My gums were hurting for a few days two weeks ago and so that led me to meeting my american dentist for the first time in a clinic that honors my husband's insurance at downtown SF. I like the thrill of going through things for the first time in a different place, especially meeting new people and assessing their potential to stay in my "network", uhm, suffice it to say, "life" (not that I do that a lot or by habit, but the thought does pop up in my head once in a while). It is fun starting out in a different country, looking different amongst a sea of blue-eyed blondes --well, I realize that I am easily lost in an ocean of black-haired browns as well, and seeing what people and strangers can be up to at first meetings. I enjoy my anonymity here (it's not that I'm famous back home either! no, not at all...but surely, I can walk miles and miles around here without bumping into someone who knows my name or at least the highschool I went to...get the drift?)
Until I met my dentist's asssitant. She's a full-blooded Pinay, like moi! And it's such a big coincidence that she went to the same highschool I went to, and after dropping a few names here and there (we always tend to do that huh!), we finally unearthed some kind of jurassic connection...even if I must admit that the people I mentioned she probably just heard of, and vice versa. I am relieved and happy to have a kababayan around, and at the same time a little bit cautious like all of us tend to be at first meetings (or is it just me?). Well, what's the worst that can happen anyway? Maybe the whole Philippine population will know that a simple woman named Clarisse has some degree of tooth decay somewhere, or that I don't know how to brush my teeth properly, or that I'm hecka scared of the drill following a traumatic "sensitive"-in-the-real-sense-of-the-word experience from a bleaching incident in my past-- but, who isn't? So that isn't bad at all, ain't it? Anyways, where was I? What I sort of wanted to avoid happened. She started telling the other dental assistant/secretary about me, my family heritage and alleged abundant resources which is totally hyped to begin with, my educational background ("She went to De La Salle which is like Stanford here!!!"). YAKKK OH HELLO…REALLY!? I was so embarassed and felt myself blushing while she continued to babble about me. I remember saying quite a bazillion times, "I'm not rich, just blessed." I kept saying it..."I'm just blessed...I’m not rich but yes, I do have the most wonderful and most beautiful set of parents and a simple family who always chose to be on the good and moral side of things...still hey, my life isn’t perfect. But yes, I'm blessed." But when her co-worker found out that I am the niece of a cardinal (yeah right, like that is a personal achievement I had to work my arse for!), I started saying I was in Rome and that I saw the Pope several times -- though he most likely never even saw me even if I had the biggest face in the crowd! (I kind of started enjoying it too, you know--I'm only human, yahaha! Plus I secretly wished all these would win me some kind of passport to a painless ride on the dental chair). But, yeah, I'd rather be fussed about with something I achieved by myself than with something I'm just born into.
But what's my whole point this time? It was when I saw the co-worker's eyes widen in amazement and say "I come from a very Catholic family and my mom is 90 and her lifelong dream is to see the Pope". No, wait a minute, that's just bacon on my salad. It was when she said "I learned a lot from you today. You never said the word LUCKY. You just kept saying YOU ARE BLESSED. Maybe I should do the same thing." She even told the Filipina assistant, "Maybe that's what we should focus on, instead of complain about so many things, or instead of saying we're just lucky when we hit good. After all, God is the source of it all. We should give Him the credit like what this young lady keeps on doing".
Yes, we are all blessed! Life naturally has it's ups and downs. But there's never a single day that we aren't blessed with something. Each single breath of life...or even the day we wake up into is a blessing in itself. Let's keep that in mind. Let's celebrate our blessings! I'm glad I was able to touch someone with how I view my own life. And I hope that she passes it on to a lot of people she meets, inside the clinic and out. I left the dentist’s with my tooth still hurting from the treatment, but my spirit was soaring.