Archive for June, 2010

Another Big Breakfast

Saturday, June 26th, 2010
Eng Dept

Eng Dept Breakfast

Last English “Department Meeting” in my apartment with much the same breakfast menu. Pancakes. Eggs. Hash browns (this time turning out better than last time). Biscuits. Bacon. I never thought I would enjoy preparing and cooking for so many people, but it was such a pleasure. A big part of this labor of love is the appreciation I have for my fellow English teachers. I also think that a part of it was a need to have closure on a significant role I played for the past two years. As English department head, I started with very specific short-term and long-term goals. I am good with what I was able to do with the time and resources that were available to me. And while there are still many things left undone, I come away feeling satisfied with what I was able to accomplish. I now bequeath these projects, responsibilities, and the rest of my resources to my successors. More power to them as they take up the baton.

It has been an honor and pleasure to have worked with such professionals who have made my job so easy. No regrets on my end. Saying goodbye is always hard, but for this department, after all that we’ve been through, it feels right. It’s time. It’s been grand.

Father’s Day

Saturday, June 19th, 2010
Shanghai Visit

Shanghai Visit

For Father’s Day, I looked for a picture of me and my dad, but I couldn’t find a recent one. So I am posting this picture of their last visit to Shanghai a few weeks ago when they came for the Expo.

This morning when I woke up, I read in an email that he fainted in the living room and had to be taken to emergency. I called right away to find out that it was mostly due to low blood pressure and not the high blood pressure that he is prone to having. Last I heard, he’s resting comfortably and is getting ready leave the hospital. That’s a big relief. It is one of those things that I have to live with everyday, especially since I live so far away — being prepared for these kinds of news and not being able to do anything about it. In any case, it certainly made me think about him and appreciate him more on this Father’s Day.

Big Breakfast

Friday, June 18th, 2010
Writers Party

Writers Party

Pancakes. Hash browns. Bacon. Eggs. Biscuits. They were all on the menu. Everyone arrived just when the last pancake was flipped and the last of the bacon was taken out of the frying pan. It was nice that everyone got to sit around the table, too. We had a toast to end the school year and we started in on the food. It was overall a very comfortable atmosphere. It was cozy and … as someone puts it, lovely.

After breakfast, we finished the game we started yesterday. Zebra won, courtesy of two people who seem to have this strange psychic connection! Then, we were entertained by none other than our in-house magician who performed his infamous Thread. I would love a picture of that thread coming out of his eye! We then went up to the balcony to look at the view. Took pictures. Tried the elliptical machine. Sat around, feeling too full and lethargic. We were treated once again to a magic trick wherein the magician shuffles the cards randomly by asking people to move cards from one deck to the other. In the end, he was able to “predict” the number of even-numbered cards, color, and suit. We were all stunned! Nice trick! Then, we went down and some people took turns playing the piano. Most people kept denying that they didn’t know how to play. Then, when they get behind the keyboard, they busted out with classical and pop music! We have some hidden talents. After sitting around for a while longer, we decided to face the inevitable — go back to school. We walked back slowly and leisurely, still full from the food and the fun.

What a great way to end class on this last regular day of the school year!

Cookies!

Thursday, June 17th, 2010
Cookie Masters

Cookie Masters

It all started when I found this person’s lunch card in the girls’ restroom. Her initials were written on the card, and I knew only one person with those initials, so I guessed it was her. I found her that day and asked her if she lost her card. I was right — it was hers. She came by the office later on to pick up the card. I jokingly asked her, “so what do I get in return?” She just laughed and said maybe she’ll bring me some homemade cookies. Sure enough, the following week, she came by with a cute little bag of cookies she made. I think that from that time on, every time she makes cookies, she always manages to sneak some my way. She has done this several times already, almost once a month since the first time. Today, she and her “partner-in-crime” dropped another batch of cookies.

It has been a long and tiring day, especially after the Expo yesterday and the sudden demands of the day. It was such a blessing to receive from these “Cookie Masters.” What a sweet, sweet gesture.

Writing Workshop

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
Writing Workshop

Writing Workshop

Jonathan came back in time for a Writing Workshop class picture! Since he won’t make it to the party on Friday, this was the best time to say goodbye to him. Good luck to him in Hong Kong next school year!

