Posts tagged ‘personal’

Fond Remembrances

 Nun

Today is her birthday. Born on a leap year, she belongs to that rare breed who can inspire and positively influence people that they have touched.

She’s of weak constitution further aggravated by a fall that forced her to walk with cane for sometime. In addition, she has to wear dark glasses even indoors due to photophobia (light sensibility). But she’s mentally and spiritually strong. She’s a force of nature always pushing you to the best of your abilities.

She’s a painter, a photographer, and a writer. Most of all, she’s a teacher in the highest regard. I have the honor of being one of her students. She has taught me the beauty of the English language and encouraged me to read the classics and works of dead people.

Although she belongs to a prominent family, she’s a rebel at heart. She has abandoned all the glitters and privileges it can provide and chooses to be a Franciscan nun. It’s been said that when her father saw her walking on the street on a hot summer day, he instructed the driver to stop and offer her a ride. She refused.

She has high ambition for me. She thinks that I could have a future in journalism or priesthood. But it isn’t meant to be. Life being a journey of twists and turns, I’ve found myself in America and ended up writing code for a living instead. Still, I’m confident that I’ve made her proud.

Happy birthday, Sister G. I get this warm, soft feeling in my chest thinking of you. As you always say, fond remembrances. I’ll never forget you.

February 29, 2020 at 12:50 pm 2 comments

A Lesson Learned

I Pass

 
After receiving two consecutive five year extensions by mail, it was time to renew my driving license at the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

It was an experience that I wanted to avoid. It could be intimidating and stressful to a point because of the big crowd and the need to take both a vision test and written test.

My first day’s visit to the DMV was a total waste. I forgot to bring my Social Security Card and was asked to go back.

On my second visit, I was able to meet all the requirements: Social Security Card, passport, and two bills showing proof of my current residence. After being in line for sometime, I was given a number and waited for my turn.

It took a couple of hours before my number was called. After my papers were checked at the counter, I underwent the vision test to prove that I have at least 20/40 acuity with either one or both of my eyes. I was asked to look at the chart on the wall and read lines of numbers and letters on it. The result was inconclusive. I had to do it again by looking into a machine for the test. This time around, I passed.

Then I waited for my picture to be taken. When my turn came, I was asked to take my glasses off and smile. I didn’t think it would be of much help. I expected it to be worse than my high school graduation picture what with all the tension and anxiety building inside me.

Afterward I waited for my name to be called for the written test. After about an hour, I got the call. It required answering correctly 15 out of 18 questions on a touch screen terminal.

Since I considered myself as a good driver, I thought it would be a cinch and didn’t need the three chances given to pass it. I was sure I would breeze through it without any problem.

On my first attempt, however, I failed. It felt like a slap in the face.

When asked if I wanted a second chance, I said yes without hesitation. Big mistake. I failed again.

In desperation along with my bruised ego, I asked the administrator to allow me the last and final shot to pass. But she suggested that I better go home and study first.

I heeded her advice. I knew what was at stake. If I failed this time around, I had to start all over again. I didn’t want to do that because of the risk of failing another vision test which would require me buying a new pair of glasses.

I got a copy of the California Driver Handbook and spent two grueling days poring over it. I didn’t remember studying that hard since I prepared for the Microsoft Certified System Engineer exam.

When I went back to the DMV to take the test, I was ready more than I could ever be. Needless to say, I passed. After reaching the 17th question with only one wrong answer, I got the Congratulations Message on the screen and didn’t have to continue anymore. It felt like a heavy burden was lifted off my shoulders.

If there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s not to underestimate any task on hand. Never take anything for granted. Like a Boy Scout, be always prepared.

February 23, 2020 at 10:51 am Leave a comment

One Ordinary Day

Cross Street

 
Today I walk to the post office to mail a holiday greeting card. Since Christmas Day is past, it may appear a little late, but not really. In my native country, the Christmas season doesn’t end until the Feast of the Epiphany on the first Sunday of the year. Besides, I know the recipient will understand.

It’s 10:30 a.m. The sun is up and shining bright, but with the temperature hovering in the upper 30s, there’s hardly any pedestrians and dog walkers in sight. By contrast, the main street is busy with anxious drivers eager to beat the red light. They show impatience and don’t hesitate to blow their horns at so-called Sunday and holiday drivers who get in the way.

