I do not want to brag but I was really in awe too when I saw Europeans being in awe with my presentation. At first, I doubted my presentation skills again. With God’s help, I pulled it through. Stephanie, Johann, Jawad, Viola, Dilnoza, Panitta all commented they loved my presentation. I was on cloud 9 again of course. Sometimes I wonder what I look like when I present. Because after my presentation, I saw them in shock. Before this, at UPenn, I wasn’t really that vocal although I was their leader. After my speech, I left an impression again. Glory to God!!!!
October: Filipino-American Heritage Month
This month is full of activities dedicated to the celebration of Filipino-American Heritage. I feel blessed overall to be in a place where being Filipino is celebrated. I learned this month the Filipino-American History: when and why Filipinos reached the US (Morro Bay 1565), how they struggled in the US (World’s Fair, Anti-miscegenation law, Stoop Labor, Alaskeros), how they fought for justice (The Manongs’ quest for Labor Justice in 1960s), and their struggles in the 21st century. It’s priceless because the way they see Philippine history here is through their Filipino-American lens. Although Bataan Death March, Philippine Independence, etc are also included, much emphasis is placed on the events that happened after they landed in Morro Bay. Overall, this month is a deeper getting-to-know phase in my relationship with the US and the Filipino-Americans.
Challenges and Choices
Class success. This month, I received my first quiz remarks. As I mentioned in my former report, the quiz does not follow the traditional paper-and-pen test. Before submitting the work, I had difficulty stringing the thoughts together because I knew that wrong placement of information in the story would make the discussion of the term nonsensical and entirely wrong, so I first really worked on the outline of the discussion of each term. As a result of my sleepless nights, and because I did one extra credit term, I got a 139/100 mark. Yaaay! At least the three sleepless nights I sacrificed for the online quiz paid off. So far, I do not have any mistake in any of my quizzes for both classes.
Filipino-American Month. As part of the Kababayan participation in the Filipino-American Month Opening celebration of Daly City on October 10, the Filipino Student Union and I had our tabling with other clubs and organizations in the event where Filipino performances entertained the guests, Filipino food carts satisfied hungry onlookers, Filipino DJs offered free scratching, officials delivered their patriotic speeches. During the event, I talked to Mayor Ray Buenaventura who sincerely said I can vouch for his statement of support on any event we will hold for Filipino-American students at Skyline college. While enjoying the rendition of the Philippine National Anthem and the US Star Spangled Banner, I realized how lucky I am to be assigned in an area closed to many Filipinos, where ethnic diversity is appreciated and celebrated. I joined the Daly City Library Organization to support them and to also join in their future reading activities.
Legions of Boom. On October 15, mobile Filipino DJs who got famous in the 1980s in the Bay area were invited to Skyline College for a Panel Discussion with Professor Oliver Wong. The room was packed with almost 75 participants including professors from CIPHER, a learning community dedicated to Hip Hop, Kababayan and DJ crews. ABS-CBN was even there to cover the event. The discussion revolved around the reasons why they decided to collaborate in the 80’s, how they did it and where they are now. Their story as young teenagers who made name in the DJ scene becomes a compelling story for young students who share the same dream and for those who seem to be stuck in a rut, not knowing what to do in life. For me, their story reminds me of the importance of passion and of working hard for that passion. It is in fact the reason why I’m here in the US: to improve my teaching.
Open Mic. The Filipino Student Union-sponsored and organized Open Mic dabbed as “Magsalita” is the first Open Mic I attended. It’s an event where anyone can read their poem, perform a skit, sing a song, strum the guitar, or just do anything to pour out their emotions and reflections. I unfortunately failed to bring the piece I prepared. So to this Open Mic, I just became a mere spectator. I saw one performing a parody of the song “Let it Go”, another shared a poem about being “HIGH” on drugs, two ladies reading a poem about the Philippine struggle while the rest sang their favorite songs.
Preparations. As part of our preparations for November 16, each week, a group of students volunteered to laminate Filipino paintings and other artworks that will be displayed on Building Four, Multicultural Center in November. It’s one way to know them on a personal level too for me as a teaching assistant.
School Allies Lecture. I had another lecture at Westmoor High on November 04. I taught the segment, “How School Allies See me?” To make the topic interesting, I started the class with an activity where they had to create their own school. Some students shared they wanted a school that has swimming pool, restaurants, malls, etc. After sharing their schools, I discussed each school ally. What really struck me with the lecture is the silence of the students. Mr. Aleonar, the head teacher, asked me before the class what I do in the Philippines to quiet down students because he noticed that most Westmoor high school students are always not on-task. I suggested a strategy. In this lecture, we put our strategy to practice and it did work. All throughout the session, the students were focused. The strategy was, “If you hear me clap once, clap once. If you hear me clap twice, clap twice.” It’s the most basic class management strategy in the Philippines. I’m surprised that they don’t practice it here, and glad that it did work with the students.
