Archive for March, 2012

Some Art of Getting By

Posted in Uncategorized on March 24, 2012 by angiegiegie

So, I’ve recently watched a movie entitled “The Art of Getting By” (2011) starring outgrown child actor and actress Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts. Mind you, this is not even a review to begin with but just something related to the movie I recently watched to keep my mind sane from all the course work we’ve been doing.

Getting by.

It means a lot of things to anyone. Some may define it as a way of surviving or struggling. Others say it means preserving sanity whilst still on earth. That’s what life is – something we have to look forward to, I guess. 

Some of us need not want to breathe, thinking even about the slightest problems or issues we face. The mind is usually weak and tired despite the many conditions of the body. Then here I am typing and crossing my fingers that I’d make a sensible entry despite my mental condition. My mind has been pushed to the limits nowadays to come up with an intelligent phrase despite the sadistic schedule. Then I often tend to ask the question (as what other people would do), “What’s the secret to keeping up with the industrial pace the world wants us to follow?” 

“Just get by. That’s all.” with the perfect nudge and grin as novels or movies would portray. 

As much as we want to follow a recipe on how to motivate ourselves, there’s not even a cookbook for us to  show us the way. It all boils down to the individual, to the person. At the end of the day, what one needs to remember is not “the art of getting by”. Instead, think of “some art of getting by.” For sure, who knows how soon, any one of us will get it, not as perfect as expected, but somehow, at least we know at the end of the day, or the century, that we were able to get by without regretting a single thing we did. 

After all, the movie just showed us a small glimpse of how one gets by. There are tons of other ways to get by. You just need to find it along the way, just as how I will… pretty soon, I hope.

 

Genova: Inner Peace

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 8, 2012 by angiegiegie

Inner peace.

It was one of the things that I slowly developed ever since the first day that I arrived Milan, Italy last September 17. This was also one of the famous motto formed by our group based in Italy. Till now, we are still in awe how some of our professors have the patience to deal with what they do in their work every single day including publishing international journals for their respective fields.

Who’d thought that crystallography wasn’t as easy as just knowing what a Bravais lattice is, or what diffraction’s for. It exceeded our expectations when we eventually came to recognize the symmetries in the crystal patterns. We would jokingly imagine our professor back in Italy as the Master in Kung Fu Panda, because after each lecture slide, she’d just take a deep breath and smile. This was her signature move every single time we meet her in the corridors as well. She carried the enigma of “inner peace”.

Italy was one tough experience I had to swallow. Most of it was due to the bureaucratic system there, whether it be in a shop, in the police station, or even in the university. Many would point this out to be one of the top problems Italy is and will be facing, added to their debt crisis. Seemingly weird though was that I may be only one of the few people who find the patience to deal with such things and hold on to inner peace.

What was this phrase really? It took me a semester to slowly understand it bit by bit. It was not just being able to stand the struggles in life and its what not. It was more than being able to focus and drive oneself to reach a certain target. It also meant being able to relax, sit down, and breathe. Italy has taught me, despite its faults, to have a clear mind. Day by day, I began to take my breaks seriously, usually by walking alone in a quiet place or to the city center. It was like saying, “another day, another adventure”.

Genova may not be as famous as the other Italian cities such as Milan, Rome, Florence, and such. It had its mysteries, its magic. Surrounded by the many beaches and boats of Liguria, it never failed to mesmerize me. It being not a touristic place, I was able to explore the many faces of the city, and walk round about with an attempt of being able to find my way back home. It may not have had me at hello, but whenever I needed a break from studying, I just needed to go to Porto Antico, Piazza de Ferrari, Sampiederna, and so on. The city was like a colorful kettle that had a rich history and diverse cultures, wrapped into one.

Some may say that I just find Italy better than the Philippines. At some aspects, maybe, just as what I mentioned in my previous entry. But one’s culture in Genova is very different as compared to a province in the Philippines. Cultures are hard to compare most especially when the people’s roots are far from one another. It’s like comparing Genovese’s love for focaccia and Genovese pesto to a Bicolano’s love for Bicol express and Laing. They’re two completely different things. One can’t wish a country’s culture to be similar to another.

