January 29, 2015

Some Things Never Change

I remember when I was a little kid. I was invited to play with my friends who has American friends who visited their home. I was overjoyed afterwards. I told my parents it was the best day of my life because I got to speak English! They asked me what I said, I told them, "Well, I was able to answer their questions with 'Yes' and 'No' and 'Thank you!" I couldn't contain my gladness! Lol.

I was just reminded of that story because I just had my first ever phone conference with the US Department of Education person and the different groups working as a team, they were mostly directors and coordinators. 

I was mostly quiet as I took down notes for the whole 1.5 hours. Oh yes, I got to say the three important words too "Hi!", "Thank you!", and "Bye!" Lol. 

My boss's boss even whispered if I was understanding what the other line was talking about. They were that supportive! They're great! I nodded my head. 

I'm getting there... it is sinking in.. little by little.... baby steps.. but I am! Lol.

Some things never change.

I am still delighted to collaborate with people I'd never imagine I'd be working with. I have never met any of the people on the other line, and I'm the only Filipino too! What a privilege! 

Some things never change.

I called my parents first to share my story... and how it was just related to the story when I was a little kid! Lol.

Some things never change.  

"Hi." "Thank you!" "Bye!" I purposefully omitted "Yes" and "No" because I needed explanations on that! Hahaha. Clever! 

I asked my boss if he will be doing the conference call every month, and he told me, "No, you will do it!" 

I was like, "Noooo! I do not know the verbiage... yet!" 

Very believing and uplifting as he is, he told me, "I know you were just shy! I was just like you the very first time we had a conference call with them. I'm sure you will be able to do just fine in the next conference call."

My, oh my! I'd have to share my story when it happens... I'll call in sick maybe! Lol.

Isn't it fun to just look back and remember our firsts? 

Some things never change. Before we can walk, we crawl. We take one step at a time... and then we'll just find ourselves running and all over!

Some things never change. Tsk. Tsk.

I know I will look back at this memory again when I move on to another phase, maybe the person on the other line this time, Lol... and laugh out loud at the memory.

Time to study... bad!

Thank you! Bye! :)



January 28, 2015

Changes, Phases and Transitions!

I grew up with Gigi as a nickname, my family and childhood friends in the Philippines know me by that name. When I went to school (from Kindergarten to graduate school), teachers and classmates called me Gemma. Now, here in the US, colleagues call me Maria. I just used all my names in my lifetime!

I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education major in Computer Technology. I earned 33 units of Master in Special Education major in Gifted Education and I currently have 16 units in Master of Science Teaching. From computer to special education gifted to science teaching. Do you see a pattern here? I don't! Lol.

It’s all about changes, phases and transitions in life. I guess.

I did practice all of it. Three days after graduating from college, I was already hired to teach college students with Computer Technology courses. After three years, I moved to the business world and became account manager to two of the top systems technology companies in the Philippines – just because I feared if I would continue on with teaching, I’d be given the head position (and they did!), but I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find the man of my dreams! Hahaha! I’m not joking! Lol!

Five years after though, I went back to teaching again because I felt I had an ‘unfinished business’ with it. After two years of serving public high school in my country, my husband and I decided to try what life USA has to offer.

Yes, I found the man of my dreams – leaving the school world was a great decision! Lol.

We’ve been here for 7 years now. For 4 years I’ve taught students with special needs in Math, Science and ELA inclusion classes in elementary, middle, alternative and high schools. Yes! 6 schools in 4 years!!

Believe me, I was at the top of my game, but my school districts were just restructuring every year! Promise, I was forced to master the job interview skill! Lol.

Kidding aside, I guess that was just the Universe’s way of preparing me for a different skill set, because the other 3 years were spent as an IEP Facilitator, making sure all special education documents are compliant in all 8 schools I was handling. There you go. Connections!

Oh, I was recently hired by NMPED as State Personnel Development Grant Coordinator. So today, I am currently handling 12 districts, 24 schools with the ASSETS project of New Mexico.

The bottom line is I don’t teach anymore. Not Special Education or Sciences. But I continue to learn and make the best of what life brings!

