Tuesday, October 21, 2008

love, (pre-lingkod) rosa style

was listening to an eraserheads playlist as i was making major additions to an affidavit a partner wanted super detailed. i was a big fan of the old songs so most of their newer songs are quite alien to me. being the impatient listener that i am, i'd forward only to the songs i knew but then i got too caught up in writing the affidavit that i didn't realize that the playlist had moved on to songs i didn't know, including the song shirley.

the beat was fun and i sort of paused and actually listened to the lyrics. not satisfied, i googled the actual lyrics.

and then it dawned upon me. several times in the past, this was how exactly love (or some permutation thereof) happened to me.

In love nanaman si Shirley
Sa binatang maganda ang kotse
Sila'y nag-date sa may Antipolo kagabi
Lagi na siyang naka-dress ng eskwela
Nakaayos palagi ang buhok niya
Lumulutang sa ulap pag naglalakad sa kalye
Ganyan main-lab lab lab lab(4x)
Ganyan main-lab
The next week magsyota na sila
Magkaholding hands papunta sa C.A.S.A.A.
Kung maglandian akala mo'y walang katabi
(Repeat chorus)
(repeat chorus)
Ngunit isang araw sa may SM sila'y nagaway
Nagtampuhan may iyakan hanggang sa maubos ang laway
Hiwalay silang umuwi at sila'y nagbreak
After three days nag-ring ang telepono ni Shierly
Si binata ngayo'y nag-sorry ilang minuto na lang
Sila'y mag-on na uli
(Repeat Chorus till fade)

go figure.

but, past is past and this is me now. hopefully wiser, infinitely more careful, heart guarded with as much energy as i could muster.

then again, maybe not.

Friday, October 17, 2008

let me tell you something about my new best friend

this is enzo.

he is ten years, 8 months, and 16 days younger than me. (and if you're my really good friend you'd say, really? hindi halata. okay?)

tomorrow, he'll be celebrating his birthday.

i met enzo last june in lingkod. for some reason, he never really spoke to me. believe me, i tried. however, one day i had to share with him the secret of my miraculously pretty hair when we met up at victory liner on our way to baguio so he had no choice when i declared that we were already close. after all, he was one of the few people who knew what i did between leaving the office and arriving at the pasay terminal that day.

of course what made it better was the fact that he likes taking pictures with his phone and i like posing for pictures. and we got thrown into the same track. and he (together with yel) volunteered to go with me to confession. and he doesn't mind listening (like i don't mind talking).

five days and a whole lot of chats later, it became official: we were best friends for life.

of course if you both love cheetos and you both like talking that's a given already, right? it doesn't hurt to discover that he had stashed ketchup fries in his aunt's car and the zigzag down to baguio is more manageable because he's right beside you. it's fabulous that he can stay awake at all hours (long after you've fallen asleep with a half-composed text message on your cellphone that you manage to send only hours later) because you're assured that your new best friend is like a 24-hour call center ready to answer your beck and call.

four months ago, irma and madel were able to convince this gentle teddy bear to attend alnp-alabang's clp. now, he's serving the brothers and sisters, he's everyone's prayer warrior, and he's best friends with mon, jopeng, and bobby. he can make you smile. he is the best shoulder to cry on (*sigh* 29 meaningless text messages on a sunday afternoon).

clearly, as far as new best friends go, it doesn't get any better than that.

p.s. it's enzo's birthday tomorrow! please don't forget to greet him :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

of small salaries and personal fulfillment

yesterday, a friend from the court of appeals who resigned a little less than a month called for a short hello-how-are-you-let's-catch-up-on-each-other phone conversation. after we've shared how happy we both were at work, the inevitable was raised.

her: "do you know they're getting a bonus this friday? one month daw."

me: *grumbles*

her: "that's on top of saj"

me: *grumbles some more*

now, before you go on and lecture me and say "you knew this before getting into it" and "it's just money, and money doesn't buy happiness", let me tell you a couple of things.

i have never had a high-paying job. i graduated from a good school, got honors and what i thought then was a prestigious award, so i sort of expected ("hoped" might have been more appropriate) that i'd get a job which pays buckets.

my first teaching job sort of did. 10k a month plus overtime. not bad, or at least i thought it wasn't. after all, it was infinitely bigger than the allowance i was receiving at the time i graduated from college. plus, i learned it was bigger than what bank tellers were earning at that time so i was happy. it meant - at least to me - access to as many shoes i wanted.

six months into it, i left the job - a problem with my boss - and jumped at the chance that was offered to me when i graduated: a scholarship for a master's degree in education. it paid a stipend - 10k - but it meant commuting all the way to ortigas. i was young, i was 21, distance and money didn't matter. all i thought of was that i was getting my master's degree two years ahead of schedule.

apparently the problem with a stipend was that it doesn't grow. and it doesn't come with benefits. or bonuses. so i said, what the heck, i'll apply for law school. and i did. and i passed ... right about the same time they were ready to make me into a full-time faculty member.

