Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Things I Don't Get v. 2009

This is me being real.

Things I Don't Get v. 2009

  1. Why PAG-ASA predicted a super typhoon that is three hours late already, and why Storm Signal No. 2 was prematurely raised today, thus costing students another school day.  Not that they are complaining.  I just wish PAG-ASA would be more accurate and more consistent.
  2. Why MMDA or whoever is in charge assigns people to clean flyovers during rush hour.  I pass through Commonwealth Ave. everyday at about 8 a.m., and motorists have to slow down to avoid side-swiping the street sweepers and/or their big brooms.  Precious minutes are lost easily.  I can imagine people in a meeting somewhere, so used to doing things as they have been doing for decades.  Let's try to consider the safety of the workers, and the schedule of the commuters.  
  3. Why, for that matter, road repairs are not done off-rush hour so as to avoid delaying working people.  I've blogged about this before.  It irritates me no end to find that the cause of traffic jams is a group of workers painting the (Libis-Katipunan) underpass.  I don't care if it costs more to pay workers the night-shift differential.  Productivity is a greater value, and a stress-avoider (for people like me, most likely).
  4. Why little local politicians have the gall to splash their faces on all manner of banners and streamers.  Happy Father's Day from Mayor's Son-in-Law So and So.  Puhlllease.  Feed the hungry, get my vote.
  5. Why a lot of Pinoys ignore pedestrian overpasses and lanes, and choose to cross where they shouldn't, and have expressions of glee and excitement as they jaywalk.  Are they cats that they have nine lives?  Do they trust that all cars, buses, and jeeps will have proper brakes?  
  6. Why some drivers feel the need for speed at inappropriate times and places.  One morning, I saw a gasoline truck speeding at about 80 kph from the QC Elliptical Road going to Commonwealth, cutting across several lanes (swerving is more like it), and I caught a glimpse of the driver.  He looked thrilled to have all vehicles avoid his truck - the one that says FLAMMABLE - so early in the morning.  I wanted to revoke his license.  What was that man on that morning?!
  7. Why some radio DJs are given shows at all, when they have the capacity to churn out useless information, or worse, promote the wrong concepts to the youth.  I don't find their morning shows funny.  I believe in their freedom to express, and in my freedom to tune out.  I find myself saying often, "Stop talking.  Play music!"
  8. Why a nation of intelligent people still elects inept leaders.  I am not a social scientist, so I count on those who know how to teach the next generation how to use their heads.
There is more where that came from, but that's enough ranting for now.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Arriving at the Next Step

What can I write now that I haven't already written during the past six years of this and my other blog's existence? I have been through trials and triumphs, challenges and victories, and all these things have been documented. But since God is good to me repeatedly, it is almost a disservice to Him not to speak of His goodness again and again.

Let me introduce my latest blessing by saying that each journey is different, and the way God has moved in my life cannot but affect others around me. Even if my decisions have made some people sad, it will only be for the short-term, and in the future they will be much better off and will meet new people who will fulfill my current roles so much better.

I write about my journey to share how it has been for me, as there were whispered prayers to God that have been answered in the specific way I asked Him to. Now isn't He grand? I thought I was meant to suffer, but the sufferings I endured turned out to have a limit, and one day I found myself free to go and to move on with my life, hopefully wiser from all that I have gone through.

The journey of finding the next step in one's career is not always easy; in fact in my case it has been a constant search for my place under the sun. I have done new things and met new challenges I would not have welcomed, were it not for God's clear instructions to stay where I was and to continue giving my best, even if I doubted whether my best was ever going to be good enough for the demands of my job.

I had a constant feeling of being inadequate, and longed to be measured in terms of the things I was good at - writing, for example - rather than things I was constantly groping in the dark about. Although results did turn out well eventually and I somehow got into the groove of the business, part of me was undeniably yearning for a life I thought I had turned my back on - my life as a lawyer.

