Dream Come True – A Happy Farewell to the Crayola Series

Three years ago, I had my first national research presentation. I presented my masteral thesis to a congress of Graduate School students and educators in the Philippines. Weeks before the conference, I dropped by the school and saw my friend Bess. She invited me to accompany her to Robinsons Ermita. If I remember it right, her plan was to have her iTouch and Sony Ericson’s P1 repaired. Since I have nothing to do in the afternoon, I decided to join Bess. After attending to her errands, we checked out those branded shops I usually avoid. We entered Dorothy Perkins and I saw the best blazer in my entire life. It was a silver gray blazer that perfectly fits my shapeless built. The price of the blazer, Php 3,500! Though it was love at first sight, I refused to purchase it for my upcoming presentation.  I joked and told Bess that I would only buy the blazer if Iam presenting in an international venue.

Fast forward now, I was able to make my first ever research presentation in Taiwan last December 2, 2011.

An international presentation is every academic researcher’s dream. In my case, it was a dream that never crossed my mind. I swear! How could a rank and file employee / part time educator, who has a monotonous work life be hit with this opportunity?

The original plan was for me to present at the University of the Philippines. I will be presenting in my own country with an international audience. Unfortunately, the conference did not push through. The hostage taking incident  last year frightened and discouraged the Chinese organizers to visit the Philippines. This made me cry for days. All I have were selfish feelings of hatred and regrets. At that point, I never realized that God has better plans for me. The conference in the Philippines did not push through because God wanted me to present in another country. He wanted a real international exposure where I have to pack my bags, take an international flight and set foot to another land for the first time.

My preparations for Taiwan however did not become a smooth sailing process. I wept for all the elusive funding opportunities. I admit that I wasn’t financially prepared to fly and stay in Taiwan. But I believe God really wanted me to go. Less than a month before the conference, I received two free lance jobs and my clients paid everything in advance.  And to the last minute, I was given partial support by my institution. Just when I was ready to give up my dream, doors of support opened. This served as my wake up call. I felt that God was making all means for me to fulfill the dream.

With no single Mandarin word in my dictionary, I braved myself to a country where majority of its population doesn’t speak and understand the international language I know. Armed with my dwindling confidence, shying bravery and unadventurous personality, I made it to Taiwan on my own. In God’s grace, I was able to fulfill my mission. I am happy to say that I am back home with a lot of first time experiences to cherish in my entire lifetime.

group photo

Thank you Taiwan for the safe and well spent stay.  Above all, thank you to our God who made all means for me. God indeed works in the most mysterious ways.

Please don’t blame my selfish tears

I was stuck in the office after having my evening class when I learned of the August 23, 2010 hostage taking incident at the Qurino Grandstand. Heavy rains came after my class so I was forced to stay in the office and wait until the downpour subsides. Little did I know, a rain of blood and violence was likewise happening in a nearby area.

I logged in my Twitter account and learned of the great threat in the lives of a number of tourists confined in a bus. In a snap, the Philippines earned a spot in CNN, BBC and the rest of the world.  When the unfortunate event was over, I expected the pinpointing and buck passing. Senate hearings and all the discussions of who’s really to blame are not surprising scenes in the Philippines.

Over the next days, I remember once saying to my friend that my upcoming research presentation in the Asia Pacific Management Conference at the University of the Philippines (UP) might be affected. The university partner of UP is a reputable institution of higher learning from Taiwan, which if I am not mistaken is also governed by China. I was thinking that the hostage taking incident could scare and discourage representatives from China and even other countries in the Asia Pacific to visit the country for the annual event.

However, I was convinced with the belief that the conference has long been planned and academic sector is not easily affected by events occurring outside its own governance. I also believe that people in the academe are broad minded and considerate enough to realize that the hostage taking incident was an isolated case. The academe and the event should be spared from something which happened beyond their control.

My intuition came into reality on this day, September 13, 2010. I am now about to believe that the number 13 brings a negative omen. Before having my evening classes, I checked my email and received the most distressing and devastating news. The conference will not push through! It will be rescheduled on November of 2011 in Taiwan and not anymore in the Philippines. What’s worst is that even though my work was already accepted for presentation, there will be another round of screening handled by the university in Taiwan.

After reading the email for the first time, I never felt the any signs of distress, sadness and regret. The message of the email gradually trickled me pains of blame, frustrations, devastations and self-pity.

Before, I was a mere observant of the unfortunate event. The incident became a national concern, but my everyday life was not really affected. Life as a rank and file employee and part time educator continued. I never imagined myself that on the next days, I would be one of the persons who can’t help but blame and pinpoint all those people who have aggravated the incident.

I know my reason is so selfish. I am not in the position to hate because I was not a direct victim in the first place. I did not lose anyone from the incident. Call me self-centered and over acting but this opportunity lost also devastates me.  I know that opportunity could never be equated to the number of lives that were lost and traumatized. I am not comparing their level of devastations to my own little misfortune. The truth is I just wanted to weep. What I have are selfish tears, words and feelings, when combined, would mean nothing.

I am nothing in the literal and figurative sense. I am nothing because I am just a rank and file employee, who saw a rare opportunity that once uplifted her downing spirits.

If someone is listening out there, I never asked for this one but I was more than thankful because you gave me this one great blessing. You made me believe it was mine. You brought me to heaven for some time.  But now, are you taking it away for me? You know I never had the choice but to follow your will. If this is want you planned for me, so be it. But at the end of the day, please don’t blame me for shedding these selfish tears…