July 31, 2009

The First Day of Classes II

Now, time to begin my new chapter, and surprisingly, it began just seconds after my freshman buddy closed her homeroom door. I heard someone calling me. I heard a familiar voice, and upon locating the source, I saw Patrick and Kevin smiling at me. Of course, I waved and smiled, but I did not scream, for I was still in the first year corridor. I do not want to be reproached by a teacher at this very early in the school year.

They are on the Steel Kubo, and I was about a dozen feet away from them. I decided not to go to them, for to approach them, I would have to cross like seven mountains, seven bridges and experience the ten plagues.

I am excited to see my new classroom. Last year, the classroom of all fourth year students are on the Administration Building’s second floor. Argh. I hate the place. Each room has no comfort room, an amenity that was provided on my first three years here. The only available comfort room is hellishly smelly, and if you’ll try to release nature there, it takes guts, a strong lungs, an appetite for exotic food, an aversion of good fragrance and a sturdy immune system for you to stay alive. I swear, it’s HELL.

I tried to use it when I was in third year, because our Drum and Lyre room is just two doors away from the comfort room. The atmosphere was very humid and unpleasant. The green tiles on the wall seems like moss and fungi to me. The toilet bowl even holds a dark secret beneath its murky waters, and I’m telling you, you do not want to know what is inside there! The only shield I have was colds, making my sense of smell inactive at that time.

Speaking of Drum and Lyre, on my way up, I saw Sarah and Sharmaine, two of my co-lyrists. Of course, another wave, and another smile. I asked them if they know where the rooms of fourth year students are, and she confirmed that the rooms are upstairs. I went up, but there was only a few outside, including Mrs. Alfonso.

Mrs. Alfonso was our guardian back in RSPC (Regional Schools Press Conference). She is the most motherly of all the teachers I have seen in the school. She guided us for two years, RSPC 2007 and 2008. I’ll describe her as kind and very, very thoughtful. She doesn’t want any trouble, and safety is one of her main concerns. She always sees to it that everyone’s well-being is ensured. But, she is so so so strict.

I entered the classroom, expecting a hero’s welcome. I missed the first day of classes back when I was in second year. When I climbed up the stairs, everyone was hugging me and greeting me, as if I am Manny Pacquiao who won a million dollars in Vegas.

I knocked at the wooden door and pushed it calmly. The door did not open. It was stiff and it needs force to be opened. After an effortful push, the door let loose, revealing my forcing face to both my new and old classmates. Upon opening the door, a new world was revealed. The atmosphere was more professional, and the edges look more matured. The lights gave a sense of challenge, while the podium signified excellence. The words “IV-Ampere” in the wooden door told me that I am in the most prestigious section in the high school department. We are the most looked-up to, and we are the paragons of everyone.

Oh, and I had dreamt of this since I was in first year. Whenever I see those tall senior students passing by our side, there was a sense of amazement of how great they were. When they say that they are from IV-Ampere, I just stood in awe thinking of many more questions to ask them about the section. The people of IV-Ampere are the most famed, the most decorated and the most mentioned. They are the stars.

OK. And here I am, and I picked the chair on where to seat. I expected a hero’s welcome, but I was merely a wind who passed by. As I can recall, only two greeted me a “hi” on the moment they saw me, and the others just said it after some minutes. Some did not even greet me. The first person I noticed was Paul, for his crazy voice is infesting the silence of the room, as what he always does. He is telling barber shop stories again, and cracking some of his scripted humor to everyone.

I sat, and joined the chat by myself. Paul asked me to sit beside him, and for a while, the annoying noise I despised for some time, was suddenly cherished by my ears. Oh, I missed them.

The number of people continued to increase, and one by one, new faces enter and old faces rejoin my happy eyes. Every creak of the wooden door is pleasant music to me, for it is like a singing doorbell telling you that there is another visitor in your life. Though the hero’s welcome I expected didn’t come to see me, the experience is more than enough for me.

Ian was still joking, as what he always does last year. His jokes on the first day were much more obvious and funny, as the previous great jokers of the class have been displaced to the other sections, thus making the comical competition for him a piece of cake. He is setting the new standards of jokes in the classroom, but one of his jokes gave us our first fright.

