Saturday, April 07, 2007

YEAR 2001

I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by obstacles which he has overcome.

“Year 2001 is the year of Golden Snake or Metal Snake. Year 2001 is also called the Year of White Snake, because Metal is equivalent to White in the Five Elements system. There is a leap month (extra lunar month) in the Chinese Calendar year 2001. The official Chinese Civil Calendar announces the leap month as the leap 4th lunar month in year 2001. The Chinese Astronomical Calendar shows the leap 5th lunar month in year 2001. The Snake year is the beginning year of Fire cycle (Snake, Horse and Sheep). That means the Snake is in the Fire Group. The Golden Snake is a Metal on the top of the Fire. The Metal is in trouble and has to fight with the Fire. If your lucky element is Fire, and you need Fire to balance your Five Elements weight, you will do well in year 2001. If there is a Horse, Sheep or Tiger in your birth chart or in the 10-year Major Cycle, the power of Fire will increase and you will be very lucky.”

Reiner, Maren Rae and I were all born during the year of the Tiger.
“Tigers are said to be bold and adventurous, and are bestowed with initiative and charm. However, they have a tendency to be risk takers, making them act before they think about the consequences. They tend to make good bosses, explorers or racing drivers.”
Bulls-eye! People who personally know the three of us would be in agreement that we possess the tough character and persona of the Tiger described in the Chinese Astrology.
Nope. I was never a fanatic of the Chinese Calendar, Astrology, Fortune Telling or Horoscope. I used to confer with any of it just for fun. In fact, I only knew about all these when I questioned why the year 2001 was a prosperous time for my family. This could probably be one of the answers. Who knows?
How successful was this year? Let me enumerate the flourishing events.

FEBRUARY 8, 2001. Our Church Wedding.
I am still filled with unfathomable sentiment and strong emotion when I think of how perfect it all was! This ideal occasion started a blessed year for us. Of course, we started the year right with the sacrament of Matrimony. This freed us from the agony of “immorality” that burdened us for four years.

APRIL 2001. Reiner’s Graduation from College.
I can still vividly remember what occurred before this day.
Reiner wasn’t able to fulfill all the requirements for his ROTC because I gave birth to Maren Rae. They wouldn’t listen to Reiner. But I was able to charm the officer-in-charge at Fort Bonifacio to give him a good passing grade. That made it!
Reiner was in U.P everyday begging for a passing grade from his French Teacher who gave him an incomplete. How can I ever forget her name…Prof. Nina Agcaoilli. She had Reiner’s future in her hands. She could make him or break him. Getting at least a 3.0 in French 11 was the only requirement he needed to be able to graduate.
But she wouldn’t. No matter how hard Reiner pleaded. I was controlling myself, I didn’t want to intercept. I was giving Reiner all the motivation that he needed that moment, no matter how bleak everything seemed to me as well.
It was the last day of the application for graduation for the candidates. I talked to Reiner on the phone and he told me how it was impossible now for him to graduate. They wouldn’t give him a last chance anymore. They were going to kick him out of U.P. He said he wanted to jump from the top of the building. I can feel the hopelessness in his voice. My world collapsed. It was 3:00 pm, office hours would be over at 5:00 pm. But I still had time.
“I am going there now”.
“No! You can’t do anything anymore. It’s over!”
“I will talk to her.”
“Don’t interfere anymore. You are not coming here!”
But I did. I waited for Ms. Agcaoilli pasting the line of students. I talked to her for Reiner’s sake. She was a principled person. I don’t remember anymore how I expressed my frustration and my dream for my daughter to look up to Reiner someday. But I can still recall how I touched her heart because I saw the tears running down her cheeks. I didn’t understand why she couldn’t look at me straight in the eye. I learned that she is a mother too. She was my age, and her eldest daughter was Maren Rae’s age.
She told her colleague while drying off her wet cheeks, “I didn’t finish my Masters Degree just to bend my principles and bow down to some irresponsible students”. However, she handed me Reiner’s class card with a 3.0 grade.
I couldn’t believe it myself! Reiner wouldn’t buy it until I showed him his class card with Ms. Agcaoilli’s signature. The staff inside the office, the secretary, the Dean, they all knew the miracle that just happened!
After 9 years of fighting to earn his undergraduate degree, shifting from U.P. Los Banos to U.P. Diliman, from Veterinary Medicine to Library and Information Science…Reiner finally hit it!
The last few years of Reiner’s stay in U.P. had been hard and yet all the time there was me beside him. Our love had been one that had grown with each passing term, from young love to what we have now.
I looked at his parents sitting next to each other during the Graduation March at the U.P. Theater. Pop was as proud of him as I am. Reiner’s dream had just materialized, for Pop to see him get that diploma.
The music swelled as the line moved forward to receive their hard earned graduation diplomas. The applause mingled as each recipient accepted the piece of paper that they had worked so hard to achieve.
Reiner was one of the graduates.

APRIL 2001. Getting accepted at the MA Program, U.P. Dept. of Psychology
The year before, they turned down my application. But I am not the kind of person who bows out just easily.
One afternoon, that same month that Reiner graduated, I got my acceptance letter to the MA Program at the U.P. Department of Psychology. At long last!
This was something that I wanted to do for the longest time. Even as a child I was already interested with the mysteries of Psychology and how the human mind and behavior are related. I always knew that the higher the degree, the higher people look up to you, and of course, the higher is your monetary value. Now, the new sense of responsibility was both challenging and exciting for me.
I let out a long, cathartic scream after reading my acceptance letter.

JUNE 2001. Reiner was promoted from ANC (ABS CBN News Channel) to the main branch ABS CBN Channel 2.
Indeed time flies so fast. It seems just yesterday when I was convincing Reiner to apply at ANC after his brod, Rupert Ambil who was working there as a field producer, told him that they were looking for a News Researcher.
ABS CBN was the most prestigious Media Company in the Philippines. Reiner was so intimidated and hesitated to apply because he said he”doesn’t have a degree” yet. Nevertheless, I convinced him to try his luck. I chaperoned him to submit his resume at the company and to be interviewed. With Divine intervention, he got the job, and I was with him during that significant moment.
Eventually, after three years of great effort to get a good position in the office (being a researcher was boring for a hyperactive person like him), he was promoted as one of the Field Producers at Channel 2, the main office at Mother Ignacia Avenue.
This was where he had the best times of his life!

JULY 2001. Bought a car – “Taz”
We missed Ecto 1, he was gone.
We finally bought a new white car to replace him, which we called “Taz”. We bought all Tasmanian Devil (Looney Tunes) accessories for our car. Our first car (one we can call our very own) was a 1989 box type Nissan Sentra, which we purchased in a buy and sell car shop. We were so excited! We got it for a reasonable prize of P120, 000.00. It was cool looking, very dependable, and we were always satisfied with its power and performance. It never gave us a headache, never let us down. Maren Rae grew up with this car.

2001. FUNSHINE jumpstarted popularity
The year 2001 was meaningful for Funshine too. It was during this year that I started reaching out to the Professionals in the field working special children like the Developmental Pediatricians, Clinical Psychologists, the Principals and Administrators of nearby schools. I was able to establish a good network of professionals who were willing to work with me to maximize the potentials of my students at Funshine.
A Chinese businessman’s daughter teamed-up with me to put up a Funshine branch at Regalado Avenue in Fairview, where we started Funshine Preschool. That became Maren Rae’s first preschool. My employees during this year were the best teachers that I had. They were at their greatest performance too.

Is the Chinese Calendar for real? Maybe. Well, we also worked hard to get to where we are now.

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