The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Picture it now, see just how, the light that you see

September 24, 2006

Yesterday, I called my agency around lunch, to see if they could give an evening shift for me. I was in the mood to work, especially that I missed several days of possible shifts in the previous week, because I was down with cough and cold. Bored of having to be alone at home in the afternoon, I decided to go out and check out the boutiques and shops in Osborne.

I trekked Osborne and checked out some of the clothes shops and book shops there, stores like Hush, Cryptic Wear, and Kustom Kulture. I ended up at a big DVD/CD rent/buy shop, where I found in the used-CD bin 10 noteworthy CDs, for only $10: which include Alison Moyet's Essex, Vanilla Trainwreck's Mordecai, The Dambuilders' Encendador, Dramarama, The Poohsticks, The Connels, and The Smoking Popes' Born to Quit, some of which I used to have in cassette-taper format. I also registered for membership so I can rent DVDs. For my first rent, I took advantage of the 6 DVDs for 7 days for only $10. I rented The Heavenly Kid, Belle Epoche, and FlightPlan among others.

I went home afterwards. I called the healthcare agency and asked for a double shift tomorrow, which is today. I'm compensating for the days I missed in the previous week.

So today, this morning, I worked at the CD 1 and CD2 wings, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and then proceeded to work at AB 1 wing, 3:30 p.m. till 11:45 a.m. Luckily, the routine and procedures are relatively easy; besides, I'm getting more and more confident in what I am doing as a healthcare aide. More so, the coworkers I encounter are always helpful and easy to work with.

My other job, A&W Restaurant, called a while ago, asking me to work tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m; so, tomorrow will certainly be another busy day for me.

I'm taking advantage of my sudden adrenaline-filled mood to work these days. I'm in high gear.

Catch you again tomorrow.

Lastly, I received a message on Friendster, from Leah Pios, a former staff of mine when I was still a supervisor at Quorum/Lanier in the Philippines, in the late '90s. I was inspired by Leah's message. After all the years, Leah said that my words of wisdom which I used to share with them through my eLf ideas newsletters continue to inspire her. How amazing it realize that I did really leave an indelible positive mark in the lives of many people with whom I used to work, and this continues to burn an inspiring and humbling compassion and sense of affinity for people in my heart.

As always, I am who I was. I may have changed, but hopefully for the better...a stronger eLf--more mature, more understanding, and more accepting of my weaknesses and more acknowledging of rooms of improvement.

Song for the day:
The Bluebells - Forever More

Friday, September 22, 2006

Punctured bicycle on a hillside desolate

September 22, 2006

3:55 p.m., I just got off from my shift at Riverview Health Centre. Work today was relatively tough, but I thank the Fates for making me feel always confident and competent about my healthcare aide job for the past several weeks.

Pay attention to details...
I would always look back at my first days, which began only in the end of July, and this would always amaze me--for I remember too well how nervous and clueless and helpless I was during those first exposure to the work routine at the health institutions; but now, I've become skilful enough. Yes, there are still lots of rooms for improvement, and I'm paying attention to details every working day.

I also saw Adolph, a Black fellow healthcare aide. He was one of the first coworkers with whom I worked. I remember very well most of his pieces of advice during those trying first days. He told me: "You always looked panicky, Alfie. With our kind of job, we should always be brave. Just pay attention and always remember the routine, and you would get into the groove in a matter of days." Yes, I remember now where I got that "get into the groove" thing.

This morning, while I was having my breakfast at the cafeteria, someone sat beside me. It was Adolph. He asked me, as usual: "How's it going?"

I answered with eagerness: "Hey, Adolph, how are yeah! I'm now more confident in my job, with the routine. I always keep in mind what you used to tell me...'pay attention to details, be alert, and always remember the routine....'"

He just replied with a sincere smile.

Oops! It's 4:04 p.m. The bus is arriving soon. I have to go now.

I might stroll around Osborne first before going home. There are lots of boutiques and CD and book shops there.

Mahilig ka ba...?
Last night, too, I received an e-mail from Tita Linda Cantiveros, the chief editor of The Filipino Journal, the newspaper for which I am writing. She told me that my article "Mahilig Ka Ba sa Rock Music?" would be appearing in the forthcoming issue. This would serve as the vehicle for the photographs taken from the August 26 Winnipeg concert of the Filipino Alternative Rock band Siakol at P.C.C.M. She also asked me to write the captions for the pictures. I'll be posting the article as soon as the issue is already published.

I remember faces...
By the way, last night, before going to the house of my friend Emong Payaso, I dropped by at the Canada Post at Garden City Shopping Centre. I received a final notice from the post office, telling me to pick up a parcel. I already picked up a package a few days ago, so I surmised that it must have been the same stuff; but I went anyway; I'm on the way anyway. And right was I, that final notice was for the same package I picked up a few days ago.

The staff who attended to me was a Filipina. I didn't pay much attention to her because I was in a hurry; the bus which I would be catching was soon arriving. But of course, I remember faces.

