Monday, October 30, 2006

I've been taking advantage of the sem break by seeing my favorite people in the world. I'm sorry for ranting the other day. My friends know I love them so much.

Anyhow, I met up with S for coffee and dinner after having lunch with my family. Talked about a friend's upcoming wedding, what to wear, who's dating who...but mostly, the concern was her baby girl A, my goddaughter who's been diagnosed with Kabuki syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that has no cure. Kids with KS are speech/hearing and usually intellectually impaired. Their immune system is weak and in fact, baby A is in and out of the hospital almost every month. There are only 150 or so documented cases in the world. I've been thinking of ways to help S because therapy and hospitalization costs are just too much. I don't have the money to offer but I'm thinking of projects that would raise funds for the baby. I'll make sure to find time and work on this.

S has been blaming herself for her baby's condition. Although the doctors told her the causes of KS are unknown, S still believes that it's karma. Karma sa lahat ng kalokohan niya. She thinks it's payback time now. Well, I told her things happen for a reason. Sounds unfair for the baby, right? Cruel even. But then that's just how life is. You just got to live and hope. Reminds me of Crooked Finger in Antonia's Line: it is absurd to believe that the constant pain afflicting us is there purely by chance...on the contrary, misery is the norm, not the exception...

To me, accepting that misery is constant means living. Where there is acceptance lies hope. Wala yata akong sense pero iyon eh.

So there we were in a mall roaming around, the din drowning our voices as we were strolling. Somehow, we both found solace in Book Sale, perhaps searching for answers in second-hand pages that definitely cost much less.

After dinner, we hailed a cab for her. She got a text message to go straight to the hospital because the baby was running a fever again.


I always say labo. Labo ng mga pangyayari sa buhay. Labo ng mga tao. Labo ng mundo. Minsan nasasabi ko rin, labo ng Diyos. Then again, I am jolted awake. Hindi. Hindi malabo ang Diyos. Tao lang ang malabo. Tayo lang talaga.

Tonight, I am determined to rise above all I'm going through. With P, things will not be impossible. With my family, things will have a purpose. With my friends, things will have meaning. Ayoko nang maging malabo.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Just got home from dinner and tea with my best friend N. P’s out with his Ateneo friends and the wind’s getting scary outside.

My last entry embarrasses me. I hate it when I whine like that. What the hell, I needed to let that out, anyway.

Spending time with one of my dearest friends was good for me, not to mention Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s banana cream pie. N was more candid than the last time I saw her and again, we tried to find the answer to our perennial question: will she ever settle down and get married to Mr. Right?

She’s at the peak of her career and is now dabbling in teaching yet she’s not happy, she claimed. We have another friend who’s now earning 100k a month as a trainer in a call center, not happy either. One thing they have in common is their relationships—both complicated.

Listening to her talk about stuff ranging from her addiction to Kenshi of Samurai X, to her thirty pairs of shoes, to the man of her life, down to client presentations that have gone awry made me feel less lonely if only for a while. She reminded me that I’m the only one who can get myself out of this rut--with a plus-- "You’re lucky”, she said. “You have P. You have a home”.

This could also be pre-birthday blues. I’m turning 28 in 18 days.

I’ve already received my first birthday present: Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things from P. Last year, he gave me Anansi Boys and because of this, he’s now my official Gaiman fairy godfather.

I want Rushdie's Shalimar the Clown. Hint, hint ;)

How are you?

This is one of those days when I really should be writing down my thoughts because there are a lot of them swarming my mind. I stare at the monitor and wait for the words, the glare tiring my eyes, and still, nothing comes. These days, I am wont to say God doesn’t answer your prayers when you need Him to, when you really, badly need Him to do so. When I am this hopeless, jaded and exhausted, I feel like I am at the wrong place, with the wrong people, doing the wrong thing. How can I be teaching those kids when I myself have become tired of learning? Seems like all I ever do is learn from my mistakes, from other people’s and then that’s it. Nothing comes after. No fucking light at the end of the tunnel.

Hope costs a lot these days and I just can’t afford it.

Angela won the poetry writing contest in school. When I first noticed her in English class, it was because she couldn’t even write a paragraph about her seventh birthday party. Then I had her for Creative Writing class where she retold “Little Riding Hood” and made up her own John Wood, and at the age of twelve had characters asking about the meaning of life. Last Friday, she shined and amazed us with her words. She’s one of my dragonflies that keep me going.

