When people ask me to define love, I say, "Love is like handing someone a gun, having them point it at your heart, and trusting them to never pull the trigger." (Sponge Bob)

When they ask me why I laugh at my mistakes and even write them with pride in my blogs, I say, "I'm not crazy. I just don't give a damn!" (Daffy Duck)

When one time I was conducting a group activity, a student asked what road sign I love the most, I said, "I like dead end signs. I think they're kind. They at least have the decency to let you know you're going nowhere…" (Bugs Bunny)

And when for the nth time a friend would ask me what do I get from writing, I'm not even sure if there are good old souls out there visiting my site, I just smile and say, "Kung gusto mong maging manunulat, eh di magsulat ka. Simple." (Bob Ong)

And last night when Eva said she wants to quit from her work because nobody believes in her, her boss got mad at her, she doesn't even have friends at her agency, and she's crying like hell, I said, "Either you stay to prove your worth or you quit and just show them you're a loser, you have to strive for your happiness." (MY original)

My CHOICES: I remained believing in love. I continued spicing up my mistakes and rewriting my life, accepting failure but keep on dreaming until words would fade into thin air.

Sep 8, 2009

A Million Little Pieces of Hope, Love and Passion for Life

Orange and pink streaks sail across the blue of the sky, large birds silhouette themselves against the red of the rising sun, clouds inch their way toward me.

These are such poetic lines from James Frey. His book "A Million Little Pieces" is an account of his life in the rehabilitation center. And this is what I'm currently reading.

There were all sorts of new things to find. Grass and dirt and holes and tiny bugs – each fascinated him. But nothing satisfied him.

And these are striking lines from “Hope for the Flowers” by Trina Paulos which I just read (side by side with Harry Potter 6… of course before watching the movie, which of course did not satisfy me – anyway, that’s another story to tell, which I know you could certainly relate to).

Anyway, Frey’s novel, particularly its title has inspired me to write again... I mean to blog again. But what is more to this passion for writing are the things I’ve learned from Stripe and Yellow, Paulos’ main characters in her short story.

It has been months since I last posted an entry in any of my blogsites. What kept me busy? I think those times... these times are the days I am putting the million little pieces of my dreams... of my life together. Getting into that big climb like Stripe and Yellow and finding in the end what really satisfies me and gives me so much hope and love and passion for life.

Yes! I am in the prime of building a legacy not just for my family – my kids to follow, but for more kids that truly matters… as Jesus has once said, “Let the little ones come to me.”

Let me count the ways:

1. I was about to finish my MA in Guidance and Counseling in 2005 when an Aunt fed me with the great (and tempting) “American Dream”.

2. While finishing my MA degree, I took up units in Special Education and Certificate in Teaching in an Open University System.

3. After graduation, I got pregnant with Gaby and found myself incapable of working and going to school. Thank God, UP then offered a Certificate in Caring for the Special Child through the Interactive Virtual Learning Experience. I had homeschooling.

4. Upon giving birth, I pushed through with my MA in SPED. And finished my education units alongside it.

5. After having my diploma, I forwarded my application as SPED teacher to one of the agencies in Manila. And I think, one of the best agencies deploying Filipino teachers to the US of A.

6. 2008 was a grand year for me in the field of test-taking. April, I passed the Licensure Exam for Teachers. August, I passed the Licensure Exam for Guidance Counselors.

7. 2009 started out with more stress. January, I took up Praxis 2, the state board for SPED teachers and passed once again.

8. February, I was interviewed. Then a long wait for the result followed.

9. March, I have to take another state board, Praxis 1, for General Education. Once more, I proved to have much luck in board examinations. I passed.

10. April, I resigned from work. But was re-hired until July as a Researcher for Student Services and Curriculum Development.

11. June, I received the news that I passed the interview.

12. I was encouraged to enroll ASAP for a special Reading course at St. Joseph College, Quezon City. The course was for two months. Every weekends. Stressful, eh!? Saturday mornings I board the bus early just in time for my 2 PM class. We end up at 7 PM. Sundays, we start at 9 AM until 6 PM. Then I go straight to the bus terminal and arrive home at 12 midnight or early dawn. And after a four-hour sleep, off I go to work.

13. July, we had a not so fortunate news. Our petitioning school lacks funds to fly us all together in August. We will go by batch, so they say. Now, there are five (should I say the “lucky” ones) being processed. Hopefully for September deployment.

14. Still July, I don’t know if I will feel frustrated or happy. Frustrated because by August, I will be jobless. I thought like Stripe and Yellow, I was climbing with a group where I would be led to nowhere.

15. Mid July, I felt happier because I realized, I wasn’t ready yet to leave my kids and husband (for more or less six months). I was more thankful that I get to spend more time with them. Imagine if I were to be deployed in August? My weekend classes ended in July 26 and target deployment is first week of August, how would in the world I spend time with my family?

16. Towards end of July, I had wonderful plans in mind. I got so busy (with Arleen) in looking for a perfect spot for my long-time dream – a school. But for now, my passion for teaching kids (putting up a school) is limited to a Reading Enrichment Program for Grade 1 pupils and children with special needs.

17. August, I formally opened my Reading Resource Center. Simple. Just a room with two monobloc tables and six monobloc chairs, rubber mats, a small white board, a flip chart, and a few good books to read.

18. But there is more to this that I’m busy about. 8 AM to 10 AM, I shadow teach in a grade 1 class for a pupil with ADHD accompanied with an oppositional and impulsive behavior. After which, I visit two other kids with autism. And yet another kid with ADHD. And help a team of professionals in designing an IEP for a child with Emotional Impairment who is homeschooling.

19. Before leaving the school at 12 noon, I see to it that I have counseled around four students in the high school department.

20. At 12:30 to 2:30 PM, I continue with my work as a Researcher.

21. At 3 PM, I have to be in my center to prepare things for my pupils. I currently have seven grade 1 pupils and a grade 3 pupil with specific Learning Disability. I also work with a Mom in developing a Behavior Managament Plan for her child with ADHD. I end up at 6 PM.

22. These three responsibilities I so carefully squeezed in a day transpire in three separate locations, too. So you can just imagine what a mess I now look like. Yeah! Maybe I am all stressed out but I am happy and contented.

23. If you may ask of the monetary satisfaction, it is not such a good source of income given the tiresome impact of juggling many responsibilities a time. But one thing I am sure of, at the end of the day, before I close my eyes at night, there are more things I am thankful for.

24. First question: “Would I still pursue my great American Dream?”

My answer, “Yes I will!”

25. Last question: “What for?”

My answer, “To bring to the next level my one true dream – come home to my country and put up a school for children with special needs, considering all the therapies they need. And have a guidance and counseling, testing and play therapy center for kids and their families.”

Her feelers quivered and Stripe knew she was speaking. He couldn’t make out words. Then slowly, he seemed to understand… Somehow he knew what to do. Stripe climbed again.

It got darker and darker and he was afraid. He felt he has to let go of everything…

… Until one day …

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