Then, in a flash of coincidence, when I was already at Emong Payaso's house, I checked my e-mails; and there I received a message posted on my blog site. It was from a certain Angela. Here is her message:

"Hi! This is not related to your entry, but I believe I met you last night at the post office. Were you the one who asked me about the final notice card that you received in your mailbox?"


Wow! That was flattering! Thank you for remembering me. And sorry if I might have appeared as disoriented that moment. I was in a hurry, to catch the bus. I was just wondering how you found out my blog site. But, anyway, thanks for dropping by. I already fluttered by your Web site. And ' nice to see that you're also a bibliophilist. I could relate with you very well when you mentioned that your mother was already complaining about your plan to purchase another bookshelf. I, too, live my life in my room with my books. Actually, after this, I'll be again trekking the little book shops here and there. See yeah 'round, 'ey!

Keep the flame burning

September 22, 2006

I guess this is a good sign--that no matter if my coworkers would warn me beforehand that the ward to which I'm assigned is tough and heavy, I would feel otherwise. I no longer feel nervous and inconfident about working as a healthcare aide. I'm finally dancing into the groove (Pardon the Madonna allusion).

No longer clueless...
From washing the residents, changing diapers, giving baths, changing their clothes, transferring them from beds to wheelchairs, to feeding them and putting them back to bed in the evening--I can do these all without feeling clueless and stupid.

Experience is really the mother of all learning.

Also, before I began working, I had a bit of an inferiority complex--afraid that my coworkers (especially the Caucasians and those who have had their education here in Canada) would swallow me whole, so to speak. But, I found out that I am able to work at par with many of them. In fact, I still couldn't believe when some coworkers would commend me for being hardworking and friendly and smart-looking. I hope they're right after all. You see, I always have this self-doubt. Perhaps the perfectionist in me is always at fault. No matter how much I give my best, I always feel that I'm still lacking skills.

But still doubtful once in a while...
Just like in my writing talent. Until now, after having worked as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and magazines for many years, I would still question and doubt my writing ability. Not even if the chief editor of The Filipino Journal used to tell me how good I am at what I do.

Oh well, breaktime is over once again. It's 2:00 p.m. Time to go back to my wing. I'll be off at 3:45 p.m.

Keep the flame in me burning...
By the way, the message posted by Miss Fredda on the comments section inspired me a lot--about how significant my erstwhile band Half Life Half Death had been in the '90s Filipino Alternative Rock Music scene. Thank you very much. You keep the flame in me kindling. I'll wave the torch of music till the day that I die. Don't worry, I'll re-upload some of Half Life Half Death's song, perhaps on MySpace. Just check my blog site from time to time. Keep on believing that music changes lives, preferably for the better.

More day-to-day stories to tell later.

Be back soon.

Works is a five-letter word

September 22, 2006

Guess what! I'm currently at one of the free PCs with Internet connection here at Riverview Health Centre. The time is 7:15 a.m., waiting for my 7:30 shift. Last night, I dropped by at the house of my friend Emong Payaso, to resume our "Karnabal" musical project. The session was quite fruitful as we were able to make the backbone music to the prologue and epilogue for the "Karnabal" single. Since we finished late, I decided to sleep over. Good decision, for early this morning, my work called, asking me to do a morning shift here at Riverview; so here I am.

Oops! Time to go...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Like a platypus

September 21, 2006

Nothing significant for the past days, except that people here where I am, including myself, cannot escape the effects of the weather changes. Cough and cold is normal during this inbetween seasons.

My life right now is on a seeming plateau. It practically revolves around my jobs and stealing some rest time at home. The only things that keep me inspired, aside from my loved ones in the Philippines, are my musical projects and my writing career.

Another article of mine, "Mahilig Ka Ba sa Rock Music?", will be featured in forthcoming issue of The Filipino Journal.

Until now, my haLf man haLf eLf first single, "Parang karnabal--ganyan ang buhay ng tao," is yet to be finished, and this is starting to frustrate me. The perfectionist in me is really getting into my nerves!

I'm still juggling my jobs at A&W Restaurant and at the nursing homes. Compared with my first weeks, I'm more comfortable now. The main problem remains the same--my having to cover a 20-minute-walk distance from the house to the nearest bus stop. By the time I get to my work, I've already exhausted so much energy. I hope that by October I can finally move in to a friend's house, which is just two blocks away from the bus stops.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Winter is looming!

September 17, 2006

After not accepting any healthcare aide shift for a few days, because I was (and still am) afflicted with cough and cold, I've finally decided to get back into the groove.

I'm currently here at Riverview Health Centre. Todays is Sunday, but I decided to take an evening shift, 3:30 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. Fortunately, the work routine today is relatively easy.

These days I can already feel the Winter pangs. I guess I need to buy my Winter gear this week--boots and a nice Winter jacket.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

At Last!

