my dad's cousin's family. It was nice to sit down and mingle with that side of my family. My children, however, were getting antsy, and I noticed the area behind where we were sitting. I decided to explore it with my children, figuring it would keep them occupied. I was surprised at how beautiful it was. There were bridges, a creek, beautiful flowers and trees. It reminded me of the enchanted forests that I read about in the Lord of the Rings; it would have been easy to imagine fairies and gnomes scampering about. I would not have been surprised to see a deer drinking from the brook. My brother is now a Father. My husband, not being very literate in these things, asked my brother what we should call him now. My brother, not missing a beat, said "Father". Ha! I have 5 years on him. He will always be (Uncle) Mark to me.