(This was seven years ago, but I can still remember that day. I really pray these fellow passengers are having a beautifully meaningful life.)
End of the first semester, Alhamdulillah. It’s extra memorable because t’was my first term to be coming home to my own place, too, Alhamdulillah. It was an adjustment for a commuter like me (since I have to leave home earlier) but the jeepney rides to and from work ever since I moved have almost always given me opportunities to reflect on life. And, as I look back on the semester that was, one particular jeepney ride home seems to surface again and again…
They looked young enough to be first or second-year college students, but the three girls who happily rode the jeepney that evening were excited not because they got accepted in a university. They couldn’t contain themselves and had us smiling as they laughed and congratulated each other because they got hired in a ‘semicon’ (semiconductor company) at one of the technoparks in Laguna.
It really didn’t matter to them that we all heard how their ‘nosebleed’ interview went. It honestly felt like we were all welcome to eavesdrop. I couldn’t help it, really, considering they were just across me. We smiled when one of them quipped that the tiring no-lunch waits and worried-that-i’m-running-out-of-printed-CVs were all worth it.
I have to admit, however, that I tried to hide my Puregold bag full of groceries when they started to compute how much they had to save in a day for the small room they’ll share, the bills, and their meals. Yes, I know some of you would say it’s wrong to feel sorry for others (since they’re blessed enough to be that strong to take that kind of challenge), but I did feel sorry and I hoped they wouldn’t see the bag of groceries ‘coz I wouldn’t want them to feel sorry for themselves either in that area of their life at that very moment.
Yes, it is indeed cheaper and safer to cook, but the problem? They had no fridge. They went on discussing factors to consider and finally decided to just share expenses for coffee, sugar and pan de sal for breakfast, and rice and canned goods for the other meals. The initial excitement was already turning into a serious exchange.
Finally, one of them offered to bring extra pillows. She told her friends she was able to buy them–along with a TV and a DVD player–out of her savings from her last job at another factory. She was beaming when she added, “Meron pa nga akong isang set na punda at yung parang kumot pero may manipis na foam na nakadikit sa loob. Dalhin ko rin yun.” (a set of pillowcases and a comforter) The girl was, however, having second thoughts about bringing the DVD player because while her parents did not use it, they seemed to really like having it in their home in Quezon and would always tell their guests that it was their daughter who bought it.
I couldn’t help but smile. To her parents, I bet that DVD player was not just any DVD player.
“Nakakatuwa, ‘no? Sana maging pro-b tayo.” (Isn’t it really nice? I hope we get to become “probationary’ –a status of an employee in the Philippines after the contractual period…a status that gives hope that they will become regular employees one day, not having to worry where to apply next after the contract…a status that also means more employee benefits)
“Nyek! Mangagarap ka na rin lang, bisor na!” (If you’re going to dream, dream of becoming a ‘supervisor’)
“Oo nga! Taasan mo na!” (Yeah! Dream high!)
The ‘seasoned’ factory worker explained that she didn’t want to be a supervisor because that meant more responsibilities and could even cost her her job if her group doesn’t perform well. She even gave examples in the company where she previously worked. The other two nodded, yet one of them still couldn’t help but add,
“Pero masaya pa rin kung maging bisor.” (But it’s still nice if we can become supervisors)
They laughed, and the other two started to tease her–
“Kung bisor ka na, mage-english ka pa ba ‘pag nag-interview?!” (If you’re already a supervisor, will you be speaking in English in interviews?)
“Wag na! Kita mo naman kung gaano kahirap eh, di ba?” (Forget it! You experienced how hard it is, right?)
I finally reached my stop. They smiled at me as I went down. We didn’t know each other yet they inspired me. They still do whenever I think of them. They remind me to smile after a tiring day. They remind me how blessed we all are to have HIM hold the future for us. They remind me that we are different yet the same.
Yes, we may be different but we are all the same in that we all have dreams. Neither big nor small. Dreams that serve as stepping stones for other dreams. Or dreams that finally make us feel at home. Dreams we share and dreams our hearts call our own.
Yes, we all have them; and, it would be a lie to tell others that getting precious dreams will always be easy. Truth is, the more important the dream is for us, I think, the more effort it would take…more patience…more pauses and probably tears, but more smiles and laughter in the end, too…more faith. That’s how it is, I guess, because The Almighty wants to see us grow…and nothing would make us believe more, do more, give more, and have faith more except chasing and getting our precious dreams while we still have the chance, according to His will.
Dreams. What are yours? Recognize them. (Let’s use recognize, because the truth is, they’ve always been there–just blurred by life’s non-essentials) And when you finally recognize them, go get them…with faith.
It may be difficult, but with HIM, it always is possible.