Is it too much to ask for these?

In one boring and frustrating weekend, I found myself thinking of my upcoming birthday, which is still two months away. LOL I guess this is what happens when you are drowning yourself with sad thoughts, self-pity, hopelessness and quarter-life crisis. You tend to search for things that would make you happy.

Armed with my iPad and fast wifi connection, I challenged myself. I forced myself to write down my birthday wishes. It sounds easy peasy but to add twist to the challenge, I decided to limit my wishes to non-material things. I’ve been blinded with temporary happiness from shoes, clothes, bags and other material wealth. The great evidence to this is my New Journey series. I’d like to believe and convince myself that there are better things more than all those expensive gifts. So here’s my list,

1. My great crush Jeremy Lin @jlin7 to greet me on Twitter – I know it’s too shallow. But this would awaken the dying teenage-crush-giddy-moment in me. For those who want to help me in granting this dream, you can see my twitter account on the lower left menu. LOL

2. Birthday cake and candle to blow – You see, I’m a grown up who remains to be very kid at heart. A surprise birthday cake would really make me happy.

3. Heart warming letter – Nothing beats a personally handwritten letter! Whoever has the heart and patience to write and send me a handwritten letter, I will really appreciate it.

4. Birthday Card – As much as possible, not the e-card. The classic Hallmark card full of birthday greetings from my colleagues, friends (if possible) students will do.

I remember years ago, I always create DIY cards for my friends for their birthdays. I would circulate the cards among our other friends for their messages. If I can, I would even ask their crushes to sign on the card. Not that I’m asking the favor to be returned, but I feel that if someone made an effort to do it for me.. I would be the happiest.

5. Major Freelance Work – I want additional income. Well, who doesn’t? However, I would really appreciate if it would come from a freelance work or project. Freelance work provides me self-worth and new learning opportunities.

6. Great Picture – I don’t own a decent solo picture. I hated my graduation portraits. All of them, unfortunately. Before I turn 30, I really want a decent picture that can boost that dwindling facial self-confidence. LOL

7. New friends -in the blogosphere, workplace and my limited social community.

8. Lost lbs – This has been my dilemma over the past years.

9. One great book – I would like to believe that there will be a book that can exemplify or at least reflect my own sentiments. Hopeless romantic attacks? Perhaps.

10. Call from the heart – It’s been a while or I guess years since I received a call that changed my day. It made me feel special, loved and happy. Most of time, my phone caters to work related calls and favors. Sometimes, it’s different when something is said than written.

11. A blog post for me! – I believe this is way far from reality. Why? For one, my friends don’t blog. Second, I can count my friends who really read my blog. Writing is not just for my friends. I doubt if they would even create a blog for my birthday.

12. My secret crushes to greet me – I guess no explanations are needed here. LOL

13. Call or text from a long lost friend – I lost some friends because of work and distance. I really miss them, especially those who have been with me in those trying moments of my life.

14.¬† DIY gifts – I know I should be avoiding material things here. But I believe that DIY gifts don’t count. It would really make me happy when someone will took the patience, time and effort to make me that art from the heart.

15. Words of gratitude – Birthdays in the Philippines would always mean being teased to treat everyone for a great meal. For a change, I would really like to receive words of gratitude and appreciation on my birthday.

16. Great breakfast – We all know that breakfast is the first and the most important meal of the day. I think it is not too much to ask for this on your day.

17. Another research opportunity – Ever since I’ve been transferred to another office, my nature of work changed. I lost the opportunity to author a research. I really hope that I will be given a research writing assignment. Research and writing would always remain as my firsts love.

18. Research publication – I’ve been wishing and praying for this. Hopefully, an international academic journal will accept my humble research before it finally deteriorates.

19. Clear and stress free skin – I recently noticed that I’m starting to develop fine lines near my eyes. My exaggerated reaction was I almost wanted to cry. If someone can erase it, please do it. Otherwise, I will be contented to a pimple free and oil free skin.

20. Happy parents and family – While it’s my special day, I hope my parents and special brother would also be stress free and happy on my day.

21. To make someone happy – I intend to share happiness on my birthday. Hence, making someone happy will also make me happy.

22. Guilty pleasures – Translation: Food While I would love to lost some lbs, I wanted to savor my day by enjoying my favorite dishes.

23. Rock on a great outfit – Yeah! LOL I’m a proud member of the female populace but skirts and dresses were never my thing. I love to be on jeans, flats and shorts if I could accumulate the needed confidence.

