June 25, 2009

Back to School

I am now officially a school mom. For the past few days, I have been "stealing" time off work to see how my daughter is faring in not-so-big school. I have been in the company of moms and yayas, some of whom have been through countless first-day-of-school fever.

The "friendlier" ones have exchanged contact numbers. Somebody has already fished out a catalogue and has since been convincing me to buy Tupperware. The yayas have formed the inescapable textmate-na-tayo bond, comparing notes not just on their wards but also on boyfriends and Friendster accounts. Who knows, they might just have progressed on to comparing notes about us, he he he.

From days of hanging around "stage" (there's one who, from the window keeps on egging her son to raise his hand) and "unstage" mothers, I can say that truly, preschool is the world in micro. There are bullies and brats, there are loudmouths and there are those who couldn't care less. There are those who jump right into the thick of things, those who need a little more prodding and there are those who cling, cling and cling some more.

I really feel that I am back in school, only this time, I already know the colors and the shapes. This time, I am watching a little girl learn. And I am also (re)learning to see things from a little girl's point of view.

June 13, 2009

Defining Irony

Independence Day came with a memo directing us to attend the usual ceremonies. As these things go, the memo had the unspoken "or else" masked by the usual bureaucratic jargon and went on to prescribe the attire for the activity.

Permanent employees are supposed to come in in their Monday uniforms while those on job-order status had to be in "casual" attire.

Naturally this raised quite a stir on those whose contracts hinge on things other than performance. Some quibbled, some fretted, some made plans to raid the ukay-ukay stalls. Exasperated at having to deal with gripes in varying tones and degrees, someone stood up and proclaimed the (not quite as dreaded) bottomline: you have no choice.

On "Araw ng Kalayaan?"

June 2, 2009

Middle of Nowhere

I am no swimmer, but I do love the sea. That and boat rides. There is something about being in the middle of the sea--right smack in the middle of nowhere--that evokes a certain calm. As long as the sea is calm, of course.

And last Wednesday, it was. En route to Sto. Nino, a smaller-than-small island that is only accessible by banca, the sea was at its summer best. Mount Mayon was picture-perfect: I've seen it countless times from the air and on land, but never from the sea. And it was just beautiful!

On the hour-long ride to the island I remembered other boat rides: chasing the whales in Donsol, going after dolphins in Bais, innumerable trips to virtually unpeopled islands. Always, it never fails to put things in perspective.

Sto. Nino was a grounding experience as well. One look at this makeshift schoolhouse, and I thought that this could probably run on a single semester's tuition at Ateneo. Just about everything was improvised, and somehow, there was a sense of urgency in its construction.

When I saw some of the inhabitants, I understood the urgency. With virtually nowhere else to go, most of them married young, ending up with more children than they can probably afford to have. The one-room schoolhouse was some kind of reminder that there is a much, much bigger world out there.

Beautiful though it was, there was something constricting about the island. I saw this in the 21-year-old cradling a one-year-old and who had a four-year-old clinging to her skirt. In four months, there will be another baby, and I doubt if it will be the last. I saw this in those who practically bumped us off our boat to take advantage of the “free” ride to the mainland.

When it was time to leave, I was only too glad to return to the sea … and home.

June 1, 2009

You're Not Wearing That!

In Church yesterday, I was distracted by this young girl--probably around eight--wearing a red shirt. The print was easy to make out even for my nowhere near 20/20 vision. It said:

sexually arousing, exciting or interesting
radiating sexuality, alluring
as an illustration, see attached person

I'm no regular church-goer, and I won't even attempt to understand if it's appropriate or not. But one thing I'm sure of: my daughter won't be wearing that shirt. Not if I can help it, he he he.