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.

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The Crayola Series: Case Closed

Remember my series of rants in the “Crayola Series“? God must have heard me because this painful chapter of my life is over. I will not further detail how this story had ended. Let’s reserve that on a future post.

For now, I would like to apologize to all the people who have been  hurt or affected by my immature rants. My family, few friends and superiors who consoled and supported me all this time, I am likewise extending my deepest grattitude.

Actually, this post is not an end. It’s only a conclusion of my Crayola series. The next days will mark the start of another challenging chapter… a chapter that I have to make to prove that I can also make things happen.

Less than a month to go for that one big endeavor. Hopefully it will be an achievement.

Crayola Series: More of my Crayola days

I admit this blog has been full of drama over the past days and weeks. To be specific, much of my recent posts contribute to my CRAYOLA series. Wait… this reminds me that I haven’t explained how and why I use of that word for my blogging series.

We all know that Crayola is that famous brand of crayons. However, what I’m writing under the Crayola Series are not obviously about those coloring pens. The word “CRAYOLA” was created by the Filipino gay community.  In the Filipino “gay” lingo, CRAYOLA means crying.  But why crayola? How do crayons relate with crying? The two different words were equated to each other simply because they sound alike. The Filipino gay community has this habit of replacing words that relate feelings and emotions with proper nouns.  Instead of just saying “cry,” it was replaced with the word that sounds like “cry,” which led to “Crayola.” That’s the simplest and silliest explanation.

I started the Crayola Series after my failed attempts to seek for funding opportunity for my first research presentation abroad. My research was accepted by a prestigious university in Asia for presentation. It was a dream come true…..well just almost. I have been seeking for funding assistance from my institution and a government agency, who both claimed that they are willing to support research endeavors. Sadly, not all institutions practice what they preach. I have been crying over rejections and elusive funding opportunities. To tell you the truth, I haven’t received an exact letter of regret until this day. But by some accident, I discovered that our institution has no plans of supporting me. It’s a discretely deceiving approach that they are implementing.  They would make me believe they are helping me. At the end of the day, they are all fake and empty promises. And in my opinion, this approach is worst than blatantly saying that my application is denied. They are torturing me with waiting, hoping and later frustration. The best!

The painful rejections came to me on two consecutive Fridays. After each weekend, I thought I will be “well” over the next days.  Turns out, I am only “well” in my thoughts. I report to work and pretend that I have moved on. Deep inside, I am very unwell. I am still weeping.

God knows how I want to end this misery. However, I have learned that moving on from this downfall will never come in the fastest and easiest way. Moving on and letting go are the hardest. Rejection only brings the first stroke of pain. The real pain is felt and endured each day as I try to convince myself that life should go on.

As much as I wanted to end this Crayola series, my heart conveys a different message. When will I be able to end this series, I don’t know. As always, only God knows and only time can tell.

Crayola Moment: Strike Two!

Does history really repeat itself?

Last Friday was not a good one.  The letter of regret accidentally landed on my hands and that was it. Everything was all about tears, sadness, frustration and sprouts of hatred. In my attempt to forget, I started my long planned weight loss weekend activity.  I finally started jogging.

I started the week with the theme, moving on but not letting go. I was determined to exhaust all means to fulfill that dream.

In a span of three days, I arranged the requirements for my second attempt to seek for funding opportunity.  I was successful in beating my Friday deadline. Everything was falling in the right place. I was seeing another shed of light.

I submitted my application to a government agency that claims to provide funding opportunities for paper presentations. As I handed out my application I was given the most encouraging response

Wala na kaming budget. ” (Our office no longer have budget for your application.)

If she stopped talking then everything should have went out fine. I understand the fact that government funds are also scarce. But she left me with this painful statement

Bakit kasi ngayon ka lang nag-apply.” (Why are you submitting your application only  now?)

In short, she is blaming me for submitting my application at this latter part of the year. She further said that during the last months of the year, their budget allocation becomes exhausted.

Heck. How come your office don’t mention that in the program brochure? If that is always the case in your office, then might as well state that in the application policy and procedure. If it’s already the BER months, don’t bother to apply.

Although I appreciate her brutal honesty, she wasn’t of any help to my endeavor.

Hey Madam, I got one message for you. WATCH YOUR WORDS. I wouldn’t bother to visit your office and apply for funding, if I can support myself. I am here because I need help. A person who needs help does not need another dose of discouragement.