24. Great hug – Of course the wholesome version ūüôā let’s reserve the opposite for someone else like Jeremy Lin, Channing Tatum LOL

25. Blog feature – May not be for this blog, but for my other blog to get featured in another blog

26. Great blog post – I believe it’s been a while since I made one.

27. Major opportunity at work – Aside from the research, I really wish that I’ll be given a project where I can learn new things and prove that I can also make things happen.

28. Great time with family and friends – I could not ask for more.

29. The fulfillment of that one great wish

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Sixteen thousand pesos

A few months ago I encountered a “retweet” from a previous student. As much as I wanted to screen shot that tweet, I think it’s best if I do some paraphrasing. The college kid tweeted

This day was so sinful. Spent Php 16,000 just for food @girlfriend @brother

My initial reaction was, whew! They can splurge an amount of money that can already survive a family with a kid for a month. I admit that part of me was envious because having Php 16,000 in my hands would mean waking up early to avoid the early morning traffic, finding my space in a crowded train, conditioning myself to beat deadlines for my office work, handling a bunch of restless and a few rude college kids, leaving the office late, checking examination papers, sleeping for less than 8 hours and waking up early with the hope of a better day.

I know that the kid came from a wealthy and famous family from the South. He was my previous student and I heard all stories about him. He is a perfect depiction of what they call as a bratty kid and I had my own taste of it. He cares for his iPhone and other mobile phones, more than his status in class. He left me with some rude and disrespectful words. I have forgiven him, but never forgotten of course. History will remain as history.

If he can disrespect his own teacher, he could definitely extend his “attitude” among his classmates. Again, I’m a personal witness on how he shouted back to a fellow male classmate, who was peeking at his new iPhone. He even rendered a sarcastic remark to a female classmate. For some reason, I feel that males should be more careful when they deal with females. Call it a biased perception because I’m a member of a female populace, but men who disrespect women are one of my greatest pet peeves.

Money is powerful. To some extent, I admit that it can give you that level of happiness. But when this college kid tweeted what seems to be shedding off Php 500 for Php 16,000, I was given a little enlightenment.

Unfortunately, there are still some things that money can’t actually afford.

So there, thank you dear-former-student-who-spent-sixteen-thousand-pesos-for-a-day, for the reminder.

Balcony

Ever since I was a kid, I wished for my own room with its own balcony.

We used to live within the compound of my paternal grandparent’s property. Together with the families of my uncles and aunties, our huge family is cramped in the only real estate property of my paternal grandparents.¬† Our house then was a bungalow that has a secret door and passageway to my grandparent’s house. haha I always boast that feature of our house to my playmates. It was like having a magical castle in your own home.

When I was around 8 years old, my late grandma won some amount of money from the local lottery.¬† To clarify though, my grandma never won the grand million prize. How I wish! She won just enough money to give inheritance to my uncles and aunties.¬† My father’s share was used to purchase our second home.

A year after, we moved to our new house with one of my maternal aunties. From a one bedroom bungalow, we moved to a two-storey house with two bedrooms. The other bedroom was obviously intended for me because my special brother can’t move away from my parents.

At the age of 9, I have my own room and it felt like I had my first taste of independence.¬† After more than 15 years, I don’t know if I should be ashamed or proud to say that I still sleep in the same room.

While I equally value my own space at home, the dream of having my own balcony still thrives in me.¬† Our most cherished home can still accommodate some renovation for my much coveted balcony. However, the other major problem is the view I could generate from my balcony.¬† The back of our house was entirely covered with a four-storey public school building.¬† I work for a school and I surely don’t want to wake up with a view of another school. The remaining window of my room could already accommodate¬† a view of some trees and the everyday sky. Unfortunately, the view is spoiled by a neighbor whom we tagged as the happy family. They are happy with their everyday quarrel, exchange of harsh words and flying objects as early as 4 am. Sigh.. When will I have my own balcony? I guess the better question is, will I ever have my own balcony?

Photo Source linked

While my dream balcony is way impossible from reality, the dream surprisingly gave me more than enough lessons about life. One, you cannot get what you really want. There will always be people who will hinder your dream. These hindrances maybe intentional or unintentional. At the end of the day, the fulfillment of a dream is a combination of hardwork, patience, waiting and a little dose of luck and circumstances.

In less than 10 years of working…

In my less than 10 years of working, I have my own share of encounters with different types of colleagues. Some of them left traces of happiness and success. A few let us say, contributed much in making me a tougher and patient employee. I really hope so. haha

To those who have been reading my blog over the past years, you might remember some of my rants about my not-so-good colleagues. It’s only now that I realized that I blog about my hated colleagues more often. While I¬†felt disheartened¬†in my previous post about how most students remember their worst than their great teachers, I realized that even myself don’t practice what I preach. In the case of my colleagues, I often blog about¬†those who served as hindrances and thorns in my heart. Perhaps, as a point of improvement, I should also¬†consider¬†sharing my¬†colleagues¬†who served as blessings for me. If there are? (Just kidding!)

