The Beginning of Many Trials

Anne enjoyed more her College days compared to her high school life. Shes more free and independent during College days, and learned more about life – both the good and the bad side.

During her high school days, in the early stage, she needed to walk barefooted in a long road going to school, almost 2 hours of walking along the rocky, muddy road with high sugarcane plantation around it, and dangerous road surrounded by tall, thick bamboos, tall trees and thick grasses. And on the later years in high school, her senior schoolmate passed a large key to her on stage, as a symbol of passing a responsibility to her that time. Shes active in school organization, participating in any out-of-school activities until she reached her last year there, she became the President of the Student organization in the whole campus. Shes under pressure always, on her young age. The teachers would always criticize them on what projects or improvements to be done in school before their graduation. Its a bit challenge to them on how to act responsibly, a good training if theyll realize it.

Ever since her elementary school until high school, shes always participating in a declamation contest. She remembered how her elementary teacher punished her on stage when she didn cry upon doing an acting line in a sad part of the story. Her unforgettable teacher was Miss Fairbanks. Miss Fairbanks was her teacher in grade 5 and 6, since their class was combined in one classroom only with the imaginary division, in the farm. She would train Anne always in Declamation, always in school, and at times, she would bring her to their house in the town. The father of Miss Fairbanks was a foreigner, and Anne was afraid of him when she went there one time because her father would always kiss on the lips, and Anne didn like it. Anne and her classmates always hid from him and would lock the room of their teacher.

The little kids, then, would jump up and down on their teachers bed. Its their first time to step on a soft mattress, they enjoyed the bouncing effect of the bed as they jumped up higher.

Anne remembered when she didn cry upon practicing the line, the teacher would punish her in class, by standing in front of the blackboard doing nothing in a long time while her classmates were already busy in their lesson for that day. Shes a bit teary eyed and tried hard not to cry, though her tears are silently flowing already. Her classmates just looked at her silently, maybe they took pity at times at her, but they respected her at the same time since shes their first honor, on the top list always. And at times, Miss Fairbanks, would leave her on stage, to punish her there, and wouldn let her go down unless she know how to cry on the sad part of the script. Anne was devastated, she cannot cry doing her script but she could cry easily once her teacher would reprimand her. Her teacher was a long time rumored by everyone in school, that shes a terror one. Every student was afraid of her, because they witnessed the pupils who are ahead of them, that were punished everytime especially early morning once she arrived that the children violated her rules. She would make them line up on the school playground, each would bring their hands up horizontally, facing the palm upward and beat it one by one using stick or ruler.

But, luckily, Anne didn experience that, she got scold only verbally and left alone standing on stage or near the blackboard.

And sometimes, Anne felt ashamed and sad, one day, she decided to take a leave in class even for a day, to take a break from her teacher. She just sent an excuse letter that shes not feeling well to avoid her teacher.

Although her teacher was like that, she supported her all the way. She would try everything to let Anne participate in every school activities, Anne was treated as a baby, aside from being small, so petite, that they would carry her at times in their arms. No one bullied her, and she would participate in School Miss Universe and shes the representative in Miss Australia. Miss Fairbanks was the one who searched for her gown, a beautiful gown, a sparkling, pinkish white, she couldn forget. It was rainy at that time, and her teacher just carry her through her arms so that little Annes clothes won get soiled, since the ground is wet.

Anne would win always in the declamation within the school only.

Then, Miss Fairbanks brought Anne to a contest outside their school, at the town near her home. Her teacher selected a piece where crying wasn needed anymore but its a script about a crazy child. Anne didn win the first prize, the one who got it was the child with bigger eyes than her but shes so adept in crying, tears flowing smoothly on her face when shes acting. The winner was always the champion in that central school of the town, but Miss Fairbanks was still grateful Anne got a second place. And also, on the other hand, Anne felt lucky she didn win, so that she had the chance to escape from another contest because the champion from there would participate again in another contest, scheduled in other time.

The declamation moments in elementary years were the best moments Anne remembered and she couldn forget her teacher who had trained her always, Miss Fairbanks. Though, shes strict, but shes a good, wise teacher. After many years, she visited Miss Fairbanks (Annes already working that time) and met her again and knew that shes already a Principal in different school near Annes parents new home, and already processing her papers for another promotion, applying as District Supervisor or Superintendent. Miss Fairbanks was very proud of her and cannot forget her also as one of the top students she had taught in the farm.

