“Friendship is about quality not quantity, it’s about the people you surround yourself with.”
Texas was a freakin dream.
Not because of the gorgeous weather, or all the yummy food, or the pool where I swam lengths in the glorious sunshine…but because I got to spend quality time with one of my favourite people.
She’s someone I see about once a year for a day or two on flying visits when she’s in England, someone I Face-time once a week, and Whatsapp almost daily. Someone I respect, admire and simply love hanging out with. I truly believe her presence and positive energy works miracles on me.
This person would be my sister, sort of. We’re not strictly blood related but she’s the closet thing I’ll ever have, we talk and behave like siblings, she knows all my secrets, so, sister.
I first met Berlyn (she claims) when I was around three, and apparently running around the house in nappies. Her mother and my mother soon became best friends, and we saw more and more of one another. Four years older than me, I looked up to this beautiful, more mature, cooler person. After all, she was allowed to boil hot water by herself, I wasn’t. She wore makeup, had boyfriends, owned a mobile phone. She was way ahead of me.
One evening, I was around eight or nine, she told me we could cast a love spell to make the boy I had a crush on like me back. This was very exciting. We sat cross-legged with a bowl of potpourri between us, lit a candle and chanted a bunch of
shizzle words. When it was over, I asked how I would know if it had worked, she replied: “I don’t really know, maybe he’ll try and hold your hand!?”. And to this day, I think I believe in magic partly because of her.
She was the first person to apply make up on my face and it actually enhance my features, the first person to help dress me (I went through a “I want to look preppy” phase when I was around thirteen and she was instrument in most of my looks), and the first person to tell me what sex was like. In my mind, she’d really lived, she knew everything.
I admire this woman for many reasons, but mainly; her positivity and level of self-belief. I have always been impressed with her confidence and social strength, she could literally talk to anyone, be her complete self and make that person feel comfortable. Having lived in The Philippines, England, Norway and now the U.S, she’s one of the most well travelled, flexible and open-minded people I know. A wife, and mother to two awesome children (aged 6 & 8 ), she loves interior design, art and travelling. She also conjures up the best smoothie bowls, and made a valiant effort to persuade me to attend her pilates class, I repeatedly declined, sticking to my trusted treadmill.
Berlyn makes me feel like anything is possible. – Because anything I say I want to do (life/career wise) is met with encouragement, questions and curiosity. She reminds me of the importance of loving yourself, and of being present. Always a happy soul, she’s forever generous with her laughter, which of course is contagious.
1. Describe yourself in three words:
Free spirited, confident, intuitive
2. One word you’d never use to describe yourself?
3. What does your typical day look like?
Take the kids to school, make a coffee, go and work out, do some house chores, run errands then pick the kids up.
4. Do you have a special morning or evening routine?
After I drop the kids off I make myself a really good big breakfast, and take my time to eat outside. I really enjoy the peace of it, this is my meditation when I’m sitting by myself, then I do the same with coffee. In the evening I have to wind down, either by reading my book or reading blogs.
5. What do you say to yourself to keep positive?
If I’m having a bad day, then I think of the good things I have.
6. What is something that really excites you?
Travelling… and FOOD.
7. Who are your biggest inspirations?
8. What are you most grateful for?
My life. Health. I’m really happy all my family are healthy.
9. What would you tell your 15 year old self?
Friendship is not about numbers it’s about quality over quantity.
10. What would be your dream career or careers?
To be a psychologist, to help people that might be rejected.
11. What are you currently doing to work towards your dream?
I’m going to study Psychology.
12. How was this idea born?
I like to help people. I like observing people. Seeing how people’s minds work is really interesting. Everything, the faces, the small gestures..Like when you ask someone a question, observing how their facial expression or behaviours might differ to what they’re actually saying. It’s all fascinating to me.
13. If you could be one person for the day who would it be?
Nobody I’m happy being myself.
14. What is your favourite bit of life advice/quote/something you live by?
“Everything will work out in the end.”
15. Any general life advice to younger people?
Live in the present day. Don’t stress too much about the future.
16. When are you happiest?
When I’m alone.
