Rainy days, lost bags and tangled lights | Inquirer Opinion
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Rainy days, lost bags and tangled lights

Maya Angelou once said in a popular talk show, “You can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle three things: a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.” Her words hit close to home.

A rainy day

As a student, I love rainy days because there’s a good chance classes would be suspended. Yes, even though I am in my mid-20s, I still have the mindset of a 13-year-old when it comes to rainy days. Don’t get me wrong, having the opportunity to study in a prestigious institution is a privilege, but it is nice to get a couple of days’ break due to the weather. Preparing for class to sound eloquent and confident is not an easy feat, especially not in the face of professors who are determined not to let a single student pull one over them.


But these rainy days are not all fun and games especially as people have witnessed in “Ondoy” a few years ago and the more recent “Sendong.” I remember Ondoy vividly because I was one of the unfortunate few who got stuck in school, worried sick because I had no way of going to the hotel where we were holding the “bar ops” for our law graduates taking the bar exams. With Sendong, I watched how the victims of the floods tried to cope in the face of the disaster.


But there’s another memory I have of rainy days. It is that of me and my classmates helping pack relief goods for Ondoy victims: canned goods, clothes and basic medicines. We also helped mobilize people through the social networking sites, asking what more can be done. A rainy day reminds me that a dark situation can bring out the best in people and that we are capable of doing more than what is expected of us.

Lost luggage

Indeed, losing one’s luggage can be a sticky situation, and the stress that goes with it is unimaginable. I experienced this when I was on my way back to Manila from Indonesia. Traveling for the first time unaccompanied by family, there was a surge of pride rising from inside me because I was able to do it—until I lost a piece of luggage. I cannot remember what was in that bag. What I do remember is that it was part of a three-piece set and I could not replace it without buying the whole set again.

True, losing that bag was my fault because I have a tendency to be a wee bit careless when I am on travel mode. Had I not wandered around Soekarno-Hatta airport mindlessly, looking at the pretty display of dessert pastries and checking out designer perfumes, I would have remembered that I had a carry-on luggage. Taking a seat after the check-in and just staying put would have been advisable, but it would have also meant spending two  hours of boredom just waiting for the call to board the plane. I cannot honestly say that losing that piece was worth it, but looking around the airport aimlessly helped me kill time.

It was lighter travel for me from then. And whenever I tell my friends about my trip to Jakarta, I just talk about the sights and the food. Losing one bag didn’t trump my good experiences in Indonesia.

Tangled Christmas lights


Every year, it is a battle of man against the wretched, tangled Christmas tree lights, and our household is no exception. Decorating the tree without the lights is not an option so we take turns doing this daunting task. One time I told my mom to just buy a new set because untangling the lights might take me until the next Christmas to finish, but she firmly said no. I got stuck for hours wrestling with a big mess of green cord and multicolored bulbs. Every year I would wonder why this set of ornamental lights got all tangled up, but I would never do anything to sort the problem out.

That was until last Christmas. Then I finally told myself that when it was  time to take down the decorations, I would handle the lights. And instead of just dumping them in a pile (like what I usually did), I took the time to tidy things up and rolled the wire with the lights in my hand. And this year, I can confidently say that I will win the battle against the Christmas tree lights.

Every year I had the opportunity of saving myself the trouble of dealing with tangled lights, but every year, until the last, I managed to find a way not to. Had I been diligent enough in storing the Christmas tree lights, there would have been no battle to speak of. Finally, last Christmas, I learned that it is never too late to change the error of my ways, whether it was my method of storing Christmas tree lights or anything else.

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Angelica Dimalanta, 26, is a third year law student at the Ateneo Law School.

TAGS: featured columns, opinion, rains

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