Saturday, December 11, 2010

Teaching an Old Dog (or Cat) New Tricks

     I've been doing a countdown of sorts these past few days. And weeks before that I had been praying and thinking over the decision that has lead to this countdown. In the previous year I already knew that eventually I would have to move on from being a medical assistant and that I would need to do it sooner rather than later. I'm not getting any younger and starting a new career all over again has a better chance of succeeding at a (relatively) younger age. So in about seven days I'll be leaving my present job, and four weeks from then I will be going back to college.

     It was a choice between becoming a physician assistant or a nurse. Admittedly, I originally leaned more towards being a physician assistant. Don't ask me why, I just thought it was the better choice between the two. But during the year and few months since I became a full fledged medical assistant I kept hearing more things in favor of nursing as a career compared to being a physician assistant. Nursing has a wider range of specialties and areas you can get into, you get more freedom since you have your own license, nurses are always in demand, etc, etc. I looked into schools in our area to see what courses are being offered and how much it would cost and found a community college that seemed to be the most promising. But even with all that, I still didn't really take any action until just a couple of months ago when I realized I'd reached my self imposed one year deadline and the time to act was now.

     So I started the ball rolling by sending in my application and one cold November morning I took my placement tests. To my surprise I passed the college math test and glory be, the college credited my statistics subject from my undergrad days! I won't have to take math anymore! And a week or two later I received my acceptance letter - I was officially a college student again.

     I'm still going through the process now of registering for my subjects for the coming spring semester. Hopefully I'll be able to get all of my preferred subjects and schedules. And with mixed feelings of excitement and anxiety, I'm now counting down to when classes begin.

© Margj Castillo, Between You and Me, 2010 - Present.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

You Drive Me Crazy

     When I was still kid, I loved to watch "Sesame Street". Apart from the song at the start of each show, there was one intro back then where they showed the steering wheel of a vehicle being driven by a child. Watching that part of the show's intro I would always think 'Wow, that is so cool! When I grow up, I want to learn how to drive!' Someone back then should have told me, be careful what you wish for.

     Now that I'm all grown up I've finally gotten my wish and for three years now I am a licensed driver. Woohoo!!! At least that's what I thought at first. Then as I've gained more experience driving, I've learned a few things: number one - driving can be scary! Number two - driving can be tiring! (Driving in traffic is the worst; it causes my knee to ache.) Number three - there are a lot of people out there who really, really, really shouldn't be out driving. And you wonder how they ever managed to pass their road test and get a license at all.

     Now I will be the first to admit, I'm still a novice driver. I make mistakes, I probably drive a few people crazy with my driving, and my husband probably has come close to peeing in his pants sometimes while he was in the passenger seat. Not that he will admit that, of course. But really, there are people out there who just really are asking for it whenever they get behind the wheel. I'm talking about the lane changers who don't use their signal lights (yes you, the woman in the red car who nearly sideswiped me one morning). The speed demons who may or may not use their turn signal when they change lanes, sometimes snaking through traffic as if they were on the race course. On the other hand are the 'turtle' drivers who either think that it's better/safer to go way below the speed limit, or they're still sleepy (if it's early in the morning), or they just feel like driving like they have all the time in the world. The drivers who try to intimidate you by the size of their, ahem, vehicle. The drivers who are so impatient, they will honk at any stationary vehicle in front of them regardless of the road conditions ahead. Then there the drivers who multitask. They text as they drive; eat as they drive; talk on the phone as they drive; put on make up; read a map; and goodness knows what else. The main point is they are not focusing on their driving. Their attention is divided. And that is scary. Coz all it takes is a split second for an accident to happen.

     Thankfully, even with all the crazy, scary stuff going on out on the roads, I have yet to get into an accident. And thankfully I have yet to turn into one of those raving, ranting drivers who either scream at full volume or mutter angrily to themselves when the other driver just did something stupid. But I do have a better understanding and a bit more sympathy now for my husband as he rants and raves while driving. It's ok, Mahal, just don't be such a backseat driver. *wink*

© Margj Castillo, Between You and Me, 2010 - Present.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Good, The Bad and the Just Plain Ugly

     This past week has been a mixed bag with me possibly coming into contact with probably the whole range of humanity - positive all the way to the negative. I met people who were very thankful, a joy to meet and speak with. People who seem to blow hot and cold. And of course, the ones who just seem to be permanently stuck on a**hole mode.

     In my line of work it is so satisfying to meet someone who appreciates even the littlest things that you do for them. It may all be just part of my job, but for them it gave them comfort and joy that makes them really grateful. They are effusive in their thanks, commend you on a job well done, and sometimes even come back bearing gifts to show their appreciation. Those gifts tend to go straight to my hips, but who's counting calories.

