A Nomad’s Week from Hell
Every college student knows all about that certain week near the end of term when deadlines and exams have piled up one on top of the other and you have to struggle just to stay afloat of all the work that needs to be done. I don’t know what it’s called elsewhere, but here it’s called Hell Week. There’s at least one per term for each student. Mine was last week.
But because it’s my final semester of college, the Fates decided that garden-variety Hell Week simply wasn’t, well, hellish enough and gave me… Hell Week, the Deluxe Edition—with double the stress and three times the oppposite of fun! Picture this: all the ingredients of regular Hell Week, plus the pressure of having an undergraduate thesis to finish, minus electricity, telephone and running water for eight straight days. And did I mention that it was my birthday week, too?
It all started when Super Typhoon Milenyo (international name: Xangsane), raged through Metro Manila two weeks ago, leaving in its wake a mess of mangled billboards, uprooted trees, and twisted power lines and causing a Luzon-wide blackout. I was in denial during the first three days of the power outtage. I kept thinking, ‘Any minute now electricity will back, and I can finally get started on my schoolwork.’ I spent those 72 hours re-reading The Lovely Bones during the day and staring blankly into space at night. But on the fourth day, which also happened to be my birthday, I’d had enough of living in the Dark Ages and making zero headway on my assignments.
I learned that power had been restored in Chrissa‘s area that afternoon, so I stuffed some clothes into a backpack and went over to her house to get some work done. For the next five days I became a nomad. I lived out of the big, heavy backpack that I lugged all over Metro Manila. I even had to hike up the hills of Antipolo with that boulder of a bag weighing me down. I worked and slept over at Chrissa’s most of the time and once at Kathy‘s, going home only to restock on clothes.
At some points it felt like the blackout was following me wherever I went. When I stopped by an Internet cafe to have something printed, power went out barely a minute after I arrived. When I made plans to type at my dad’s office, electricity began fluctuating in their area that day.
All’s well that ends well, though, thanks to everyone who willingly took in this refugee. My thesis is close to completion and I’m done with all the work in my other subjects. I lived through the last College Hell Week I’ll ever have! And now that it’s over, I have just enough humor to salute the Fates for making it something I’m not likely to forget for a very long time.