The funny thing about the Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Studies program in UPOU is that it's loaded with colorful personalities. In every offering of MMS 173, it's damn near impossible to predict what sort of class your gonna get. Only one thing has proven certain so far: each class has been a unique experience for me.
I capped off the year with a highlight -- a full page article in The Philippine Daily Inquirer. I've always wanted to write one for a broadsheet. A printed copy is now framed and hanging on my wall, lol.
Here's an excerpt:
It's been more than a month since disaster struck central Philippines. While relief operations are still ongoing, the slow rebuilding process is, or will soon be at hand. People who have closely watched the news and read the articles have probably heard of how this should be handled. There is a lot of good information to be taken from them.
My worry is that, from what I've seen so far, they have been very acute—specifically written with Leyte and Supertyphoon "Yolanda" in mind. That is not without good reason. But after immersing ourselves with this information and recent events, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that there is a bigger picture to consider.
It's been intriguing to notice how I have seemingly built a reputation among undergraduates in the UP Open University as a strict and demanding faculty. I also find it a bit surprising and am now wondering how on earth are my colleagues maintaining the standards of their courses, which people always expect to be high.
However, the more important thing I was prompted to was recall memories of my life as a student and how I did with my studies. Well, I could've done better, that's for sure. But what I was really thinking about is what were the things that really shaped me to become the teacher, not to mention the person that I am now. The reality for most of us is that we only retain what ends up being useful in life outside school (unless you end up being in a school for the rest of your life, which is another story). But it's just now that I've actually put more thought into it to find out what those things are exactly.
Strangely enough, the ones that stuck were not of those courses I got high grades in. And while I was surely thankful back then, I don't remember much from the courses and the teachers who gave me an easy time. As I review my transcript of records, a number of courses stood out. And you will easily see a pattern with my grades.
These days, I can't help but roll my eyes whenever I see some inspirational or motivational meme or any other one-liner about traveling. They say things like money is easy to get, but memories aren't. Or how we should stop making excuses like there's no time or money to do such things. Or maybe we're being told to overcome our fear and just go for it. It's not that I disagree with all of these things. But like any other typical Internet meme, the reality of the matter is a bit more complicated than your random one-liner lets on.
I probably should have written this much earlier, while memories were still fresh. Unfortunately, Typhoon Haiyan soured the mood, both mine and just about everyone else who might read my blog about how much fun I had during my last travel while social networks are being flooded with news and pictures of the aftermath of the calamity in Leyte, Philippines. That wouldn't have been appropriate, to say the least.
Anyway, I did spend five nights in San Francisco back in late October. Spending the entirety of closest thing I had to a vacation in one city wasn't my first choice. But it was the best one I had. What I really wanted to do is take a road trip from Las Vegas to San Francisco. Unfortunately, 1) five nights might not be enough, 2) I wasn't sure if I could afford it, and 3) the place I really wanted to stay, Yosemite National Park, was burning at the time. So, I committed to it and promptly booked myself at Pacific Tradewinds (more about the hostel here).
I'd never stayed in a backpacker hostel before. For one, when I travel, it's always work-related, and I usually stay very near to wherever I'll be during the day. It's always hotels where I can have my own room. I can be very particular with my privacy. And I also have that nagging fear of having to fall in line to go the toilet when I really, and I mean REALLY have to go.
My outlook started to change when I spent three days in Amsterdam -- the last of my month-long trip to Europe. I loved the boat I stayed in, the Botel Zebra. But aside from the Pinays running the place, I didn't have anybody to talk to. It got lonely at times, and I actually got homesick a few days before my flight back to Manila. I wasn't keen on spending a vacation like that again.