Surprises at the Temporary Residence

While knowing that we would be staying in a dorm-like hostel within the university and actually hoping for the worst, I never thought that my expectations was a lot more hospitable than what was to come. I and an office mate traveled here up North for a week-long event.

We left Manila on a stormy day, that’s why even though the plane ride took only one hour, it was a lot grueling. All I wanted, as we dropped to ground, was to find  the hostel and sleep.   We’ve decided to eat first en route to the hostel with the other participants in the event whom we met in the bus that fetched us from the airport. After having eaten our dinner , the bus took us to the hostel which is not very far from the restaurant.

We were greeted by the guard. The guard was also to act as hotel receptionist. He check s who’s coming and tells everyone where they are going to sleep. We were expected, so rooms should be cleaned and made up in advance for us.

The guard brought out a huge list of names and our corresponding rooms of their guests. He asked for my name and then pointed out to a row of names with a few doodles on it. I looked at the paper closely and I saw our names crossed out from the list. Names were written all over that area of the paper. Clearly, earlier participants had been choosing in which room to sleep. An arrow was written beside our name pointing to the next row of the list, meaning from room 3, somebody thought we would thrive better in room 4.

When we knocked at Room 4, we were astounded to discover that only one bed was left for us, meaning we had to share. We hurriedly talked to the guard to sort things up, but it appeared that all the men in Room 4 were the original occupants listed in his list. This means that the problem is in Room 3.

Someone from Room 4 left and went to Room 3, so there should still be one bed left unoccupied in room 3 and either of us can sleep in either room separately – or so we thought. However, when we checked at Room 3, we were surprised that all of the beds were completely occupied. The guard said the group must have snuck someone in the room because no matter how many times the original bedspacers change their room or beds in Room 3 and 4, there still should be two beds left for s.

I felt that the best way to solve the problem was to find another room. I don’t exactly want to cross the occupants in Room 3 by having their friend, who is close enough to them to sneak him in, evicted.

The guard sent us to room 27.

The room wasn’t as big as the first rooms. There wasn’t any air-conditioner and the beds were double deckers. However, there is only one occupant and he seemed like the silent type. I was happy… for a while until I decided to take a shower before sleep.

While I thought the problem with our rooms was the last thing we had to think about, I was wrong. The bathroom provided the worst shock of the day.

The boys bathroom in our floor is dilapidated. All the toilet bowls don’t flush and the shower area were grimy and stained with orange color of urine on the floor and filled with cobwebs and tiny spiders at the showerhead. The tiles were covered with muddy footprints. To make things worse, the doors in each cubicle don’t lock. I took a shower anyhow and felt like maybe whatever misfortune has befell on us, the cold water can take them away. I was wrong.

Initially, the water was soothing. It was raining and the wind was cold, but the water was exceptionally warm. I was enjoying the shower. But when I rubbed my face, I felt granules of sands slowly flowing down my cheeks. I checked the flooded floor and saw that sediments have already accumulated under my feet. I looked at the shower and sure enough sands are escaping from its tiny pores. I tried to rinse myself, but the more water that touched my body, the more sand I got. I hurriedly wiped patted myself dry with my towel and went to our room hoping that this has been the last of all the surprises in the hotel.


Sunday at the Office

I am at the office today even though it’s Sunday. The thing is, I am heading North today and I’ll be away for a whole week. I though I might as well come by to make sure that the papers I left on my boss’ desk is still there. The whole office is undergoing a renovation and most of the times, the workers would move the desks an stack the papers indiscriminately. So I passed by for a quick look.

By the way, I am using my officemate’s computer because there is no connection in my part of the office. Also, mypersonal laptop was broken. The LED cracked at the bottom left. I’ll save it for another story. 🙂

Busy as a Bee

July and August has got to be the busiest months for our agency. This July, I actually manned our booth in the National Science and Technology Week. Next week, I am going to Ilocos Norte to man our booth for the regional exhibition of the event. A week after that, I have to attend another week-long event of our agency. I have had some problems with inviting a few guests, but so far everything is going well. I am actually pretty excited with everything that is going on. 🙂

Looking for a replacement for my lost Nokia X2-03

Call me unsophisticated, but more than anything else, I want a touch and type kind of phone. My last phone was Nokia X2-03 and was probably the best phone I ever had. It combines the cool features you’ll find in touchscreen phones, but still allow you to type messages with ease through its keypad.

I know many people would gladly pick smart phones over touch and type phones, but not me.  My life is not that complicated for me to  actually need a phone that does everything that my computer does. All I need was phone that I can use to call and text, and listen to FM radio occasionally. Nokia X2-03 fits the bill. Plus it’s very cheap.

The thing is, I lost my phone last week. I was initially thinking of buying another Nokia X2-03, but then an officemate told me that losing or breaking a phone is the chance for anyone to let go and find a better phone. While I felt that my old phone was the perfect phone for me, I admit my officemate’s opinion had me thinking.

I really don’t like using smart phones because they are way too cluttered with applications and I always find it difficult to type on the screen. Yes, you can always use the haptic feature of a smart phone so you’ll feel every single press you make on the screen, but at the end of the day, it’s still a lot more complicated with touch and type kind of phones.

On the other hand, I do sometimes feel envious with the sleek designs of many smart phones out there. In fact, I recently eyed the HTC One V and I thought it was pretty cool. So my dilemma, what should I do?

Should I stick with the touch and type, or is it time for me to try a new phone. I am not a gadget geek, but something pulls me toward the HTC One V. Right now I can’t really decide.