I understand the fact that the government’s budget is limited. But don’t blame me if I  submitted my application this latter part of the year. It was never stated in the program brochure and the memorandum order in the first place. I hope you realize that every person who submits his paper in your office is already facing his own battle.

CRAYOLA MOMENT: No choice left

Monday morning and I am stealing office hours writing this post. Sorry… If I will not write, I might burst out in a way I will further regret.

The opportunity that I have been relating in my previous posts is the acceptance of my own research for international presentation. A prestigious university in Taiwan accepted my paper for presentation. This opportunity is a rare dream come true for any researcher. It’s a milestone. It’s a priceless achievement.

My dream to reach countries because of my research turned to reality through my former Dean.  She handed me a letter calling for paper presentations in UP. It would be a great opportunity in case my paper gets accepted. I did not hope for anything. I was conditioned to believe that I will not make it. But out of respect to my superior, I submitted my research. I submitted because it was a directive to follow.

As soon as I hit the send button, I buried my files and forgot about everything. Mission accomplished. Case closed.  Months after I submitted my paper, I received an unexpected email. That was it.. My paper was accepted. There was a sudden outpour of happiness.  The good news came so timely because during those months, I was in the lowest point of my life. I was just sad, miserable and depressed.

That piece of happiness settled for days. What once uplifted me gave me a heavy source of depression. The conference will not push through because of the hostage taking incident in the Philppines. The next days were all tears and sadness.

I had no other option but to forget. Months passed and I got used to everything. A year after I have moved on, the opportunity knocked again. This time, my paper was included in the next conference that will happen at the end of the year. I was almost happy. Just almost because the conference will be held in another country and that would mean money. I can’t finance myself, I admitted that defeat. But giving up was never an option. I sought for financial assistance to an institution whom I know would support me. It was my school / my employer, who ironically endeavors to become a cradle of quality researches. In its aim to become research oriented, I assumed that it will be willing to support research endeavors like presentations abroad. Sadly, as I have mentioned in my previous post, not all institutions practice what they preach.

I used to criticize institutions who do not really create means to fulfill their mission and vision. But that was all empty words of criticisms. It never came to my thoughts that I will have my own way of experiencing this defective practice.

History is repeating itself to me. What once uplifted me is again drowning me to depression and though I refuse to admit it, it transforms to hatred… I can’t imagine how it is easy for other people to throw away other people’s dreams and ambitions. That dream gave me life, a “real and an alived life.” The moment I accidentally read that note of regret, also marked the start of another stage of depression in my life.

If my paper is out of quality, you should have told me.What rather pains me was the fact that I wasn’t given a fair fight.  I can’t accept that form of defeat. This explains why I can’t help but feel sprouts of hatred in my heart. The institution may not have a program to support my endeavor. Isn’t so ironic that the institution envisions itself to become excellent in research, yet it doesn’t have a program to support this kind of endeavor? Being in that position, you could have imposed a better action. You could have treated my case as a means to correct a weakness of the institution. You could have done a corrective procedure. You could have done something better.

Karma has its own way but I will never wish for one. Revenge in any form will never be an option. The two slaps of failure and depression are enough to wake me up. Just like last year, the next days, months and years will be a painful stage of forgetting, letting go, moving on and survival. I have no choice anyway..

Crayola Moment: Practice what you preach

I’v been slapped, not just once but twice. Worst is that I allowed it to happen.

When I wrote this post, I remember saying that sometimes companies formulate policies and procedures that are contradictory to their thrust or to be more specific, mission and vision.

A company that envisions a paperless system should discourage the use of excessive forms and printed documents as supporting evidences. However it turns out that a lot of departments require multiple copies of forms and paper attachments for a specific request could be processed.  A simple situation where policies, procedures vs. company thrust become in conflict with each other.

Just this Friday, I had my own plate of this problem. I applied for financial support for a research opportunity abroad.  It is clearly stated in the company’s mission that in a matter of years, the institution will be known as a cradle for quality researches.  Hence, the company is willing to support any research endeavor that would empower the institution. Exactly a week after I submitted my letter of application, guess what? I WAS DENIED! Award!! Okay, the crayola award is hereby bestowed to ME!!!! Puffy eyes and dark spots here we come.

And if I could just disclose the silly reason why I was denied. I would have accepted if they told me that my paper was a hell of a toxic waste. Why am I upset? Wait for my succeeding crayola blog posts. For now, allow me to sleep, rest and temporarily forget about this not-so-good life.