Last night, in a tough feat of showing P that I am interested in people, his friends specifically, I joined them for some booze and banter. We first caught ourselves dying in a schmaltzy QC joint with a band blasting off Dust in the Wind and Hotel California, bad fish and sisig, and the cheesiest crowd ever. We ended up transferring to the bar across the street, where a costume party and salsa night was going on. It was a tad better there, thank God.

Then it dawned on me again. I am such a bore. P asked me to dance five times and I rejected him. After my first beer, I ordered coffee and longed to bring out my book and just tune out. Sometimes I feel so sorry for P because he’s married to a geek like me who’d rather have coffee and good conversation on a Saturday evening—and doesn't care if she'll have to do the same thing every Saturday evening. How blah, right?

Well, now that I think about it, I talk and think about my students five days a week, and on weekends, which are supposed to be mine, could you blame me if I just want to sit down, have some quiet and talk about…me?

Anyway, last night was a change. Mindless, testosterone chatter. I’m glad I went and hopefully next time, my dearest P, you could have that dance.

I dread the thought of going home to my family in Manila later. I can’t bear hearing about problems anymore. Also these days, when my friends call me, it’s about their own baggage, too. Come to think of it, when was the last time I was asked, kumusta ka na, Tin?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

For dearest Ayvi

"...I'll make a sound that's so alone that no one can miss it, that whoever hears it will weep in their souls, and hearths will seem warmer, and being inside will seem better to all who hear it in the distant towns. I'll make me a sound and an apparatus and they'll call it a Fog Horn and whoever hears it will know the sadness of eternity and the briefness of life.'

The Fog Horn blew..."

- excerpts from The Fog Horn by Ray Bradbury

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Back On Air

Last week, the college of teachers had a workshop on language: what should the medium of instruction be, what really is the ideal foreign language (we have German and Arabic at present), how do students express themselves, how do teachers teach language, etc. During these days, I found myself all the more confused and even doubtful of my own capacities as a teacher and well, let me just say it--as a writer.

The issue on language gave birth to so many other little questions, like babies crying: do they want to be fed? to be changed? to be carried? to be lulled?

And then the release of the students' newsletter, of which I am the adviser, also came out last week. We had very little time preparing for it--my fault, in a way. I wanted to beat the deadline. Then there was also a hazy reason of the faculty that I was not clear about, as to why we had to release it at the said date. But then my students worked hard on their articles. They were excited. They started planning for the next issue. For me, that is what's important. There were still revisions that could make their work much much better, yes, but the impulse behind it is the significant thing.

Why am I ranting now? I feel tired. I feel like no matter how hard I work or try my best to make things work, it would be futile in the end because I work so differently from my colleagues. I sound like my students now, don't I? Whining like an adolescent who thinks adults are the ultimate villains in life. Well, in a way, there's the rub...

Back to school again tomorrow. I'll be wrapping up my block on Dickens' "Oliver Twist" and we'll practice my eighth grade's musical presentation. For my ninth graders, we'll have to deal with sentence diagramming again and begin "To Kill a Mockingbird". My eleventh graders (my advisory class and the school's most "notorious"--I love them to bits anyhow) and I will end "A Separate Peace" and plan our mock trial. I need to write students' reports for Thursday's PTC, check papers, write an article for this week's parents bulletin, write an article for the Star's K.O., prepare for a nerve-wracking meeting with the parents of my most belligerent male student, stay sane and worry about many other things--the question, now, is "do I still like my work?"

With a sigh, "yes."

Friday, October 06, 2006

I'm having a bad case of TMJS (temporo-mandibular joint syndrome). Not only does my head feel like exploding into smithereens, my right jaw's awfully painful, too. I imitate Munch's "The Scream" every two seconds. I need some painkillers.

My brain's numb. It simply refuses to function and there's nothing I can do about it. I love my work. Then again I wish Christmas break would come a little sooner--in a week perhaps? Am I this tired???

The other night, P and I had tea at Kopi Roti (there's a decent cafe only a block away from our house!) and I told him about Mika's latest blog entry about loneliness. I told him I'm lonely these days. I'm too lazy now to elaborate but that night, P understood me completely.

With everything going on with my life--my work, my family, some of my friends--I suppose I have the right to just snap and go crazy. At the end of the day though, I thank God for P.


Where's my muse? I can't take this anymore...