23 October 2011
Hello, Blog-world! :)
It's been such a loooong time! One summer and one whole semester have passed since my last entry! So many things have happened, so many changes, so many adjustments, so many realizations, so many new experiences! I just have so many things in mind right now, so many things to write about I don't know where to start! Haha! Anyway, here goes...
Okay, so I've gotten married! How're things? Great, definitely great! I'm just so thankful that I have such a kind, understanding, supportive and loving husband! Oh, and, add to that, great looking! Hehehe:) If I had the power to give every single girl in this world a husband, I'd definitely choose for them someone just like my husband! He's no perfect person, of course, but he definitely is the perfect one for me! He's probably the only one who can really stand me, my moods, my temper and tantrums, my opinionated outbursts, my insanity, and everything about me. And, I tell you, that's not exactly easy. He really makes me love life and the world more! Love, love, love!
Waking up every single morning with the same person was a little difficult for me to imagine, especially that I've been sleeping alone since I was 12 (except on occasions I slept with my mom). It was one of the things that I thought would somehow weird me out when I get married. But, as it turns out, it even makes me feel better to know that someone is sleeping beside me. It makes me feel safer. I never thought I'd ever say this about anybody, but, now, it's become quite difficult for me to sleep without him by my side. He has really changed me in so many ways. For the better. He has made me more secure (about everything) than I've ever been. And, he's my best stress-reliever! So, again, all is well! Life with a husband is good! :)
Pursuing Masters (Again!)
I enrolled in two different Master programs (MA Asian Studies: Japan and MA English Studies: Language) back in UP Diliman, but finished neither. I got a job, I got sidetracked, I got burned out, I just went crazy! I have no excuses for not finishing, not that anything would excuse me. Haha! But, I don't think the time I spent in both programs was wasted because I really did learn a lot and all those things have stayed with me and have continuously been of great help to me. I'm thankful for the whole experience. I've promised myself, as soon as I came back home for good, that I will go back to school one day because that stint in UP is one unfinished business that I have resolved to finish no matter what and no matter how long I'd have to wait. I'll get that UP degree! I started it, I'll finish it. Maybe not now, but one day, I'll definitely do it!
Since it's impossible for me to go back to Manila at present, I opted for the next best thing. I enrolled in the MA English program of the Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan this first semester. This time, I'm majoring in English Language and Literature. We have Master programs here in MSU-Main and in MSU-IIT (Iligan, that is), but the major I want to take is not offered in both campuses. I want to major in Literature or in Language and Literature like I did back in my undergrad. The nearest university that has the program I want is XU and theirs is a very strong one, too. So, off I went to Cagayan de Oro and enrolled in the program. And, so far, I'm really enjoying and loving it!
Cagayan de Oro is three hours away from Marawi, four when there's heavy traffic. I go there every Friday afternoon and come back to MSU every Sunday afternoon. It is exhausting, all the traveling, but it's all worth it. And, I look forward to every class session. That excitement overpowers whatever exhaustion I feel. And, now, I'm done with the first semester! I'm very happy about this very small triumph, my first step in getting that much wanted degree and having that illustrious title before my name! And,this time, I am definitely going to finish this program! Two years is not that long, right? Insha-Allah.
So, what about going back to UP and finishing what I so suddenly left? Well, I can go there either for another MA or for PhD. That'd be really nice. If all plans go perfectly, then I'll be in Sanggumay again in the near future. In God's perfect time. :)
Teaching English 140
I love literature! Needless to say, as a college student, I loved all my literature classes more than any of my other classes. But, my most favorite class, the course that I really enjoyed the most, was English 140. The Novel. It was also very fortunate that my teacher in that class was brilliant! Thank you, Ma'am Margie!
I don't care what other literary students, scholars or even literary snobs say, but my favorite form of literature is the novel. I love reading novels. They're long enough for me to develop a special connection or bond with the characters and the different settings. Sometimes, I read really slow on purpose because I don't want "the end" to come and I don't want to say goodbye to my 'new-found friends'. I just love how novelists take us to special places and make us experience a world so different yet so similar to our own. I love novels because when I read them, the characters just come right out of the pages and come alive. And, because I get attached to characters and stories, I want to "stay" with them and the length of a novel affords me a longer time to be with the characters and in the story. I guess, novels are just perfect for people like me.
Ever since I realized that I wanted to be a teacher, English 140 (The Novel) has ultimately been my #1 dream subject to teach or handle. I've always, always wanted to handle the course. I always imagined how I'd discuss the selected novels for the class, I envisioned the activities and the exams I'd give, I thought of how things would be done in my class. As early as my first semester to handle a major class, that was two years ago, I already had a selection of novels that I wanted to take up in class. I even sat in the English 140 class so as to refresh my memory, to re-read the novels and listen to the discussions and the students' take on the novels, and also to show to the senior faculty members and our Department chairperson how much I wanted and how seriously interested I was to handle the course. It was a good training for me, I wanted them to realize.
My dream came true last semester when our teacher, Ma'am Margie Saclote, who originally handled the course had too many preparations/subjects to teach and we (she, our chairperson and I) talked it out and they decided that I would handle the course! I was ecstatic! I couldn't stop smiling the whole day! I wanted to hug everyone! I just couldn't believe it! To think that, at first, they were giving me another subject to teach because Ma'am Margie loves English 140 and she wanted to teach it, too. She was offering me her other major class, British Literature, which I also love, by the way, but not as much as I love The Novel. We "haggled" and, as I mentioned above, it ended in my favor! Weeeee!
The semester was really a whole new experience for me. I've handled major classes, but Englsih 140 was different! It was my dream come true! My wish granted! Teaching the subject was a wonderful and meaningful experience to me. And, my students! Ah, they were great! They read every single novel with enthusiasm. And, as their teacher, I really couldn't wish for better. My excitement was somehow contagious, I guess. Also, I got to go back and tread the familiar paths and unforgettable places in some of my favorite novels. I got to re-orient myself with some of my most beloved as well as most loathed characters! Because I had so many novels in my list, it was very difficult to decide which titles get to stay and which titles to put aside (for now). I chose for us to work on 15 novels as there were fifteen students. The novels were:
1. The Pearl by John Steinbeck
2. Animal Farm by George Orwell
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
4. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
6. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
7. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
8. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
9. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
10. Dracula by Bram Stoker
11. Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
12. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
13. Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami
14. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
15. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
We dissected and devoured these novels. We related our own situation with the situations in the novels. We compared experiences as we explored the plot and other elements. We identified with the characters. We hated some, we loved some. We learned from them. We cried, we got angry, we fell in love, we felt betrayed, we forgave, we enjoyed victory, we endured loss and emptiness, we got vindicated, we laughed as we read through the novels. We understood the stories. We got the hidden messages, the secret treasures the novels held. We learned the lessons. We studied more as we wanted to learn more. We understood the world more, we understood life more, we understood ourselves more. All these because we were, after all, reading and learning about ourselves, even our inner selves. These novels are not just about the characters or the authors, they are about us. These stories are our stories.
And, to have shared that with my students and to have them understand and realize that, plus a thing or two about life means so much to me. To have helped them develop a genuine love for reading and appreciation for novels is one of the best things about all this. To know that they'll continue reading is the greatest gift they have given me. As a teacher, I still have so much to learn and I still have a long way to go, but, in one way or another, having handled the subject I've always hoped to handle and having shared that love with my students is fulfillment enough for me. And, I smile at the thought of handling the subject again... soon. :)