The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Deep in the Forest No One Else Knows

"Out walking and singing of cooler days..."—Wei Ying-Wu, "To Secretary Ch'iu on an Autumn Night"

The previous weeks, I was so puckered-face and extremely problematic (hyperbole intended) mainly because I had to accomplish serious matters with limited resources—time, money, and assistance. Fortunately, after successfully obtaining some pertinent documents required for my papers, I felt like a few thorns had been removed from my chest. As in Filipino, "Para akong nabunutan ng ilang tinik sa dibdib."

As I already wrote, Grandfather and I must go to Winnipeg, Manitoba, this month. (In fact, as of writing, we already have our plane ticket / boarding pass, courtesy of my uncles and aunts in Manitoba.) Then, because the expiry date of my passport and work permit and the submission date for my permanent-residence application fall in August, I had to obtain all the necessary requirements before leaving for Manitoba. Therefore, I was pressed for time! This meant, I had to get everything done before our flight, on May 22.

Thursday, May 12
I was tearfully hopeless and helpless. I felt like I couldn't accomplish even a single thing, especially that I didn't have someone to accompany me anytime; and, as many of my friends already know, that I was having a hard time procuring allowance.

Luckily, I was able to go out, as prodded by an uncle in Winnipeg, who encouraged me to get things done on my own, without expecting assistance, so I might practice my independence. My itinerary: Metrotown Centre, in Burnaby, to have my photographs taken; Vancouver Police, which I was yet to locate, to have my fingerprints taken (for obtaining an NBI clearance in my country); the Philippine Consulate in Vancouver, to renew my passport; and finally, a great place to dine, to treat myself to a sumptuous meal.

With my knapsack containing the necessary documents, I went to catch the 9:20 a.m. bus from our place to King George (SkyTrain) Station. Yes, unlike in the Philippines, buses here strictly follow schedules, so one really has to observe punctuality.

I arrived at Metrotown about 10, and headed to Japan Camera. For $35, I had my photographs taken: six copies, for my passport and for my immigrant-visa application. Shit! I had to ask the photographer to repeat the shot thrice because I always looked really pathetically ugly. No chance! I'm a really transparent person, in the sense I couldn't hide melancholy and frustration behind a smile. I couldn't do anything but to be content with the result. Besides, I was so pressed with time. I just said to myself: "Hey, aLfie, that's the way things are: everything has its good and bad side, as well as every person has his beautiful and ugly pose. So, be it!" Hahaha! It took only fifteen minutes, and I got the photos.

Next, Vancouver Police. I didn't know the place. All I did was call the detachment early in the morning and asked for the address: Main St. cor. Hastings St., Vancouver. Next, I called TransLink and asked for directions: "...alight at Main (SkyTrain) Station and then board Bus #3 Downtown Vancouver."

Hastings area! That's the equivalent of Quiapo or Divisoria in the Philippines. Lots of bums and other vagrants. Good thing was, here they just ask for spare change; and as long as you refuse them politely, they won't be bothering you anymore. That's in daytime, however; come nighttime, it's a different story.

The fingerprinting process was fast! I just presented my passport and SIN card (the Philippine equivalent of the SSS or TIN card), filled out a form, paid the $25 fee; then a friendly officer finally took my prints, which I got right after washing my hands.

Back to the SkyTrain...alighted at Burrard. Oops. Wrong station. Fortunately, the ticket allows a passenger to board and alight anywhere within two-and-a-half hours; so, all I did was re-board and alight at Granville.

The Pacific Centre mall is attached to Granville Station; just like SM Makati is attached to Ayala (MRT) Station. The building housing the Philippine Consulate is, in turn, attached to Pacific Centre. Lunch time, my stomach was already grumbling and my head throbbing. I planned to eat a big bacon 'n cheese burger at Arby's, but I felt my belly needed a rice meal; so I ate at Flaming Wok Chinese Restaurant instead.

At the Philippine Consulate, the staff were all friendly and accommodating. They also conversed in Filipino. I felt weird, because I am now used to hearing people conversing in English, aside of course when I'm with my relatives. Again, the process was quick. I just filled out a form, handed my current passport, paid $ 76, and... "P'wedeng mo nang kunin bukas, 3 p.m. [You may claim it tomorrow at 3 p.m.]."

Whew! I felt so much relieved. I was able to accomplish what I planned to achieve for the day, and the time was 3:30 p.m. I would have strolled around downtown or, perhaps, Metrotown, but my body and mind were already exhausted. I headed to the SkyTrain station and went home.

Inside the train, on my way home, I continued reading Poems of the Masters. This particular poem, "Bamboo Retreat" by Wang Wei, I felt metaphorically apt for the day:

Sitting alone amid dense bamboo
strumming my lute and whistling
deep in the forest no one else knows
until the bright moon looks down

Friday, May 13
As the Philippine Consulate staff had promised, I got my new passport!
I brought my digital camera this time, so I was able to take a few pictures...again, join me in a yet another adventure in the streets of downtown Vancouver...


  • At Monday, May 16, 2005 4:26:00 AM, Blogger bucth said…

    bagong chapter na naman ang manitoba in ur book of life. worth waiting... ano ang naghihintay sa dako pa roon? hehehe.

    paperworks - whoah! sukang-suka na ako jan. bago ako nakapunta ng tate, sangkaterbang paperworks.

    ur a good man, elf. u will be rewarded soon.

  • At Tuesday, May 17, 2005 10:37:00 PM, Blogger eLf ideas said…

    Oo, excited na nga ako dahil alam kong panibagong yugto na naman ang sisimulan ko...mula sa pagsakay na muli ng eroplano hanggang sa makatapak uli ako sa probinsya ng Manitoba. Sana nga, maganda ang naghihintay sa akin duon.

    Paperworks? Hahaha! Oo nga e. Mula ipanganak tayo e paperworks agad, di ba? Birth certificate? Tapos hanggang sa pumanaw na rin tayo...death certificate. Hahaha!

    Buhay nga naman ng tao, dapat talagang i-dokumento.

    Thanks for seeing through me. As I said to our fellow blogger Ivy, we are a fellowship of friends helping one another cope with Life.


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