Friday, June 29, 2012

Bring Him Home

I play this video so much, I might as well put it up here too.

If you've ever loved someone, you'll know what it means to sing:

"If I die
Let me die
Let him live
Bring him home."

And Colm's voice just brings back so many memories of childhood, listening to the two cassette tapes recorded by the original Broadway cast. I admit my favorites then were On My Own and A Little Fall of Rain. Girls grow up, I guess.

I'm still trying to convince my sister to let me share the videos we shot in St. Michel.

You make me laugh

You make me laugh when you kick and turn and shrug--sometimes all at the same time. You make me laugh when someone tries to feel your kick and you decide not to kick. You make me laugh when it feels like you've propped your feet on my rib cage. Sometimes, though, you make me cry...with affection. It's going to be awesome having you around.

A few more weeks to go Hunterbot. ^_^

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sir Mike

Choose whatever makes you smile at the end of the day.

This was the advice Professor Michael Mark Mende once gave to a friend caught at a career crossroads. It was certainly a principle he personally lived by. He often said he wouldn't give up teaching for a million bucks, and we were all the better for it. He touched the lives of so many people in so many ways--the outpouring of grief and love now, at his untimely death, is a testament to that.

Sir Mike was my idea of the ultimate UPian: smart, articulate, principled, and Just. Really. Cool. He started teaching during my first year of Psych--he was only 4 years older than I was--and I thought it was just frickin' awesome how he would conduct his classes wearing shorts and slippers. He was enormous, but his size fit his substance. He wasn't above the occasional insecurity, at least according to friends who were lucky enough to know him on a more personal level. It never showed though. To me, he was always a guy who knew who he was and what he wanted out of life, one of those rare persons who could see beyond temporal rewards and had the courage to reach out for what was really important.

He was a generous teacher, a good one. He took our training seriously, but he gave us the freedom to express ourselves in the way we thought best. He instructed us to present our Paglilinaw ng Konsepto paper in a creative fashion. And I still remember how profusely he praised my paper on Ninoy Aquino--I'd started with a backgrounder on the Marcos era, and the very first sentence of my paper had been: "Forty million cowards and one son of a bitch." It wasn't even my own line, but he loved it, loved the drama, gave me an A+. That was one of the very first times I felt I could actually write for a living.

The last time I saw him was when he was facilitating a teambuilding session for our fledgling agency. I remember tentatively texting him and asking him how much he charged for stuff like that, and he just told me not to worry about it. Just tell me when and where, he said. He later told me he would have done it for peanuts, for me, because he felt he owed me something. Apparently I'd reached out to him a couple of years after I graduated and asked for his help or advice or something, and he wasn't able to get back to me...I don't know, I don't even remember it! But he did, and all these years later, he still felt he'd failed me, and wanted to make up for it. That was just the kind of guy he was.

Our teambuilding was held in the mountains of Balamban--it was sunny, the mountains were glistening in green, the air was cold and fresh. He thanked me for bringing him there and said it would be a good place to bring his wife and kid. We talked about his family, his delight in his son. I knew he had a bad heart, but he was so young and he deserved so much...the future just seemed limitless at the time. On hindsight, though, it was the perfect setting for a last conversation with a person who was a guiding light for so many, whose presence was always large and steady and reassuring, whose principled approach to life was always refreshing.

Goodbye, Sir Mike. Your subject was Psych, but you taught us so much more, and for that we will be eternally grateful.