Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Empty

I wanted to write something, but my thoughts are empty. I can't seem to find a new topic to write...

Okay, I'm lying! I just wanted to try my template if it's working. :-p

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PS: Trying to put on this template on all my past posts but I feel so lazy tracking back everything. So I guess, I'd stop from editing na. :-p If you happen to backread all my posts and all of a sudden my signature is gone, that's the start of my laziness, anyway, it does not affect the content of my posts. :D

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Thank You, Fr. Deody Dawis, OSJ

I was four or five years when I first went for vacation in San Jose, Batangas. During that time, I was the only kid in the family, my two elder cousins were living in Baler, Aurora, hence all the attention of my uncles and aunts and grandparents are all in me. My two uncles were working in Saudi and I only know them through photos. One of my uncles have this trademark moustache and we do have same eyes, they say "Indian eyes". One Friday evening, a mass was held in our small chapel and I saw this parish priest for the first time. He had this same moustache that my uncle had and those similar eyes. In the middle of the mass, while he read the gospel, I shouted, "Tito Peter! (Uncle Peter)!" He stopped from reading and smiled at me. I was so innocent that time and I really thought he was my uncle. I asked my grandfather why they always tell me that my uncle is in Middle East when in fact, he is a priest. When I went back to Manila, I even told my classmates in the Kindergarten that my uncle is a priest! Everytime we go back home and we'd go to mass, I always tell my mother that I would only hear mass  when it is "Uncle Peter" who would preside the mass. They kept on correcting me that it was not my uncle, but it was Fr. Deody. I asked, why they look so alike, are they twins? I even asked my uncle that on the phone, when he also tried to explain to me that he is in Saudi and the priest is Fr. Deody. I told him, is he your twin? My family never get tired on explaining to me that the priest is not related to us by blood. However, no matter how hard they try, I still clinged on that belief, why? It is because he never made me feel wrong. After mass, I would run to him and call him Uncle Peter, he would give me his hand to kiss and then carry me on his arms. With these small gestures, I think every kid would really think he is your uncle. Then it was time for him to serve other parishes. I never saw him again. But with his absence, my real uncle came home. I never really felt empty.

Years passed and we met again. This time, I am already aware that he is Fr. Deody and not my uncle. I was so shy to come and greet him because I always have this memory in my mind when I would always call him out loud in the middle of his mass (sometimes even during the consecration!) and tell everybody in the church that he is my uncle. We met again in Marello Cup, a yearly event for all youth of the parishes being served by the Oblates of St. Joseph. I was an active member of the Joseph Marello Youth of San Jose, Batangas and I was usually part of the service committee (we prepared food for the athletes, we made sure what they need on all events are complete, when not, we go out and buy stuffs they need). During our lunch break, I was waiting with my other committee friends for our friend of ours who hosted the Battle of the Brains event, Fr. Deody approached us. As a sign of respect, we asked for his blessing. When it was my turn, he hugged me. I was surprised! Then he said, " you're all grown up now! You were just a kid when I last saw you! I am so happy that you are an active member of the youth organization." I was speechless at first. I never thought and never imagined that he could still remember me. I just remarked, "do you really still remember me Father? That little kid who called you uncle during your mass?" He answered, "Yes, I do. That's why I approached you guys here, I wanted to make sure that my eyes did not play trick on me. How's your uncle? How's your grandfather?" I told him my grandfather died more than a year ago (I was in fourth year high school that time we met, my grandfather died when I was in third year high school) and that my uncle already has 2 kids and decided to start a business instead of going back in the Middle East.

It occurred to me, that he was not just an uncle for me during the time my uncle was working in Saudi, he was also a son to my grandfather. During his service in San Jose, and when he presided mass in our place, he would visit my grandfather and kiss his hand. Mom also said that when my uncle come home, he do visit him and have a little drink with him, and they look really like brothers.

Few days ago, I shared Fr. Deody's nephew's status on my Facebook page. He told us the real health condition of Fr. Deody, which Fr. Deody had been battling for such a long time and would not tell even his own family. That was the time I started to be a bit nostalgic. Aside from the fact that he is little by little preparing his departure, our 25th Cenakulo (Passion of Christ theater play during Good Friday) in San Jose, Batangas would be celebrated this year. Coincidentally, he was the man behind the first theater play. He was the original manager of the theater group. He gave the youth of San Jose something to look forward to do every Holy Week, and for the whole parishioners to watch on Good Friday. He is indeed one great man of God. He changes people and places with his simple ways. 

