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Happy Second Birthday Julia!

Two years ago today I became a father. Reality didn't hit me hard enough at that time. I was still relatively young and wasn't aware of how my life would be affected by becoming a father. It's one of the best things men can be in their lives yet it takes a lot of us a long time before we realize this. Today I celebrate my daughter's second birthday and my second year of being a father. This post is about remembering what life was back when Julia was born and how much different our lives are now.

Two years ago I was still working as a consultant to the largest telco in the Philippines, helping make a growing messaging service something that can scale to a lot more users. I had a great manager at that time but I was too thick skulled to realize this at that time. I had a lot of things going for me: I was fresh from helping evolve a pioneer social network's internal system to handle 3x the original amount of requests (and more) and was getting ready to make a name for myself in the Philippines. Unfortunately I squandered that opportunity and didn't think too much about the future -- mine and my family's -- and gave up that position after two months of being a father. This was 2009. Julia was barely crawling at that time.

2010 promised to be somewhat of a weird year for me. I was doing a consulting project with a group of friends that later became Sinefunc, Inc. -- we got to a good start, but unfortunately the reality of my situation (that was unique to me as one of the founders) was that I needed to earn not just for the daily expenses but also for building a comfortable future for my family. I took on another consulting project while laying very low with the company I co-founded. Julia was starting to learn to walk by the time I got a new consulting gig with a subsidiary of the same telco I worked with.

What started off as a challenging year got through a conflicting phase, when I had to choose what role I was going to play in both the consulting I'm doing and the startup I co-founded. I was spreading myself too thin by all measures and I had to make painful decisions. In the end I felt like I didn't make good decisions and by October 2010 I was again a free agent. That was my first taste of abject failure. Soon enough Julia was going to turn 1 year old and Jeni and I had already planned a birthday celebration for her.

Not long after that I found myself applying for full-time jobs, doing open source development in the meantime, and then trying to get a good consulting gig again going just to keep the income going. Thank goodness I managed to get a few things going in all these fronts. However on Julia's first birthday I got news that after a number of interviews I didn't quite make the cut. I was reminded of how much I still needed to learn and how far I've already come, so I concentrated on getting a consulting job again that managed to work very well for all parties involved. Julia turned 1 and it was an awesome party -- one I and some friends definitely enjoyed.

By Christmas of 2010 I had been flown to Australia for my interviews for the most awesome technology company in the world in my opinion, and by Valentines 2011 I had chosen to accept the job. Fast forward a little more to April 2011 and not only was I a Googler, I was also migrating to Australia. Julia, Jeni, and I had gotten to live in the condo I had been paying for 2 years thus far for a total of one month -- we enjoyed as much of the facilities as we can and we made it a home as much as we could before we moved down under. Julia was starting to learn to say words by then.

July 2011 came and I got older and by then it's been a period of adjustment. Julia had been adjusting well to the cold Australian winter while Jeni and I were struggling to cope. In 2011 we've managed to live in a condo that was a few floors above an Olympic-size pool, get as a family on a plane, live in a managed apartment, and moved into a spacious two-bedroom unit in Sydney. Julia has started to learn to recognize numbers and letters and has been able to follow along the Incy Wincy Spider and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Since this time I've learned the rules of rugby (both kinds), got first hand experience of daylight saving time, started running for my life, and watched a race that stopped the nation. All in all it's been a good couple of years past. Julia now knows how to say her name, has the most adorable laugh, can smile and make my day, and count up to 20. Oh, and she operates the MacBook Pro to get to her Youtube favorites, knows how to navigate my Android phone to look at her pictures and videos, and even turn the TV on and off. She's just turned two and I'm looking forward to the years of watching her grow and learn more things.

Two years ago I became a father. Today I realize what that means and how my father must have felt when I turned two.

Thanks to my friends and family who've gotten to know Julia and see her grow through the pictures and videos. Even though we can't all be together physically today, I know you'll keep Julia in your prayers, and would love her like she was your own daughter too.

Julia, I love you. Happy birthday baby girl!


  1. She's such a cutie! Mana kay...
    mana pareho kina mommy at daddy ;)

    It's so nice to see your pictures, videos and posts about Julia. I seriously wouldn't have seen this version of you back in 2005. You were so different back then. Amazing. The wonders of fatherhood, I suppose? :) Plus a great thing going with Jeni.

    Here's wishing Julia more adventures with you and Jeni! Happy birthday to your baby girl.

  2. Definitely mana kay Mommy. :D

    Thanks Clair! :)


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