Art/Style/Travel Diaries

I really wish BTS could be truly happy

An Army mom says it with flowers

White casablanca lilies and purple lisianthus with eucalyptus, made by Army mom Nina Halley (Photo from The Love Garden)

Nina Halley: ‘In this pandemic, I experienced the true joy of a florist’

(Nina Halley must be among the most-liked woman entrepreneurs in Metro Manila. She has had the The Love Garden flower shop on Arnaiz Ave., Makati, for decades, a part of the many milestones in the lives of her vast network of friends and clientele. Like many others, she has had to find ways to cope with this pandemic and long lockdown. One of them is to say it with flowers. The other is to have her happy pill, which is BTS. She is what we call an Army Mom. She shares her thoughts and her bloom arrangements.—Editor)

These days, I do a lot of pondering, sometimes frivolous stuff, like should I really do lunch when it’s still the COVID pandemic. I love being with people; a very close loving man said to me yesterday, “Please, please stay safe and take care. I really want to see you again, as your weakness is your love for people.”

But mostly it’s profound things, as what the times must have done to many people. Time becomes or seems finite, so you think of how to make the minutes matter. My life is slower now and I realize it is as it should be…. “fast” living misses the point because you’re not “there” when it happens. You’re in the next frame already of your life’s film.

I now look after my store. I never really closed. For about two months, the first months of our lockdown, my dining room became my store. I accepted orders and did the flowers myself, and I loved it!

I opened The Love Garden in December 1979, and after two years, I left and lived in Hong Kong for the next eight years, with managers running my store ever since. I did all the designs and concepts but these COVID times made me experience the true joy of a florist.

I have two children, Shav and Rhiannon, grown up and adults now at 35 and 32, and now, I “get scolded” a lot…Strange that, but such is life. And we’re living all together now outside Manila, with their partners and dogs and cats, and “offices.”

I sometimes wish things would stay the way they are.

I’m a late bloomer in K-Pop, and with time in our hands, I discovered this Korean phenomenon, with “Crash Landing On You” (CLOY) as my door opener. When you start browsing at this point in your life, you inevitably stumble upon BTS.

Boy With Love struck me as such a cheerful song. It took me out of the blah of my life

For me it was the melody of their songs—I’m a “melody” girl, not a “lyrics” girl. Boy With Love struck me first as such a cheerful, playful song. It took me out of the blah of my life then, about May, June of 2020.

Then came Black Swan and On, totally my kind of aesthetics. Their choreography and visuals were extraordinary. Then Dynamite came. No more words needed here.

Then I paid attention to their lyrics. Words have always been my weakness. Theirs are kind, profound, true.

As the sad times got longer Life Goes On came out and I really felt these boys are in tune with me. And so you go into this vortex of surfing the net and reading and reading all about BTS.

And depending on who you really are, you will have a “bias” that is exactly “you.”

Funny this because everyone’s bias truly corresponds to one’s persona.

Why is RM my bias?

His mind. A man’s brain is the sexiest for me and RM definitely has this. In the right amount of all that comes with the mind—ego, values, discipline, intelligence….

How do BTS help me in this pandemic?

Their visuals are always perfect, whether performing (and it’s always impeccable) or just vlogging—the message, the vulnerability and authenticity, is inspiring as well as touching. You forget even for just a short time that the world now is sooo imperfect.

My Army Mom’s wish for them?

I really wish they could be truly happy. It is a very difficult job and a very toxic industry, with many layers. I pray that the tremendous talents they have been given are matched with the same amount in joy and happiness for a long, long time.

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About author


She is an entrepreneur (The Love Garden in Arnaiz Avenue, Makati), a mother and a proud BTS Army.

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