Backtracking is a common practice at this point of the year. It is a way in which we digest all the overwhelming events that have transpired in the past 12 months and archive them into the recesses of our unconscious minds. For some, it is also a simple act of reminisce on the days of happiness, pain, and beauty. Still for others, it is a significant undertaking of absorbing life lessons and remembering methods of solving life’s problems.
At times, yearly recapitulations can be boring since we have learned to forget most life events. Other times, it can surprise us by suddenly triggering memories that make us exclaim, “That was this year?” or “What? That happened this year? I thought it was on the year before?” I too, have been in such awe circumstances while watching recaps on television or reading it in the papers.
It is fairly obvious that this blog post will chronicle all that I have experienced this 2009. But I won’t bore you with every detail of my life since January 1st—I will just stick to the major events that have happened. I will also include some major news items, both in the local and international scene, and state what I was doing or where I was at the time those events were taking place.
Without further ado …
I didn’t renew my contract as a Recruitment Assistant/Independent Consultant (Human Resource) for a contact center in the city. Since it was contractual, that pay that I was receiving was insufficient for my transport and personal expenses. What’s more, that American call center was at the verge of being under a new, Indian management with a “no contractors” policy. This meant that we, recruitment assistants, would be re-employed under a personnel agency and be considered as external hires to the call center. Subsequently, our employment to the contact center would be “shaky,” as they could displace us at any time. Frankly, I’m pining for a long-lasting career.
The last that I’ve heard, the personnel agency was rejected by the contact center due to poor management, and my co-assistants were then absorbed as regulars. Unfortunately, some of them were retrenched. Who says contact centers aren’t affected by the global economic crisis?
The 20th day of this month was very historical as the first African American President was sworn into office. I actually stayed up late to see this possibly once-in-a-lifetime event. I followed everything, from Obama’s correction of the fouled-up sworn statement to his engaging inaugural address. But what stood out then was first lady, Michelle Obama, and her “economic fashion sense.” She was a patron of low-cost outfits and wrap-up coats that went in line with the global economic crisis. It’s ironic, though, ‘cause during her husband’s inauguration, she wore a golden outfit.
…to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
—an excerpt from President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address
I absolutely loved his Inaugural Address. President Obama definitely knows how to make a speech that moves human emotion.
I took a three-day course on medical transcription, just to find out if I’m fit for it. Being a medical transcriptionist (MT) is okay… but the work is very similar to a call center agent—not really physically engaging. I don’t really want to work sitting down most of the time, although present reality shows us that most of the high-paying jobs involve sitting around for hours, doing paperwork, data entry, call answering—purely office work. I eventually qualified for the Pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (PGMA) Scholarship in partnership with TESDA to take the 15-day MT training exclusively for nurses. However, I withdrew from the program since at about the same time, I submitted an application to be a trainee at St. Luke’s Medical Center for the Global (Taguig) medical center. I needed the time that I would have spent on MT training to review for the qualifying exams and tests of St. Luke’s.
My cat, Kitty II gave birth to three cute kittens. Unfortunately, one died before the end of the month.
A month after withdrawing from the MT training program, I have heard nothing yet from St. Luke’s. I thought, “Oh great! I wish I’ve pushed through with MT—at least I would have added to my list of skills on my résumé!” I lost interest in reviewing and instead, concentrated on my gym workout. My rationale: “I’ll use all the time that I have to sculpt my body, before something ever comes up and I would be busy again.”
Francis Magalona died at 12:00NN on March 6. I wasn’t watching Eat Bulaga! at the time. I was… … …sleeping! It always happens in my life—I miss some great news items being aired live all because I prioritize my siesta hour!