     Middle of the road are the people who seem to like what you're doing for them, seem to be reasonably decent and civil. That is, until for some you can't exactly put a finger on, they do an about turn and suddenly can't seem to stand you. And you're left wondering what it was that you did wrong, if indeed you did something wrong. Or maybe I'm just being overly sensitive and paranoid myself sometimes?

     That leaves me with the just plain nasty people. People who, once they get all riled up will just launch into full hissy fit mode and no matter what you say or do they are NOT gonna calm down. They'll yell, scream, throw blame, point fingers, get in your face. They won't listen, won't accept any apologies or explanations. It's their way or the highway. They're gonna throw a tantrum, period. You may not actually be the offending party, or they may not even be any reason to throw a tantrum at all but they're just gonna dump everything on you anyway. Add to that the person(s) actually at fault who is/are too cowardly to step up and take the blame. After all, it's easier to just let your coworker get all the heat, right? BULL!!!

     Good thing for people like these I'm not the type to hurl verbal abuse right back. Not so good for me, I know. Good for them I didn't get angry enough to start getting physical. For one thing I hate confrontations. My emotional reaction tends to translate right away to a physical one. And when that reaches boiling point, I explode. Hasn't happened yet, thank goodness. But don't blame me when things start flying and all hell breaks loose. That's just me getting pushed beyond my limits.

     This week ain't over yet...I just hope the ugly people stay where they are. Or else...

© Margj Castillo, Between You and Me, 2010 - Present.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Shhh....(or Why are You All Up in My Business?!?)

     On my way home from work one day, I'm waiting at the bus when a young lady walks up to join me. Even before I see her, I hear her coming. Yes, she's on her phone, yapping away at whichever friend of hers it is on the other line. She's not talking too loud; but then she's not exactly whispering either.

     The bus arrives, we pile in for the almost 30 minute ride to our stop. The whole time she is on her phone. If you're sitting about two rows away, you'll still be able to make out what she's saying. And halfway through the ride she's complaining about all the not so good things that have happened to her every day for the past week.
If it's not one thing, it's another, she's saying. And could she please, please just have one good day this week?

     We get to our stop and walk in the same direction. Actually, we have the same goal - the bus stop for our transfer bus. So as we walk I continue to hear snatches of her phone conversation. The bus arrives yet again, we all get on. By now it's rush hour, so as expected the bus is packed. We're all cheek to jowl with our co-passengers, human sardines packed in a mobile tin can. And though it's hard to find a spot to grab onto, clutch her belongings, all while juggling a phone and managing not to fall on top of the person next to her, amazingly she does it. By now I am a bit awed by her ability to keep up her conversation regardless of whatever else it is she needs to do. And she's still talking about the 'disaster' that happened to her the other day. In a packed vehicle, with someone talking at that volume that everyone in the front of the bus gets to know your business, you expect someone to blow up and shush the offender. In this instance though, Ms. Nonstop Cellphone gets her comeuppance in a much funnier manner. Standing right next to her, right smack next to the side where she's cradling her phone between ear and shoulder, is a young man who decides to have some fun. He starts trying to chat her up, asking for her name, her number, and so on. She keeps rebuffing him, at the same time telling the other person on the line, oh no, not again. Her run of not so good days still continues. People around her are now either smiling or openly chuckling (snickering?) at the whole thing. Then the young man delivers the punch line - did she know why he did what he did? Because she'd been complaining about how rotten her days had been within very audible range of a bunch of strangers. She complains that people are all up in her business, meanwhile, she's putting it all out there for everybody to hear.

     So next time you're out in public, and you
really don't want other people to know your business, either keep it to an intimate level or just simply shut up.

© Margj Castillo, Between You and Me, 2010 - Present.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Only Constant in this World change. People come and go. Seasons change. Hellos and goodbyes. Life and death. It's a never ending flux, never standing still. The good times come with bad times in between, whether we like it or not. To be able to say, yes, I am indeed living and not just existing.

     Three years and a few months ago I experienced two major changes in my life: moving to another country to live there permanently, and changing my civil status. Yes, it's been three years, two months and thirteen days since I came to America. Three years, one month and twelve days since I walked down the aisle and became Mrs. Castillo. And never in a million years did I think those two things would ever happen to me at all. And yet here I am. A few other changes have happened in those three years - going back to school and learning a new skill, learning how to drive, surviving my road test to get my license (woohoo!!!), adjusting to life as someone's life partner for better or for worse. I've survived...still surviving. Still looking forward to what life will throw my way next.

© Margj Castillo, Between You and Me, 2010 - Present.