Jesuits

I already had a long ass post ready for publishing but this stupid phone app deleted it. 

My point basically was that even though I was only technically educated for four years in a Jesuit-run university, it feels lile my enyire life was formed by the Jesuits.

My pre-school, grade school, and high school years were in a school run by nuns whose founding mother was heavily influenced by Jesuit founder St. Ignatius of Loyola. Even our school name, Manresa School, came from St. Ignatius’s life. It was where he came up with his famous and helpful Spiritual Exercises.

Post-college I started working in Xavier School which was also Jesuit-run, and here came a more “formal”and more “official” introduction to Jesuit teachings and ideals. The teachings came in dogma and practice, and I honestly believe that despite the Jesuit order’s conservativism, they are the most open and respectful of all the priestly orders. 

I’ve never been disppointed by a Jesuit’s homily–except maybe by the delivery–but otherwise the content is always so relevant, easy to digest, and rooted in the Catholic Church’s teachings. 

In this Holy Week, I remember the Jesuits and how they keep me coming back to Christ whenever I have doubts. No other person–not even my parents nor our ridiculous parish priests–could do that.

Xavier

(Catching up)

This school has been my second home for the past 12 years. I’ve switched campuses, but the community spirit and drive for excellence remain the same. I am thankful for this school because of all the lessons I learned and all the opportunities I have been given to grow as a person and as an educator.

I enter this new school year with apprehension because I’ll be handling a new grade level alone. Again. It seems like I’ve been on my own for the most part of my stay in the new campus. I do have direct supervisors, but as the only senior teacher in the department, they pretty much leave me alone to my devices so that they can focus on the new members of the team. I love the independence and trust they give me, but I hate having to grope in the dark most of the time. 

What did I learn from this? 

Trust. Perseverance.

Gratitude list

  • Xavier School San Juan
  • Xavier School Nuvali
  • St. Francis Xavier

L

I’ll just do a gratitude list because today is full of L words.

  • Lakad: Filipino for the word “walk,” lakad can also mean a trip out of the house to meet with friends or do errands. Today I had to go do errands and am thankful to be able to do so with the company of a close friend who’s moving into our village soon. She had errands for their house and I had errands for our car so we accompanied each other to our lakad. I don’t usually get to hang out with friends anymore especially this summer break, so this impromptu lakad was a blessing even though it was full of errands. The best part was when we decided to visit another good friend in a neighboring village for late afternoon snacks and ice cream. Perfect day is perfect. 🙂
  • Love: My friend was talking about her new life as a married woman during our errands, and she was saying that it was so hard for her to understand her husband’s work because it forces him to stay at work until midnight. His work in a local candidate’s campaign keeps him busy, and while she understands that the campaign work was only temporary, she can’t help but worry when he isn’t home by 9pm. I realized that this girl–my friend–was sticking with her husband not because they’re already married and there’s no way out (no divorce in this country) but because of her love for him. They’ve had similar problems before and some which have caused her to cry buckets and buckets of tears, but through those oceans of tears she never once thought of leaving him. That to me was and is inspiring, and it reminds me that great love is also great work.
  • Laguna: I live in a province called Laguna, an hour south of Metro Manila. When my parents told us that we would be moving away from the city and into the province, I was heartbroken. I had already established close-knit relationships with friends and neighbors, and the thought of leaving was too much. I cried when our car pulled out of the garage one last time. Now, however, as I was doing my errands, I can’t help but say a silent prayer of thanks because my parents decided to move the family here. There’s traffic, yes, but nothing like the one in the metro. There are cars and commercial buildings as the province is slowly becoming more urbanized, but almost 20 years later the fields still outnumber the buildings here. I am grateful for the convenience of the newly opened malls, but I am also grateful for the fresh air and the kind locals. Even the migrants like myself have imbibed the ways of the people here. The villages are quiet, there are no loud videoke concerts in the middle of the night, and people are in bed by 9pm. The life here is both ideal and idyllic. As my colleague says, “I’m so glad I moved to Vacationland!”
  • LA Lakers: I’m no basketball fan, but even I know of Kobe’s achievements and contributions to the sport. I am thankful to the Lakers for taking care of Kobe and giving him opportunities to shine and show the world how the sport is also an art.
  • Line: This refers to the mobile chat platform. Similar to Viber but less annoying, Line has allowed me to stay in touch with friends from all over the country and even the ones abroad. I don’t like Viber because the notifications are usually delayed, and sometimes the notifications only arrive when you open the app. Line is just so much better. Plus the stickers are also better in Line than in Viber.