But for now, consider this post as another outburst of a long suppressed emotion.

Over time, I learned to deal and handle different colleagues. As I have said, some of them are cooperative, while some are challenging. To sum up all the encounters I made, allow me to share those who will always become special in my mind and heart. LOL

1. Empty Cans – Adapted from the saying, empty cans make a lot of noise. You see, there will always be people who are blessed with the enduring energy to brag and complain. They prefer to use their mouths than their brains.

2. Superiority Complex – I always thought that it’s only inferiority complex. I first heard of this disorder? from a professor who happens to be a colleague as well. So when can we say that someone possesses superiority complex? When a person think, speaks and acts as if he’s the most knowledgeable person in the workplace, that is a sure symptom of Superiority Complex.

3. Rotten tomatoes – Those whose life has been full of complaints, crankiness and pessimism in mind, heart and action. They don’t support new projects and initiatives. They would rather rant, complain and bad mouth management efforts to improve the organization. They start and spread all the negative vibes in the organization.¬† Unfortunately, they have the power to infect fellow employees with their pessimism. Hence, they are called the rotten tomatoes.

4. It’s all about the money, money, money! – These are the employees who works and lives for payday. Employees are always seeking for honoraria for additional work and financial incentives form this exclusive group. They need to be hammered by money to work.

5. User friendly, friendly user –¬† There are some colleagues who recognize your name and existence only when they need something from your office, position or professional capability. You are only good as when you are needed. They make friends with you only when they need something.

6. Position and Achievement empowered – I’m sure I’m not the only person in the world who became casualties of these colleagues. You used to be friends with them when you are still on the same rank and position. However, when promotion and position came,¬† you suddenly became strangers to each other. Worst, he suddenly imposed that he is the God and you are a bunch of stupid slaves.

Another way to experience these type of colleagues are among the few who love to impose¬† sir, madam and all those titles whenever you address them. It’s a mortal sin to forgot any of their titles and position.

7. Plasticity – The workplace is never free from these type of people. They are scattered everywhere and I believe they are sisters with the User friendly, friendly user. You thought you were friends? You thought she was really nice? Cyberstalk her from her Facebook or Twitter account.

8. The  Bootlickers РDo I need to explain? I know someone who worked her way to her position because of continuously bootlicking someone who was once powerful in the workplace. Sometimes I call them as the best strategists. They know who to bootlick. They know who can provide them the best advantage.

I believe I have encountered more unique colleagues. It’s just that if I would identify them all, one blog post might not be enough. LOL On my next post, I promise, I blog about more positive thoughts.

New Journey Series : The Significant Other

I shared in my first New Journey series the budget and expenditure monitoring device implemented by my colleague turned friend, Wella. A self-made Microsoft Excel file enabled her to track, predict and balance her own earnings and expenditures. While I initially thought it was an exaggerated attempt, I later realized that the tool is something I will be needing.

I made my own Microsoft Excel file that will monitor my daily expenditures.  In my case however, I focused on monitoring my expenses. I prepared a monthly sheet that itemizes and summarizes my daily expenditures.

On my initial weeks, I became the diligent disciple. I ensured that I opened my netbook before going to sleep, despite being dead tired after working for 12 hours. I was very consistent over the first three weeks. Unfortunately, some goods things must come to an end for me. I later turned to an inconsistent and consistently lazy disciple of my own mission. I started to skip days to record my expenses.  These days later turned to weeks, months to never as of date. Phew!

Why did I gradually abandoned my own mission? I guess part of it is my exhaustion from my 12 hours of working schedule. Who wouldn’t get tired of working 12 hours a day and reporting for work at 7 am the next day?
But you see, I know for myself that willingness and determination can break all forms of hindrances. Perhaps, I’m not totally ready to my self-declared journey. The New Journey might only exist in my mind as a need, but not as a goal to accomplish and live each day.

To compensate for my lousiness and laziness though, allow me to share the results of the first few weeks of my diligence. What I discovered from tracking my spending habits are the following

1.  My daily budget for work is no longer enough after 5 years of working. Having a degree in Economics, I stupidly forgot about inflation and price changes.

2.   Much of my income are used to pay debts.  (Ouch!) This trend will continue over the next three years.

3.¬† I would be able to save something from my daily budget from work if I would shop for my snacks in supermarkets, than the convenient 7-11 outlet outside the school or the expensive snacks in the school’s cafe.

