I woke up at 6:00 am, just as my phone alarm rang. I even assisted our house help in cooking pancakes for breakfast. Since Zinne is now staying at home with us, I asked our help to prepare more. But I was conscious of the time. I told myself that by 8:20, I would have gotten a cab. My test schedule is at 9:30, but we were asked to come in 40 minutes earlier. That means I should be there around 8:50.
I was where I usually wait for cabs, just at the corner of our street. Normally, it takes 15-20 minutes for me to get a cab. That’s how every Monday morning rolls out when everyone’s rushing to go to work. I made sure I had an allotted 30 minutes of waiting since Paseo is really just 15 minutes away, sans traffic.
But when it was quarter to 9 and I had not gotten a cab yet, I was on panic mode. And true to KZ fashion, I cried. Now I know it doesn’t solve anything, but I had to release my frustration somehow. Even when I moved to other locations, unfortunately all the cabs were taken. It’s a sorry, pitiful sight that still gets me annoyed when I think about it. There I was, in my black ensemble and in 3-inch beige pumps, really sobbing out of frustration because of all the days I had to have a hard time getting a cab, it had to be today. Today, when my IELTS test worth almost Php9,000 and my Masters Application were on the line. I was devastated.
But I did get a cab and the driver, a lolo, was kind enough to take me in, seeing that I was already crying. Inside the cab, I was filled with thoughts of “What if I don’t make it?” “Can i plead to them?” “What will happen with my score?” “This is 9k down the drain”. But I had to calm myself and pray for peace.
Now getting to Paseo was insane. It was the usual Makati traffic that everyone wanted to avoid. I was stuck in Buendia and I was running out of time. What’s more, I knew that my building was in Paseo, having checked google map the night before, but I did not know what the landmarks were or what building it was close to. Finally, when I had about 7 minutes before my test schedule (and I was really dying inside because I know they’re strict with time), I told the driver to drop me in front of Philam Life. Wrong move.
When I got down, I dashed towards this guard and asked him where Salustiana Dy building was. He pointed to the other direction. Apparently, I had to cross Ayala avenue, go through the underground walk way and then cross the street. All this in 7-are-you-kidding-me minutes?!
And so, forgetting that I was in heels and carrying a big bag (so me) of all my things including my BSF notes today, I ran. I ran like there was no tomorrow, this is the end of the world, poise and grace aside. While I did not bump into anyone, if I did, I don’t think I’d have time to apologize to them for my marathon.
And I thought it was near; it wasn’t. There were about two more buildings to cross and I was desperate and out of breath. And yes, I was in heels.
When I finally got to the building, I did NOT bother checking the time but just went for the elevator. The guard in the lobby asks me to register but I said I’m late and, seeing how drastic I must have looked, he allowed me.
The elevator scene was yet another cause for stress. There were about 8 people on board and I was going to the 7th floor. Someone pressed 2, 4, 5, 6. Great. Torture me, will you? But then I noticed that in floors 4 and 5, nobody went in, nobody got out. “Close! Close! Close!” I told people inside. I’m sorry this is a woman in fury.
When I got to my floor, I saw the girl who I was friends with during the Saturday exam. And I was not relieved at all because her schedule was 9:50. If she went first, then that means I’ve already missed my schedule? I asked her about it and she said, “no, I’m really just early. They’re not strict. Just go in. There are a couple of people.” Thank God. Before I went in, she gave me tissue to wipe my sweat and tears, and yes, friends, I made it.
I waited for 10 minutes before I was called. Thank God because I was able to freshen up and regain composure. When I was called, I deposited my bag in the baggage counter, and this British examiner shook my hand and welcomed me.
The interview was a blast. I say that because I really did not have a hard time answering his questions. I’m not at liberty to reveal the questions but I am going to say that one really has to be opinionated and speak clearly on the topic given to get a good score. I don’t know what my score will be, but God, you are great. You just gave me confidence and the ability to speak the way I do. I’m thankful that God designed me to be both a writer and a speaker where articulating my thoughts come naturally, like breathing. Thank you, Lord!
When I finished with my interview, I was relieved more than happy. I made it. I got through this stressful, drama-filled morning. And now that I’m able to reflect, I appreciated the driver who helped put things in perspective for me.
First, while he was trying to calm me down, he said that sometimes when you’re in a hurry, it seems even the things around you are not helping you. Traffic. Cars with turtle-slow drivers. Pedestrian crossing (I didn’t think I’d get to that point where I wanted to run over those people!) And just when we were about to cross, the light turns red.
But second to that he offers me an advice. In times like these, all I can really do is to storm heaven with prayers. I did. These things are beyond my control. I was really actually praying to God to show grace and open up the traffic for me. I did not expect things would turn out the way they did, and I’m only thankful God helped me get through such a manic morning.