Today, as I browse through my news feeds, I came upon Bro. Omi's posts and the reality he is trying to tell us, Fr. Deody Dawis has now joined the One Above. It was so heavy in the heart. Hence, I decided to blog and through this, express my sincerest condolences to his family and to the whole Oblates of Saint Joseph community. My mind and heart is so filled with tears, mixed with sadness because he passed away and I am so far away to be able to pay him my last respect and of childhood memories that I will forever be grateful for because he is in it.

Thank you, Fr. Deody Dawis, OSJ for the memories and the friendship. This is better because you are now healed and rejoicing with the One Above. It may be sad that you won't be able to see the 25th anniversary of Teatrong Kumot, the theater that you founded, but we are rest assured that you would be watching the kids and guide them from Above. You will always be my first favorite priest. You will always be my uncle. Thank you very much. You will be missed. You will always be in our hearts. Please send my love to my grandfather, I am 100% sure you'd meet him there and share stories, just like how you used to do when you were still our parish priest in San Jose.

Photo grabbed from. Bro. Omi Intia's Facebook wall.
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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Tiny Little Steps

After more than a year of idleness, I am starting to keep myself busy, from what? From preparing my documents for the university. Apparently, all my application for apprenticeship are coming back to me, a friend told me that there is an age limit for that (this I still have to confirm, it was an information she got from her husband), so I guess, going back to the university is my remaining option to establish a career here. From time to time, I am wondering, whether it is really necessary for me to have a career here, my husband is earning well, and we have enough. We are just average people and we are not really wishing for anything extravagant in life. However, the thought (and plan) of settling in the Philippines in 16-20 years made me realize, I need to do something. At that time, I will be tagged as "old" in the Philippines to continue on my career that I left behind. I do not want to just rely on the retirement benefits my husband would be receiving, because nobody knows how the economy is by then. I need to make sure that I have a back-up plan. How can I do that? There is only one option: finish a Master's or doctorate degree. When one has this title, there are limitless opportunities to get to. In relation to my previous blog, I finally got an answer from my university classmate/ friend/ co-chemist. He told me that there are limitless opportunities, up to this time, he being a professor in UE, still receives notifications about supervisory positions on different companies, but unlike me, he finds joy in teaching. So I guess, going back to the university is not a bad plan at all. Therefore, I started on my next journey: University Life!

First of all, I did rigorous research in the internet how to get into University. There are information that I got from friends that I still have to send my documents to be acknowledged by the respective authority. But thorough reading on the site (thanks to my besseres Deutsch, I got to understand a bit of those posted on the site), told me to simply go to the university of my choice and inquire on the International Office what I need to do. My Brazilian friend from VHS told me I need to translate my documents and have them certified as true copies (she got the slot in a Studienkolleg in Darmstadt University). I wanted to go there too, but Darmstadt is a bit far from our home, and I still don't have a Führerschein (she already has, but we won't be sure if we'd get the same schedules so I cannot be 100% sure that I can always drive with her). So I decided to call on Frankfurt University and made an appointment (FYI: inquiries can be done through phone, but since I got lots of questions, and I wanted them to see my documents, I opted for a personal appointment, which, they told me that I don't need to make an appointment through the phone anymore, just go there during their Öffnungszeiten). I went there and got my questions answered, with the appropriate form to fill out. Here are a few questions I asked:

1.  Am I eligible to study here?
Yes. Based on anabin.kmk.org, all Filipinos who have Bachelor's degree from the Philippines are eligible to study at any Hochschule or University. I have visited this site long before I talked with them, but of course, I wanted to be 100% sure. When you got only to finish until high school in the Philippines, you have to go to the Studienkolleg or take the Feststellungsprüfung.

2. What documents do I need to submit?
Since I am already a B.S. degree holder from the Philippines, they asked for my transcript of records, diploma and my German language proficiency certificate. Also a copy of my passport (the page with my information) and a certain payment.

3. Should I still need to send my documents for translation or acknowledgement?
I inquired at Frankfurt University, and the answer is NO. Frankfurt University uses the services of uni-assist for processing student application. Since my documents are all in English, all I needed to do is to make copies of them (uni-assist accepts only copies because if you wanted to apply on different universities or colleges, not all are using uni-assist, and you'll need these documents) and then have them certified either in your local Rathaus or by a Notar. They do not accept Beglaubigung from clubs or the like.

