Red Bikini

I bought a red bikini. Stripe top with boy shorts. Sailor-y feel. This is to force myself into losing weight. I’m making it a personal goal to be able to wear this and look good… oh and to take time off for swimming!.

And yes, I’m nuts.


The Fable of Piney

Piney is a three-inch pineapple fruit wtih a four-inch crown. He was planted on a littleplanter on my 21st birthday by my Grampa. To this day, I don’t know what my Lolo meant by giving my a miniature pineapple except that I liked cute tiny things.

Piney wasn’t much of a looker. He had uneven yellowish moss green skin. At least his crown was a stunner: thick deep green spines that were glossy.

I took care of Piney: watering him every other day, making sure he gets some sunlight every other day, talking to him on occassion. I migled him with my family of tiny cacti. The prickly little fellow felt right at home.

And then he started to die. Piney withered before my very eyes. His yellowish moss green rounded body came slumping off the tiny planter. At least his crown was still a stunner.

And I figured, Piney really wasn’t meant to live long. Tiny as he is, he no longer had breathing space in that tiny planter of his. And so I left him to his fate among the cacti,  tiny planter and all  and forgot about him.

One day, I was trimming my nails on our paseo(the prettified alleyway leading to our house) right beside the giant dama de noche bush. I inspected the cacti table. Piney was no longer there. All that was left was his tiny, cracked planter. I figured Mom must have cleaned up the remains. And so I forgot about him.

After some heavy rains a few months later, I came out inspecting the damage to our plants in the paseo. And I found some stunning thick deep green spines that were glossy hiding under some mayana leaves. Piney was prettier than ever! He had new green shoots, making his crown even lovelier.

I asked my folks how that happened. And my brother cockily said “You didn’t know how to take care of it. So i transplanted it, dummy. It’s mine now.”

Moral of the story: Some gifts are better taken care of by wiser people. Or else they wither and die.

I, Artist…not!

That word gives me the prickles. Aren’t they the ones with faded clothes, scruffy hair, black-rimmed eyes (due to lack of sleep or….gasp! eyeliner), yet look effortlessly cool? Aren’t they the ones who have pot sessions and whirlwind romances? Aren’t they the ones who didn’t do so well at school, don’t so so well at work, yet go through life with their genius and charisma? Aren’t they the brooding types? Aren’t they the ones who live in (self-imposed, self-made or self-imagined) poverty? Aren’t they the ones who pursue and are consumed by their passion (for whatever fancy they may take)?

I am none of those things.  I have no eye for design or fashion (although my brothers, artists both, will say that they’re anti-fashion, but whatever). I am so straight-laced that people laugh at my dorkiness. I did well in school and I do well at work. I’m not exactly likeable; I only have handful of friends. I cannot be passionate about anything. I am a capitalist-minded, conservative conformist who loves money.

I can’t draw. I can’t paint. I can’t dance. I like reading but I am not well-read. I’ve heard of, but have not read, Nicholas Sparks, Neil Gaiman, JK Rowling, etc. I love music but I don’t know the history of blues, jazz or rock music. I sing, but I’m a terrible performer. I like looking at paintings but I don’t know what they mean.

 And then my boyfriend calls me a Toreador (a fancy-pants Moronic-Byronic wimpy Anne Rice type)… i.e an artist. I was taken aback. The nerve !

He explained that, to him, that an artist is simply someone who needs to express herself so bad that if they don’t they’ll explode. I’m not exactly the exploding type.

Is it because I blogged about Angono? Is it because I blog (with a severe case of oligo-blogia)? There’s nothing artsy about blogging. The crassest people can be found on the blogosphere.

I was a writer in high school. But everyone knows you can’t stay in high school.

My friends and teachers from high school tell me they’re surprised that i took the corporate track. They expected me to be a bohemian, an artist, an activist. Just because I wrote news in the schoolpaper.

The truth is, I knew I would have never been successful in that path. And they knew it.

I can’t write anything of my own. I had to have someone tell me “Please do an article on the newly elected student council. Leave it on my desk by Friday.”

None of “Omigosh your love requiem was so hardcore it made me cry blood! and I’ve never liked poetry before!” I wasn’t “Such an insightful editorial I wanna march into the Senate with you now!” I was just OK. Good, but not great.

I was old reliable. And I still am.

Maarte lang ako. Hindi ako artist.

Back to the Corporate World

Now that I’m done with the board exams, it’s back to my regular job. I asked for a month-long study leave for the exams and now I’m back.

