Sunday, October 28, 2007

End of Chapter

Allow me to be sentimental for a while. I'll come up with narrations when I feel like it, later on. =p
Not surprisingly, it wasn't until I watched something sappy that all that had happened within the last two weeks came to coherent form in my head. It was one simple exchange:

"What time does your train leave?"

"At around 930, I think. I already have my apartment cleared out."

"Oh, is that so? So where are you going to spend the night?"

"He's staying with me for one last time... one last time..."

Suddenly, I was back at Los Banos, having dinner with my labmates. It was around 11PM, of October 24th, the just at the end of the first day of the SPP Congress. I was set to go home the next day, after lunch and the other members of SanD were asking me to stay the duration. But, when I think back, one sentence jumps out at me:

"Heto na ang huli nating pagkikita, uuwi ka pa ng maaga." (This is our last meeting and you're going home early.)

At that time, I had laughed it off as sentimental nonsense and even said that "We'll definitely see each other again". It's only now that it dawns on me that the person who said that now works and lives in Zamboanga. It's only now that I come to realize that, even if I stayed with the lab for my master's degree, the others wouldn't necessarily be doing the same. That, the next time I go back to the lab, things would be drastically different, even if the same people are there.
I remember the happiness and sense of accomplishment of the people who had graduated before me. I'm just like them, I felt those very same emotions. And, perhaps, I should have written something when I was in the height of those emotions. I know I wanted to. But, back then, I couldn't find the words. I was at a turning point, and even if time was moving at the same rate as everyone else's, I was accelerating. I was changing direction. The world was spinning so fast and I got caught in its whirlwind. The pre-defense fear and anxiety, the post-defense joy, the hectic pace of SPP preparations, I never got to savor these moments. I never got to appreciate how these things changed me.
As I laughed and joked around with my labmates, as I discussed plenary talks and future research projects with my adviser, as I silently said my farewells to an old friend, I didn't have a chance to look at myself. Then, for the first time, I realized that it looks like I grew up...
...even a little bit.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Warm and Cold

I read this from a friend's blog and it made me smile. I felt that it needed to be shared, so here we go.

last Monday i was going down the long flight of stairs from the train station, right smack into the heart of the busy, congested highway that is EDSA. at the bottom of the stairs i noticed this one street vendor and one taho vendor having a hurried conversation. it went something like this:

Street Vendor:
[extending a plastic containing packed lunch to the other] kunin mo na o.. (you
can get this..)

Taho Vendor: hindi na, ayos lang.. (no, it's fine..)

Street Vendor: eto naman, sige na! (come on, take it!)

Taho Vendor: [fishes out a couple of coins from his pocket and shoves it into the hand of the other guy]

Street Vendor: sus, wag na! sayo na yan. (no need. just take it, it's yours.)

at that point they were already out of my sight. i dunno if the taho vendor paid for the food that was being given to him or not. but i found myself smiling after that. i'm not aware of the set of circumstances before that scene but it's very nice to know that amidst the poverty in our country some people still care enough to share what little blessings they have. it's strange, though, that i found this display of charity among people both from the lower classes of society while those who are much more blessed choose to turn a blind eye to the plights of the less fortunate.but thanks to those two guys, i think there's still hope for us after all.

Before reading this blog entry from Donna, I heard over the news that a tricycle driver returned an envelope containing P80,000 plus a check to a lady working in a music store. Ate Letty commented on that news segment

Ate Letty: Sana maraming taong ganyan. (I wish there were a lot of people like that)

Me: Marami naman eh. Marami nga lang rin na hinde. (There are a lot of people like that. But there are also a lot of people who aren't.)

Yeah, I know, that's not the nicest thing I could have said, but I was just stating the fact.

Much earlier in the day, Ivan and I were talking over pizza. I was complaining about how expensive the simple act of producing the bound copies of our theses was. He brought up that I had yet to collect (blank) amount of cash from this guy who I couldn't even find. "Yun pa lang, sobra-sobra na para sa thesis mo" (Just that [money] is more than enough for you thesis). I told Ivan that I had long let the money go and he was telling me that I shouldn't trust people so easily (to his credit, he did say that it wasn't really "good advice", but was more practical).

The truth is, I think most people aren't cold beacuse they're heartless; most people are cold because they feel as if there is a need to be. I have the luxury to be warm and giving because I have the extra cash or time or whatever that enables me to be so. For a lot of people that I know, Ivan included, they lived to learn that every centavo they have must be put to good use and accounted for to benefit the family. When that tricycle driver comes to a rough patch, someone might tell him, "Eh ikaw naman kasi, bakit sinauli mo pa yung pera. Ngayong kailangan mo, sino'ng tutulong sayo?" (Why did you return the money? Now that you need it, who will help you?).

So what should we have done?