4. How much should I pay?
For application, there is a fee of €68 payable to uni-assist, in order for them to start working on your papers.

5. I have heard of free education here in Germany, is it really free?
Again, I inquired at Frankfurt University, so it might be different in other region or university. For the DSH (Deutsch Sprachkurs für Hochschulgang), there is actually a fee of €550. Then during the studies, when you pass the DSH exam, there is a Gebühr of €350 (?) (I forgot it exactly but I just estimated it to this amount) every semester, inclusive of train and bus ticket around Rhein-Main.

So far, I already got my documents certified. On to the next step: sending my documents to uni-assist and then WAIT. For how long? I am not sure, when I get my documents sent, it will all depend on uni-assist and Frankfurt University. Wish me luck!


HINWEIS: I opted to repeat my Bachelor's degree rather than take the Master's degree immediately. Firstly, I do not want to take the risk, it's been years since I graduated and passed the PRC board exam. Secondly, since after board exam, I did not really work directly in the laboratory or the like, I am afraid that my years of experience would be not enough and they might ask me then to send my documents for acknowledgement or something. And lastly, there are moooore paper works to be done doing so, including recommendation letters from UST, which I do not have at the moment, I only have diploma and transcript of records with me, I do not even have my PRC ID with me because I just recently applied for change of name and renewal of it. I kinda hate paperworks, so I chose the lesser one. It's not that bad to repeat my Bachelor, I can at least "specialize" on a certain field of Chemistry.


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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Jobs for Doctorate Degree Holders in Industries

Eventhough I haven't started any step yet, I am already weighing down things. I have thought, if I am going back to the university here, well I might as well finish until the doctorate degree. However, I am not quite sure what kind of job would I get when we plan to go back to the Philippines. I mean, when my husband retires, he wanted to retire in the Philippines. That time, I am way too young to retire yet, so I am thinking that I would still work. But I have not yet heard of anyone in the industry with the doctor title on his name, who, instead of standing in front of scientists-to-be, is roaming around the production floor or is wearing a laboratory gown and safety gloves and goggles. I mean, working here in Germany with this title is not a problem, in fact, there are lots of opportunities for you, but when we get back to the Philippines, would I still be able to work in the industry or laboratory if I opt to earn the "ultimate" title of a professional?

I have nothing against academic jobs, because without my respected professors, I would not be who I am now. It is just that I think, and I feel, that teaching Chemistry entails a lot of responsibilities. I don't mind teaching languages, because there are always existing reference books to check on grammars and spellings, but for Chemistry, how can I teach bunch of students perfectly when I, myself, cannot solve certain problems all by myself. They sit there, looking up on you, admiring you for the degree that you have attached on your name, then you fail to answer one problem and poof! The title you worked hard for for years is lambasted in a matter of minutes. I am afraid of that time. Unlike in laboratory set up or manufacturing world, there are always room for efforts, that is why they are called the R&D team, research and development. Some researches may work, some may fail, but it is okay. Technologies change overtime, and every new technology suffers from the pain of giving birth to a first-born, but the scientists are not criticized harshly, instead, they are understood, and sometimes are even praised for such failures, because sometimes, new product ideas come from those failures.

That is what I love about working in the industry and not as an academician, the fun of performing tests and proving hypothesis in order to promote them into theories, and maybe, in the near future, into law.

So, as a conclusion, I just wanted to ask, are there non-academic jobs awaiting for Ph.D. in Chemistry title holders in the Philippines?


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Monday, March 4, 2013

Where Are The Filipino Bloggers in Germany?

Out of boredom on a Sunday evening, I scrolled down the list of expat bloggers who are living in Germany. I am in search of Filipinos out there, but sadly, I only found 3 blogs: my blog, a medical student's and a mother. I am not sure if it is because the number of Filipino members in Expat-Blog is so small compared to those who came from US of A, or because there are really a small number of Filipino bloggers who are living in Germany.

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

My Expat Life: From Pinas To Deutschland

I was browsing through my friend's new personal blog and we had a small chit chat about some of her articles and it occured to me: I have been blogging all these time (and even added this blog on www.expat-blog.com) about my life here in Germany, but I have not really blogged yet how I became an expat. Honestly, I have always wanted to write something about it, but either I laugh at my own words because they are so cheesy, or just lack the courage to publish it. But here I am for the nth time, trying my best to finish this story and post it successfully (you'll find tons of links here because I wanted you to go back with me, back to the posts I wrote during the course of my journey). Here it goes!