Call center jobs are another uso in this country. It’s my bread-and-butter. I can’t say it’s a 9-to-5 since I work the ungodly hours of 12MN to 9AM. I train newly-hired agents in a call center a.k.a.  business process outsource (BPO) company. It’s very tough, yet rewarding. It is a bit more lucrative than, say, being a clerk at some daytime office.

One of my teachers way back in high school expected me to be a bohemian: an activist, a writer, or a musician. She never expected that I would go the corporate route, but I reminded her that I was already selling my writings and things back in high school. But then again, I never really left writing, or music, or serving the people.

A major part of what i do in both fields is teaching people. I have to constantly update myself with new methods, materials and theories. I also learn a lot from the people I work with. As the saying goes, “In learning, you will teach. In teaching, you will learn.”

On weekdays, I live in the corporate world of the BPO trainer. Although I enjoy my job, its simply my means of living, not life itself. I go back to earth by serving the poor as a volunteer midwife. In between this hectic schedule is life: I write, make music and hang out with my friends and family.  If I didn’t learn how to balance time, I wouldn’t have achieved this kind of balance.

Board Exams Aftermath

I’m feeling ambigious towards the exams. I think that I have a 70-30 %chance of passing. But somehow, I feel that I wouldn’t feel so bad, or even feel surprised, if I don’t pass. I’m soo not into sour-graping. Most of the time if things go wrong, I blame myself (just ask my friends). But take a look at some of the questions given:

Sample Question:

Q. Determine the maternal mortality rate in the barangay. If 3 women dies of hemorrhage and 2 died of sepsis. If the total number of births is

A. 11.3

B. 12.5

C. 15.4

D. 10.2

So what’s the question? Where are the rest of the given figures?  And yes, the grammar really was that bad.

Another Sample Question:

Q. Which of the following during catheterization did you NOT considered?

A. bloddy

B. meatus

c. vaginal orifice.

d. clitoris

Okay, I understood the question this time, despite the atrocious grammar and spelling.  What kind of meatus (meaning any kind of opening) is this referring to? The vaginal meatus? The urinary meatus? But what the heck is a BLODDY?  The same question was given a few items later. It turned out that BLODDY means BLADDER.

Sample Question # 3

Q. A woman three days post-partum consults you due to her vaginal discharge.

a. Refer her to the physician.

b. ask her to go home.

c. take her to the hospital.

d. take vital signs

What kind of discharge? Was it foul-smelling? What color was it? How heavy was it? As most moms would know, discharge in the form of lochia is normal during the post partum period.  You can’t really determine your course of action if the situation is this vague.

I tried to ask the proctor about weird questions like these. Her only answer was “But they (PRC) didn’t send us any corrections. so i guess the test is fine. just analyze it.”

I don’t claim to be the best student-midwife but I am just sad that I have to dumb myself down just to understand the questions. It took some time to get used to the typos, but I’m ok with that. A couple of grammar slips is also fine with me. But I honestly couldn’t understand a full third of the questions because of these mistakes.

It makes me queasy to think that these questions were created by the Board of Midwifery. I am all for the upliftment of the profession. I think it is insulting to midwives’ intelligence that the body that creates the standards for them did not put much effort into the exams.

The government says that our medical professionals are world-class. How can we claim that if the Licensure Exams isn’t even in proper English? It would have been okay to take the exams in Filipino if questions in English are hard to formulate. I really wouldn’t mind.  

And to whom should I raise this concern to? Who will listen to a mere student-midwife like me?

They say that the results will be released this week. I don’t know if I feel excited.

Midwifery Board Exams in the Philippines begins Tomorrow

Tomorrow I will take the Midwifery Board Exams.

Jumping the medical bandwagon is another uso here in the Philippines so we can get better pay abroad. Most students would opt to be nurses because it is one of the most lucrative jobs out there. According to the news, there are 100,000 unemployed nurses here in the country. 89,000 more will take the Nursing Board Exams this November.

That sounded like a lot of competition so I opted for Midwifery. It’s a shorter and easier course. I never had the guts or brains enough to be a nurse. Nurses face a lot of death and disease; midwives face a lot of …well, life.

On some days I do regret not joining my friends who shifted to nursing. I felt left out again. But on most days, I feel like i could do the most good as a midwife. There’s nothing better than giving primary care to the community.

Oh wait, there is something better: Holding that newborn and handing it to the new mom.

I am praying for that license.

thank you