I started this blog. Months after going offline from my two previous blogs (Flick Scribbles and Whimsical Scribe), I decided to maintain just one blog. In as much as I wanted to retain Flick Scribbles, I wanted to change the domain name to reflect my new blogging topic: Writing just about anything and delivering it to the world. Since I didn’t want to pay for a WordPress.com upgrade on domain registration and mapping, I thought of creating a new account, username, and domain name. Of course, the sad part of this was that I lost my readers on the previous blogs. Actually, my previous blogs had far higher traffic stats than this current blog. Oh well, as long as I’m not delimited to write on a particular blog topic, I’m happy with the stats that I now have. Click to read my first post on this blog.
On the 27th of this month, another one of the kittens died. One was then, left all alone. Click to read the poem dedicated to this kitten.
One of my friends went to St. Luke’s for a three-month training program for nurses. And we submitted our résumés at the same time! What? I’m not qualified? Why not!?
Undeterred, I had my friend submit my résumé again—“Malay mo, na-misplace nila yung credentials mo…”
To add to my anguish, my last remaining kitten, Agatha, died. The cause of death: Unknown. My hunch: Brain hemorrhage. I just found her lying lifeless one morning. She was a bit warm, so I presumed she passed away in the early hours of that day. I don’t remember that day—I don’t care for death dates and I wanted to forget it anyway.
Lastly, I proposed going to University of Santo Tomas (UST) to take up a second course—Musical Theater—but my parents disagreed. The costs of another college degree—more so in the metro—was too high for them and they might need the money for my dad’s medical needs, in case something was to happen. I was actually all set to go down to the UST Conservatory of Music for my audition when my parents withdrew on the last minute. *sigh!* Maybe this coming year, but honestly, I feel like running out of time. I swear to myself, I WON’T LET MY ASPIRATIONS BE WEIGHED DOWN BY EXTERNAL DISTRACTIONS!!
It was a heavy month, and I definitely cried in every instance. With the pierces my heart received, I made a poem entitled, Waging War.
The Hayden-Katrina Sex Video Scandal! When this news item broke out, I thought, “Dok, you’re the man!” 😀 Ang lakas ng dating sa babae eh! Naglakas loob pa na mangolekta ng recorded sessions kasama ng mga babes niya! Oh well, I guess that’s one of the “evils of fame.” You suddenly think that you can sweep any lass off her feet and do whatever you want to her ‘cause, well, …what the heck! You’re rich and famous! Now don’t get me started on the erotic dance song, Careless Whisper and numerous Hayden Kho-Katrina Halili SMS jokes that circulated.
One of the biggest blows to my self-esteem happened: I learned that my board rating did not meet St. Luke’s standards by one point and that my general weighted average (GWA) was insufficient. L I actually felt like crying! I think I did cry from distress, I just don’t remember. So what did I derive from the experience? I’M NOT FIT TO BE A NURSE AND I’LL NEVER ATTEMPT TO PRACTICE EVER IN MY LIFE!!!
See, after graduation and passing the Nurses’ Licensure Examination (NLE), I vowed to practice clinical nursing only in the most ideal hospitals. I saw pictures of St. Luke’s on Reader’s Digest and on some newspapers and though, “Yeah, this is where I want to work in should I push through with my profession.” But with so many disappointments, I won’t go back to that path. I never wanted to be a nurse anyway. I will, instead, pursue on my REAL aspirations!
Another event is of course, my birthday. I turned 22 and never really felt enthusiastic about it mainly because, I had no job and I felt like I was getting nowhere. Click to read the dedicated blog post.
In line with my birthday, I also resolved to go on a retreat from my friends and the people that I’m cordial with. I wanted time solely for myself and my immediate family. I figured to return only after I have pulled my life back together, or after I have reinvented myself. I estimated that two or three years of zero communication with my social circle would be enough. I always go with what my friends and society in general goes after—so called the “bandwagon mentality.” Since I never really followed my own decisions, I mostly ended up in situations wherein I wasn’t happy or wherein I got in a lot more trouble than warranted. Click to read the dedicated page.
