BEFORE READING THE REST, PLEASE DO NOT MENTION ANY WORD OF THIS TO MY MOM, MY SIBLINGS, OR ANY OF MY FAMILY HERE IN THE PHILIPPINES.
This year, my mom wanted to do a family reunion for her birthday (and presumably mine, since ours are 4 days apart) and we are all going to Australia to visit my sister (she paid for the tickets already, I had no chance to refuse). My siblings and I agreed that we would try to pay for most of the arrangements and it would cost us about P20,000 (about $500 USD) each just for the lodging. We also wanted to treat her to a nice dinner but would cost us about $100 per person. Aside from that, we agreed that we should not allow our mom to pay for anything (which she is notorious for pre-emptively doing before anyone notices).
I love my mom for everything she has done for us, and I understand she sacrificed many things to give us a better life. I have always wished that I could do something in return for her, but I am apparently also the most strong-willed (or stubborn is another way to put it), and even though I am the eldest sibling, I am painfully aware that I make the least money out of all of us (aside from Rachel who doesn't work yet).
My current situation here in the Philippines is such that I can barely afford to pay for my living expenses (I try to survive on what amounts to about $250 a month), and to raise money for the trip, I have had to sell off a sizeable chunk of my trading card collection (I play competitive Magic: the Gathering, as a hobby) and other garage-sale worthy things I could afford to toss. I have still come up short however, only making about Php11,000 (~$230).
But why is the target amount so high? You're probably wondering right now.
Also very recently, I managed to apply for, and get accepted to, a company that provides online English lessons to non-English speakers as a part-timer where I can work from home, or my other work place, on my laptop, at a decently-priced (read: small) rate but with competitive incentives. The problem is that my current partner, Sophia, who has been gracious with me for almost six (6!) years, is starting to show her age. In the past, she has gone through: a RAM replacement + upgrade, a hard drive replacement, two hard drive wipes, and a battery and charger replacement.
Currently, there are two dead pixel lines running across my screen (it's not debilitating and my eyes have managed to adapt to it, but it is still irritating). It's also been Blue Screen of Death-ing me every other day or so, and has been showing warnings for imminent hard drive failure (almost every day).
If Sophia decides to give out before I can make enough money for a new one (I've diagnosed her to have a year more, at most), I will be placed in a very difficult situation. If you would believe it, this laptop is actually the main reason why I wanted to refuse to go to Australia. The other part of this fund-raiser is so that I can have at least a modicum buffer just in case my laptop does decide to give up on me soon.
I don't normally ask for help like this so this is quite awkward for me. I'd like to think of it as asking for an early birthday gift (and even as a Christmas present!), which I don't normally do either.
I plan to use about P50,000 (a little over USD $1000) for my mom's birthday and our trip to Australia and I will try to work with whatever is left over in order to get a new laptop in the (very near) future.
An incredibly large "Thank You" to anyone who can help out with this incredibly selfish request.
EDIT: It is only after completing this that I realize that I may be a little too late. The trip is on October 5 and I am not sure how quickly donations are processed.