Thursday, July 10, 2008

On Graduation

Writing this at my mom's hotel, The Gallery Hotel, which is now on the top of my list for incredibly nice but reasonably priced hotels in Singapore. Just finished breakfast (mmmm!) and am now comfortably stationed at one of the two Apple iMacs in the corner of the dining area, where you can have your cake and eat it too! ^_^

Last night was graduation night - I was decked out in a pretty lace black dress, heels, my hair tied back with a ribbon. I was wearing a pretty silver watch my mom gave me for graduation, and the pearl necklace The Boyfriend gifted me for my 24th birthday. Despite the initial antagonism, I'm fairly surprised that my mother and The Boyfriend are getting on relatively well. And while plans for the future are fuzzy and crazy, I'm fairly comfortable where I am and at least I'm not kicking and screaming against it, like I was a couple of weeks ago.

Anyway, so yesterday we ended up arriving at the University Cultural Centre ten minutes before the ceremony began. I rushed to the Graduates' Robing Room, leaving The Boyfriend to entertain my mother, while I fumbled for clasps and ribbons and Velcro. Thankfully, another Filipino, Te-anne, was there as well and helped me out with the entire robing process. There were also a number of NUS assistants who, armed with safety pins and hair pins and other kinds of pins, quickly made sure I at least looked halfway decent when I emerged from the room. 

And then we were required to take our seats. I was seated between the wall and two of my batchmates, Raras and Charmaine. It was quite fun to see a lot of English people around - Meena and Rohaya and Shereen and Rajad, among others - that it quickly became just an impromptu reunion of old classmates. The doctorates were the first to be announced, resplendent in their billowing green-and-pink gowns and funny little hats, and then the masters' students. And of course, given the system in NUS, my last name came up first, Lee, followed by my entire name, Gabriela Alejandra Dans, which kind of made a lot of people puzzled because here was this Chinese-looking girl who didn't have a Chinese name. Even the Chief Presider, some Vice-President or other, gave me a quizzical look when I floated up on stage and asked me, "So which country are you from?" 

I gave him my most dazzling (I hope) smile. "I'm from the Philippines."

"Ah," he said conversationally, turning me slightly as he gave me the fake diploma roll, "you look Chinese."

Later on, The Boyfriend asked me if I thought that the Chief Presider was a cab driver in a past life. 

And then we slogged through the entire ceremony with everyone's names being called out and catcalls from the more enthusiastic segment of the audience. And then the ceremony was done - poof!- just like that, and confetti and balloons rained down on us new graduates, while we were clutching our diplomas and transcripts, and we were done! ^_^

I'll try and post pictures soon, because it's my mom's camera that we're using, but suffice to say that it was a lovely evening and thank you for everyone who sent me happiness and well wishes along the way. It's been a crazy ride, but I've enjoyed myself immensely, and hey look! I got a masters' degree in the bargain as well. 

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