During, high school days, Anne would participate in declamation but its only rare unlike previously. Shes more busy being the school officer all the time. She felt more pressure in later years, especially, in her fourth year. Shes the President, so she needed to act maturely. Shes always serious and would sat alone always, except Trecy who would always find time to sit beside her, to chat with her. Trecy was the only one girl who tried hard to make friends with her, wherever she went, Trecy would always initiate to start a conversation, any thing and would appreciate her baby face always and eyelashes.

On her graduation in high school, her cousin just arrange her hair, and put a light red lipstick on her lips. There were no big celebration always on her graduation ever since her elementary years until College. She just prepared herself on her own and didn expect any more anything from her parents because they
e poor, and could hardly afford it.

Upon, entering College, Anne promised to herself not to join anymore to any school activities or organization. She knew already on how heavy the task of being an officer like being the President. And also she wanted to lie low in College, unlike before that shes always the focus of everyones attention because shes the first honor every time. She felt too much pressure to become a center of attention where everyone expect so much on her.

Her wishes indeed came true. She became an ordinary student in College, since shes a working student in the University she didn participated anymore to anything. And also her grades went low, she barely managed to get greater than 90 grades. She didn expect that her course was a very difficult one. The engineering students there were seemed older already, and it seemed ordinary for them to fail at a certain subject. There were students who took 10 years already and still they can graduate. The Professors motto there were, its better to give students 75 grade or failing grade than fail in the Licensure Exams in the future that could bring shame to the school.

The professors wanted the students to strive hard, not to be complacent, except if they
e extraordinary ones who got 100% in exam score always like the very few who made it despite of the very difficult exams that seem out of nowhere.

Anne enjoyed her stay there and during College program, the engineering students who are mostly male would do their funny acting on stage, wearing that funny costumes, dressing as women with that curly, bulky hair, acting their funny lines that made everyone laugh all throughout in the program.

She enjoyed watering the plants every morning before her school schedule starts, and while the other students in the classroom saw her doing that, she didn mind it. Mostly, everyone in the Engineering College department knew her already, because she was assigned also in her own department, that was lucky of her.

Most of the Professors in the Engineering College knew Anne and would ask her kindly every time since shes assisting their laboratory class at times. But theres one Professor who hated Anne so much, her name was Miss Fernandez. Miss Fernandez graduated as working student too in the same University. And shes always comparing herself to Anne. Anne could be seen as relaxed in school though shes a working student, managed to get all her subjects on time and always studying even though its her working time while assisting the Professor in their laboratory class.

Miss Fernandez would always scold Anne verbally why the Chemical laboratory was unclean. Shes always monitoring though shes not Annes supervisor. And would bring up her past when shes still assigned as working student there, comparing Anne to her, she would degrade Anne and would report her to Sir Jingco, her supervisor. But Engr. Jingco wouldn listen to her, he would defend Anne from her and would just smile and told Anne about it later on when he return in the lab.

Miss Fernandez was one of the Professors of Anne in her major class, she and her have the same course. But Anne have no patience to listen to her during her class. Miss Fernandez would write everything on the board, as if the whole lessons of the book were there all throughout. And then, after copying it, Miss Fernandez would explain everything by herself by re-reading every line she wrote. And Anne got dizzy, she felt her head ached more while listening to her and she couldn understand more, as if her teacher was only repeating everything, every word, again and again, until Annes head ached. So, Anne preferred to just copy everything, just jot it down, and sneaked away silently from her class. She tried hard to avoid Miss Fernandez class, and just sat there in the machine shop of her supervisor, to study her notes on her own. And would go in the Library to do her own research about a certain topic. On her own research, she could understand everything, and she would start it from the beginning, the history, the basic, the simple terms before approaching the difficult, complicated formulas and theories. Shes always researching on her own, in the library, to know first the basic steps of the chemical formula, why and how it arrived there, especially in the chemical and mathematical formula. Until, she would finally understand why the answer was like that, she didn want a shortcut step, she always wanted to solve everything step by step, so that, she will not get confused if everything will be presented in jumble.

