In Transition

Between work and school and work. It’s been a month since I resigned from my first job at Excel PH. Learning from public school principals while helping in their formation to be better leaders was an enlightening experience, but the reasons I found for leaving are heavier than the combined weight of the reasons I could find to stay.

For the past few weeks, I’ve finally been able to do a number of things: go on a four-day trip with friends to Coron, rekindle more friendships, catch up on Orange is the New Black, hike up Pico de Loro with the HJ team, physically attend team meetings, start reading The Signal and The Noise, submit an abstract to a tobacco control conference in Beijing, attend a jazz night at Mow’s, and take up swimming again. I’m sleeping longer, eating more, and am generally less stressed.

School doesn’t resume until another month, and I’m still considering whether I should work full-time at HJ after working for them part-time for two years, and on what terms. I want to be a full-time student, part-time NGO worker for at least one semester before diving in. Upon receiving my grades for last sem, both Eli and Mama told me, “If that’s the grade you got while working two jobs and studying, you’re more than able to do part-time work and just study.” I think they’re right.

Between apologies. I’ve fought with two important people in my life in the span of three weeks. Resolved one disagreement, unsure about the other. Steffi and I talk only when necessary. I’ve given her her baon for July, and she seemed genuinely thankful. I don’t know how long it’ll be until we’re comfortable talking to each other freely again. I can’t even bring myself to look her in the eye because I’m afraid of what I might see. It’ll be healthier if I stop expecting for an apology.

Eli has forgiven me, but I haven’t forgiven myself yet. The feeling of nearly losing him again served as a reminder, almost as a motivation, to keep me from inadvertently finding another way to hurt him. I told him about this, and he said, “That’s a heavy weight to carry.” He held my hand, and added,

Do good for the good, not to prevent something bad from happening again. It’s more universal.

Pain is not paid back in pain, but in acceptance. I forget to be kind to myself, even when I’m granted the kindness of others. It’s time to remember the more important things.

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Dahil po sa inyo

You live out your mission to protect and promote the right of every Filipino to quality, equitable, culture-based, and complete basic education, sa pagiging maka-Diyos, maka-tao, makakalikasan, at makabansa.

Ang dami po sa inyo nagpapasalamat sa akin para sa mga nabigay po ng Excel PH sa inyo bilang public school head, bilang Leadership Development Program Fellows ng La Union at ng Pampanga, pero kahit ako ang naging Program Associate at dakilang textmate po ninyo, ako po dapat ang magpasalamat sa inyo.

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Dahil po sa inyo, hindi ako umalis. All throughout our journey together as partners in public education, since we first met during the LDP panel interviews, your stories and your dedication to your job showed me (and they continue to show me!) that hard work isn’t rewarded only with more work, but also with more love. You were my inspiration to keep going even when I wanted to leave my job earlier than I planned. You showed me love for country and love for others flourish most when you struggle, when you feel like you’ve had enough, because we keep fighting anyway.

I am honored to have learned from you, all of you, that there is always more to give. I am honored to have been of service to you, to serve alongside you. We do it for the children, to safeguard their future, to give them a fighting chance at a good life, a great life. In a concrete way, the work that we do—especially the work that you do as school heads—safeguards the future of our country, too.

Patuloy po tayong magmahal sa ating kapwa, sa isa’t isa. Patuloy po ang ating pagbibigay nang ayon sa nararapat, sa paglilingkod nang walang hinihintay na kapalit. Maraming, maraming salamat po sa inyo, aking mga minamahal na public school leaders, sa lahat ng nagawa po ninyo para sa ating kabataan, sa mga ginagawa pa rin po ninyo ngayon, at sa mga gagawin pa ninyo para sa ating inang bayan.

Agyamanak unay, dakal pung salamat.