> BUS lessOns

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A few days back, I took a bus ride from SM North to Boni Avenue. I was thinking about my problems : like my work, bills to pay, debts and some how it drifted over to my past. I still remembered a funny event from my life involving bus rides and conductors.

In my so distant past, there was a year when my father and mother lost their jobs at PLDT, my father was even kidnapped by NPA’s that affected our lives and our personal characters. With the help of God, aunts and uncles, the family, we managed to get ourselves enrolled in school to allow us to continue our education while my mother try to sort out her employment issues.

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It was a very difficult time for all of us. My sisters and brothers were not used to not having enough. Having so, I decided to do something. I packed my things and pursued college on my own.

I had to live in my Uncle Pastor’s house in Makati during my freshman year. I worked there at the same time working for Jollibee as Smart Assistant. I was all miserable because I [still] thought my AUNT was an overbearing dictator. She used to make me do household chores and little things that I thought don’t matter. My aunt has a way of getting on teenagers’ nerves as I thought my freedom was being repressed. Of course, it is only after a very long time that I realized [I prompted myself to : I just don’t want anymore heartaches] that her teachings [?] have helped me be who I am now.

What seems to be trivial things like how to cook, how to iron clothes, etc. are some of the things I learned under her guidance [although I willingly did this before with my Tita Nhia and Tito Medel]. Of course, I was all feeling overworked at that time and felt that my aunt was just too much [she really was].

I experienced hauling big gallons of water for her or her child’s bath from what seemed like 100-step-staircase just so I can have her kabaitan. I experienced being forced to sell avocado outside our gate, wax the floor and almost everything over and over, look over her babies [and I mean real baby : the ones you need to bottle feed like you have breast and the mother’s touch], take care of their old friends during hospitalizations, send her kid to school [may pamasahe ka lang papunta, paguwi mo maglakad ka!], pay every utilities in faraway lands, etc.. again, to help tide me over. I experienced being daya-d [dinaya] on my allowance/salary : I was supposed to have like 2500, she was giving me 2000 only yata. There was even a time when I cannot eat nor touch anything on the fridge because it’s for her daughter, wash and wash and wash dishes because all of her family members are visiting, lahat na! In short, i felt so alila. That’s how destitute I was then.

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One day, I didn’t have enough money to pay for the bus ride to school. In my shyness to ask money from my aunt, I plotted a plan on how I can get to school. Inside the bus, when it was my turn to pay, I staged an act like I forgot my wallet at home and that I dont have extra money anymore. Somehow, the conductor probably sensed that I really don’t have any money and did not ask me to step out of the bus. When I arrived at school, I asked some of my friends to loan me some of their allowance just so I can go home.

I remember these experiences now with a smile and with no trace of bitterness. I have gone so far from way back then and now my life is so different from that life that it seems like a dream. The little ones in my family have no idea how much hardship I’ve suffered before. And somehow, I am thankful.

My experiences mold me to be the person that I am now. I’m thankful for all the hardships I encountered before and all the pains I experienced. No matter how poor I was then, I knew things will change one day and it did [*not that I’m rich now though].

Whenever I see people committing suicide because of the problems that they have in their lives, I cannot understand it. Even though I thought my life was miserable way back then, not once did I think that I want to commit suicide. I always thought it was a coward’s way out. Don’t condemn me for thinking like this because it is just my opinion. There are people out there who seriously need help because they don’t know how to handle their problems and themselves. My heart goes out to these people because I know how it is to feel miserable in life. But I will never understand why some people would commit suicide.

I now [*unwillingly] regard my aunt as one of the biggest influence in my life [or I’ll forever be hurt]. She somehow has given me an education that I would never have learned in school.

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So buses and conductors will always have a different meaning for me. Don’t wonder why I might be sniggering at the back whenever you see me inside a bus. It might be because I’m just remembering my past. Katuwa no?

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