Daily Speech Practice. My public speaking professor believed that public speaking should not be forced. According to her, usually public speaking does not happen in a podium but in a small room with listeners you have to convince. She noticed that most public speaking courses teach students how to speak in a podium with more than 50 listeners. The truth is, not everyone is given the privilege always to speak with that number in a special occasion, so in her class she divided us into groups of five. Every meeting all of us should deliver a speech in front of these four students. After two weeks of Daily Speech Practice, she will combine two groups to form a ten-member group. In this instance, each has to speak again and will be critiqued by each member of the group. Then, each of us will have to deliver a speech again in front of 40 classmates twice as our final presentations. I like her approach because she gives all of us a chance to experience different situations that demand public speaking. When I come back, if ever I would be assigned to teach public speaking, I would follow this approach. It is effective for me because for two consecutive meetings now, I received negative constructive feedback from my small group that helps me better my speech.
Another academic milestone for me. Kayla Marie B. Sarte, MA
Forging friendship and a lasting business partnership today with Ate Juliet at Serenitea. She also told me that the “doctors” commented during their book publication meeting: “If you want real discourse analysis, better than other Phd dissertations in Davao, read Kayla’s thesis.” Wow. I wasn’t expecting that!!! Thank you, Lord. The Legend never ends…
I was gasping for breath every time
I finish a set of my workout. Phew! And if a workout’s really beyond my capacity, I always shout at the end of my session, glorifying God-so today, I shouted several times. LOL! I was really exhausted with my thesis. Imagine submitting a thesis with 1000 pages, I think that’s what it’ll turn out. Very complex, comprehensive and so, ultra draining on my part. It’s more like a dissertation for me. Too bad I had to finish it within two months. If they just give me another
month, this thesis (dissertation?) will be more… Hmmmmm!!! I sometimes envy studies which need not be transcribed and translated. But this is a choice, my choice. Well, I just practice “sanctification of work”. Could we just move to March? [Now you know why I had several blunders in my prev posts! :(] Today is Lolo’s 80th Bday, praise God!
Last night was not that pure and solemn for me, as I was used to. But that’s just caused by my asthma and I won’t let that one hour of dreadful look at the world affect the way I deal with my 2015. I have so much faith in God and I always trust that whatever comes in my way is God’s way of harnessing my inner strengths and purifying me to be worthy of heaven, my end goal. Thus, I attended the first mass of the year and offered all that to God, with my new 2015 and long term goals.
They say, do not look back but focus on the present and what lies ahead. It is true but reflecting on our experiences provides us nuggets of wisdom which we need in facing the unkown future, and cultivates in us a grateful heart. It’s only by turning our head back that we see the connections between now and then. It shouldn’t be a full turn though or we might lose the beauty of what’s here in the present and there in the future.
As I look back, I could really attest to God’s providence that allowed me to traverse the every day of 2014.
In January, it wasn’t easy because we found out that my sister needed an operation because of her growing cyst in the uterus. But it didn’t happen when she got pregnant in November of 2014. Amidst the impossibility of bearing her own, I dreamed of holding a baby which God confirmed in my prayers before it happened. And it did happen. Praise God for the new member of our family. Plus, Rap and I are now close. I couldn’t even imagine how it happened.
In February to March, I had difficulty in dealing with students from BS MKTNG 2. But I became stronger and faced that issue with them. Instead of sowing resentment, I showed them that I am a fair teacher. What happened next was something I will ever be grateful for. Those same students who hated me (I presumed) appreciated that. That specific student I berated privately was shocked when she noticed that I didn’t put her down during her oral defense and that she passed my subject. The result, whenever we meet, she smiles and says, “Miss you, ma’am” even if she’s not under my class anymore. I think it happened to me to also teach these kids, values.
In March, I had to submit papers for Fulbright Master’s program. At first, I didn’t know why I decided to submit my application because I knew while everybody prepared for three months for that, I only had a week, until PAEF sent me an e-mail recommending me to their FLTA program which application was due in May. I didn’t follow their advice because my first response was anger. I shoved it off and continued my life, serving the church every 12 noon of Mondays, sometimes, also Wednesdays, and Sundays. When I found out in June that the FLTA application was extended till July, I was a bit shocked because a 2-month extension’s too long. That drove me to taking a leap of faith again. I was hesistant but slowly, after praying, I heard God telling me to just “do it”. It was tiring but I did it once more, getting recommendations, drafting and editing essays for submission, spending for tokens, etc for my dream. People sometimes thought that I wasn’t spending much effort but they didn’t see what pain I had to go through to achieve my goals. You get judgments from people you’re not even close with but what’s important is seeing God along the way. It was He who opened all the doors of opportunity for me.
Oh, in April, or May? I took my Comprehensive exams. I was scared but again, I took to God and prayed hard. When exams came, I was a little disappointed with the Pyscholinguistics questions but I answered them anyway. In June, I found out that I passed. Yepeey! And it’s the official start of the grueling thesis writing.
In September, I received a call from PAEF and did an interview via Skype with them. They were really caring and understanding, which was contrary to what others had shared about them. Guess, my charm worked again. LOL. And I passed. Hello, USA.
