Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Right or left?

I force myself to write a blog entry because I need to.

If the dichotomy of the brain's functions holds true (i.e., if the right part of the brain is truly more analytical than the left one, or is it the other way around?), then I need to use my "artistic" cerebellum--it's been a long time since I had last used it.

I have deprived myself of reading literature--in place of books, I have dwelt of mathematical equations, limits of a function, Newton's Laws of Motion, tangent lines, polymerase chain reactions, mRNA, the Watson-Crick model of the DNA....

I force myself to end this blog entry because I need to. I have dwelt more than five minutes writing this piece, and I have to get back to my books. I am exaggerating, of course, and so what part of my brain am I using now?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


This is a list of the subjects I'm currently enrolled in, and let me tell you something about them. I have a 17-unit load (students--even my high school classmates--not from UP would react strongly to this by saying that it's too light a load, but in my school, it's already a heavy yet painstakingly manageable one.)

  1. Math 53 (Elementary Analysis 1). So far, we've started with a quick review on Math 17 lessons, basically about functions. This is an everyday-except-Wednesday class (so characteristic of the Math series subjects), and I'm forced to wake up early in the morning because it starts at 7 am. The instructor is Mr. Vryan Palma, a fresh graduate; he actually wrote his name when he introduced himself to us so as to prove that the V is not the result of a speech defect.
  2. Chem 16 (Lecture and Lab). I hope I'll enjoy this class. After all, I've been a chemistry fan since high school. This class is both a lecture and lab class, so I have a separate schedule for the former, and another for the latter. Both of my instructors are young and female and have braces. We'll begin experimenting tomorrow (hopefully).
  3. Physics 71/Physics 71.1 (Elementary Physics Lecture and Lab). This class, like Math, is an everyday-except-Wednesday class. Like Chem, we have separate classes for the lecture and the lab, which is only every Friday, but it's going to be three hours straight of experimentation. My instructors are young and cool. The catch: we have quizzes almost every class discussions.
  4. MBB 10 (Introduction to Molecular Biology). My first MBB class. My classmates are mainly freshmen (bright ones) and shiftees/transferees. I have three classmates who are Chem majors; they take this class as their elective. We deal with the cell, the organelles, the biomolecules, the DNA. I'm excited, too, for the reporting which we shall have at the end of the sem.
  5. CWTS 1 -CS MBB. Well, this one's a pass-or-fail course. We do nothing but listen to lectures, talk with each other. We plan to invite high school students to the NIMBB (National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology) for biotechnology and molecular biology lectures--free!
  6. My PE class: Arnis. I shall arm myself with the feared rattan stick, and I shall bring punishment to the opposition. No one shall disarm me. I hope no one dares. When that happens, uh oh....

Sunday, June 5, 2005


I haven't even enjoyed my vacation--something utterly short-lived--and the prospect of the beginning of classes is already looming into my horizon.

Not that there's nothing wrong with that. I enjoyed my week-long vacation, a time spent inside the transient room we occupied because Yakal, the dorm where I and my brother live, closes during semestral breaks, though I could only surmise that I could have enjoyed it better had I gone home to Koronadal. I did a lot of sleeping because it had started to rain, and it was always tempting to take frequent naps when the temperature lowers, something that happens rarely in the Philippines. My brother Ralph a few days before we stayed at the transient house had bought two Gabriela Gracia Marquez's books for 50 pesos each, a rare find, because the Colombian author's books are always bestsellers and sold at such high prices. I had a marvelous time reading the books, which are really short story collections, and I did the reading during most of my waking time. My favorite to this day is the Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother, the last and possibly the longest story in the collection. I also read John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, an exceptionally-written piece about two friends bound by one goal: to own a patch of land they can call they own. So you get the picture: I read really good books.

But I'm excited about classes, not so much because attending classes gives me unequaled happiness (more often than not, it tires me), but because I feel like a wide-eyed freshman again. The reason is I am now an MBB major: I have a new course, a new college, and, well, new subjects and classmates. This newness is exciting, is it not? It is like marching into an unknown jungle where surprises cease to be surprises because you've already gotten used to them.

The University looks, more than ever, the way it had looked when I enrolled as a freshman a year ago. So many places have begun to transform--or rather, have transformed--into the very likeness of that scene stored in my head: the red fire-trees, the falling leaves, the rustling bamboos, the humid, damp air. Deja vu--that's what the French would call it, but I won't use that term: I think "a cyclical tranformation" is more like it. Perhaps that's what really happens in UP, that when classes open in June, the whole of nature encapsulated in the university compound releases its true glow.

I haven't enjoyed my vacation: did I really say that?


Saturday, June 4, 2005

The Other Side of the World

I was expecting it all along, that he’d leave us for good. His parents are all in the States, working because there’s a greener pasture in that side of the world. His mother is a grade school teacher; his father, I think, is studying in a nursing school, hoping perhaps to be able to get a job in line with that course. His younger brother, a clever, stout boy, studies there, too, and has so far reaped national awards in the US in Maths and Sciences. It must be in the blood: it has to be.
It wasn’t surprising at all, that he’d leave us for good. I guess that’s part of this thing we call life. Friends do get apart, and there are so many things that could cause this separation: conflicts, disagreements, coldness, forgetfulness, or, in this case, a crucial decision.
A couple of days ago, he sent a brief email of more than four paragraphs. It was a brief one because he didn’t really say everything (I know he tried, but it was a hard thing to accomplish altogether): at least, the words did not completely illustrate the truth. He feels pained, I guess, at having to leave the Philippines for good. After all, it’s the country he has referred to as home for the past 16 years of his life. He grew up, made friends, learned his lessons, and did things in this country.

“I will be leaving you, UP and the Philippines. My parents have decided to transfer me here for good - I agreed to them when we talked about it last month. I will be studying at the University of Texas - Pan American, and will be taking up pre-pharmacy, which will take about 2 years. Hopefully after that I'll be going to pharmacy school at the University of Texas-Austin for another 3 years. I will then have a Doctor's degree on Pharmacy - after completing a year of internship, and passing the pharmacy board exams. You will perhaps be still seeing me - I'm going home on June 6 because I need to apply for my high school and college transcripts. Sigh. Malungkot, oo, sobra. Leaving a home I've grown to care for makes me sad. Leaving the people I've grown to love makes me even sadder. But we have to go on. There's no use of much grieving, or brooding over the pain of separation. Change is, well, permanent. But, who knows, we might see each other somewhere, after 15 or 20 years from now. I'll surely miss you. No doubt about it, I will...”
I wasn’t at all surprised, but I’m a bit bothered. Will we ever see him again? Will he recognize us 10 or 20 years from now? Will he be as vocal and active in his Christian faith as he is now? Will he sound like an American later on?
Only God knows, Jef. He knows what’s best for us.
I just feel uneasy about the present state of things, but they’ll turn out okay, I’m sure. It’s God’s promise to His children.

I’m banking on that.


Friday, June 3, 2005

Mere chance? Naaah.