Yesterday was the first day of my beginners Japanese class in UP. This is the second time I enrolled in such a class, but I have a feeling I’d get more out of this than I did in that Languages Internationale class I took six years ago.
Nothing much to report. Our class is small with only fourteen students. Surprisingly, we only have two undergrads. Everyone else is in their twenties and above and already working. Our teacher is Ria Rafael, who is also a senior lecturer at the Linguistics department.
I always feel at home inside a classroom, even though I quite dislike the first day tradition of introducing yourself to the rest of the class. At least I wasn’t the first one to do it.
First day went well. We studied the basic greetings, introducing oneself and started on learning Katakana. It’s funny how much you can pick up when you watch a lot of anime and J-dramas, so it was easy to remember the lesson. What I liked was the explanation of what the words mean, their root meaning and the pattern of how to create sentences. But much like when I was learning Spanish, having a wide vocabulary will help.
I remember when I was applying for UP. I had used up several copies of the application form because I wanted mine to be clean. I also spent a lot of time talking with my mother about what course to pick. She told me to choose accounting, especially since then, I had planned to take up law afterwards. My choices ended up as thus: UP Diliman as the first campus of choice, with Accounting and Journalism as the courses, then UP Baguio with Com Sci and Journalism as my courses.
When the results were released, it was my best friend’s older sister, then a freshman in UPD, who looked for our names. Sadly, she told us that we weren’t on the list. I felt grim at the prospect of going to school in Miriam (no offense meant. It’s just that my mindset has been on UP for so long), as that and DLSU were the two other schools whose entrance exams I passed (I didn’t make it in Ateneo), and goodness knows we couldn’t afford DLSU.
One day, near the end of senior year, I arrived home from school and my tita said, “May sulat ka galing UP.” (You have a letter from UP). Nervous, I took my time opening it. It was a thin, legal sized, dirty white envelope. I was expecting a rejection letter, because what else could it contain? My acceptance letters from Miriam and DLSU were really thick ones, containing information as to what I should do upon enrolment, so I wasn’t really excited to open this one.
Inside the envelope were several folded sheets of paper, mostly mimeographed ones. The single sheet of white paper had those perforated edges with holes in them, and that was the one I opened first.
I still laugh every time I remember those words, as it is probably the most unusual words one could ever read in an college acceptance letter. “Congratulations” would be the most typical. I, however, got this:
“Due to the planned expansion of UP College Baguio, you have been admitted…”
Long story short, I went to UP Baguio. I picked Journalism because… it was bound to have little or no math subjects. Ironically, the jobs I entered in after graduating were in the tech industry.
Regardless of the campus, studying in UP is an experience I will never ever trade for anything. And despite the differences of each campus, you know you’re still in UP when you visit one. I know that’s how I felt when I went to the Diliman, Manila, Los Baños and Visayas campuses.
Congratulations to the new batch of Isko and Iska. Study hard, but have fun as well.
P.S. Urban legend has it that when you have your photograph taken with the Oblation while you are still studying, you will not graduate. Not sure if this means “not graduating on time” or “not graduating at all.” Hehe.
Late yesterday afternoon, I met up with Drew at Makati to attend a lecture on teaching Katakana his friend Richard invited him to go to. Despite the fact that I can’t speak Japanese and the only sentence I can speak decently is the basic greeting, there were a few things I learned. I even managed to understand what one teacher was talking about. I’m not sure how but I think it was due to his hand gestures and facial expressions.
Food trip Finally got to eat at Sizzling Pepper Steak. It wasn’t as good as I expected, but it was good enough, and one order fills you up well.
Today, Gerone and I seemed to do nothing but eat. We had lunch at Jumbo Japs, nibbled on Reese’s Pieces while waiting for 1 pm, then bought 3 pieces of day old and two pieces of penoy. Did I mention there’s sans rival in the fridge?
Check-up We finally were able to bring Dion to the doctor. He has asthma, and the family was worried that since he was studying in the middle of the city, he might be prone to getting attacks and wanted to see a specialist.
We went to Medical City in Ortigas to Dr. Michelle de Vera. She said that what we’re doing now for Dion was good, considering that he doesn’t get attacks very often (but when he does, it’s really tough). She recommended that he carry an inhaler around all the time, use it as often as needed and call her if he uses it more often than normal.
Later on, Dion and I went around Recto to look for the books he needs for school. I was able to go inside FEU as well. It’s my first time to do so and I was pleasantly surprised. From the outside, you’d think that it would be crowded with a cluster of buildings. Definitely not like UP Diliman or Ateneo.
However, the campus has this huge space in the middle, and the surrounding areas are nicely landscaped with big trees providing cool shade. Not something you’d expect smack dab in the middle of the city.
Everyone who comes in gets their temperature checked and if found negative, stamped on with a “pass”. I wasn’t exempted haha.
It has been eleven years since I graduated from high school. That alone should be an indication of how old I am in terms of numbers, but somehow, I don’t feel old. Maybe it’s because I haven’t really found where I want to be in this world, hence I still feel like I did ten years ago.
Maybe it’s just my nature.
High school reunions, in most cases, do tend to make you feel old. For many, the prospect of seeing their old classmates is not a fun thing, as it may bring about memories they’d rather suppress. From this point of my life, I can safely say that high school was good to me. It wasn’t the best, perhaps, nor do I get those “Damn, I miss it all and want to revisit it” feelings like I do when I remember college, but there’s this feeling of sentimentality still.
I would wonder more if I didn’t have those, especially since more than half of the people in my high school batch were my classmates and friends since pre-school. I’ve got pictures to prove it too, if you don’t want to rely on my memories.
Thursday night was probably an odd time of choice for a dinner reunion, being the middle of the work week and the Friday work day looming. I had already taken the day off to work on the application for school, so begging off the next day wasn’t an option. Still, my best friend of nearly twenty years and I went, and for a change, I was the late one, not her.
I didn’t know what to expect, really. Awkwardness? A bit of hesitancy considering that most of us haven’t seen each other in eleven years, except for the odd moments in between? Perhaps the fear that they would all realize that I was truly weird and I’d be cast out?
No. None of those. In fact, it didn’t feel any different. We were all older, true. Some looking a little more, er, healthier than the rest, but it was as if we all picked up where we left off. Perhaps not as smoothly as one could expect, but still well enough that there were no awkward moments.
It was a night where laughter dominated. Stories were exchanged in extra loud tones. Old relationships and gossips somewhat unearthed (but thankfully, not so much), memories of the good and not so good relived and can now be laughed at.
I got to see people I haven’t really thought of in so long but realize mean a lot to me. I got to reconnect with the friends I made back then, those who knew me at my worst (I haven’t reached my best yet, but I think I’m better), when I was still a kid (though I still am, in many ways). I’ve gotten to hug my best friend after a long time (our story is really funny) and basically just had a really great time reliving my childhood til teen-hood.