Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Year Ender : The Climb

I would like to recall the year 2010-  the Tiger year  -  My year through a song.

“There’s always gonna be another mountain. I’m always gonna want to make it move. Always gonna be an uphill battle, sometimes you’re gonna have to lose. Ain’t about how fast I get there, ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side. It’s the climb.”

Year 2010 is filled with events, which at the time, seemed just like another ordinary day really. Little did I know that life was weaving strings of memories that is going to be a part of a folio of people, places and events in the patchwork of the journey.

• Metamorphosis was reborn in January 2010 via my blog site. In the internet age, I finally decided to be done with my usual journals and start something for world wide web to see. It continue to be an extension of my earliest passion for writing and deep down, I was hoping to be able to touch lives through stories from my children, in this web page.

• My Birthday celebration. Looking back I realized it was the last one I will be celebrating in the Plant. It was actually a working day due to the AM Step 6 Workshop so I celebrated t with the Laundry LT at King Bee’s a week later. The folks also bought Mango Bravo cake at Conti’s as a surprise. Not to be outdone, Loves also took a (surprise) VL that day and they came over in the afternoon to bring a bouquet of flowers and cake and gift from Body Shop waiting at home, after celebrating over dinner at Nuvali's.

• Kevin’s Graduation. A big step from last year’s graduation day, Kevin is now more comfortable wearing his toga and gown and walked alone without tantrums for his graduation march. He also came up alone on stage to get his multiple intelligence award and we met him on stage halfway. Parents also applauded for him and we are happy that he now feels a sense of belonging with the rest of the school kids. In their Christmas Outreach program, Kevin was one of the kids awarded as Most Generous for his donation to the drive.

• Our travels. This year we started carving out more time to travel as a family. We love going to beaches which Kevin and Kyla also love. This year we went to Canyon Cove, Caylabne and Bohol Island. The kids loved their first plane ride and were on their best behavior throughout the flight. I started creating a list of new places to visit and explore.

• Kyla’s Self Discovery. Kyla did not make it for the honor roll in pre-school and while as a parent, I will miss the bragging right, I reminded myself that this is not about me. And so I assured her that we have confidence in her capabilities and not make a big deal out of not making it. But Kyla is full of surprises… We decided to enroll Kyla in St. Scholastica’s College Westgrove for grade school. Coming from a private school myself, I wanted her to experience growing up in a big school and be prepared to face life at large. I am proud to look back and see how Kyla has grown so much in the last five month… she joined the Center for Pop Music singing workshop and in her final recital, she sang “This is Me” with great voice and stage projection. She easily made new friends in SSCW and also joined the Dance Club where she got to also perform. She was a finalist for the Science Quiz Bee and top 3 finalist for Grade 1 Declamation contest. Kyla was also awarded the TOP Book Borrower for Grade 1 level and won new books as her prize. Kyla was also twice awarded the Academic Excellence award and a great way to say goodbye to her school. Most of all Kyla is most endeared and praised not for these achievements… but for her emerging strength of character. Kyla loves her brother very much. They share a special bond and people around them see it and are inspired, seeing Kyla merrily bouncing around her Kuya Kevin and showing her support and caring in every way possible. They are our true blessings!

• ITW plant was engulfed by fire and this changed the course of Alvin’s career in ITW. He was assigned to do a short term trip in China which is his first ever international travel and for the first time, celebrated his birthday away from home. We continued to have the usual cake and birthday dishes at home even though he can only join us in Skype. For the first time, I’ve seen Kevin cry over the absence of a family member.

• My Career (edited version from the original musings). So much has happened this year career-wise and little did I knew that it will be a prelude of things to come.  In a whirlwind of events, next thing we knew I accepted an assignment at the Singapore GO and the entire family will have to relocate by January. We had to live as split family for three months and had to wrap up our lives in Manila, pave the way to new destination, new country and a new assignment.

• Kyla’s 10th Birthday. Kyla celebrated her 7th birthday in a Camp Rock/Pop Star theme at the Paseo Premiere Hotel. We had over 150 guests and more than half of her classmates past and present, teachers and Kevins' teachers and therapists came to celebrate with her which is a testimony of the people and friends she has made. She also rendered a solo song number which makes for a memorable birthday.

• My farewell. I’ve always wondered how my life at the Plant will end and where to go next. I’ve always thought it would not be soon. But it’s not to be. And so last October 1, the farewells were in order. I feel humbled and honored from the touching messages from so many friends, colleagues, direct reports and people I have worked with in the Plant. I will always keep their messages with me as inspiration and source of joy during the difficult times.

And so as I bid farewell to 2010, I also welcome and embrace a new life waiting. Life is full of surprises. Life is beautiful!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Notebook of Dreams

I loooove notebooks.