Most of the Professors there were of course Engineers thats why she understood lately, why most of them didn know how to teach effectively. Some of them were teaching without looking at the students, like reading only their solutions on board, on their own, by facing the board only, as if their students are on the board only. Annes teacher was like that on the Algebra subject, she couldn understand him, he just talked on the board, and solved on his own everything and just leave an assignment to the students. And the students left their mouth open, speaking nothing, asking nothing because mostly everyone maybe couldn get it at first, unless some had conducted their own research already in advance.

Though there were some Professors who were very good in teaching and would teach students earnestly, step by step and explained thoroughly everything, but they
e a few only.

Annes classmates in her major class were less than 10 all, maybe they
e only 7 with 1 boy only, a Chinese one, and most are girls who had graduated as valedictorian all, each coming from different schools. Since they
e only a few, they
e so close and knew each other well. And one time, they prepared Annes birthday, because they knew shes the only one whos a working student in class. And would ask Anne every time to borrow some lab apparatus or equipment and an amount of certain chemical reagents in doing their experiments.

The university got a clinic inside where a few nurse, a doctor and a dentist were also present there. Anne got a toothache one time, and she needed to extract it, its the molar tooth, a big one on the last of the bottom row. She remembered to go in the Clinic of the school and the dentist advised her to extract it the soonest. So Anne agreed to the female dentist (a young lady) to extract it there, however, the anesthesia had no effect to Anne, though she injected more than once already.

She asked, ”Do you still feel pain? ” (she asked after touching Annes tooth surface, after a few minutes of injecting the anesthesia)

And Anne replied, ”Yes, I still feel the pain. ” She felt no numbness.

Then, she said, ”You just endure huh, Ill try to extract it. ”

”Okay, ” Anne just nodded, trusted too much the school dentist.

At the first stage, Anne felt pain and said, ”Arrgggh!!! It hurts! ”

”Just endure it! ”

So Anne endured it, and she felt her tears already flowing, as if her face was moving left and right, swaying as the hands of the dentist were trying to pull out the decayed molar tooth. She thought her face might dislocated if it will go on further. So she told her to stop already, feeling the too much pain.

The female dentist stopped after failing to pull it out, as if shes hammering her tooth, like a stone chiseling it, its like murdering her tooth, but to no avail. The dentist, then, stitched it back and gave Anne some medicine to stop the bleeding and the pain. And she wrote something in a small pad, she put there the address of the clinic outside the University. She referred Anne to a different clinic outside and apologized after,

”Sorry, we
e lacking some equipment here. I thought you could endure it, but you couldn ! Just go here at this date and time and Ill pull it out. Well just wait for a few days to let it heal. ”

Anne was so disappointed to the dentist but she couldn dare to say it. And also she couldn speak anymore, due to the blood from her tooth.

She went home, to her boarding house, trying hard to close her mouth and she felt the one side of her face was already swelling. Her landlord saw her, saw her one-sided face, swelling, and asked her about it. She told him, and the old man took pity of her and angry towards the dentist. The old man cooked her a soft food, so that she could eat and brought her some medicine.

She endured the swelling and the pain for a few days. Its her unforgettable bad memory in the University clinic, due to that young female dentist.

After a week, she went to the address of the clinic she gave her and found many young female dentists there as well including the University dentist, and one male dentist. The owner of that clinic was the male dentist, older than the ladies.

Its her time to extract the tooth, the same dentist handled her, and injected the anesthesia. Luckily, the anesthesia this time was effective and Anne couldn felt the pain anymore.

However, the struggle to pull out her tooth took so long, as if her tooth was so hard to pull out through that female dentists hands. The male dentist saw it that the lady had a hard time for it, and volunteered to get it instead.

And ”Voila! ”, the tooth instantly went out through the hands of the doctor by simply putting his hands slowly and just pull it out instantly in a few seconds, in a blink of an eye. The hands of the doctor were so light and he could get it swiftly without moving her face here and there unlike the female dentist. The male dentist assured Anne and said comforting words to relax her.

Anne felt so relieved upon seeing that the tooth was successfully extracted, she was already trembling in fear, hands are shaking, and starting that time, she got a phobia in dentist. Shes afraid to go in the dentist to extract her tooth, but when she can escape it, she cannot control her hands from shaking due to fear, that it might happen again.

She went home to her landlord and she was so grateful of meeting a good landlord like them, a good couple, they belonged to Baptist religion.

