I first heard of Dalia when I was about nine years old. My aunt and uncle and cousins went to work at an orphanage on Mindanao that year and met Dalia and her family, who also worked there. She and I were around the same age, and we became pen pals.
For years we wrote each other on thin, airmail parchment that took up to six weeks to arrive at a destination. But the friendship remained solid.
As we grew older, our lives changed. She moved on, and I changed addresses as well. Sadly, we lost touch with each other. She was often in my thoughts, and several times I tried to find her using the Internet. This year, I found her, and we reconnected.
Although she is twelve hours ahead of me in life, her morning and night check-ins bring me great joy. She makes my oncoming days brighter. I am truly thankful for Dalia and our friendship.