First Expat Experience
Year 2008 was the first time I set my feet on Germany grounds, that time, I was the kind of expat that most people think (at least that was what I used to think of before) when they hear the word "expat": a foreigner in a certain country for business purposes. I was here, together with a colleague, to attend a training about process gas analyzers (they are equipment usually used in process to monitor the concentration of gas in the chamber or process). Germany has always been my favorite country. I first heard of it when I was in third grade, when somebody from Köln (Cologne) was added in our roster. She is pure blooded Pinay but her mom is one of those nurses in the old times who became guest workers of Germany, hence they were born and raised in Köln. They decided to go back to the Philippines and settle there for good in the year 1992. She got lots of stories to tell about Germany: the food they eat, the use of fork and knife instead of spoon and fork, the castles, the weather and the language. She taught us basic phrases such as "Guten Tag" and "ich liebe dich". I have always been in love with fairy tales and her accounts about medieval churches and castles made me dream of visiting Germany someday. Then came high school years, and this time, a family friend's family also decided to leave Europe and settle back in the Philippines (yes, it's Ody's family!) and I came upclose and personal again with the German language. Although their family really came from Vienna, they do speak that language that I love. When Ody and I became good friends, my love for the German language grew deeper, that I asked her to translate my poems into German language. Then came university years. For the reason of being undecided until my last year in high school, I ended up enrolling in the B.S. Chemistry degree. Funny how other people avoids this degree, and I took it just because I wanted to study in University of Santo Tomas and I heard that this course have the least number of enrollees. Since I had fun on my high school chemistry class, I thought it won't be that bad. I never realized until now that everything's pre-determined by fate, more so, by the One Above. How is that so? It is because apart from Tourism and Music, only Chemistry students take the German language as a Foreign language requisite. While my classmates curse the subject due to these umlauts and diphthongs, I am loving it (for more funny moments in my college days, I'll leave that for other post). Then came the end of my college days and on to real life. I have worked with lots of companies either as a process engineer or as a chemist and I still try every once in a while to refresh my German. I have always included in my resume this beautiful line: Language/s spoken: English, Filipino and German, even when in reality, I can hardly construct a decent  German sentence. This part on my resume helped me land the job at Emerson in the year 2008. I was honestly okay at Hitachi that time (except for those holidays that I need to work), but since I was young and undergoing quarter-life crisis, I kept on forwarding resumes to all companies I found online. Then one day, they called. I went to an initial interview in February 2008, but was called for client/ final interview in May (which was also a bit memorable/ sad event for me, read here). June came when I finally got the result and the plans was already discussed with me. November of that same year when we went to Germany for training. It was short though because we had to go back before Christmas (with us having lots of gifts since the last day was also my birthday), but we went back in February 2009 for the continuation of the training. That month changed my life.

