After going through several moments of despair over a backlog of thesis work set aside for other demanding short-term requirements, after crying over the spilled milk of an exam not answered well because you hung out at the local videoke stop-over with friends believing it would “energize” your already tired brains and muscles and help you in the next day’s exam, after working straight hours to beat the deadliest deadlines even if it meant missing baths and meals, I now sit here in front of our trusty computer, praying it would not shut itself down after being abused over the past four years of my college existence. I sit here while sipping hot Swiss Miss chocolate and reminiscing the past months of blog silence, wondering where I should start picking the pieces up to fill in what happened to me in those times. But truth to tell, I barely noticed those three months pass me by. Everything now seems like a blur and I am momentarily experiencing a short-term memory loss because I am just too overwhelmed to have been able to comply with my school requirements. I am now looking forward to graduation, which is set on the 26th of April. But oh well, compliance to requirements aside, an unforeseen dilemma caught us all off guard. Our batch was supposedly the first batch to graduate under the new curriculum but along the way of the bureaucratic process, our college was not furnished with the formal notice regarding the implementation of the curriculum. Hence, our division continued using the old curriculum. After we processed our papers for graduation, we found out, to our dismay, that we lacked three units. Uh-oh. So as of the moment, our graduation is still pending. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a positive outcome.
In the meantime, while enduring the torturous wait for our fate, I have to do some editing for my thesis. While on the process of editing, I remembered my memorable experiences working on it. Once, I had to visit the Christ for Asia Foundation office for an important interview. There I was, looking dignified and all, waiting for my interviewee who was still on field. Christ for Asia has a shelter for street kids both boys and girls. Because it was break time, they were so busy running around, climbing, shouting, and all the other things a kid would normally do. I just sat there contentedly watching them and reminiscing my own childhood days while the wind was silently blowing in my face. I was ready to drift off to dreamland when a kid took special notice of my hair and remarked that I had a grey hair sticking out of my head. Without any further ado, he gathered all his guts and triumphantly pulled the gray hair out and handed it to me. Chuckling a little, I managed to mumble a word of thanks. But instead of dropping it, he was more motivated to go on. He pulled out another one. And another. And another. In my head, I pictured him as the eager kid scientist and I was the unwilling specimen. But the kid scientist, it seemed, wanted to consult other scientists of his latest discovery. He called on his other colleagues for help! What?!? Before I could protest, the kids who were once rambunctiously playing were swarming around me and started picking out my gray hairs. Some were even boasting that they could pull out three gray hairs in one picking. Oh dear! I wanted to grip the scrunchie that was holding my hair but one mischievous little boy took it off. My hair was all over my head and I could only smile sheepishly at the passersby who were probably wondering what on earth was going on. Despite everything, I initiated a little chitchat with the kids, telling them to remember to leave a little hair on my head. We talked a little more. I tried to make them guess my age. Gray hairs must be kind of deceiving. One kid confidently announced, “Ninety!” I was so amused I couldn’t stop laughing. The naughty kids I saw in them seemed to transform into young adults, even telling me things like, “Te, daghan kaayo kag uban. Ayaw anang daghan kaayo kag uban kay lain man tan-awon. Bata pa ra ba ka.” I could only nod and smile in agreement. It felt weird being told by little kids half my age. But I don’t know. I kind of liked it. Maybe because it made me feel younger than my actual age. Maybe because I felt good hearing the thoughts of those young minds. Or maybe, right then and there – I was simply struck at the care those kids showed. To think, they need it more than I do. Yet they were unselfish about it. An hour later, I left with lesser gray hairs and a bigger realization: Never ever underestimate kids in their innocence. Sometimes, they make more sense than we do. Sometimes, they give more than we do. And sometimes, they enjoy life more than we do because they see its simple joys and little rewards.
And oh, before I left, the little girls combed through my hair with their hands, smoothed my hair, and put back my scrunchie and hairpins on. Although I could have done my hair better, I never touched it until I got home.