needless to say, i had to wait another full year or so after that before i became a full-time faculty member. translation: my stipend remained pretty much the same for a couple of years. and when i became a faculty member, the people i had started graduate school with were so far off that all i could console myself with was the thought that hey, it's okay, you'll be a lawyer soon.

i eventually became a lawyer, except i got a job with the government which paid less than your average law firm. we did, however, get bonuses. for some reason or another though, when i became entitled to them, the bonuses sort of dwindled to a trickle. G and R commented that i might have balat insofar as money is concerned.

you know what? maybe i do. because a couple of days after i passed my resignation, they increased the salaries of government personnel.

looking at me, very few would believe that i actually work for peanuts. i attribute it to the fact that i know every nook and cranny of most malls in metro manila and know where to get things on sale. i guess only tita mayu knows exactly how much i make and how much i spend for things like meralco, water, insurance, titheing, gasoline, and car payments. and savings? let's not even get into that. i love bo sanchez, and would love to save like bo sanchez (he saves 30% i think), but if i did, i'd probably walk from the house to the office. that's how exact things are.

and if the abovequoted conversation wasn't enough to make me feel horrible, this did: my cousin's gf who just graduated last march earns only 1k less than i do. phooey. ten years of working experience, a master's degree and a law degree is apparently translated to 1,000 bucks more each payday.

of course how much i make and how happy i am are two things distinct and separate from one another. all i have to do is to remember the fact that this life i'm living now is the fulfillment of god's promise to me. i am happy. i wake up smiling. i look forward to work. i feel like this is what the last couple of years (not to mention those sleepless nights spent studying at starbucks and the agony of waiting for the bar results TWICE) has been all about. i wear a suit at least once a week. i write and sign pleadings. i have a PTR number. people call me ma'am and attorney. i am able to testify to others of the joy of trusting god and living out the joy of his plans for his children. these things validate the decisions that i have made throughout the years. this is it. i am exactly where i've always wanted to be.

except that there are days when all you have in your wallet is three hundred pesos, your gas indicator tells you it's only a couple of kilometers away from being empty, and your refrigirator has nothing but water in it. and you tell yourself, why, why, why was i not the one called to have the big salary?

Monday, October 13, 2008

this is how my boss won, in one afternoon, my lifelong loyalty

today i attended a hearing wearing my brown suit which goes perfectly fine with my ferragamo shoes.

my sweet, beloved ferragamo shoes. my 30th birthday gift to myself. my "what's money in the bank if i can't enjoy it" shoes. the shoes i signed the roll of attorneys with. the shoes that i use to validate myself with on really bad days. one of my favorite pairs of shoes.

i love them so much that if i'm wearing them, commuting is out of the question. these shoes get to ride the car. all the time.

anyway, while we were at the NLRC it rained buckets so when we got out, we were greeted by a river pretending to be a street. we waited, and waited, and waited for the water to subside but eventually we decided to just go and brave it.

a couple of minutes before braving the flooded street, my boss took a look at my feet and asked, "kaya mo ba?"

being the cowboy that i am, not to mention the fact that i was a bit scared of him, replied, "of course." after all, what's a pair of really expensive shoes compared to creating a good impression.

he then said, "bago ata sapatos mo."

i winced and replied, "luma na po. at saka, sapatos lang yan." i swear, if i were pinocchio, my nose would have grown a foot longer.

he then indicated that he'd be willing to wait some more but after a couple of minutes, standing in the corner stopped appealing to hm and he suggested again that we go for it. i agreed. then he said, "iha, yung sapatos mo, mababasa. ako na lang kukuha ng kotse. dito ka na lang. daanan kita."

i was left with no words. i simply nodded.

this partner (together with the others) pays for my salary. he taught me everything i know about labor law. he made me appreciate labor as a subject and inspired me to want to become a labor lawyer myself. he is the reason why i applied for this firm, why i left my comfortable job in the CA, and why i'm working for peanuts. and he offers to walk to the car by himself, cross a flooded intersection, and pick me up simply so that my shoes would not get wet.


and if this isn't enough to earn my undying loyalty, nothing else will.