As for the rest of the class, I wish you the best your senior year (at least to the Juniors!). I’ve enjoyed the year immensely with everyone. The whole class was responsible, responsive, respectful, and some of the most conscientious students I’ve ever had. I know you will be successful next year. This is one of the reasons I did not want to teach Juniors this year — I knew it would be hard to say goodbye knowing I’ll be leaving. I do hope we keep in touch, even with just the blog. While I don’t expect you to write everyday, I hope you update your blog every now and then so I’ll know what’s going on with you. You’ll always have a reader and your account will be open for as long as I keep my subscription … and I plan to keep this domain name for a long time, especially when I move to Guangxi and try to update people regularly.

You are a wonderful class, and I hope you had as much fun as I did. I tried my best to keep things real and relevant … I hope you did learn some stuff about writing and will be able to use it in your classes in the future. Do keep in touch and write me sometime … by commenting on my blog??? :-)

Nicaragua

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
Nicaragua

Nicaragua at the Expo

I just introduced this blog to my brother Alvin, and he suggested that I put more pictures on it. So from now on, not only will I blog more regularly, I’ll try to put as many pictures as possible. For today, I am posting a picture that I took of Nicaragua’s Pavilion when I went to the Expo. This particular pavilion was inside the collective South American Pavilion. Since he and his wife will be going on a one-week mission trip there in July, I’m posting this picture in their honor! :-)

Speaking of the Expo, for the Dragon Boat Festival day-off tomorrow, my roommate and I will be spending the whole day at the Expo. We’re planning to be there early and come back late at night … midnight, hopefully! It will be tiring for sure, but it will be great fun!

Leaves of Grass

Monday, June 14th, 2010

I just saw the most awful movie in a very long time. I’m not even going to describe the plot. It started promising enough … but turned really bad towards the middle and never got better. The movie stars Edward Norton, a very good actor, in my opinion. After watching this movie, I wondered what made him take this on. I feel like I just wasted two hours of my time.

The last time I hated a movie this much was The Thin Red Line … I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience, I wanted it to end so badly.

Home

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

I have been listening to Michael Buble songs lately. Yesterday, while getting ready to go to a masquerade ball, I listened to the samba-esque “Sway” and the pop-jazzy “Haven’t Met You Yet” to get me in the mood. It certainly helped get me into a rhythm as I was led into a couple of waltzes last night!

After coming back, I listened to the rest of the CD and one of the songs that stayed with me was this ballad called “Home.” It is about this traveler whose destinations take him all over the world as far as Paris and Rome … but all he wants to do is “to go home.” The word “home” is very significant to me because, as a sojourner, it is my final destination after all. And as a sojourner, this is where I want to be eventually. This song reflects many a heart’s longing for the kind of intimacy that all of this world’s wealth and experience and knowledge cannot fully satisfy.

I found other renditions, but I like Buble’s version the best because it is the original and is about a man’s longing for his lover. Westlife did a music video that is more all-encompassing of all travelers away from home and missing their families. Blake Shelton did one that is more country, and hence, feels more sentimental and emotionally deeper somehow (I wonder if it’s his earthy country twang). In all three covers, the heart and soul of the song are kept intact throughout.

Wow! They did it!

Saturday, June 12th, 2010
AP Lit at Graduation

AP Lit Class at Graduation

What a special day it was!

I can only imagine what the parents were feeling upon seeing their children graduate. My pride was probably just a fraction of what they felt; nonetheless, when I saw them walking down the aisle, taking the stage, and receiving their diploma, it is as though my responsibility in this stage in their life has also been completed. Just like the parents in that auditorium, there is a part of me that wants to keep them close by, but there is a bigger part of me that wants them to stretch their wings and test their mettle. It is like I now have this vested interest to watch them fly as high as their wings can take them. I suppose this is what life is about — finding one’s place and, more importantly, finding oneself. To the class who made a difference in my life these last two years, I will be on the watch and will be around when you need a place to take shelter from your flight.

Shrek 3

Friday, June 11th, 2010

It’s been two weeks since I’ve updated the blog.  Tonight, I continue the Shrek countdown to Shrek Forever After in 3D.  I wonder if it’s playing in the theaters yet.  I hope so.  Once again, as I was watching the movie, I started falling asleep towards the end.  It’s either Shrek 2 and 3 are not as good as the original or I have become too tired for movies on a Friday night.  I just could not keep my eyes open.

Speaking of countdowns, the graduation ceremony tomorrow will be another marker of my Shanghai goodbyes.  After tomorrow, I think time will go a little faster … the goodbyes will come one after the other.  I’m ready for it.  Let it all begin.