I used to own probably 4-5 notebooks at any given time. For work. For personal to do list. For my literary scribblings and a few more that were given ro me as gifts. When I am in a bookstore and I see a nice, elegant looking notebook, I could not resist buying one. Even with the onset of Palm Pilot (which died), Smart Phone and now, the Ipad (and the Ipad look-alikes), there is something elemental about notebooks versus a digital rendition of scribbled musings.

Before I left Manila, I gave away a lot of my old "new" (unused) notebooks to my office mates. I realized have a lot kept in my locker and at home. I had to finally "let go" of my really old notebooks from my R&D Process days. I had to throw a couple that caused a great deal of stress.

Two years ago I started this tradition of writing down my "To Do List for the Year". I received a Papemelroti notebook-the one with brown paper-having been made from recycled paper and I decided to put it to good use by listing down the things I want to accomplish for the next 2-3 years. It included both personal pursuits as well as those that extend to my family.

Last September, I decided to leave the notebook behind as a "something old" memento to a friend from work. I had to tear off about 2 pages where I have written my life's pursuits. Looking at my hand written notes for the last time, I realized that each and every one of in the list had this red "check mark" beside them, -- even when I thought at the time I wrote it that it seemed impossible or outrageous. I have actually realized all those things I have set out to do and accomplish. And I had to say, most of them were not accomplished by my lone self. It also took great partnership with my better half.

I was handing down not just an ordinary notebook-- it was a notebook where dreams are made. And where dreams, coupled with faith, perseverance and tenacity -- do come true.

... Which reminds me, its time to have a new notebook. For my new "To Do" list. It will be quite a long list.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Acts of Kindness

Kindness is like a candle in the dark. Giving hope.

Being a stranger in a new country, a new workplace, a new city/community and a new function is more than enough recipe for disaster. And dont even get me started about being alone. I heard this before but somehow it escaped me in that hour of reckoning.

Along the way, there were people who like rays of sunlight, brings warmth to an otherwise cold and dreary long day. We probably do not take these things to heart and take those for granted until finally, you are in a situation where you feel vulnerable.

In my first two months in a new destination, I feel so grateful to the random every day people for their acts of kindness... the "Good Morning Armie" from new office mates.. Kanitha who reminded me of my "Mommy Joyce" who led me to the Healthway Clinic during that deathly day when I was about to fade in the face of Singapore.. the genuine query from folks about "my life so far"... Kevin's new Angel for the words of wisdom... the lad who offered me a shelter under his umbrella during that rainy evening while crossing Orchard road... the planners who helped me onboard... my new team who took the load off... my informal lunchmates for listening to my run-down of my days-so far... the cheerful taxi drivers (who negated the grumpy ones)... old Cabuyao friends who visited in SG for the joy of their company... the Cabuyao friends who continue to tag me in all facebook pictures of Plant Life and WPI Pillar (yes, the thought counts)... folks at work who provide data/information without waiting for the end of the world...and so many others.

These acts of kindness  make a heavy heart, a wee-bit lighter during those days when it mattered.  With these thoughts I also realized that someone, somewhere-could also be in the same situation I had... and I promised to pass on a little dose of sunshine too.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Farewell to Angels

Kevin spent his last few days bidding goodbye to teachers, friends and sea of familiar faces in this world for the last 10 years. On December 28, we all finally move to Singapore. The goodbye is of course a symbolic rather than a matter-of-fact affair for him because I reckon that at this point, he doesn’t really fully well know that those moments will be the last.

Apart from the secure shell of our home, his school and therapy centers have been his “second home” all these years. We were blessed to have been surrounded by people who genuinely cared for him during those times when we were away to fulfill the needful duties for living. They opened their doors for Kevin, and have him belong and become a part of something great and worthwhile. They have been part of Kevin's small steps and little triumphs over the years. We will always be grateful to them. They will always be Kevin’s Angels on Earth.

Thank you so much—

To Teacher Weng Ynion of Trails Center. To Teachers Len, Donna, Ai and Aimee. Thank you for holding hands with us in the last seven years and through the challenges that Kevin faced, for sharing with his life's milestones. Congratulations on your new pre-school—we couldn’t have been happier knowing that more and more special kids need Angels like you in our country!

To Teacher Mon Mendez of Partners for Child Development and Progress. To Teachers Kang, Elaine, Mai, Soleil, Meng and all his former therapists. For being our partners and enabling Kevin in his ADL and for not giving up on Kevin. Thank you for the very memorable farewell dine-out you gave him... He always look at the pictures he had with you and although he cannot express it in words, I know that he is very happy and will always remember that day.

To Teachers Grace, Gerry, Edison and Lovelyn of Kindertech of Uno Cevita- for opening your doors for Kevin and other special kids who needed a chance. Thank you for giving him a place to belong and a little community where I know he is happy and loved.

I tried to be brief as I know words are not enough. We hope to see you all once again… somewhere, some time. I trust that somewhere along the road, there will be new Angels for Kevin too.