Friday, October 10, 2008

one hundred things to be happy about

  1. two hundred bucks salary differential from when i was still at the court of appeals.
  2. an unplanned lunch with a good friend
  3. ... especially if good friend decides to order gambas which happens to be one of your ultimate favorites
  4. ... and decides, at the end of lunch, to pay for everything, including your meal!
  5. surprise checks which will allow you to buy yet another suit for work
  6. free tickets to west side story ... especially since every time you'd pass by the billboard at edsa you tell yourself that you'll find a way to watch it
  7. honorariums without withholding tax
  8. secrets :)
  9. being assigned to a case you secretly hoped you'd be assigned to
  10. sm megamall and everything that goes with it
  11. knowing you've passed by krispy kreme every single working day for the last two months and you've yet to yield to the temptation of buying half a dozen donuts for yourself
  12. having your own tiny little office where you can hide out
  13. finishing your first ever pleading as a lawyer ...
  14. ... and signing that pleading!
  15. having a tita mayu :) (everyone should have a cool aunt who feeds you like any mom would but shares your secrets like a good friend, supports your luho like a grandparent, and covers your back like a sibling)
  16. unlitxt80 ...
  17. ... and friends with globe phones :)
  18. waking up to a LOT of messages on your phone ...
  19. ... and answering them one by one.
  20. phone-oke with your best friend
  21. ... who doesn't mind if you have your own version of "narda"
  22. theme songs :)
  23. rainy days
  24. trying on jeans you haven't worn in a while cause they've gotten a bit tight and realizing that they now fit way better than they did a couple of months ago
  25. benny, benny, benny
  26. free tissue at work!
  27. clothes you like at 70% off
  28. lunch at o'boy (4th floor West Tower, PSE Centre)
  29. not caring how much gas costs and bringing car to work to make the commute easier
  30. the kids at tuloy sa don bosco
  31. special mention: christian caroro (i swear it's wrong but he's really my ultra favorite kid!)
  32. mass with lingkod people ... ibang level yung high.
  33. rltc '08
  34. new friends
  35. saturday nights with the girls
  36. explaining something then seeing that exact moment that the other person gets exactly what you're trying to say
  37. no saturday work
  38. the lovely new buses that ply the mia route :)
  39. P55 shuttle to atc - makes having relationships at alabang easy!
  40. cheap stuff at sm
  41. cheap stuff anywhere!
  42. 12 noon or 8pm mass at PCJ
  43. thursday kaberks
  44. jojet (my tuloy kid) memorizing the multiplication table
  45. junjun (my other tuloy kid) breaking into a big smile upon realizing that i wasn't absent and would be there to tutor him
  46. friends who don't mind taking me home
  47. jollibee spaghetti
  48. mcdo drive thru
  49. sarsi light
  50. vacation at cabanatuan
  51. removing something from your to-do list
  52. my work :)
  53. that feeling after a confession
  54. bacon, bacon, and more bacon
  55. creative ideas
  56. when it's raining and you're at home with absolutely nothing to do except watch dvds
  57. long, long phone conversations late into the night and ending the wee hours of the morning
  58. long, long conversations ... standing in parking lot, then moving into the car, then realizing it's raining crazy outside already!
  59. cheetos twisted puffs
  60. gourmet tuyo
  61. champorado
  62. tuyo + champorado + bacon + fried rice = surprise send off party
  63. banners
  64. handwritten notes
  65. postcards :)
  66. post its in all shapes and sizes
  67. smileys
  68. YM conversations
  69. driving
  70. ruins @ bf
  71. hair that dries in place
  72. freshly sharpened pencils
  73. answered prayers
  74. sleeping
  75. deleting people who hurt you from your life
  76. balikbayan boxes
  77. mama and papa
  78. mama and papa finally buying a home
  79. the prospect of a US vacation
  80. fresh towels and sheets
  81. hotel rooms
  82. hotel buffet breakfasts
  83. paper -- all kinds of paper
  84. lovely planners
  85. colored pens
  86. the internet!
  87. pink hello kitty keyboard
  88. leaving your office dirty and coming back to find everything neatly piled on your desk
  89. new shoes
  90. resisting the urge to buy a bag
  91. matching luggage
  92. swivel chairs
  93. phones with lots of buttons
  94. parties!
  95. project runway
  96. reality tv (yes, i know, i watch crap on tv)
  97. pictures
  98. finding the perfect case to support an argument
  99. getting home after a long long long day at work
  100. you (and me) finally getting to the end of this list

Monday, October 06, 2008

when the going gets tough, you get tougher best friends

last week was a horrible week. so much so that a new friend actually expressed surprise when he asked how i was and my answer didn't begin with the word "horrible".

anyway, if one day out of the seven stood out, it would've been yesterday. what made it worse was the fact that i was actually expecting the day to be a good one. i woke up early, was pretty chirpy the entire morning, but when the day chose to blow up in my face, i was left with little energy to do anything else but sulk.

actually, sulk and watch "dear friend" but that's an entirely different matter altogether.

anyway, when i had somewhat regrouped (and apparently after sending 29 angry/sad/depressed/confused/tearful/complaining/whiny messages to one person), one guy friend suggested, "let's just meet up at festival and watch a movie." kaladkarin ever, i agreed.

we never got to watch that movie. i was hungry and so was he and we both agreed we wanted to devour a huge plate of ribs by ourselves so we ate at racks. another guy friend arrived and we decided, okay, it's time to remedy my problems the guy way. less talk, more grunting.

let's just say that while i love being with girlfriends in the midst of a tumultuous situation (especially since this would mean shopping, coffee, spa, and griping around a table while lambasting evil person who caused bad day), there are times when being one of the guys beats out retail therapy. last night was one of those nights.

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