Our new adviser, Mrs. Alfonso, came inside with an angry face. We are clueless as to what had caused that face to appear so prominently to her, and then, she angrily spoke these words: “Ayoko sa lahat ang ginagaya ako. (Of all people, what I don’t like are those who insultingly imitate me.)” After saying those fierce words in the classroom, she turned her back and slammed the door.

The noise was turned into sheer blankness, as if Silence has visited us all. The first one to break it was Vhinna, through her whisper, which always turns out to be heard by many. “Sino yun?” she said, asking on who was our new adviser reproaching.

Err. The flag ceremony is in minutes, and I am wondering why the teachers are not calling me. I finished first last year, and I expected a part in the first flag ceremony of the school year, or else, I’ll suspect that the March 25 tragedy have taken its toll. Our new adviser asked me to line the whole class up, as I was the president of the first section last year.

I calmly shouted that we all shall line up for the flag ceremony, and they all slowly followed me. I reached our place with only a few people present, and from that moment on, a series of images from the past flashed as if they are in a rolling filmstrip.

Exactly three years ago, well, not exact, but almost exact, I fell in line in this very place, touching the steel wires that fence us from the elementary. I was a “totoy” back then, no self-consciousness, for all I care about was seeing things, and not those people who see me. I have no high school friends then, and the real definition of friendship was still unclear to me. Happiness is still confined in watching TV and playing outside, and independence was still out of my vocabulary.

And everything was a living memory. The traditional flag ceremony resumed normally. The same old prayer, the same old national anthem, the same old oath, the same old school hymn, the same old mission and vision. Oh, how I missed this! But I was kinda sad. I thought I was going to lead in the flag ceremony but I was just a little too late. Sigh.

Anyways, it is the start of a new year. I’m now in fourth year level, 365 days away from my college life. It will be a new novel, but today, I’ll just focus on the last chapter of the happiest novel in my life so far.

July 9, 2009

The First Day of Classes

Oh at last, after the long wait, which is about two grueling months, it is now the start of the school year at last! Boy, I was excited! I have prepared everything that is available, and I have practiced my English grammar this summer. I have been dreaming of my classmates, and my classmates-to-be, my adviser-to-be and my teachers-to-be.

The last night of the vacation came, and I have enjoyed the last longest sleep that I’ll have the night before. I have been planning of bringing the Hole in the Wall dance craze to our classroom, and to socialize quickly with the transferees. I have been wondering who our adviser will be. A rumor has it that it will be Mrs. Dungca, our second year adviser. I have also been thinking about the impression to us by our teachers, and I wonder if the March 25 tragedy will greatly affect their attitude on us.

The sunrise of June 15 arrived, and I was already fast awake. I have already eaten my breakfast, which makes me ask myself, am I too excited? My heart is always jumping a beat, for excitement really fills it up. I miss everyone in our III-Gold class, and I’m sure that the first day will be a reunion to all of us.

I’m a senior now, and I am expecting that we’ll win most of the contests in the school, including the long-coveted Intrams Overall Championship. I can’t also forget our defeat last English Week on our Speech Choir. Argh. Those seniors really are experts.

After taking my bath and brushing my teeth, I’m now into wearing our epic uniform. Woot! We are famous for this, the uniform, I just don’t know if that fame is positive or negative. I wore my very long socks, which reached some five inches above the ankle. I was disappointed upon seeing my polo shirt. What the hell is that red circle doing there? What is that “G”? Our year-level patches are now color-coded, and now comes on letters, not on Roman or Arabic numerals.

By 6:15, I was already set, 45 minutes in advance of our Flag Ceremony, (and take note that the Flag Ceremony still does not start at exactly 7:00, maybe at 7:05 or 7:10?). I was noted to service my mother’s friend’s daughter – in short, my “friend”. She is an incoming freshman in my school.

Waiting for the jeepney was such a pleasure. I enjoy seeing the morning sunshine and the bustle of the community in the morning. I miss seeing those full, greedy and smoke-belching jeepneys, and those enthusiastic student-commuters.