After a lot of soul-searching, I asked God to let a job land on my lap. I had no time to job-hunt, and I had no desire to shift careers again. I did not know how things would end up, and I must have bored my friends to death with my constant complaints about my inefficiencies and frustrations at work. I have angels for friends, for they waited with me, and gave sound advice. I was in a good place, and I had to stay put until a better, concrete offer came along.

One day an old friend asked me to give the Court another try. I was closed to the idea because I was not sure how something I had already left behind would be my future. It was fun while it lasted, I thought. The Court was located in Manila, which I associated with flash floods and bad drivers. My friend encouraged me to pray about it, because I had constantly been talking dreamily about my life as a court attorney, and how I wanted to write for a living again. But I was familiar with Padre Faura, having studied in Manila Science High School for four years, and Manila, well I lived there for 15 years. I was coming home to Manila (remember a few posts ago, I posted the song)? I was coming home to the Court.

I went home and discussed it with my parents. My mother got excited, because according to her, my father brought it up just a week before, how he would be happy if I would go back to being Court Attorney. I asked my father what he thought, and he lifted up both hands in jubilation. I was surprised at his reaction, for my father was not prone to outward expressions of emotion. He said, "I have been praying for this for a very long time now!" He said he would be so much at peace knowing I worked for the Supreme Court and would even be open to the possibility of me becoming a judge someday. I told them I was almost tempted not to get the job because it made them too happy. It was a startling contrast to the time I insisted on resigning from the Sandiganbayan to work for Lingkod full-time as a volunteer staffer. That did not sit well with them, at all, but I had to do it, for my heart was so in it. It was the calling for me at that time.

Things moved fast after that. I talked to my old boss, and my current boss, two women I admired greatly. We worked out a plan and a schedule. It made a lot of people very happy, but I was the happiest of all. It was just time to move, and I had God's full blessing. Nothing was sweeter than that knowledge, not even the approving cheers of all my (burdened) friends. I did not have to apply; for the offer had been standing for some time now. I would not have to shift careers or to adjust in a major way, for this was my prior life. I had done my share of serving God full-time, and obeying Him to the letter, and it was time to be happy again.

Life is continuing to fall into place day by day. I am at a time of harvest again. The seasons of life do come, and I am glad I waited for the Lord to move before moving, for in His time, everything is in beautiful blossom, and they will all bear good fruit.

I will have time to rest soon before the new job starts. I am happy to be surrounded by such supportive family and friends. My colleagues whom I will leave behind are also very supportive of my decision. They probably can't wait for the despedidas and the parties as well.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Identity Crisis aka Early Mid-Life

I am home nursing a cold and am utterly bored.  Because of this A(H1N1) flu scare, people don't take anything at face value.  Just so I don't spread my virus, I decided to stay home as a precautionary measure.  I don't know how to relax, however.

Being home alone led me to pause and to think.  Nothing earth-shaking or major.  It's just that it's becoming increasingly evident to me that I have a wrong self-image.

You see, I took this Facebook quiz (how reliable is that?!  Stay with me for a bit here), and the result is that I'm not spoiled at all.  My friends expressed their objections.  To them, I am a spoiled brat.  But I answered the quiz truthfully.  Either I am good at projecting an illusion, or I am in denial.  Needless to say, the result got me thinking:  why do my friends disagree with me?  I don't care what the world says, but my friends are supposed to know me.  

Maybe I am more spoiled and pampered than I believe.

Another case in point.  A very close friend of about six years told me today that I have a very serious personality.  I said he must have been misled, because I have always been witty, and I don't need alcohol to speak with poetry.  Could he just have been teasing me, or did I hide my insane crazy creative side so well from him?  Others would disagree.  I have always been silly.  I have a Category of Silly Posts on this blog.  Ask my classmates.  I'm not a serious person.

Or am I?  

I saw parts of a forgettable film (Michael) on HBO, and the smoking archangel told his human companions, "Relax.  It's the only way to find love."

