Saturday, August 06, 2005
9:19 PM |
I slept. I slept like there was no tomorrow.
On the way to Cebu aboard the early morning bus, I slept. "You were gone
," the woman named Hazel told me while we prepped ourselves up for the interview in Vienna Kaffee Haus along Maxilom, in Cebu. She was seated three rows before me and had casually looked around the slowly filling-up bus, and noticed that I was fast asleep. I had many questions to gauge potential embarassment, like: Was my mouth open when I was asleep? Did I snore? Did I do that thing where I'd rest my sleepy head on my unfortunate seatmate's shoulders?
But I didn't ask. And she did not press with any more information. We were too busy chatting about the most mundane of things to quiet the butterflies in our stomachs. Father Eking was cracking jokes. Ma'am Irma, who was my teacher in college, was trying to be mother to us all, which I appreciated. We were all in the same boat: nervous wrecks all, putting up brave faces while we slowly wilted under the long wait. There were many applicants -- about 70 from all of the Visayas and Mindanao -- for four measly spots for Rotary's GSE fellowship for New Orleans, Louisiana, next summer. Four spots. What were the odds?
Nevertheless, I told myself I needed this exercise in being interrogated by a bunch of intimidating strangers if I was to survive the many interviews in the future, for the grants and fellowships I planned to apply for. The last two times I got interviewed, I was a regional finalist for the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines, where I totally sucked, and then for a post as an Air Philippines flight attendant, which I passed with flying colors but I opted not to pursue the job because I just couldn't myself as a cabin boy up in the sky. Both happened in 1999, when I had no idea what to do with the rest of my life.
But the interview yesterday! It was actually fun.
The panel was intimidating as expected, but instead of calming myself by imagining them naked (hehehe
), I imagined I was just in another classroom where I was the teacher. It was weird finding myself becoming quite articulate and passionate when I talked about literature and being a teacher, and what-not. I was asked to identify a poetic line from some poet. I was asked to convey my opinion about toeing the line between journalism integrity and the ravages of business reality. I was asked how I can solve the poverty situation in the Philippines. ("Education," I said. "I can only look at my family as the embodiment of that solution. We were quite poor, and I saw my mother struggling hard to put us through school. She believed in education, and I guess we -- my brothers and I -- are now reaping the fruits of her labors...") I was asked many things, and I believe I was able to answer as best as I could, given my nervousness and the short time I was given to impress them with my qualitifications. Granted this fellowship or not, at least I can now
prove to myself I no longer suck in interviews.
On the Cokaliong boat home to Dumaguete that night, Economy Class, I slept. The kind of sleep where there are no dreams, only a deep grogginess that fogs your brain. I slept, until I had to disembark around 2 a.m. Finally back home in the comforts of my own bed, I slept until 2 p.m., and had a combination of lunch and breakfast and early dinner. Then I slept again, until 8 p.m. Was this my body's way of compensating for all the stress of the past days? You bet.
I can actually say now that I feel more relaxed, and I'm rearing to have another go at another week of work.
I still have tons of unfinished things to do before my birthday deadline comes up. I'm ready to face them all.
 This is Where You Bite the Sandwich
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