I wasn’t capable of writing a post last month because my mind was preoccupied with options for changes in my family, triggered by several signs, strengthened later by a letter from the National Visa Center of US.
Most of those changes it turned out, would require other changes affecting some members of my clan and my husband’s clan, so it was indeed hard to think about them, much more to talk about them. But once again, I’m the only person who could open up a topic about changes that directly affect my family, and it was hard because I’m not a sweet talker, I was a Systems Analyst for thirty years writing and giving instructions about specifications, and I had to choose the most specific words in sentences that were direct to the point. I did the best I could, but as usual, some if not most of those affected were not pleased with my “requirements” or requests to go about some changes. That was understandable and the main reason why there is such a short course for change management. Maybe I need to undergo that course first.
Sometimes it is disappointing to consult a life coach or a counselor because you will be told to go back to your past so that with their help you will be able to understand your present difficulties. I tried to do it on my own and it was hard at first because I couldn’t find any connection. Until I looked at myself at a different perspective, a more positive perspective with the premise that God placed me in this situation because He loves me. Thank God, I found the answer!
I now understand that I am an “agent of change”. Understanding that did not happen instantly. My recent activities like looking for an online job helped me understand that. There was this job that I liked a lot I felt it was for me until it was awarded to another applicant. I studied this applicant’s credentials and I was amazed because she was a Russian but had masters in English and English Literature and had several job experiences related to writing in English. I just told myself, they chose the right person.
I realize now that I can be an agent of change because of my experiences since I was a child. The earliest I could remember was playing a lot with my brother and cousins in an airstrip of an airport where we had a family restaurant, and for a 4 year-old child like me it was an endless playground. I was surrounded by relatives, there were my cousins, grandma, uncle and aunts. I could understand only English at that time.
Suddenly, we were in a city, some of the relatives I used to be with were no longer around, my brother and I had many playmates and our playground were the streets. These playmates said we were rich because we had two buildings though the highest was just a four-story building. I couldn’t believe that because we were staying at the ground floor of the other building, it really looked like a basement because it had a low ceiling but the floor was always very clean. There were other people at home whom I felt were our relatives but they said we were not related at all. After a while, I believed we were rich because my grandma was referred to as “Donia” or a rich woman by the lady at the ticket booth of a theater who let me and my brother enter the movie house for free. On Christmas Day, I saw my grandma giving away big paper bags of goods to the street children. Once in a while, I could see some new dresses and bags in my closet. Whenever my brother and I got sick, we would be given a new toy to cheer us up. I could understand a mixture of Tagalog and Ilonggo at that time.
When I was 8, we were in another city. My playmates were speaking in Cebuano so I learned to speak and understand the language. A year before that, my grandmother passed away. The next thing I knew was we were already in Manila, reunited with my aunt at her apartment in Caloocan City. My brother and I were transferred to St. Joseph Academy, a private school there. My mother and aunt thought of having a beauty parlor and dress shop so they looked for a place to make that possible and they found one in Manila also, somewhere in Sampaloc. My brother and I were transferred to a public school. Before we graduated from elementary, we were at another place where my mother revived the restaurant they had in Mindanao. It was near the Manila International and domestic airports.
I can’t remember when was the time we transferred to 20th Ave. in Cubao, Quezon City because I was already studying in Manila as a first year high school student. My brother and I had to be transferred to another school in the vicinity, it was called Quirino High School. As usual, my favorite subject was Math, and my favorite teacher was my Math teacher who told me I was indeed intelligent, Ms. Aurora Venida. We didn’t learn to know more about each other because I had to stop studying for a while to be able to take care of my youngest brother who was 3 years old. I knew how it was like to be rich, and our situation at that time was quite different. Sometimes there was not enough food to eat. But the apartment we were renting was big so who would say that?
This house where I am now was the longest I have stayed, even as a single woman. It used to be occupied by Ms. Venida, my favorite Math teacher I mentioned earlier but it was not from her where we learned about this house because she migrated to US long before my family transferred here. But even when I was already married to her nephew, the son of our landlord whose house was right beside ours, I preferred to stay in another house, until my in-laws requested us to watch over this house meaning for us to transfer to this house while they were at the US, as immigrants. Our eldest daughter was 10 years old at that time.
There were six companies I worked for, from the time I started working. Two of those companies were worth staying until retirement, but one closed, while the other one was a private agency under Marcos that was why it had to close after the “People Power”. To implement changes, companies usually hire consultants who are not familiar with the employees of the company. The recommended changes can be “brutal” to most of the employees especially when cost cutting is the objective. These companies have no choice but to implement those changes, just like the company I worked for which closed down. We were suddenly called to a general meeting at the canteen where the General Manager, after explaining the status of the company, announced that it was our last day in that company, we could get our separation pay then pack our things. We were all crying, including the General Manager.
As the “House Manager”, I usually implement changes fast. My husband got used to follow those changes that were new learnings to his children, not really changes. I have no tolerance for dilly-dallying, my husband knew that. I mellowed down when we started to bring our adopted special child to school where we practically became pupils also, supporting our special child. But also because of this child, I realize there is no time to procrastinate because we her adoptive parents are not getting any younger and are not getting any richer.
We have to grab every opportunity that will help us sustain our health, increase our meager income and our special child’s development so that the people who will take care of her when we are gone will not be burdened too much nor for too long. I have no choice but to ignore the people who would still be skeptical or resistant to the changes we need after allowing some time for awareness. One of the most important among the objectives of these changes is to reverence our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. This is also the most important legacy of change I would like my children to remember, since our bodies will continuously require changes in food, habits and activities over time.
The photo shown here was my painting based on a photo I’ve shot during my tour at the Underground River of Palawan. The tour guide told us that we might not see the same stones we have seen when we come back especially if it would take long for us to come back. The title of my painting was “The Prayer” because I was praying hard half of the time I was painting it because my son was sick, though it was just a group of stones undergoing changes. This whole picture of changing stones is so beautiful, isn’t it? It was God’s work!
Thank you God, for all the opportunities, to write this, and to be part of the Dance of Faith art exhibit that started last November 24 at the “Pamanang Bedista” (San Beda Heritage Center) where this painting is on display for one month along with my two other paintings of the Underground River of Palawan and the other Dance of Faith artworks!