The post office is a mile from my house. As I saunter on the way, I ponder on the year that’s about to end. What an uneventful year it was! It would be remembered mostly as the year my mother passed away in the Philippines. I wasn’t able to attend the funeral. Since I live in the U.S., I could only wish my sister had given me more time to book and prepare for the trip. Scheduling the burial five days after her death just didn’t cut it. Needless to say, it made me angry and sad.

It’s my fervent hope that the coming year will bring peace to our family. May it allow us to rise above our petty differences and learn to forgive and forget and move on. After all, we’re family and there’s nothing we can do about it.

After mailing the card at the post office, I have decided to go to the nearby food court for my favorite comfort food. On a cold day like this nothing compares to a hot noodle soup. Bon appétit!

December 28, 2019 at 2:51 pm Leave a comment

The Time of My Life

Happy Spring
Credit: Snoopy by Charles M. Schulz

 
I’m having the time of my life these days experiencing these highs and lows. It’s becoming like the present weather. It’s kind of a mixed bag with the sun, rain, thunder, lightning, snow, wind, frost, you name it, all happening in random succession.

First, the next project I was supposed to be working on was officially cancelled. The sponsor balked at the cost. With my contract ending on 3/31, I was concerned. I saw gloom but it didn’t last. The sun came up when the manager told me that he’s extending my contract until the end of the year

Yesterday, I went to the dentist in the rain to have my broken crown fixed. With my permission, he extracted two of my upper teeth I wouldn’t have done it, but lightning struck. He dared me if I was tough enough for it. Of course, I told him I was. Now I won’t be able to chew food properly for weeks until the sewed gum is healed and the partial bridge put in place.

I thought I could go back to work after the dentist appointment. But with cottons stuffed in my mouth, I wouldn’t be a welcome sight. I decided to go home instead. I logged on to the computer and read my office mail. There was an emergency staff meeting at 12 pm. I sent a message to the manager saying I’d be taking the rest of the day off because of my condition. I could dial-in for the meeting but wouldn’t be able to talk. Fine, he said, I could listen in.

The meeting was about the coming reorg. Outside the window, I suddenly heard the wind howling badly. The manager said that he’d no longer be our manager. He’d be working in another capacity. I could only imagine the chill the news brought to everybody. He assured the permanent staff that they wouldn’t lose their jobs. They would just be slotted to work for another manager. As for contractors like me, however, he didn’t know what would happen. At that instance, I saw the rain started falling again.

It was cloudy when I went to work this morning. At the office, the manager told me that he did extend my contract, but the coming reorg could throw a wrench on it. The sun was up again in the afternoon when he told me I had been slotted to join the ‘build’ team responsible for coding, testing, and customizing vendors’ applications. The new manager called me early evening to confirm what my former manager said. You know what, he’ll be managing his team from East Coast.

I don’t know how long I can wait for the spring season to arrive. If it doesn’t arrive soon, I’m afraid I’ll truly become a man imitating this weather on its topsy-turvy dance. It has taught me one valuable lesson, though, and that’s not to be too comfortable in any situation no matter how good it looks.

March 15, 2019 at 4:29 pm Leave a comment

It’s Been A Good Year

Persimmon Fruit

 
I see that the leaves of the persimmon tree in my backyard have turned to the same color as its fruit. It marks the last days of autumn before winter finally sets in. From the kitchen table where I sit, it’s a sight to behold in hues of red, orange, and gold. Albert Camus said it best, “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

Once again, the holidays are upon us. It’s amazing how time flies. I think it’s especially true as you get older. When I was a kid, I remember the year lingering so slowly it seemed like an eternity. But now it comes and goes by so fast. It’s over before I know it.

Now comes the question, is your glass half empty or half full? It’s all about perspective of course. It depends on how you look at it.

As we move through the stages of our lives, we realize that things are different every time but they aren’t necessarily better or worse than before. Under the circumstances, it pays to be “fanatically positive and militantly optimistic,” like Rick Steves would say, and, “if something’s not to your liking, change your liking.”

The persimmon tree has been generous this year offering a bountiful harvest. Raking the leaves after they fall to the ground is the least I can do to show my appreciation.

It’s been a great year for persimmons, it’s been a great year for me, and I hope it’s been a great year for you, too.

May the good times and moments of the passing year become the cherished memories of tomorrow. Wishing you lots of love, joy, and happiness. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

December 8, 2018 at 8:58 am Leave a comment

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