Thursday, September 29, 2005

100m Dash

I set my alarm clock for 7:00 a.m. but get up at 7:30. I take 30 minutes in the bathroom. I try to go about my morning abolutions faster but I just can’t seem to go any quicker. I look at the clock in the bathroom. It says 8:15 a.m. I should be out walking to the bus stop to catch my 8:30 bus or listen for the quarterly weather update so I know what to wear for the day. Clad in a towel, I walk around looking at my messy pile of clothes and think, "What should I wear?". Putting off my choice until I put on my essentials, I walk back and forth from room to room where my daily ritual takes me.

I put on my make up where the mirror is. Unfortunately, it’s not in my room. My closet is in the hallway. My room is near the other bathroom, not the guest bathroom near the room where the mirror is in which is separated by the clothes-donning semi-long hallway. The clock says 8:20 a.m. but I really don’t know which clock says the right time. There is at least one in each room and they all tell different times depending on who sets them.

The bus schedule is taped to my bedroom door. I take a quick look. I walk back to the mirror room and see out of its window that the 8:30 bus had just passed by.

I go back to the closet, look at my clothes again. I hurriedly choose something that matches. You ask, "Why don’t you choose what you’ll wear the night before?" And miss out on the fun of rushing like mad in the morning? No way! Anyways, I finally choose something and it has crinkles, not full blown wrinkles and so I have to rush to the ironing board to make some last minute crinkle-eradication. But the iron is not hot enough so I sit first in front of the mirror and put some face powder on or comb my hair before I can actually plow the blouse. Then back to the ironing board. After my clothes are ironed, I can put the final touches on my make up and rush out the door.

But before that, I have to check if my pack lunch is indeed packed and if I have my umbrella in case it rains. Do I have a hanky? Let’s see…Then, I get the urge to pee!!! I have to go though, no time…or maybe just a little tinkle. Bathroom break! No time to drink water. Nothing in my stomach.

I rush out the door. I have no idea what time it is! I walk to the other side of the street and walk looking back if the bus is coming. I see the oncoming bus from the other direction. In Geneva, this is the sign that your bus will soon arrive because buses usually stop within minutes of each other at the same stop but in opposite directions. (Read: The bus is coming!) But I have a blind corner so I can’t see if the bus towards my destination is actually coming. From a far, I can hear a murmur of what is sometimes a truck but actually a bus. Stealthily a familiar gust of wind brought on by the somewhat 15m bus hits me. The bus is coming and the traffic light is green.

I begin my race taking a deep breath. No time to go down like real sprinters do. I just lunge back and make a movement suggesting I will soon move forward and for the nth time, I am running my daily 100m dash!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

God’s blessing…a wonderful mom, an inspiration to many

I thought I'd devote this entry to my mom, who has just been confirmed as what she likes to call it, "An Ambassador for Christ." Yes, after her very colorful work experience in Abu Dhabi attending to Sarah Balabagan, after tackling some problems with her bosses in Cairo, after a drawn out war in Iraq and making the statement, "I will be the last to leave...", my mom is indeed in line to become ambassador.

Tomorrow, she will be awarded the Lingkod Bayan (Public Servant) Award by the Philippine Civil Service Commission for her outstanding work as a public servant.

She was nominated by a fellow diplomat who won the award last year.

This is a most awaited award which when won grants an automatic promotion and a cash prize. But it is the promotion that is worth it. After 13 years in service at the Department of Foreign Affairs, mom will finally receive what she deserved - the rank of ambassador. Truly, she is not only a radiant and dedicated public servant but she is also a missionary of God, thus, the name "Ambassador for Christ."

She is never just Vice-Consul, Consul, Consul-General or Career Minister, she is foremost a follower of Christ. Wherever she is, she makes sure that people know that. She does everything for His glory and for His glory, she does her best to help her fellowmen.

Oftentimes, she would cry over the situation in the Philippines. She would pray in earnest for our country which have received so many blows and which always seems to be at the doors of failure. She has never given up hope. As a diplomat, she represents the country with great diligence and pride. She knows how to show the good side of the Philippines even when fellow Filipinos are quick to criticize it. She is always willing to go the extra mile and to lend a helping hand. She foregoes her diplomatic title most of the times and serves the Filipino community as a sister, an aunt, a surrogate mother, and as a friend.

She has worked as a public servant for a total of twenty some years. She used to work for the University of the Philippines, a state university, then as a legal clerk at the defunct Ministry of Human Settlements before joining the elite corp of diplomats at the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1987.

Tomorrow, she will be at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, in a great production number to share the light with many other outstanding public servants.

There, in front of her fellow public servants, her family, her friends, and possibly the whole nation if it's televised, everyone will see that she, Grace Relucio Princesa, is a blessing, an inspiration and a gem, not just as a mother but a true follower of Christ, whose work does not end when the clock strikes five, but when she's done her best to make another life better.