Am I too relaxed - spoiled, or too serious - boring?

Does it matter what they think, or do I need to be myself more?

Hopefully the changes I will go through next month will help me relax more and be myself more.  

This self-centered blog is brought to you by my cough syrup.  Now back to get some sleep.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Better Half (of the Year)

I started this year thinking I was going to have the most amazing time of my life, because a person I was amazed with called me, well, "amazing".

But global financial crisis made buyers wary during the first quarter, and I found myself stressed out and stretched to the limit so soon into the year. All amazing thoughts were pushed to the background. I barely had fun. All I could think about was the bottom line. Even if my whole family arrived from all over the world for a mini-reunion, I could not bring myself to fully enjoy life.

But now, I have recovered, and have much to look forward to. A lot is happening, and they are all amazing! A good friend of mine is here for a month and it's been a swell month. I'll be revisiting Singapore to attend an important event: The Great Singapore Sale (LOL)!

There are many more changes at work and home. I will be a teacher, can anyone believe it? In July, I will go to Tagaytay with friends, and perhaps even Subic. A friend I bid goodbye to is visiting in December and he said that the top priority in his list is the coffee time with me. I want to check in a spa. I haven't done that. I will go on personal retreat. And do many other wonderful, amazing things. I hope this happiness is contagious.

This long weekend is a good start. Lingkod Anniv means dancing. Fr Daniel's despedida means singing. But I can hear my mom's voice - I should clean my room too. Will find time. Won't cut on the parties; will just sleep less.

Welcome me back to the waking world.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

An Old Story

One of the short stories that I wrote and never submitted to anyone except to friends who received them in their email inboxes. Posting it here because I want to write again.

The names Felichi and Homer just came to me that day.


By Ella del Rosario

For the longest time, Homer has had a crush on Felichi but did not admit the attraction to anyone. Their barkada would tease him no end if they found out for sure. And another thing, he knew he could never be her type. Ever since high school, though, he had watched her grow in beauty, wisdom and poise. A girl like her, class valedictorian, debate champion and virtuoso violinist, would not be attracted to a guy like him, he was certain of that. So he buried his feelings at the bottom of his heart and set out to conquer less complex and more reachable women. He succeeded at this, thankfully. His life was in his complete control.

They were prom dates in their senior year in high school, though. Back then Felichi had just broken up with the love of her life who found himself a new girlfriend just two weeks after their breakup. To save Felichi from humiliation and depression, the barkada asked Homer to take Felichi to the prom. He watched her trying to hold back tears the whole night. They slow-danced and he thought she heard the loud beating of his heart. He realized, though, that her quiet sobs prevented her from really noticing him that night. She thanked him for being a dependable friend before she got in her father's car. He never got as drunk again in his life as he was after their senior prom. He thought he was able to drown everything and to forget Felichi forever.

But fate does catch up on those who run from it. When Homer saw the invitation for their kabarkada Marie's wedding, he noticed that his partner as veil sponsor was Felichi. The distance he had put between them would not work on that wedding day, he thought. He would be forced to help her with her wrist corsage. He would have to enter that flower-bedecked church with his arm linked with hers. He decided he didn't want to bring a date for that confusing occasion.

He woke up with a bad hangover and he knew he was going to be late for D-Day. When he arrived at the church, the wedding coordinators were already preparing the line of sponsors. There was Felichi, so fetching in her lilac gown.

"Hi Homer. Late night out again, huh? I thought you were going to stand me up." She smiled at him. His eyes automatically checked her right wrist. The corsage was already fitted snugly and he heaved a sigh of relief.

"I was planning to do that, but the thought of Marie's wrath convinced me to do otherwise", he smiled back. Then he heard music in the background. The wedding entourage started its procession, and Felichi motioned for them to link arms. I can endure this, he thought. Just a few steps to the altar and we'd be free to go our separate ways again.

