Friday, March 16, 2007


I have a recurring dream that symbolizes what the National Writing Project has done for me as a writer...”Reach below the surface,” echo the voices of my National Writing Project colleagues. “Dig deeper”.

– Beth Hammett, The Voice, Vol9 no2 ‘04
“ A writer is someone who sits in front of a computer all day, eyes glued to the screen, fingers flying across the keyboard, churning out bestsellers.” False. I am definitely not that kind of writer. I live a very colorful life.

Since the beginning of the Summer Institute I met co-teachers who, like me, are not the stereotype writers. At the same time during the summer 2004, we all fell in love with words and how they fall into stories on page. The transformation was amazing. I found myself a writer surrounded by writers. We would share each other’s manuscripts and discuss openly about them. We would laugh. We would cry. And we would celebrate everyday by writing.
We wrote in any way ---
We wrote poems.
We wrote reflections.
We wrote journals…

June 5, 2004, Lunch Engagement
…The warm welcome and the inspirational talk of the teacher consultants gave me more appetite to write. Well, they also gave me a chance too to share a piece of my writing during the writing exercise. The food was superb! Looking forward for more J.

June 28, 2004, 1st Day Summer Institute

…It’s a wonderful feeling to know these great teachers that I am going to work with this summer. It’s surprising to know that we have a lot of things in common. Like me, most of them are accidental teachers too. I learned a lot from them…about their families…about what they do…and used to do. Most of all, I learned that in this world there are really no boundaries; only geographic partitions divide us all. We go through the same things, and are here this summer together in this Institute to share the same experiences.

June 29, 2004, Log Presentation

Today was another great day! I was the logger yesterday. It’s good that today they liked the activity I gave as part of my presentation about yesterday’ s minutes of the day, which I painstakingly did last night. Whew! More good food on the table, yum! I feasted every minute. Didn’t have to go out for lunch anymore.

June 30, 2004, My Birthday

…I have achieved something again today. I wrote a poem about my daughter, Maren Rae. I plan to include it in our anthology. Before lunch, I was touched by their thoughtful act of singing to me a birthday song while I blew my birthday candle. They gave me a birthday card with all their signatures and birthday wishes. They also offered me a basket of flowers with balloon. I felt like I really belong to this group. This is my first birthday here in the US. I am so glad to have spent it here at the DCWAP Summer Institute. Indeed, a happy birthday for me. J

July 1, 2004, 1st Socials: Folk Life Festival at the Mall

…The highlight of the festival was Haitian Culture, Latin music and Waterways. It looked like a program that brings together maritime workers and artisans to demonstrate their skills, share life stories, and celebrate the traditional ways of the region stretching from Long Island NY to the outer banks of North Carolina.

…On the way out, I got interested with their feature on the Haitian Culture. The sight was colorful and the sounds ethnic. There were demonstrations of traditional Haitian mask making and try-on costumes. It reminded me of carnival masquerades that I see only on TV. The music was ethnic and ritualistic, sounded like voodoo music to me.

July 6, 2004, Trip to the Holocaust Museum

The class went for a field trip to the Holocaust Museum. It was the first time that I really got a tour of the museum. It was the first time too that I got a bigger overview of the World War II. I never really understood what the Holocaust Era and the Nazi regime was all about, until now.

Throughout the tour I was having goose bumps. It never occurred to me that somebody could be as cruel and evil as Hitler. Anti-Christ. That is the exact word for him. I never understood why my husband’s grandparents migrated from Germany to the Philippines until now. My husband is half-German. Here’s the story…his grandfather who was the Consul (Labor Attaché) of the Philippines to Germany, married a pure blooded German. They migrated during the 1940s in a boat. I couldn’t imagine how they sailed from Germany to the Philippines, half the world, in a small boat. It was impossible, until I saw the pictures of the Holocaust. I was teary eyed while I was thinking about all these. The 18-hour plane ride from my country was exhausting, how unbearable was it to sail half of the world in a small boat?

Another scene was playing in my mind when I saw the “Death March” and the concentration camps – the Philippines under the Japanese regime. The exact thing happened to my country – Japanese soldiers to the Filipinos were like Nazis to the Jews. Filipinos were tortured and executed and was eventually liberated by the Americans with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

I was feeling heavy and depressed all throughout the tour. Just seeing the artifacts and the pictures was unbearable. I don’t know how I could have survived the holocaust if I had lived during that era.

July 7, 2004, My Presentation Day

…My topic was about “Teaching Writing Through E-mail”, which was later decided to be changed to “Motivating Writing Through E-mail”. During my presentation I walked around very often to relax myself. Also, walking around is what I usually do inside the classroom to check on my students how they are doing. That actually lessened my nervousness. Thoughts just flowed while I was talking. And they were asking questions about the things I was going to discuss right after my introduction. I thought they were really interested. Some of them also helped me out, especially those who already have their own email accounts. Everyone was able to share their letters to their students too. The feedbacks were good and constructive which I could use to make my future presentations better.

July 14, 2004, “I Had to Write”

This morning’s journal exercise gave me a jumpstart to compile all my poems and manuscripts since I was in elementary…now I have a long term project. I may not be able to be a published writer but I will have a legacy to leave my children. I want it to be an inspiration for them. Could be something like: My Life Story, An Anthology. Coming up soon!

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