Monday, November 22, 2010

My Visit to the Golden Link College
(de facto Day 4 of the TSP Trip for Me)

It’s only 4:12PM as I write this.  I’m at the house in Anonas and it’s raining outside.  I’m in the guest room (since I don’t hold residence here) with the air-conditioning unit cranked up all the way.  It’s warm even though it’s raining.  I guess, with climate change and all, the usual notion of “it’s raining therefore it must be cold” doesn’t apply these days anymore.

I just got here from SM City Fairview in Novaliches (a mall) where I had lunch with the group after our wonderful trip to The Golden Link College.  I arrived here five minutes ago and I haven’t relieved my suitcase yet.  The only thing I could think about right now is that utterly wonderful experience we had at that school.

I discovered last night that the National Headquarters of the Theosophical Society is actually being used as a Kindergarten school on weekdays.  Wow!  It happened when I returned there after dinner.  One always has to pass through the conference hall on his/her way to the upper floor office.  When I did pass, I was surprised to see that it had tiny chairs and tables in place of the normal-sized ones we used for the convention.  Also, when I got out of the room this morning—ready with my suitcase to head straight to GLC—I met the pupils.  It was an amazing morning greeting for me.  They all said “hello” and introduced themselves without hesitation.  There wasn’t a trace of aloofness in their eyes.  Their smiles were all real and I could see that they were genuinely happy.

With normal traffic, it takes about an hour by car to get to the school and I usually fall asleep in car rides.  However, I must say there is no conversation with fellow Theosophists that would cause you to retreat into such a state—no matter how many hours you lack.  I even found out just then that Ahmad and Resha, our Iranian Shia-Sufi members from Cebu were Freemasons.  More dads!  Hurray!

We got to the school at about a quarter after 10:00.  Bebot and Dad Vic were already there waiting for us.  We were, however, greeted by much smaller people before we could get to them.  The students did not hesitate to offer to shake our hands while they were free.  A number of them even gave me hugs.  I was completely wowed!  I didn’t think there was anything that could top my greeting earlier this morning.  I was feeling very jubilant and I wanted to live there.

A random thought:  “Why is it so hard to build a community of grown-ups like these children?”

Dad Vic toured us around the school for a couple of minutes.  Everywhere I turned, someone was smiling at me like they’d known me for years.  We paid a visit to Rekha, the school administrator’s office.  That was reputedly one room unlike any of its traditional counterparts anywhere in the country.  Dad Vic related to us, when a child would feel uneasy and in need of a break from class, the teacher would ask him/her if he/she wants to pay a visit to Rekha’s office.  The child would then say yes without second thoughts.  They say it’s a happy room where one is given the chance to express his/her creativity as an outlet for emotional burden.  There was a huge carpet with pillows; there were piles of blank paper and crayons to draw with; there was even a wall full of colorful drawings posted on it—obviously by the students who paid visits.  In a normal kind of school, a place like that would have been turned into an excuse to leave class at any given moment.  Then again, in the class setting of GLC, I doubt if any of them would want to leave without a particularly pressing reason.

After the tour, we sat down at their mini-auditorium where they gave us a couple of presentations.  First, they sang a beautiful song that I later found out had been rehearsed only the previous day.  After which, a few of them gave gratitude speeches to the TS, and then they performed a traditional dance for us where we were encouraged to join in.  Who could say no when asked with a genuine smile?  I didn’t waste the opportunity.  I hopped right in and started hopping.  A teacher sang for us a song originated by Lea Salonga called Special Memory.  It turned out we had the same idol.  She did very well at that, too.  To end the little concert, a number of college students performed one last song for us and stepped down for more hugs.  That school had an aura of real love all over it.  I promise I’ll be back there even if we’re building a branch in Bohol.  One could never forget an experience like that.  It doesn’t matter if less-than-positive things happen tomorrow, my memory of the Golden Link College will always give me something to smile about.

Upon leaving GLC, we stopped over at SM City Fairview for a vegetarian lunch, and then parted ways.  And now I'm here.  It’s still raining outside, but it doesn’t matter; there isn’t an ounce of gloom.

I’ll be spending tonight here as well as tomorrow night.  On Wednesday, I’ll be heading to the Sulo Riviera for the URI Southeast Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting.  I’m anticipating more enlightenment.  I know it will be just as wonderful an endeavor as the TS Convention.

That entire conference was something I’ll never ever forget.  True, I attended one three years ago, but I wasn’t as emotionally and intellectually mature as I am today.  I made so many new friends and greeted old ones with hugs.  It’s a joy knowing that I call such people brothers and sisters of mine.  I’m so full of love right now that I can’t stop smiling.  However, I need to end this entry.