As he took his seat, he noticed Felichi walking towards where the choir was sitting, behind the commentator's podium. He should have guessed that she would be asked to play the violin for Marie. He unfortunately had a good view of the choir and the lilac-clad violin muse. He watched her pick up her violin, put it under her chin, and begin swaying the bow to the strings as gracefully as she had always done. The cathedral windows provided a colorful background to her
mesmerizing figure. A gentle breeze lightly played on her long, beautiful hair. He felt like unbuttoning the collar of his dress barong for he was fast running out of breath.

Felichi's haunting violin solo reverberated throughout the tiny church. He was sure all the male wedding guests fell in love with her at the same time. He knew he couldn't take his eyes off her. When they went to the altar to put the veil on Marie and her groom, she threw him another winning smile. He was hopelessly lost.

After the wedding, he sought her out. "Do you have a ride to the reception?" he asked.

She replied, "Yes, I do. Homer, meet Jay, my fiancé. We're getting married this coming September. I'm giving you advance notice ha. You should be there, otherwise I'd think you loved Marie more than you loved me."

Fiancé. love Marie more than I love her? Homer's mind spun. He shook fiancé Jay's hand and excused himself.

At the wedding reception, he broke his all-time drinking record, thanks to the steady flow of bottles at his disposal. Try as he might, though, he could never forget the memory of Felichi's silhouette against the picturesque cathedral windows that morning. Ron, Marie's brother and his best friend, asked him if he heard that Felichi was getting married. He nodded absent-mindedly.

Ron put his arm around him and said, "Ikaw kasi pare, eh. We've always thought you and Felichi looked good together. You should have pursued her while she was still available. Marie told me once that Felichi had a crush on you."

"Whaat?" Homer wanted to strangle Ron on the spot. "That's impossible. Why didn't you tell me anything before?"

"Why do you think we forced you to take her to our senior prom? The problem with you, pare, is that you only choose to see what you want to see. Sayang, you could have been our only intra-barkada romance." Then Ron laughed.

Homer failed to see the humor in the situation. His eyes wandered to the table where Felichi was sitting with her boyfriend. She must have felt his smoldering eyes on her because she looked up to meet his gaze. She smiled at him again, then looked back at Jay to continue what she was saying.

Ron was shaking his head when Homer's consciousness returned to his own table. "Ron, why didn't your or Marie or anyone tell me?"

"Hoy, Generoso, I thought you were the expert on women. There is this special class, to which Felichi belongs, who want to be pursued and who would die before they admit to anyone that they had any feelings for you. Ate Marie threatened to kill me if I told you about Felichi's hidden feelings. They waited for you to make the first move, but you never did. All along I thought you weren't interested."

"Well you thought wrong," Homer replied as he downed another shot of whatever it was that was before him.

"Why, pare, we have to drink to that. To your stupidity!" Ron said, raising his glass. Homer raised his glass, gulped his drink, and felt worse than he ever did his entire life.

- Ella del Rosario

March 12, 2003 11:40 - 1:09 p.m.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Manila, Manila

Maraming beses na kitang nilayasan
Iniwanan at iba ang pinuntahan
Parang babaeng mahirap talagang malimutan
Ikaw lamang ang aking laging binabalikan

(Sounds of jeepneys and barkers in the background)

Manila, Manila
I keep coming back to Manila
Simply no place like Manila
Manila, I'm coming home

I walked the streets of San Francisco
I've tried the rides in Disneyland
Dated a million girls in Sydney
Somehow I feel like I don't belong

Hinahanap-hanap kita Manila
Ang ingay mong kay sarap sa tenga
Mga Jeepney mong nagliliparan
Mga babae mong naggagandahan
Take me back in your arms Manila
And promise me you'll never let go
Promise me you'll never let go

Manila, Manila
Miss you like hell, Manila
No place in the world like Manila
I'm coming here to stay