17. One of the happiest days of your life?
I have loads of happy memories… it’s hard to choose one… I’d like to say when I had my kids but I was drugged so…the most recent happiest day was at the ranch, we were outside at the ranch, it was really cold and fresh, not typical Texan weather it gave me so much energy, I came away feeling so refreshed.
18. Make up a lie about yourself right now, and a story too.
I’m super organised and I’m a yoga teacher and I regularly go to the mountains and do yoga and teach other people to be calm and get their energy from crystals that have been powered by the moonlight.
19. Three best things about living in Houston?
The laid-back lifestyle. The community, the more people I have in common with. The vast variety of health-food options, food in general.
20. Best advice/guidance your parents gave you?
I learnt from their mistakes.
21. Your perfect day?
Exploring a new city, taking in a completely different culture and trying all the new food possible, then having a margarita and people watching.
22. If you lived in an alternative reality, having made different choices throughout your life, what would you be doing?
I’d be a successful businesswoman.
23. What is one experience you think has helped shaped you as a person?
24. What did you learn in Manila and Norway?
In the Philippines I learnt to grow up. And I learnt that The Philippines is not a place for children to grow up.
In Norway I learnt that I could be by myself. How to be alone. That I hate snow. Norwegians are not as open as I thought they would be.
25. Five things that bring you joy?
Food. When my kids bring back little things for me from school. More food. Oh dessert oh my god sweet stuff. Travelling. And my cats.
26. Three things you couldn’t live without?
My phone. Here I can’t live without a car. Access to good food.
27. Three things you’d change about the world?
Less greed. That everyone learn to recycle and take care of the earth. Appreciate the world and animals, not in the sense of being a vegetarian but just appreciate them, animals are not stupid.
28. If you could change the American education system, what would you change?
To be less hardcore. Let kids be kids.
29. If you could change anything about America what would it be?
The gun laws. No one should be allowed to carry a gun unless they’re a trained professional like a policeman or a spy..
30. Favourite TV show?
31. Favourite books?
The Harry Potter books. And I liked Terry Pratchett, I really liked his books.
32. Most expensive item in your wardrobe?
My Cynthia Rowley boots.
33. One makeup up essential you couldn’t live without:
34. Favourite holiday?
The Croatian trip last year on the boat. We rented a sail boat for 2 weeks and sailed around the Croatian waters. We got off the boat and explored the islands too.
35. What did you want to be when you were little?
36. Name three things you’d like to say you did before you die:
Have kids. Lived in at least 6 countries. And had my own business.
37. People you’d most like to meet?
Ellen de Generes and Hermione Granger.
38. What do you love most about life?
39. What do you hate the most?
I don’t really have anything to hate.
40. If you could travel to any time or place where and when would it be?
Each time my kids were born, because I was knocked out each time, I never got to experience it fully.
41. Religion or spiritual practice?
I believe in Karma.
42. What is your proudest achievement?
43. What is your fondest memory from childhood/school?
School in general. It was the best experience of my life. I loved school.
44. What do you worry most about?
I worry about if anything happened to me what would happen to the kids.
45. What’s one thing you wish you knew how to do?
Wait there’s lots of things I wish I knew how to do. Work in the UN as an ambassador.
46. What are three things you think about more than the average person?
Food. And food. And food.
47. What did you learn yesterday?
That I can drive to Austin and back and San Antonio and back within three days.
48. What is happiness?
To me happiness is sex and chocolate.
49. What’s the best thing about being a parent?
Learning something new about the kids everyday. And that’s also a negative.
50. What’s the toughest?
That they’re constantly changing including their moods.
51. What are three things your kids have taught you?
How to be creative…Well creative with my parenting…
How to be angry.
52. You never got angry before you had kids?
Not this kind of anger!
53. What’s one bit of advice you’d want Lucas and Thea to carry with them for the rest of their lives?
For Lucas: There’s always another option, don’t just quit the first time you fail. Also don’t change yourself just to please others.
For Thea: What I learnt is that friendship is not about quantity, popularity doesn’t matter, it’s about the people you surround yourself with.