Jumping jacks

On top of yoga, I do THIS workout, and I hate it. The only reason I haven’t quit yet is because I don’t quit easily.

It’s called the seven-minute workoit and it’s literally just seven minutes long. Tne first one is the jumping jacks. For thr past few days I’ve cheated because I don’t do the jumping part; I just do the arm raising part. Today I did the jumps and because I did this after yoga (focus on warrior poses–strenuous for the legs), my legs were ready to kill me. I have no idea why I even decided to do it after so many warrior poses.

In hindsight, I’m glad I did it just because.

 

I cheated at jumping jacks

 

Gratitude list

  • Jumping jacks
  • Joy: I’m counting the days to my next period using an app I just downloaded, and one of the things it asks me to input as part of its cycle analysis is my mood for the day. I realized that I only pay attention to my mood when I’m PMS, which in my dictionary stands for PLENTY of MOOD SWINGS. The app reminded me to keep track also of my happy or joyful moments, and this has helped me be grateful for each day. I end up reflecting if I were happy or joyful by recalling my day, and the brief reflection allows me to find something good within my day.
  • Juice: I’m no fan of juice, but sometimes it’s a welcome break from ice cold water on a hot summer day.

2015 in review

My favorite teacher, Rica Bolipata-Santos, posted this writing assignment on her FB account:

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Ma’am Rica said that it wasn’t really important to follow the number but that we should “Write [our] year, in honor and in supplication.”

So I choose to write my year in months, with these highlights and disappointments and game changers and things I focused on and forgot remembered in the order they happened.

Continue reading

Almost on break

I refer to the annual semestral break and not a personal one.

I sit at my desk with piles upon piles of papers surrounding me and I find it necessary now to just pause and sigh and write. All these students, eager to pass, eager to get a high grade, but neither understanding the text completely nor writing very well (“decent” is the best adjective I can give them) break my heart. I echo the perennial cry of teachers around the world, “WHERE HAVE I GONE WRONG?! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH THESE KIDS?!”

And so I sit and listen to Beyoncé screech Love on Top and Mumford and Sons mumble and rage about white blank pages and love.

Ah, love.

I would like to believe that my heart has grown bigger, that I’ve learned to be more accepting of people no matter how disagreeable they may be to me. My dislike of certain people remains, but… I’m trying to be more… well. I’m just trying to be nicer and kinder.

Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Be kind when you’re working.

Be kind when you’re on break (academic or personal).

Be kind to your family.

Be kind to your enemy.

Be kind to that poor person knocking on your car window, asking for some change.

Be kind all the time.

Para kanino tumitibok ang puso mo?

Translation: For whom does your heart beat?

———————

Art by JJ Agcaoili

Art by JJ Agcaoili

Who was I kidding? Other people may have believed me, but the armor wasn’t there to protect my heart. It was there to keep people out. Who wants to let in the evil of the world? Who wants to let in scumbags and scoundrels? I had no time for those. My vision for myself was clear. IS clear. SAVE THE WORLD, ONE SHITTY BRAIN AT A TIME.

Oh, I know you want to protect me. But I can’t breathe in here, cried my heart.

Shut up.

You ruin everything, you know. You make me cry when I should have a brave face on. When I should have a stern and scary face on. You make me weep.

Weeping makes me tired. If I’m tired, I can’t work.

But the tears cleanse you. They get rid of the bad stuff.

I.

AM.

EXHAUSTED.

FROM.

CRYING.

They don’t take me seriously. Not my bosses. Not my students. Not my friends. Why? I cry easily. When I’m mad, I cry. When I’m sad, I cry. When I’m happy, I cry.

ENOUGH ALREADY.

But look, you’re hurting now the more you keep me here.

I NEED TO WORK. STOP BUGGING ME. STOP IT.

I love you.

ST-

*sigh*

Who am I kidding?

Slowly, I unlock my heart, remove the armor, zip it wide open.

I love you.

I love you.

———————

Written as a response to a writing prompt posted by the artist mentioned above.

the original writing prompt

the original writing prompt

I don’t think the title and the piece have any obvious connections. I’m not quite sure I know, either, but it was the first thing that popped into my head when I read the prompt and saw the art. What came next was… a surprise to me. I haven’t written creatively in YEARS, and I’m not sure this qualifies as a poem or a short story, but it’s mine, and I’m iffy about this but… That’s all I can say.

Also, JJ said I can only use this in class if I post my own response to the prompt haha. 🙂 Thanks for the challenge, JJ. 🙂