Vagina in the office

Although, I am a Registered Nurse. Fate did not allow me to work in a hospital or any place where I can utilize the clinical knowledge and skills I learned in my four grueling years in college, and instead, I am now working as writer. Although I spend more time now in front of a computer, I still am able to use my background in health because I write for an agency that supervises scientific initiatives in health.

So basically, all I write about are totally health related.

Today, I passed to my immediate supervisor-slash-editor my draft article about a research on a novel management for hysterectomy. She does not have any extensive background in health, but her perfect command in grammar and long years of tenure in the office. So when she sent me back my draft with comments asking me to lessen the jargons, I was not surprised.

After revising the article, I was shocked when she asked me, “Can you really use the word ‘vagina’?”

Scratch papers. Six-months-worth of rejected drafts of articles and meetings.

The article is about a new drug for managing patients after their hysterectomy. Radical hysterectomy is the medical term used for the surgical procedure that removes the uterus, cervix and the upper portion of the vagina. Since her initial instruction was to revise the article by making it more understandable to lay people, I had to explain so many things in the most trite words understandable by the general public. The first two paragraphs were lengthen to three as I explained the procedure and its effect on the patient. And yes, I had to do this by mentioning the word ‘vagina’.

When she asked me, “Can you really use the word ‘vagina’?”

I realized the stark differences in the culture between the career that my college education dictates and the occupation that I actually have now.Mentioning all that comprise the human anatomy is like the most normal thing in the world when you work in a hospit6al. Apparently, people are still shocked about these kind of things in my place of work.

I remember, on my first few weeks at work, I felt really queasy and I traveled for thirty minutes at lunch from the office so I could use the bathroom in our house. If I work in the hospital, I could have easily told my colleagues about what I felt and I could have relieved myself in the hospital. But here, I was very careful not to mention anything and offend anyone.

I really enjoy my work now and I feel like this my calling. However, I still get a bit culture shocked working in an office every now then. I know I will get over this soon. Next month would mark my 6th month at work, the time for my evaluation to become a permanent staff. I hope I pass with flying colors.

May – Month of Awesomeness

The whole month of May has been a very eventful and insightful month for me.

First of all, I have been to two historical places in the Philippines – Intramuros and Vigan.  I truly enjoyed my visits and do plan of visiting again in the future. Finally seeing these places made me want more to check out the National Museum, something that I have been wanting to do for ages.

Another highlight of my month is probably my Aunt’s car accident and her miraculous survival and eventual recovery.

My sister, who took the board exam, for the third time now, is now a CPA. She passed after having to fail the exams twice before. I am really happy for her. My father was really proud, he made it a point to rub the news of my sister’s success to everyone on Facebook. I bought a Bagnet, one of my sister’s favorite foods, from Vigan as a gift.

Lastly, I found out that my boss actually likes my work in the office. Talking to her while in Vigan hinted me on how glad she is that I sort of excel in the office. She specifically mentioned that I bring “competition” to my officemates.

On the corner of Research and Discovery St.

I took the photo while walking to my office from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) inside the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) compound.

The whole  DOST compound was built during the Martial Law in the 70’s. Except for the rusting signs and crumbling pavements or for a few new buildings that were built around the last two decades, the whole place does not show any sign that it has undergone any major changes at all. It has remained essentially the same, mirroring the slow paced movement in research and development initiatives that the country is treading today.

Yeah, there has been some major discoveries in drugs and other important stuff for life  that the agency can be proud of, but in a few months of working here, I felt like we haven’t really leaped that far since time immemorial.

While some countries are now hopping between stem cell and renewable energy researches, our country is still fortifying food products to solve the malnutrition in poorest places in the country. I am not complaining about our scientists, for if there is anything I could be proud of about our country, it would be our exceptionally intelligent and innovative scientists. What I feel bad about is our policy-makers’ seeming ignorance to the potential of research and development. Just the last week, websites of major government agencies were hacked by Chinese hackers. The media looked for the right agency to find solution to the problem, only to find out that the central agency governing IT and computer technology in the country has just been recently dissolved by the President. Similar things happened with Councils that coordinate researches on Forestry and Agriculture.


A day to definitely forget

Try not to accumulate too much stress; face Life’s problems once at a time.

Sometimes I am astounded by how accurate my horoscope defines my day or week.

There are mornings when you wake up and you know that the day up ahead of you brings something to look forward to. Your heart is smiling and there is certainly a noticeable lightness from deep within you. Today was the total opposite.

Last night, as it was my mother’s death anniversary, I decided to meet up with my sister to go to church. We hang out first inside a mall nearby to refresh and eat dinner. Little did I know that my officemates were lurking nearby. Sure enough they took a photo of us aqnd circulated it around Facebook.

It was surreal having to discover this morning that the whole night my officemates were gossiping about me. The news about me and the “mystery girl” I was with last night was the first thing to welcome. What the heck!?

Of jokes and embarassments

There is a huge difference between a joke between friends and just pure humiliation. Sometimes we put a friend on the spot and say something which everyone could laugh about. However, the thin line between a joke and complete humiliation can easily disappear when someone goes overboard.

Today, my officemates decide to play a prank on me again. I guess it was easy for them to forget that what they are doing is already humiliating on my part because I never really tell them to stop. It had happened before, but now I just felt that it cannot go on like this forever, especially now that I am planning to stay for a long while in this job. I stood my ground and just said no.