Saturday, August 11, 2012

Thirty Two Years Later- Thanks to Facebook

(AUCN Class '80 Reunion, Section 2- August 3-5, 2012)

How can thirty two years apart just dissolve and bring us back to the years of our innocence when we were just student nurses at Arellano University in the Philippines?

We've led our own lives, raised our families, and lived through life's ups and downs separately and many thousand miles apart.

But on a hot sweltering long August week-end in New York and New Jersey, we've time-traveled back to reminisce about old times and laugh about our todays. The bond of our nursing student years remained and made us "sisters" and "brother".

How funny is it that our classmates were brought together by FaceBook? One by one, we discovered each other and learned about each other again. Last year, on September 30, nine classmates gathered in Las Vegas and met with two other classmates. Then we planned for the East Coast reunion.

So, on Friday, August 3rd 2012, in the middle of the Heat Wave, we (Nenita, Arlene, Ces, Lita, Luz and Janita) descended upon Manhattan and gave our respects to the 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero. It was also the scene of the disintegrating sandals and of talks about liposuction.

The Millenium Hotel provided sanctuary from the heat. Finally, we met up with Cely, her husband Manny, sister Lucy and daughter Michelle. We were the "tambays", who partook of their water and their restrooms. And yes, Luz and I got matching bright pink flip-flops with the bling-bling. No AUCN museum for my torn sandals, just the serviceable garbage cans of Century 21.

Off to South Street Seaport we went. More chitchat, more laughs, more jokes especially from Arlene.

More pictures. Really, how many cameras did we have? Why couldn't we have just tagged each other?

Saturday, we suffered through a frustrating drive through Manhattan in search of the elusive Double Tree hotel. Lita's GPS gadget didn't know the difference between West Side and East Side, and seemed to want me to drive my Honda Pilot on to the Hudson River.Why can't downtown Manhattan be as easy to navigate as uptown numbered streets?

I was having road rage (not normal for me, I assure you), and my passengers sat patiently through the ride, and Cely and her family sat even more patiently for two hours waiting for us. Finally, after we picked up Arlene on the way, we (at long last)arrived at Ampy's house in Robbinsville, New Jersey.

More classmates , more screaming, more hugging. But before the talks, the ravenous group enjoyed the sumptuous feast prepared for us. Yoly with the sackful of corns, Primo and Ces with the desserts, Nenita and Marites with the cake, and of course, the generous hosts, Ampy and Opre.

We talked about our missing classmates- Rose, Trelly, Heidi,Althea,Carrie, Lorna Alma, Norma, Del, Fe, Louie, Inciong, Solly, Matilde, and Nancy Calma, and those who still needed to be lured to Facebook- Manny, Margie, Mildred, Cata, Janet Catalan, Shirley, Evelyn, Imee, Maribeth, Beth, and a lot of other classmates that we still have to hunt down.

We also tasked Lita with an important mission- "you know what we mean", (wink, wink):) of tracking "you-know-who".

There were twelve of us from section 2, Class '80. Ampy, Nenita, Yoly, Marites, and the husband-and-wife team of Primo and Ces had enjoyed each others' company long before we came tired from all that driving.

The pictures told the story. It is so uncanny and really marvelous that the long years in between just vanished in an instant, and we just chatted away, laughed at each others' jokes and picked up like we just graduated yesterday.

We spent overnight in Ampy's house, after a quick trip to Atlantic City. They gambled, I sat sipping my milkshake, despite the concerns from my friends that I might be picked up if I stayed alone by myself. Who would, when all around me young women paraded around in skimpy clothes? We really should be talking about Janita's winnings,

We celebrated Cely's birthday and 30th wedding anniversary. It was pure pleasure to see Cely's enjoyment of the occasion. How ironic is it that our visitor from the Philippines was the one who treated the group to a late lunch in Olive Garden in the middle of Times Square in Manhattan.

We met with the Norwegians Alma and Homer, who dropped off to NYC , from a tour of the US. Another 30-year wedding celebrants.

What's wrong with these people? Okay, that was just my inner goddess smirking because they apparently have not heard of the "impakto" exes.

There were a lot of memories and shared remembrances. I am proud to know them again. My classmates have "grown up". We've come a long way.

Our successes come in different ways. Despite the trials in our lives, we have achieved what we wanted in our lives. We all realize that it really doesn't matter what our status in life is. What matters is, there is someone out there, aside from our families, that we can call "sisters" and "brothers".

Friday, August 3, 2012


I am so happy to announce that my FIRST BOOK is now available for purchase. Please share among your friends. This is not just for nursing or for Filipinos. This is for all of you with dreams in their hearts. This is my lifelong dream, finally realized.

Excerpt from my Introduction:

In 1980, as I lit the candle at my pinning ceremony, my heart was brimming with excitement for the future. In my imagination lived a nurse whose hands touched lives and whose compassion made a difference.

Nursing in America is a delightful journey into independence and self-fulfillment. As a young nurse living thousands of miles away from family, life was filled with challenges to both my personal and professional lives. Like countless other Filipino nurses working abroad, I have carved my own little niche in my chosen profession.

More than ever, I realize how fortunate I am to belong to a service profession that is most definitely and infinitesimally life-affirming and emotionally rewarding.

My life is enriched with the fascinating vignettes that gave meaning to the long hours and hard work.

I have lived my mother's dreams, which had become mine as well.

Here is my other dream, a book that chronicles some of those stories that make me proud to be a nurse. This is my journey as a Filipino nurse in America. But my stories of life as an ER nurse reflect what any other nurse had gone through.

We only need to believe in ourselves.

Dream some more.

Have faith.

Update: 8/11/2012

Yes, we've been #1 for several days now on the Amazon Hot New Releases chart.