4. Savings is gradually becoming less of a priority. (Oh Dear God, this can’t be!)

Finally and the most important of all

5. The greatest percentage of my daily budget are spent and for the significant OTHERS.  To expound further, this  includes my food indulgences, impulse purchases,  shopping for new clothes and a lot of things that ended up as unnecessary. (Another huge ouch here!)

What to do next? I know what should be done but as always, the determination, perseverance and consistency to make this a successful journey remains to be real challenge.

While the story of this journey remains to be unwritten, I’m hoping that my next posts will relate my much needed improvement.

What kind of teacher do you have?

Something is telling me that I should stop extending my social media life to my students. It started with Twitter where I was able to discover my own can of worms. Recently, some of my students found me in Facebook. I added them in my list and I admit there are advantages and disadvantages of extending our contact in social media.

One of my students posted this status message in his account

“What kind of teacher do you have? Go ahead, answer the question guys.

Being one of his teachers, I checked the comments and I was surprised with the thread of harsh words I read

I felt sad and disappointed. I may not be the subject of their complaints but it pains me to know that most kids remember the worst and not the best of their teachers.

New Journey Series : Debt, Credit Cards and a Dream

I realized that I should have named this series as my roadmap to financial independence. However, I admit that I was ashamed to directly relate my self- imposed financial misfortune.

In my previous New Journey post, I mentioned that I’m in the process of settling my obligations from all the shopaholic attacks and swipes I made over the past years. While the feeling of owning that pair of shoes, smell of a new leather bag and the comfort of a new blouse all brought a heaven of happiness, the payback period were never worth the happiness. To those who recently owned a credit card, mark my words. It’s better to leave your card at home. Treat these devices as your crisis card instead.

I should however clarify¬†that I’m not in the stage of playing catch-me-if-you-can with the collection group of my cards.¬†Dear God, Please don’t allow it to happen too. ¬†The¬†least and last thing I could be proud of myself is that I’m trying my best to honestly settle all my dues.

One of the credit card debt settlement technique¬†I learned from a colleague is the Balance Transfer Program. This service allows credit card holders to transfer their outstanding balance to another credit card company. Once the transfer is approved, the card holder’s remaining credit card balance can be converted to installment¬†at a lower interest rate and longer terms. I believe this option is better than enduring the monthly finance charges and interest rates.

While I have yet to discover which company offers the best balance transfer program, one of my credit cards’ balance was already converted to installment. I didn’t avail of any balance transfer¬†offered by another company, because I discovered that¬†my current credit card offers convert-to-installment all previous balances. I availed of the program’s convenience,¬†without doing some math and analyses. While I can already escape the monthly finance charges, I overlooked the add on rates¬†which gave me some feeling of¬†regrets. ¬†To my biggest surprise, the credit card company can profit from my convert-to-installment decision by as much as Php 20k. (Fine,slap me now!)

When¬†I discovered my stupidity, my knees weakened and it felt like 10 more years were added to my age. Sigh….

The only thing I could wish for now is for more freelance works to come or at the very least, my monthly salary as a rank and file employee and part time educator will remain secured over the next years.

While I was contemplating on the bitter pill I have to endure¬†for the¬†next¬†three years, I can’t help but think of the easiest means for me to escape¬†my¬†own trouble.

Should¬†I file for final¬†settlement with my credit card company to resolve everything? This is the last thing I would do… I wouldn’t want my financial reputation to suffer as well.

Should I file for a cash loan to settle everything? I think this will place in a more burdening position.

Should I finally place my bet on the local lottery? I haven’t tried the Philippine lotto. However, I wouldn’t deny the fact¬†at some point, I dreamt of winning even a half-a-million. If that happens, you bet! The first thing I will do is to proceed to the nearest payment center and zero out my remaining balances.¬† Never again will I live with these cards. It’s a dream but to some extent, it gave me some seconds of relief and happiness … especially when I talk about it with my equally ambitious and debt suffering ¬†friends. LOL

As of my latest estimate, it would take me three years to settle or remove a huge chunk of my debts. I can’t wait for that day! Aside from a stable job and salary, another wish I have to ask is for good health for me and my family. While, I will honestly work hard to settle my obligations, my only wish is that someone out there will indeed take care of the rest. Amen.

UPDATE : After hitting the publish button for this post, WordPress gave me this random quote

The scariest moment is always just before you start. Stephen King

I admit that part of me is scared of the things to come over the next years. But then again, I’m keeping my trust and faith. No matter what happens, I will¬†do my best to make things happen.