With the ongoing Kho-Halili scandal, we needed a diversion. And it came in the person of Michael Jackson, who stole the thunder from the Obamas, the recession, and even from another Holiwood personality who died—former Charlie’s Angel, Farrah Fawcett. His death was truly unfortunate as he was just about to start his This Is It concert series, which was supposed to resurrect his music career. I’m not really a Michael Jackson fan, so when the news broke out in the morning, I was surprised that I exclaimed a simple, “Wow!” Nevertheless, I stopped making pancakes and moved up close to the TV to hear the news.
I remember within the first two weeks of this month, Kitty II again gave birth to three kittens. I took a peek at the newborns and saw that they were healthy—at last this batch will survive and I would have a whole clan of cats again in no time!
In the late weeks (and after six months of doing nothing and pointless job-searching), I finally got accepted as a web article writer at an outsourcing and offshore company in the city (but is much closer to my home). Since it’s a small business, I don’t pay employment taxes, meaning I get the full compensation for my work. Since I find no difficulty in writing, I find the work relatively easy—get the topic, research on it, then write it. Since the topics are related to business (and not to my degree), I get to explore worlds outside of what I have taken in college. Although it is office work and not physically engaging, the mental exercise that I get is priceless! I learn something (by researching), then I apply it (by writing about it). Best of all, it pays great—100 to 200% higher than my previous job as a contact center recruitment assistant.
MJ’s burial. Like almost the whole world, I didn’t stay up late for the grand event covered by prominent Hollywood personalities. I’m no fan of MJ so I didn’t care at all. *toinkz!*
One kitten from the latest batch of kittens was eaten … … …by its mother! It was a shame since it was a pure black beauty and would have grown into a sleek and sophisticated feline. I wonder why mother cats do that. Do they really look through their kittens and determine their offspring’s survivability, in which case, if one wouldn’t survive, it has to be disposed off? Just thinking about it gets me disgusted with Kitty II!! Oh well, that’s nature …I guess…
One of the biggest Philippine headliners ever: Cory Aquino’s death. It has late at night and I was watching the coverage of Cory’s hospitalization, and I could see that reporters were getting revved up. I thought that the inevitable might have happened. The next morning, the reports confirmed my suspicion and the lady in yellow passed in the wee hours of the morning.
To be honest (and not to be insulting), I felt nothing from her passing. I was born in the year after her inauguration as President—I was definitely too young to understand everything that happened around. Although I see what she has done, I never felt her dedication, her pain, and her love of country. I only saw that part of her life post-Presidency. Nevertheless, I feel like I have to thank her for what she has done for this country.
In response, she thanks us, Filipino citizens, as seen on her exclusive interview at Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho. I loved her closing message on that particular episode.
Another thing that I think is worthy of mention here are the four guards who stood by Cory’s repository all the way to her final resting place. Each one represented the members of the Philippine force. They actually diverted my attention from the whole entourage: “Aren’t they tired?” “Shouldn’t they be calling for other guards to take over?” “What, they’ll be standing the whole time?” I knew that army people are trained for such circumstances, but this was kind of unprepared for. I mean, they haven’t eaten and what if they needed to go to the bathroom? Eventually, they stuck to it until the end and were named as exceptional initiators of duty. Kudos to those four men for a job well done!
I opened my first bank account at a major Philippine bank. I had to store my money or else I would have spent it. I had an account at a small local bank but I wanted a bank that was open on Saturdays (and possibly on Sundays) and that could allow me to withdraw money in dire monetary emergencies. Incidentally, the date, 09.09.09 was also within this month, so I opened my account at the said date. Now, the last date with the repeating single digits of this century are recorded in my passbook.!
It is on this month that I really enjoyed the company of the two remaining kittens. They were very endearing and funny that I couldn’t stop playing with them. And, at last, they grew tame towards me. Whenever I would go out to see them, they would run towards me and position themselves on top of my feet or on my lap. They attached themselves to my heart.