The first jeep that passed was full, so we waited for the second jeep. The second jeep was half-full all throughout the trip, as the first jeep had already sucked up the remaining commuters. And there, I said the lines that I missed so much… “bayad po!” I was happy on the jeepney, as I am happy anywhere. I saw the fa├žade of the Mt. Arayat contrasting with the sunrise-tainted sky. I saw the distraught face of the driver upon seeing the hefty P100 bill. I saw the homeless around Main Gate sleeping on the grass. I heard the never-dying screams of the terminal barker, using his unclassified charisma in getting commuters. Oh, how I missed the urban scene.

Upon unboarding the jeep, I saw that traffic enforcer again. He is the exact traffic enforcer that we have played a Christmas carol on our caroling night at Windchime (our drum and lyre organization). As usual, his face looks like he has eaten twenty calamansis. He stands on the middle of the road, amidst all the turtle-paced jeepneys and DIY-looking bicycles, and his face is being blocked by the black smoke.

And towering the clouds is our new building, the IT (Information Technology) building. The glass windows, the blue theme, the revolving cube, the air-conditioned lobby – they are all said to be a part of it, but I only see a few of them. That building is five months delayed, and who knows, it might even be unfinished after this year’s third year batch have graduated. The rotating cube is still not rotating, and the logo is still on fabrication at the ground floor.

I noticed that there was a great crowd of students on the gate. As I drew nearer, holding the hand of my little female companion, I also saw the face of Mrs. Dungca, our adviser-to-be-in-rumors, standing and seemingly observing the whole student mass as they cross the pedestrian lane. What does she have to do with it? Is she waiting for someone? Err, I decided to just move on.

And what the hell was this again? A long line on the very first day? As I can remember, this was also the scene last year, when the swiping and swiping of IDs were still available. Some transferees maybe are not used to the swiping that’s why they made the line long, not to mention the clumsy elementary students and the some fatuous high school students.

This year, the scene was different. The swiping stations were absent, and it is not us that swipes, we are now the ones being swiped at. The A(H1N1) really scared the cats out of the schools, and here we are, being injected with some weird looking temperature measuring devices in our ear opening. I was thinking if they are just transmitting the virus, this time, ear-to-ear transmission. I can’t imagine a yellow mass of mucus from a stranger to be inserted into my ears. Thinking of it, I asked my freshman buddy to be in front of me, applying the rule of “Ladies First” opportunistically. At least, if I got H1N1, I know where it came from. (oh, evil!). I really forgot to clean my ears that day, unlucky for the woman behind me.

Here I go again, walking the same pavement that I walked three years ago. Back then I was a freshman, but today, I am a senior. I have changed a lot, from being an uncivilized shame bag, to a *no comment*. It is like watching the evolution of man in years. Wow. This insititution has changed me in all aspects of my life. :D

I was surprised to see our new “Kubo”. Actually, it was kubo (hut) before, but today, it stands on steel and is roofed on steel. Even the kubo got its technological makeover. The stalls are different, and it looks more organized and cleaner than what was in the past years. I wonder what the new treats are.

I asked my “friend” on what was her top when she graduated elementary. She said he graduated with honors, and I said she should be on Access, the star section in the first year level. I went directly to Access, as what I did when I was in first year. Back on first year, I graduated a valedictorian, and upon coming to school, I expected that my section will be Computer (the first section on that day), and my expectations were right.

I looked at the list of the students on the first year level. I did not see her name. I checked her ID card to verify her name and reviewed the list again. Confirmed. She was not in the first section. That would be heart-breaking for me, I don’t know if she felt the way I felt for her. Looking at Byte’s list was another disappointment. She was not also there.

I assumed that if not Byte, she should be in Cobol, a section named after a programming language. I checked her name, browsing to the letter M of the girls’ names. She was not really there. I jokingly said that they forgot to type her name and she should just go home and wait until they have typed her name.

Err. Of course, after searching the first three sections, I’ll go down to the last four section. And there I saw the window with a sticked bond paper, “I-Desktop”. Scanning through the names, I quickly saw her name, and I said that this is her room and she could enter. She did not said a word. I don’t know if she was disappointed by her section or not. Not a word. She just entered a new chapter in her life – her high school life. Joy was to me for being a part of her first day in her life’s new chapter.

Now, time to begin my new chapter,