Nothing to do...

It's a little bit after 2 p.m. and I have nothing to do ... I just visited a friend's blog [TIN] and I was laughing hilariously. She's such a great writer! For those who haven't visited her website, what are you waiting for??? I totally recommend it!


I am sitting in my little shared office space at the ILO and I am waiting for some work. I did this in June and was able to finish reading the Da Vinci's Code then. After coming back just this month, I finished Memoirs of a Geisha . I tried to start The Brethren but I didn't like it much. So, I am just passing my time sitting here and updating my increasingly Jurassic blog.

Looking up the word Jurassic, I just found out that it refers to the Jura Mountains found at the border of Switzerland and France. I never knew.

Well, back to my non-eventful day... Well, it just is... so uneventful.

When I was younger, I quit my job because I didn't do much but this time around I just can't. There aren't a lot of choices and for the pay that they give me, who wouldn't be happy to sit around and do nothing all day?

Being in the typing pool sometimes is boring but when the work comes it can also be a bit overwhelming. A little inside look into what I do: The "desk" assigns work to each typist in the pool; attached to the work is a blue fiche that states where the document came from and what should be done to it; you have to fill it in with your name, the number of pages you've done and who you checked the document with. (After a couple of days here, I didn't quite get the hang of the fiche thing and forgot to put the pages I've done or the date and the hour I submitted. Thanks to the many models supplied to us, I now have a memory aid.) Checking is the hardest part of the process. Sometimes, we are given "lots" which are documents to be formatted and may number some 60 pages. After you format or incorporate the changes, it has to be "checked" which is essentially reading it aloud with a colleague who checks the documents for formatting and style requirements. Checking can last eight hours in itself. On the fiche provided, we have to total up the time we've spent working on a certain document. Then we return it to the desk to be either sent to REPRO (reproduction) or back to whoever sent the document.

That's what is usually done in the typing pool. But these days, there isn't much work so the typists or more politically correctly called, "text processing operators" just goes to the alternative worksite, Yahoo! Games. The favorite here is Text Twist.

This is much better than my last job where when you have nothing to do, you shouldn't read a book or do anything. You should just sit there. It doesn't matter if you aren't productive, you just have to sit there. So, you pretend to look busy so that you won't be scolded for reading. Hmmm...That was a bit of an irony.

It's now a bit over 2:30 p.m. and still no work...I wonder if some will come today. Back to the alternative worksite for me!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

New beginnings...

New beginnings

New job…
New surroundings…
New tasks…

New beginnings…

So many new things are facing my way at this time. It all seems overwhelming. It seems that yesterday was such a long time ago. The week has passed so quickly and I would have been a week at work. I can hardly imagine it. Time knows no friend for it moves even when we’re dead. Time can only work with change because they are constant companions.

Soon, autumn will come. Here in Europe, time is so evident in nature, in the seasons that change, in the leaves that turn orange-brown in the autumn, in the snow covered lawns that make a blanket of glistening white that shimmers as the light strikes it hiding the dormant grass and in the blossoming of new life in spring that unveils the beauty of a sleepy colony of flora and fauna waking up to an initially lethargic colony of people that comes to life as summer heat scorches patches of grass.

In the same as the seasons change, life begins again. We put on more clothes to brave the chilling temperature. We wake up later as the clocks are turned back an hour. New routines begin to adjust to changes. New beginnings…

It’s everywhere!

I have grown accustomed to many things and sometimes change becomes difficult. But in cases where change is necessary, new beginnings can be a relief even in the uncertainty of tomorrow.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Turning a quarter of a century

It's just 30 minutes more till midnight and I would have been 25 years old for a day. I just finished reading my bday greetings from Friendster and I haven't begun to read my e-cards and email messages.

I feel so blessed on my special day as friends both here and abroad sent their birthday greetings. It feels good to be remembered and it feels twice special when the people you least expect greet you.

Thank you to all of you who made this day special. For the morning greetings from my brothers in the Philippines. For my mother's red and white roses that I woke up to this morning. For being able to go to Mass on my special day and the priest blessing me. For the house guest who in our momentary encounter gave me something for my bday. It was unexpected. For another friend who shares my birthday and greeted me.

For the greetings of my brothers here and the help they gave to my little party. For the delivered bouquet of flowers that was meant as a surprise. For my family and friends who attended the party and gave me special gifts, both handmade and thoughtfully bought as well as heirlooms. For those that graced the occasion with their presence, I feel truly blessed.

I am thankful for such a truly blessed day. For God who is so good, who continues to bless me despite my inequities.

Thank you...for letting me live a quarter of a century. If I should live to see my golden year, let me grow in wisdom and love.