I love this note from TUT:

Some people, say life is hard. It is not.

Some people say it's easy. It is not.

Some say it's lonely, tricky, or a test. It is not.

Life is only a reflection, you see, of whatever you say. 

So, do say happy, lovely, rich things always - OK?


January 21, 2015

5 Little Things About Santa Fe and Work

1. Slow Time
As I am sitting here at my desk while everyone's sleeping, I feel blessed to be a newbie at work. You see, I was supposed to travel to two of the districts we are working with down South of New Mexico, but with the paper processes to get your travel approved, it didn't push through.  
Don't you love slow time at work? It feels like a time-out, when you can recollect yourself, gather your thoughts and just eat your candy hehe... while learning the system!

It's basically do your own thing. No time clocks, no one telling you what to do, you simply have to be proactive and do what needs to be done. Usually, all triggered by an email or a phone call. Other than that, you are responsible, accountable and should manage your own time.
... and by exactly 5pm, zoooom people go home!

Well, as of this time, that is the first thing I love about my job to date! Slow Time... I just have to love it until it last!

2. Office Location and Office mates
We are close to parks and shops (the area is a tourist spot). So, I get to roam around during breaks, and feel like a tourist still.

My co-workers are great. We are only 8 in a team. The other bureau occupying the office space are quite nice too. I love it especially when they will ask me to join them to walk during afternoon breaks. Walking sure does relaxes the mind and helps you get through the rest of the time.

Oh, one more! With an hour of lunch time, I get to do what I love most during breaks! Read!

3. Paper Bags
Yep, Walmart and all stores here in Santa Fe don't use plastic bags anymore! They use recycled paper bags instead. Cool, huh.. until you rip the bag and all your groceries fall out. Lol. A pain sometimes... can't have it all! :(

4. Our Apartment Location
We're in the center were traffic and craziness happens but we won't know what's happening when inside the compound because we are in sound pollution free area. Nice!

5. First Name Basis
For some reason I find it hard to just use first names.... when I worked at Ayala Systems Technology years ago, we were using first names too.. it doesn't matter if you are at the top of the ladder, you will be called Johnny or whatever your first name is.

Coming to America, it was hard for me to let go of the polite words such as Sir, Ma'am, Mr/Mrs. Last Name.... but then, what the heck, for some reason, I just have to let it go and I did it here! It frees one of the feeling that he/she is better or has higher position than you, which is good.

Happy Face :)

NAMASTE. I miss this word.

January 6, 2015

A Boss Like Him!

He told me he's an atheist. He said "Maria, there is no God. Just like, there is no Santa Claus, or Tooth Fairy!" Since, he's my boss, I just have to respect his beliefs, even if I don't agree!

Nonetheless, that did not change my admiration of his leadership skills.

In my seven years here in the US. I've been blessed to have principals, assistant principals and special education heads, in all seven schools I've worked with, who possess admirable leadership qualities. Up to this time, they are still keeping in touch with me and are happy with my stories!

My current boss, however, is one of a kind!

I've never seen someone who would push you to your limit to achieve your dreams. I've never seen someone who would want his subordinate to be at the same position as he is! But, that's how he is!

When I was his IEP Facilitator, he asked to me apply at the Special Education Coordinator position that will soon be vacant. Who would do that?! I wasn't ready for the job, of course, I didn't grab it even if he already referred me to the Special Education Director!

When he worked at the state. He has not forgotten about me and encouraged me a number of times to apply too! (same position, yes!) The amazing thing is, the more he humbles and forgets himself, the more he is blessed! In just 6 months he was promoted to the Director position!

Funny, it was as if my words have power when I said, "I don't want to be at the same level as you, I want you to still be my boss!".. and it happened.

Now, after a crazy year of wandering away to experience some more- thanks 2014 - we are back as a working team again!

God is for real. Even if my boss doesn't believe, his ways are godly and admirable. Amusing.

I shook my head a number of times today, my first day at work. I still couldn't believe I have a cubicle, LOL! 

I am still flustered by the whole new experience working with the state... on federal grants. 

It feels weird to have made it this far... and yet, it feels like home.

Simply grateful.


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