Typhoon Ondoy (international name: Ketsana) hit Metro Manila the hardest, and the most affected Manila area was Marikina. Dangerous flash floods were totally unexpected as it seemed that Ondoy was just like any other typhoon. Little did Manila residents know that they were in for treacherous waters and a long exhausting night. I was actually able to go to the office but it was difficult with some heavy rains.
Barely one week later, another typhoon, Pepeng (international name: Melor) arrived and ravaged Northern Luzon. The most heavily affected area was within and surrounding my community, La Trinidad Benguet. On the first day that Pepeng struck, I was supposed to report to the office but I decided not to, as my mom said that the rains were very strong and it could get very dangerous. And she was right! Later in the day, landslides began occurring within the community, even on the national highway! If I proceeded with reporting to the office, I might have been a casualty! *gulp!*
A third typhoon, Ramil (international name: Lupit) wanted to enter the Philippines, but decided to spare the country. This year was definitely a year of great natural calamities. However, it brought out something good in the Filipino: Bayanihan (Heroism). Click to read the dedicated blog post.
On the very first morning of this month, I found the two kittens bloodied and dead. It was such a shock that I didn’t know what to think. I had work on that day that I quickly wrapped them up and buried them in the backyard. On my way to the office, my mind was a complete blank. I had less tasks to perform on that Thursday so I quickly went home at 12:00NN. I fought back my tears while going home. When I arrived, it finally hit me: My friends were gone forever. I cried so hard over their graves on that afternoon. It was the first time in a very long time since I cried so hard. I remember I couldn’t stop blaming myself for being such a reckless pet owner. I actually heard their meows the night before and I just dismissed it—little did I know that they were being attack by a “beast.” And up to now, I don’t know what “beast” that was. A dog? A snake? One thing’s for certain: The scar will take a lifetime to fade. Read the two dedicated blog posts entitled, Hurting Silently and One of the Greatest Moments in My Life.
Also, on the first day of October, I got accepted as an Independent Contractor/Home-Based Writer for a Manila-based web article writing company. I was a bit overjoyed with the company’s acceptance of my application, but with the death of my two kittens, I couldn’t concentrate well. I felt that the death of my kittens was “payment” for my acceptance in another writing job. You know, that “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” thing? Well, for another employment opportunity, I had to pay it with the death of my two kittens. Kind of like the law of alchemy in the animé, Full Metal Alchemist, if you’re familiar with it. But I refuse to believe that you do a give-and-take scheme in life for the things that you aspire for.
My dad was hospitalized for five days. This is the first time that he was hospitalized for Diabetes Type II. It was just before dinner on a Friday, when my dad went into a semi-conscious state. He was having a hypoglycemic episode (meaning he had less metabolized blood sugar than needed, so he was very, veerrry weak!) so I gave him some cola. When that didn’t work and he was already starting to drool, I decided to rush him to the hospital for second-degree interventions. Since I’m the nurse and the only child in the family, I was tasked to care for my dad for majority of the time that he was confined, while my mom watched over the house. It was very tiring since, I was in the hospital doing nursing semi-nursing duties round the clock! I was, unofficially, my dad’s Private Duty Nurse! Luckily, I temporarily had no article orders from the US, so I had the whole month off from work. Good timing! Click to read the dedicated blog post.
On the 24th, the biggest case that the NBI has ever handled materialized: The Massacre at Maguindanao. Everyone voiced their disgust, and so did I on these blog posts: Column: Bad News, Good News and Column: Nakikiramay Po. I couldn’t believe that such things still exist in these times! Is this the middle ages? Do people just kill innocents in fits of rage and insanity?
Nothing important really happened. Just the same old things that I usually do during December—get into the holiday spirit and take it all in. I was still off from work so I had a lot of time to enjoy myself. Midway through the month, I received article orders from Manila, so I was a bit busy. Aside from that, nothing else really significant transpired.