Around this time, you might be at your office sketching some blueprints, or out conducting a land survey in one of the remote towns in Mindoro. It’s the same thing that Lolo did.
The dilemma I had before was how to correctly pronounce your occupation. “My mother is a nurse. My father is a… g-geodetic engineer.”
I wish my problems remained as simple as that.
Remember when I was skimming through my college application and you asked me about the course I was planning to take?
I thought you were joking when you suggested I should pursue the same career as yours. I laughed and replied, “Ayoko, mainit.”
Then you told me that fieldwork is optional. I could stay in the office if it’s what I preferred. What matters is I uphold the legacy of our family business.
But I had other excuses—from my lack of interest in chemistry to my difficult relationship with trigonometry. I explained why I was not fit to be an engineering student, except that I liked to draw.
And Papa, you knew I also liked to write. During high school, I joined several writing competitions and became the chief editor of our school publication.
I passed the entrance exams of big universities and was accepted to my first choice program: development communication.
But while I beamed with excitement, your face hardened.
It was painful for you to see me walk away from your dream, but more painful to find out that my course didn’t have a board exam. It was a big deal, at least for you, who thought that board exams are valid tickets to success.
Eventually, I found myself between a rock and a hard place. It’s either I took up engineering or other “professional” fields.
You knew I couldn’t be a doctor or a nurse because of my irrational fear of blood. So I resolved to take up accounting, to follow the footsteps of Tita.
Despite the daily conflict between my reality and my dreams, I strived to attain high grades during my first year in college. When my professors liked my essays, I counted it as a sign. A voice inside my head still encouraged me to shift to another course.
(Spoiler: I’m still here)
Of course, you didn’t allow it to happen.
I made it to the dean’s list, though, because my subjects then were reading & writing, literature, history, and arts.
I was sure, then, that you would not run out of stories to brag about on our family reunion. Though I wished you wouldn’t come across a relative whose daughter is about to take up engineering and be reminded of your daughter who didn’t.
My respect for your profession is deeper than you can imagine. It became our source of living throughout the years.
I have seen your hard work and sacrifices, and I wish to repay them, but in the way where I can fully express my gifts.
I know this is not the typical one-syllable conversations we have in text messages. This is simply my way of saying thank you for the endless patience and understanding.
I hope you also realize that writing is not just a childhood hobby for me. It is my passion, pain, and pleasure. It keeps me alive.
Now, I’m already in my fourth year of college. You were right. I can still write while pursuing another course. If I were to go back in time, I’d only laugh at myself stressing about my college applications. I’m glad that I stepped further from my comfort zone. Numbers don’t bite, after all.
P.P.S. If you reached this part of the letter, it means you have learned to use the internet well. I hope you didn’t panic about the new tab.