September 13, 2006

At last! I'm a Canadian resident. Last Monday, September 11, was my appointment at the Canadian Immigration. The process took only about fifteen minutes. I just presented my passport and submitted my work permit and two photographs (for my permanent resident card [PRC]), and then the customer service agent, a Filipino named Sigfried del R., had me sign the immigration papers. He said that I should receive my PRC via the mail after about three weeks.

After the appointment, I walked to the nearby Forks park lighthearted. I was smiling and breathing with eyes half-closed, while the autumn winds were kissing my skin. It was a fine day. Very fine day.

I thought of treating myself to a lunch at a sushi restaurant, but I couldn't find one in the vicinity.

I dropped by at the healthcare agency for which I work, and submitted my timesheets. And since I was off that day, I decided instead to go to the house of my friend Emong Payaso. And there we resumed our recording of the long overdue single "Parang karnabal--ganyan ang buhay ng tao." I'm realizing that being a perfectionist has a lot of disadvantages, one of which is the inability to meet your own standards at a given time. We started recording the "Karnabal" song last December, and until now we are not yet finished. Oh well...

I have no Internet connection at home for about a week now, and this is very difficult and inconvenient. Because I had to transfer my PC from the basement to my temporary room (the room vacated my cousin who went to Las Vegas, Nevada, to work), the Internet connection is yet to be reinstalled by our ISP.

Finally, I bought myself my first cellular phone here in Canada, a Sony Ericsson equipped with a media player and a camera. Now I feel more comfortable every time I'm out of the house. Besides, the healthcare agency for which I work can get hold of me anytime, especially when they need to assign a work shift for me.

Winter is looming. I could feel it especially during the nights, as the cold winds start to bite my skin.

I had my third driving-lesson session. It went well. I got to drive in the busy area of the city. The instructor also began to teach me parallel parking. I felt more comfortable and confident, compared to the previous sessions.

I have asked for shorter hours at my A&W work, because I'm starting to feel the exhaustion. I need longer time for rest and sleep these days.

"What's money when the body is sick?" Did I remember it right?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Patas nga ba ang buhay?

Jester, Juggler, Jumper
Jest, Juggle, Jump
Jesting, Juggling, Jumping
Jested, Juggled, Jumped

Words...simple they may seem,
yet they mean so many things...
as they change their forms, they also change their meanings.

Just like...

September 8, 2006

I haven't been writing so much here on my blog site for the last couple of weeks. I'm always busy juggling jobs. But that's okay. Every time I get to receive the fruits of my labor, my exhaustion seems to disappear. Besides, I've been gradually getting good in the groove of my jobs, especially with my work as a healthcare aide. I've also been receiving positive remarks from some coworkers concerning my work ethics. I hope that this continues to inspire me and to encourage me especially into pursuing a nursing career.

Despite my being a juggler, I still manage to practice my being a jester once in a while. Emong Payaso, my musical collaborator, and I have resumed recording. We wanted to finish our 3-song EP The Woes of Emong Payaso soon. At the rate of it, we might finish it in two months' time.

One good result of the recent Siakol gig was that an FM radio station based here in Winnipeg (100.7), with a Filipino dj named Chester Pangan on board, has begun to play my former band Half Life Half Death's song "High School (Life)." I'm excited to finish my "Karnabal" project, so it could be played on the station soon.

The Filipino Journal, the community newspaper for which I'm writing, offered me to become an Assistant Editor. I'm considering the position. Another ball to juggle though. If only I have more than two hands. Let's see, if I can do some more magics.

Happy birthday to my youngest sister, Nina Rica, September 6. I'm happy for your having a son, my new nephew Dirk.

Oh well, I'm always in a hurry these days. Like now, I have to go to sleep already. Tomorrow I'll be working at Riverview Health Centre again. I hope that I'll have a not-so-tough day.

Listening to Madder Rose's Hello June Fool and The Magic Numbers self-titled album.


Mga Berso para sa Setyembre

Patas nga ba ang buhay sa mundo?
Huwag na kaya nating itanong.
Mahalaga'y nabubuhay tayo.

Bawat araw, wala nang inisip
Kundi ang kumayod at mag-ipon.
Para sa 'kin at sa 'yo...panghalip.

Kung higit sa dal'wa aking kamay,
Mas marami kayang magagawa?
Mas dadali kaya aking buhay?

Bawat s'werteng aking natatamo
Ay bunga ng aking paghihirap
At ng tatlong taong sakripisyo.

Kapag ako ay napag-iisa
Naaalala ko'ng aking lolo,
Pero hindi na 'ko naluluha.

Musika pa rin ang nasa puso,
May tinta pa rin ang aking pluma,
Tuloy pa rin ang mga pangako.

Malapit na naman ang tag-nyebe,
Dama ko na ang lamig ng hangin.
Tuluy-tuloy na sana ang s'werte.

Mga dahon ay nalalaglag na;
Nagpaparamdam na ang taglagas.
Lagi nang maginaw sa umaga.