My memories of the Philippines will forever have a special spot in my heart but to be honest, Genova also had its reasons to make me miss it every single day despite the problems I had to face. Thank you Genova, for letting me learn to hold on to inner peace every single day till now.

Re-focusing Perspectives: Expecting the Unexpected

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 7, 2012 by angiegiegie

Expect the unexpected.

That was one of the few motto that I brought along with me when I first arrived Europe via Italy. Of course, when I first announced to some people in my country that I would be taking an Erasmus Mundus degree in Chemistry and Material Science, many blurted out either of the two phrases:

Ang yaman mo naman.

or

Pauwi naman ng pasalubong!

Those were the usual feedback whenever someone from my country leaves for another country despite not saying the purpose of leaving.

I was at the top of my game, as some elderly people would say: fresh graduate and ready to be part of the working class. I am one of the many people the country needed to boost the economy. I guess with the limited job offers the country has to offer, I could not even apply to one job that I may fall in love with or something similar to my course. But before graduating for good, I thought of planning to some masters program, two within my country and one abroad. I had nothing to lose, do I?

Then came the acceptance letters from the program and from the European Union last April.  After a week, I had to decide whether to grab the opportunity or not. While talking to my mentors, they just scrapped their recommendation letters to the local universities and told me, “Anj, kunin mo na.” Then and there, I e-mailed them back saying that I’d take it. Education in Europe under the Sciences seemed too obvious to be better than what the local universities had to offer. Later, I found out sooner that I was not the only Filipino in the Masters program.Despite that, I knew that we’d had to face Europe under the shadows of other people coming from different countries, many whom I know are Europeans. Aside from the people, I had to also prepare myself in facing European bureaucracy, whether it be a legal, scientific, administrative aspect.  Time immemorial, I told to myself in the plane boarding to Milan, Italy, “Expect the unexpected.” True enough, there were several unexpected events that turned to life lessons that I’d never forget.

1. People don’t run after money as crazily as you’d think.

I was expecting a series of Gucci, Prada, and other brands that scare the money out of your wallet. It turned out that I was wrong. The people couldn’t care less what type of bag you had or what type of coat you wore. As long as you’re comfortable with what you have, that’s fine. This is why, sometimes, I don’t find it funny today when people ask for things I may not even have the budget to spend on, just because they equate Europe to money and shopping.

2. C’est la vie.

This is one of the most popular phrases that I have encountered during my stay in Italy. Weird enough, it was in French but I guess it was because of the many French people I have met during my semester in Genova.  Every day, I tend to lock myself in my room and study till my eyes got sore. I really did not want to mingle with a lot of people because I have often fantasized finishing a Ph.D. from a known university soon. Soon after, some people just told me to relax but not too much. Their motto was life, “Live life, but with a purpose”, I guess.

3. Going back to your roots.

No matter how far my classmates lived, they’d never forget their hometown nor their family. Some may think that Europeans work like crazy or forget everything about the essence of having a family. Dead wrong. Here, I saw people, no matter how great or brilliant they are, very excited to go back home at 6 or 7 in the evening, just to talk to their kids or loved ones. Here we are, sometimes trying to forget where we come from as long as we saw and stepped on a land more abundant than ours in every way we’d think of. Despite how rich the country’s culture is, loneliness will bound to eat your sanity when you don’t get to talk to someone close to your heart once in a while.

These aren’t much or everything that I have wanted to say, because the more technical lessons and observations I had, will be reserved for another entry. For now, I hope that this will just be an appetizer for the future entries that I’d be writing as a Filipino Erasmus Mundus student, while wearing a different set of glasses.

Forgive me for the simplicity of this post for I have not even tried writing an English journal entry after almost a year.

Signing out, from Poznań, Poland