Before graduation, its traditional to every batch to have a little gathering out of school. The professors in their major, prepared a place for them to hang out over night. Anne and her classmates gathered in a place and its time to speak one by one including the Professors as well of their major subjects only that are mostly women and one man only. Each of Annes professor praised her and said good words about her, appreciating her efforts in assisting them during lab class and passing everything despite of being the only working student in the batch.

However, theres only one who found not happy about Anne and it was Miss Fernandez. Anne never thought she could bring her shame that time. She was the very opposite of all of the Professors, she brought down Anne, speaking bad words about her in front of everyone. She compared herself to Anne, that Anne was not diligent enough to do cleaning around the laboratory and shes angry, she said it all that Anne didn attended her class, skipped her class. Anne turned her back and cried. She did her best to pass her subject though she cannot understand her by researching on her own in the library and she couldn defend herself in front of them all out of respect to her.

Miss Fernandez emphasized that maybe only one could possibly passed the licensure exam after graduation, and its her only favorite student. She mentioned the name of a girl, her favorite student. So, everyone fell silent, never commented anymore. Though after that, shes very wrong, most passed the licensure exams, especially all the regular 7 students in the batch, because there were some back students who joined them later on the last year but they didn make it in the licensure exams.

Starting that time, Anne didn appreciate her anymore, and totally erased Miss Fernandez as one of the good peoples worth remembering for and never ever participated anymore to any activities with them afterwards.

Upon her graduation, her parents and brothers went there in the city to attend. They just rented a vehicle going there. As usual, Anne just prepared herself, just combed her hair and put a light make up, though her hair was swaying here and there, she didn mind it.

Together with her family, she went home, bade goodbye and said thanks to the landlord for letting her stay there for free and treating her as their own family.

After arriving home, after many days, she was in her deep thoughts again on what to do next.

She heard that her other classmates would go to Cebu to review and get the licensure exam.

She remembered one of her schoolmates, named Ivy. She promised that once she passed the licensure exam and could work, she will help Anne in her review expenses.

Luckily, Ivy passed in the board exam held in Cebu, Annes not sure if shes the only one who passed among her classmates. So Anne thought she have a chance to take a review through Ivys help.

During her college years, Ivy was also the same with Anne, the same major in Engineering. She was a working student at first, but, then dropped out of school in the middle due to some family problem. Ivys father was dead already and her mother was a retired teacher, but she was an alcoholic one, would drink even from morning to evening.

Ivys life was complicated and she would bring Anne sometimes on their home and would give Anne clothes and any thing she had, since shes only the solo child.

But, her mother died afterwards, after one or two years, and Anne attended the funeral with Allen too.

At first, Anne promised not to go to Manila anymore, she saw that busiest, crowded and too much traffic streets of Manila already, only once. Once, she and her classmates joined a school fieldtrip held once a year, passing the Manila streets, going towards the city of Pine trees, the Baguio City.

She luckily earned a 10000 pesos due to the solicitation papers made by the department. And she distributed it mostly to the Professors there and to her supervisor, she didn feel ashamed anymore as long as she could join the once in a lifetime fieldtrip. And her parent helped her by borrowing it to their neighbors some amount to make up for the lacking balance.

Its her first time to go in Manila, to travel around the North and to stay in one of the hotels in Baguio, the coldest place she went to. And she promised herself not to go there again in Manila.

However, due to her current scenario, it seems she cannot avoid it. Ivy was already working in Manila and Annes eldest brother together with his family (one child only at that time) was in Manila as well.

So, her best choice was to go to Manila this time, whether she likes it or not.

Then, she told her eldest brother about it and he just agreed on it. And within the days of preparing herself, she had that strange vision, its one of the first visions. In her vision, its just like a flashes passing on her mind, she saw a handsome man, the profile of his face only. But she hardly recognized it and the other one was a beautiful lady.

She thought, maybe, she could meet new people in the new place, or maybe its a warning to her. She couldn understand it thoroughly.

And she remembered that previously, she dreamed a lot, on her younger years, that she fell down through a tall mountain, a steep cliff.

And another bad dreams, prior to that, that she met a stranger man in a dark place. She couldn see his face. And the other one was a woman holding a child and then, she gave it to her and left the child to Annes arms.

And the different dream, a handicapped man limping, holding a stick as his support on one leg, borrowed her pen and won try to give it back to her.

She had many bad premonitions before and during her stay in Manila. Yet, she went on and continued her travel by sea on her own, with no companions inside the ship.

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