How My Life Changed
Finally, I was in Germany. I got to experience cold weather and snow, got to taste Sauerkraut, got to speak German. It was all dream come true for me. I saw a few castle, and even a witch tower in Gelnhausen (Hexenturm). I thought that time, my life is indeed beautiful! I got a nice job, considered to be really a high-paying job when you'd ask how much I was earning compared to others with the same position that I had. I never thought it was just the beginning of it all. I never thought that one day, I would be living in this land that I only dreamed of visiting.
We were introduced in the company by my manager  that time. Most people working in the production area (where I am assigned to be trained) are pure German speakers, save for two engineers who also do field service that's why they can speak English. Sitting beside my trainer is somebody who changed the story of my life. He was my colleague who became my boyfriend and now my husband. He hardly spoke with me! I always caught him staring at me, during buffet, at work, when am walking out the door and he must still work overtime, but he never spoke. There is a smile pasted on his face (which is already normal of him) but I never knew what was going on in his mind. In December, he finally spoke to me and I blogged here that time the line he said. (I never considered that as his first invitation to go out with him. I mean, who would think of that? I only knew him by name and he barely spoke with me. He told me lately how sad he was when I turned him down that time.) We came back to the Philippines to fulfill our jobs in the Philippines. He never failed to send me emails. I think, the ratio is from every 10 emails I receive everyday, half of it was from him. I recognized the effort on him to write in English, and in all fairness, it was improving everyday. I considered that only as emails between colleagues. The first message of him that made me think it was already something else was when I went for Christmas vacation for a total of 2 weeks, he told me it's going to be the longest weeks of his life. I did not give much attention to that. After my vacation, he told me that he heard about the change in dates of the second part of training and he felt sad that "he must wait for another month." I admit, there is already a bit of kilig in my part when he tells me those words, but I kept on ignoring and forcing myself not to give a damn because I hardly knew him and because he is 15 years older than I, he might be married and is only flirting. We came back in February and as a tradition, there is always a buffet on our first day. It so happened that somebody was also celebrating his nth year in the company, hence it was really a party (with beers!). That time, I got to speak with my trainer's wife and we got really close. Because of all the beers around, she told me stories of past company parties and named those who got really drunk, and one of them was he. I was surprised and I asked her what was his wife's reaction to that, that they had to drive him home because he's too drunk to drive alone. That incident paved the way for me to know he's single. It was as if Fate created that party for me to know more about him. Maybe I am a bit of a liberated one, because we are not that typical bf-gf who went through the process of courtship first. The next day, he tried to invite me out again. He did not put his expectations anymore, he said, he just tried his luck again. But because of what I have learned the day before, I said yes. I went out for dinner with him, simply to know him more. I finally came to know what Haxe is. After years of tears, I started to sing and write poems again, all because of him. He sent me sweet nothings each and every day (which I don't know if he really wrote or got it somewhere in the net). If I am not mistaken, it was on the 9th when I was so transparent that it was then mutual between us. We were actually like Juday and Ryan, no actual date to mention, we just took each day at a time, enjoyed each other's company as friends and lovers. 
Nobody wanted to believe on what we have. The Germans thought it was just a "fleeting moment" in our lives, that as soon as I get back to the Philippines, the feelings would die between us. They never believed that he could handle a long distance relationship. Back in the Philippines, they also thought it differently, due to the age difference and the culture difference. My only reason back then was, "my grandparents also have 15 years age difference and they made it till this time, even if grandpa is no longer with us, grandma still thinks of him." I never spoke to them of it anymore, except for my real friends who found our story to be so sweet. There was no formal engagement, maybe one reason why our wedding was kinda made in a rush. His way of asking my hand for marriage was also something sweet and funny. He didn't ask me directly, he asked my family. He simply said, he wanted to marry me and if my family would allow it. I was shocked, the same way my family was shocked. My aunt and my lesbian cousin were kilig when they realized that I also didn't know this plan of his. My family realized how kind he is and they saw how much he loves me during his short vacation, hence they agreed. That was the reason why my blogs in 2010 was only until June, I was busy planning his vacation and then after that, I was busy completing my documents. He came back in 2011 and we got married. In a matter of two years, he changed my life from dull, sad and hopeless one into a lively, happy and loving one.

Second Expat Experience
In October 2011, I came back here in Germany, together with my ex-colleagues, but not as a trainee anymore for gas analyzers. I came back in Germany to stay here for good, to join my husband, to be his wife. Contrary to my first expat experience, this time my career is different. I am no longer the gas analyzer expert (but from time to time, I still enjoy exchanging talks with my husband about what's new in this technology), rather I am a housewife. I work 24 hours a day. I finally learned how to cook. I used to be afraid of oil in a pan, hence I never cooked in the past in the Philippines (except for rice). I used to only clean my room, but now, I have to clean the entire apartment. I have NEVER cleaned a bathroom/ toilet, which I am already doing now. I used to only iron my hankies, but now, I have to iron everything, not only my clothes, but of course, my husband's. A lot of things changed. It was hard, but it was all worth it. I sometimes feel sad that I can no longer work as a professional like before, and I must admit, there are times when I thought of coming back to the Philippines, but at the end of the day, I realize, my life is totally different now. I have chosen to get married, hence my career now is a wife, no longer an engineer or chemist. For all the great things he had done for me, and continuously doing, these simple things are the only ways I can show him my gratitude for his unending love and understanding.

That was my journey. This is my journey. It hasn't ended yet. The story is continuously written. That's how I came to meet my husband and how I came to live in Germany. It is not a smooth ride, it is a roller coaster one, terrifying and exciting. You have read in my past posts how terrifying it is, how I one time wanted to give up. But when he agrees to stop for a while and assess everything, I tell him and myself, "Yes, life is a roller coaster, and I would never give up, rather, continue the ride until the end of time", and then I end up telling him what Simon said on this video:

Also, DRÜCK AUFS KNÖPFCHEN, MAX!
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