Classes have officially started. You know as well as I do that the best days are those that come before the first exam date. Sooner or later, requirements will pile up, leaving us in a mire that will make us wish it's summer break again.
But I'm encouraged, and I hope that you will, too, in the promise of the Lord that He will not leave us on our own. For surely He increases His mercy when our burdens increase. The hellish days of the sem will come, but didn't the Lord say that we shouldn't worry?
As I write this, the song, "I Need Thee Every Hour" is playing in the background. And how clearly it espouses the believers' need for God:
I need Thee, O I need Thee
Every hour I need Thee
O bless me now my Savior
I come to Thee.
Before I leave my room I check my bag. My notebooks, all here. My pens? check. My lab gown? already inside. I don't even bother to bring my books: I might just strain one of my muscles if I do. Briefly I pray, "Lord, help me get through this day."
And, 15 minutes before my first class starts, I think I'm all set.
Here are some useful, God-exalting sites I've visited this weekend:
The Gaius Project. For Christian artists and musicians. Do read the Artist's Creed.
Rebelution.org. Written by Alex and Brett Harris, twin brothers of Joshua Harris (author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye"), this blog urges the youth to live for God's glory. It's a fun, light read, too.
Download: What Part of Your Sin. The song tells us that Christ died for all our sins, and applies most especially to those struggling with sexual sins. It has very moving lyrics with a lulling melody.The song is free, by the way.
When the sem began, a lot of the people that I knew were rendered homeless. Driven out of the dorm, they were told to look for other places to stay.
The new dorm admission policy gives the Office of the Student Housing (OSH) the final say as to who will be admitted. A logical set of criteria was given: the place where the student permanently lives, gross annual family income, and grades. Priority was given to freshmen as a result of the 300% tuition fee increase they had to bear. Admission to the dorm would help them with their expenses.
Now these people I knew--some of them my close friends--were not given admission to Yakal where they've stayed for the past two to four years. Some are wondering why this was so since they were quick to submit the complete requirements for admission, even as far as sending their papers through LBC during the break. It's even baffling because they live very far: some come from Zamboanga, Iloilo, and other places that would require a three-day boat trip or an expensive plane ticket to reach.
They appealed to the administration, of course. Some had to come back everyday to ask if there were still vacant slots, the reply to which would always be a resounding "come back soon."
The troubles hounding the current dorm policies were expected. After all, the results were given only during the enrolment period. Some protested because they hadn't been informed that they had to submit requirements this summer since they were out of school and in their far-flung provinces. Others were irked by the apparent lack of transparency in the process.
If the same scenario happens next year, there's a possibility that this might be my last year in the Yakal. And now, in the cool confines of room 125, I wonder how it feels to be homeless.
He used to be that kid: the one who learned how to ride the bike before his two older brothers did, who invited his friends for breakfast and lunch and dinner without warning, and who preferred basketball over debating whether Garamond is a better font than Times New Roman.
Being the youngest in the family, everybody adored him. He had big, bulging eyes the size of a dinner plate, his skin was smooth and soft, and he had a face that garnered compliments like, “Si Sean talaga ang pinakagwapo sa kanilang lahat,” to which I disagreed.
And tomorrow—my, how times flies—my kid brother Sean turns seventeen.
This post comes very late: Father's Day was last Sunday, two days ago. And it's weird, when I think of it, because my father is never late.
Everyday he wakes up early, hours before we do, to read his books and meditate on Scripture. Then my mother awakens and they have coffee in the garden, all by themselves, though they should've known by now that we've been listening to their secrets in our state of half-asleep-half-awake.
During PTA meetings in school, he'd always be on time. For 30 minutes, he'd wait for other parents to arrive before the meeting would commence. When he accompanies me to the airport, he'd tell me to check in two hours before departure and would settle for no less. During meetings at church, he'd always leave the house on time so there are no delays. And this one I will never forget: he hates being late for the Sunday worship service.