I have to be honest that I am good in judging and in asking questions, sometimes turning the whole paper into trash but I am not a good researcher and writer. That’s what I believed in until I finally started researching on my own, without the help of others. I still couldn’t believe that I was able to write an excellent thesis which received a 1.0 from the panel. I didn’t even have tough questions from them which again I believe was from the Holy Spirit.
For the first time too, I was invited to three events as a judge. God knew that I was waiting for it, and He gave it in His perfect time.
In October, I reviewed for TOEFL but because of the oral defense, I really had not time to focus on the TOEFL exam. I spent one week only for TOEFL. God was the witness of my fear, of rehashing that painful moment when I didn’t top the board every night before the exams. It’s the speaking part that I dread the most because it’s the part when I always freezed and zoned out. During the real test, the reading part was very “very” difficult. I almost cried. The writing and the listening were as usual the easiest for me. The speaking? I felt like I was just “blah”. Oh God. But what’s great was finally going home with mom and dad to South Cotabato after the test. Two weeks after, I received my excellent scores, I was crying because I couldn’t match any of them with my actual test performance. And while I was praising God, I imagined Him looking at me and whispering, “I told you, I can make all things possible!”. Glory to God!
In November, I talked to the principal of Banga Central Elementary School and had an intellectual conversation with him. It’s when I felt that I was really meant to guide schools. (I don’t want to expound on that now). Everything went fine. I was happy. Then, my first heartbreak came. I completely just let an unknown person through, inside my heart. I decided to give love a chance, but it failed. I cried, for three days. LOL. And as usual, God’s there to comfort me. Now, I’m not afraid to love. I became stronger. Thanks to you, wherever you are!
When it was finally December, everybody got busy with the wedding plans of my sister Kath and Rap while I sit in front of the computer, transcribing audio recordings from my classroom observations. Three days before the wedding, I stopped to also help out in the planning. It turned out I had an important role to play during the wedding as an overseer and organizer. Organizing is always one of my core gifts. Thanks, God! The wedding brought families together. Finally, I was able to hug my cousins, Gaming, Daku, Inday and Claven in person. We watched movies from 1 pm to 6 pm, ate ice cream, told each other horror stories—it was all fun.
Also, in November, I had a very huge altercation with Ante Dolor. I sobbed because I knew I was wrong. I said sorry and she accepted it and now, we’re both closer than ever. After that, God showed me that I have a Borderline personality disorder. Finally, I had a name for this devil inside. I refused to be like this forever. And for only a week, for two months, I never got angry, never shouted, and became kinder.
By the way, I also applied for MARIHE program under Erasmus Mundus. I took a shot because it’s my dream course.
What have I achieved?
Thesis! Yeheeey! –Not done though, Letters to soldiers and prisoners, thank you notes to random people who appeared shocked at times, books for strangers, and manna from heaven program.
I finally am clear with who I want to be and what I want to achieve- yehey! Thanks to that student who I found talking at my back. Thanks to you for opening my eyes to what I truly want.
What have I become?
I became more independent, kinder, understanding, patient, present, mature, generous, friendly. I now initiate talks with people from my past whenever I see them in the church instead of always in a rush just to evade conversation. In other words, I become comfortable with social interactions. Even if I don’t like the person and suspect that she’s thinking about something (huh, borderline problem), I stop and smile, become kind and courteous and just let them. I realized that I can’t control people’s mind or what they say. I am now committed. Before, I always think of myself. Now, I don’t. I just help and be kind. Also, it feels good whenever people wait for your decision in the family, well, I do get that a lot outside but not within my family. Now, they do look up to me. Thanks God. I have stepped closer to becoming that person I want to be, elegant and respected. Also, I am 100% sure with my fashion taste now. Well, Kate Middleton is my perfect fashion icon, simple yet elegant.
All in all, I love 2014! You just proved that You were mine. Thank you Jesus! Glory to You!
Welcome, 2015! You are the change I want to see in me! 😀
Sorry for the overused words. :*
I will just update this whenever I remember details to add. And again, blunders??? This is unedited. Lol
A. Work Department
15 years from now, I WILL be:
1. earning Php150,000.00 and more.
2. speaking in different schools, giving lectures to better education.
3. a published researcher and a renowned author.
4. an owner of a successful clothing line or another business.
5. a DepEd Superintendent.
6. a respected leader and an epitome of success.
B. Home Department
15 years from now, I WILL be:
1. a loving, caring, hands-on parent to my children.
2. a great wife to my husband.
3. living in a two-floor house with a mini library, chapel, entertainment room and a garden.
4. spending vacation every year with mama, papa and with my own family around the Philippines first before visiting countries abroad.
5. sending my kids to different sports, music and educational trainings.
Eat together every evening and morning.
Pray together every evening.
Drive to school the kids.
Every Wednesday, date with husband.
Every Sunday, go to church together and have a family bonding.
Every Friday. visit mama and papa with the family.
Every Saturday, visit in-laws with the family.
Every evening, tutor the kids and have an “us-time” with my husband.
6. celebrating important events with family in the morning then, at a charity.
C. Social Department
15 years from now, I WILL be:
1. having supportive, close friends who also have great families.
2. serving the church as a lector and a leader still.
3. providing food and shelter to homeless old people and street children.