Editor's Note: Published on page A9 of the March 21, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
COMMUTE daily between home and work. It takes me an hour to get from
where I live to my small office in the Clark Special Economic Zone in
Most people are surprised when I tell them
this because they think that living in the province means not having to
deal with street traffic, but they are wrong. I think that had I worked
in Manila, as I had hoped for and planned my whole life, it would take
me roughly the same time to get to my office.
I ended up in the
province for personal reasons and not for lack of ability or
credentials. I graduated magna cum laude from the University of the
Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, and did well enough to pass the
initial exams and interviews of multinational companies. But I chose to
come back to my roots.
This decision baffles many members of our
family and friends. Sometimes it baffles even me. But then, the heart
is not always logical. I chose to come back to Pampanga because of
love. Yes, of all the reasons,
I have been in a long-term
relationship since high school. It is amazing how love can stay so
strong and true over so many years if you just work hard enough at it.
I have given up so much for this love and it does not bother me. I
always thought that anybody can do well in academics and in their work
if they just did their very best, but not everyone is cut out to be a
good wife or mother -- and that is what I want to achieve: greatness in
the domestic front.
Marriage is not for everybody although I
think everybody dreams of it. My dream is about to come true this year,
or early next year at the latest. Plans are already underway for my
wedding and our future home. Thinking about it makes me feel happy,
excited, nervous, confused and frustrated all at the same time. I guess
this is what they call pre-wedding jitters. Twenty-three after all is
such a young age to get married these days, so I suppose I cannot be
blamed for feeling this way.
At 23, there is still so much I can
do with my life. There are countless opportunities for me to succeed in
my career and make a name for myself. I can choose to travel and enjoy
the sights of Europe with my sister who has promised to pay for all the
shopping I want to do. There are so many men out there to meet, go out
with, explore and enjoy. There are still so many things that I have not
experienced, that I have yet to know about, that I can do.
day last year, as I was on my way to work, I noticed many fallen leaves
on the ground. They had the color of autumn in them -- yellow, orange
and red. They looked so beautiful against the green grass.
I imagine, must be a very lovely season, with so many warm colors and
cool winds. If I lived in a northern country, I think autumn would be
my favorite season because it signals the approach of winter. It is a
transitional phase, where either-or and neither-nor are both present.
must be magical, with all the snowflakes, fresh pine Christmas trees
and bonfires. I think most people living in tropical countries dream of
winter because the experience must be very different from what we have.
Snow boarding, skiing, skating -- there’s a multitude of activities we
can do. And then there’s eggnog, Frosty the Snowman and making angels
on the snow. There’s also the cute winter fashion of high boots and
matching wool plaid miniskirts and scarves.
Winter, however, must
be a different story from the eyes of people living in four-season
countries. Snow storms, sluggish roads, blistering cold are but some of
the perils of winter, and they experience these every year while
waiting and hoping for spring. For them, it is a condition they have to
live with every year, with no choice but to deal with it as best as
I am experiencing my autumn. My dreams are beginning to
come true, with plans of a wedding and a house in the making giving me
that warm feeling of contentment. I am in an interim period of
engagement, where I am neither single nor married, when I am both happy
and content but nervous and apprehensive at the same time. It makes me
think of the coming winter of my life, the end of my single life at age
I can no longer afford to be self-centered because I will
soon be attending to my own family. I can no longer choose to do what
is always best for me because it might not be what is best for my
husband and our family. Then I will never know what it’s like to meet
other people and discover the world through my own eyes.
wait with eager anticipation for my winter, just as those burdened by
having to plow snow off their driveways do, because although winter
brings with it ice and cold, it is also the most joyous season of all
if only because it was during this season when the Christ child was
born and New Year comes.
My winter will still be warm, I think. Raising children, decorating our house, cooking meals, loving my man and being loved.
It is a matter of perspective.
Ana Christi Grageda, 23,
is an executive assistant with the Asiana Airlines, Clark Regional Sales Office.