But, as I always jokingly tell him, "It's better late than never, Tatay." And I could picture him with that smile, so heartwarming it could melt the icebergs in Antarctica; and then I'd pinch his nose, perhaps his most distinct legacy to all his children who have, in a way, inherited the same wide, large, and conspicuous olfactory organ.
When I'm in school, I'd wish that the sem were over so I could go home. When I'm at home, I'd wish that the break were over so I could go back to school. One of life's crazy ironies: the grass is always greener on the other side.
But let me tell you that although, for a time, the monotony of idleness affected me greatly, I still had a great time at home. I'll let the pictures do the talking this time.
Early morning breakfasts
My family wakes up early. 6:30 am. Beat that.
In the garden, my parents have their morning cofee, while we have hot chocolate and pan de sal with cheese. Oh, that's just the pre-breakfast. The real breakfast comes around 7:30 am, almost always with fried rice.
My tiny book collection consists of my favorites--and yes, with some trashy ones. At home, I read Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment but sadly, didn't finish it because it got lost. I put something on the table; the next minute, it vaporizes into thin air. I also reread parts of Harold Robin's A Stone for Danny Fisher, Stephen King's Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, John Piper's Don't Waste Your Life, and Jerry Bridge's Transforming Grace.
My brothers and I like tv. In the mornings, we watch two tagalized Channel 2 cartoon series, Mirmo and Alice Academy. Believe me, I've grown up with these shows, Julio at Julia: Kambal ng Tadhana being my childhood favorite. At noon, we have replay of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Jack TV) if Tatay doesn't watch the NBA playoffs.
Here are the other great shows we've watched:
Larry King's 50th anniversary episode featuring Oprah (CNN)
Extreme Engineering hosted by Danny Forster (Discovery Channel)
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (Discovery Travel and Adventure Channel)
On the Lot (Star World)
American Idol (Star World), and
A Rachel Ray episode featuring First Lady Laura Bush (Lifestyle Network).
I indulge in tennis for my dose of athleticism. I don't play, I just watch. Roger Federer remains my favorite. Rafael Nadal, though, is phenomenal in clay. I hope they both make it to the finals at the French Open in Roland Garros. I can't wait.
Back and forth
I'm naturally a home boy--by that, I don't mean that I look like Boy Abunda but that I prefer to stay home than go out. But I did go to places around town, even outside of it--to the farm and to both my parents' side of the family.
Back to the real world
And here I am now, back to the real world that is UP Diliman, thanking God for a most blessed time at home, eagerly waiting for classes to start, hoping to see my friends and hear them say, "Lance, tumaba ka." I'm sure they, too, have their own stories to tell.
I’ve been tagged by Jade Lasiste recently—that bright girl you see walking around Albert Hall carrying a heavy backpack, usually with a book on her right hand, and whose stories are as interesting as the way she tells them. So I’m the it. Now I have to say ten weird things about myself then tag six others to do the same. I hope I'm being weird enough.
1. My mother tells me I learned to speak before I stood on my two feet.
2. I hardly cry. During tense moments, though, I spew vomit instead of tears. It’s not bulimia. I just like being theatrical.
3. I sounded like a girl when I was little. On the phone, people mistook me for my mother. In fact, they still do.
4. Without a wristwatch, I feel stark naked.
5. As much as possible, I want to have an entire step of the escalator all by myself.
6. I call my pillows by name and even talk to them at times. The green one is Scrooge, the pink one is Pinky.
7. When I was in Grade 3, I read Robert Ludlum’s The Scarlatti Inheritance without understanding a thing.
8. In first grade, I learned to say, “I don’t know.” In class, when the teacher asked us questions, I’d raise my hand and yell, “I don’t know,” even if I knew the answer. That was how I was with statements I liked: I repeated them.
9. I felt a surge of sadness upon knowing that Lea Salonga was going to get married. All hope was lost.
10. I look like Tom Cruise.
Now I tag Katrina M., Paul B., Jef, Razel, Jac, and Glenda!