Thursday, January 16, 2003

The Last 6 Months

Lets see how we have been busy the last 6 months of last year...

I finished renovating my room and bathroom late October, and this was started late July. Then, I left for Tokyo October 30, stayed for 9 days (to shop! and actually prepare for the cruise. Hehe.), and went on to participate in an international research cruise to the Philippine Deep, Celebes Sea, and the Sulu Sea for 3 weeks. I arrived in Cebu late November with 30 Japanese Scientists, who of course I had to tour arround not only Cebu but also Bohol. We went to see the tarsiers and Chocolate Hills. They also got to enjoy Plantation Bay in Cebu, and all the other fine and not so fine eating and shopping places in my town.

They left Dec. 2, and so I finally settled back to my classes. I, of course, was on leave of absence from the university and had so many make up classes to focus on. The usual christmas shopping ensued 2 weeks later. I barely survived Christmas since I got tonsilitis. Haha. Serves me right for eating damn melted chocolates. And, oh I started renovating my kitchen and utility room Dec. 23. Haha. For New year I cooked Media Noche.

Was getting ready for school January 6 when Bang! Someone, who later turned out to be Aya-chan, sent me this cryptic e-mail from a mobile phone that my beloved professor, my masteral and doctoral degree supervisor passed away Jan. 4 at 6pm. wahhhhhhh! The shock of my life. He was only 56, and although he had his first attack some 6 years ago in Brisbane, someone that GREAT should not die that early. Mottainai yo, sensei!

So, of course I had to get an emergency visa from the Cebu consulate office of the Japanese Embassy. On Sunday, January 5, 2003, I gathered all the e-mails I got of the sad news, prepared my travel papers, and had a 10-minute visa photo taken at Ayala Center. Early the next day, I received the official fax announcement of his death from the research institute and ran off to the consulate office for the visa. Fortunately, they gave me one the next day, Tuesday. (I am special like that. hehe.). So, off I was to wintry tokyo, Wednesday at 8am. Got to Narita at 12:30 Tokyo Time. Aya-chan was late in fetching me, but seeing her almost made me cry. We proceeded to the wake at Chiba, which was an hour and a half from the airport. She was so nice, as she prepared my koden (the money we had to give to the family of the deceased) envelope for me. The wake lasted until 9 pm. The next day was the solemn Buddhist funeral rites and cremation ceremony. It is amazing how many people loved my sensei. Over 400 people attended his wake and funeral rites. Could not help but cry my heart out over his loss. My teacher is gone.

Only a selected few could attend the cremation ceremony. His family and the staff and students in the laboratory went. I was the student who stayed the longest with him at 6.5 years, so of course I went. The burning of his flesh took 1.5 hours. We snacked on Japanese bon bons while waiting. And finally we had to help the family place his bones on the urn. Organic has turned to inorganic. There was closure in that. A great sadness, but I am glad I have said my good byes and gave my last respects.

I stayed in Tokyo for 2 more days, pondering on what will happen to my research now that my sensei has gone. I have to do everything by myself. The road ahead is difficult. But my sensei is somewhere, still guiding me...

Went back home to Cebu on Sunday, January 12, 2003. Am more resolved to be the most that I can be. Life is too short.