Monday, June 6, 2011

A Night with My Physical Therapy Classmates

It was 14 years ago since I graduated from college.  I remembered my college years when I went out for dinner with my old classmates from our physical therapy college years.

How come we were reunited after 14 years?
I was roaming around SM Naga to buy some stuffs at Ace Hardware when I came to see the wife of one of my classmates in college.  I recognized her coming down from the escalator (I was going up to the mall’s second floor).  I begun with, “Is Dennis here in Naga? Please say hello to Dennis for me.”  She smiled as the escalator brought them down.

I was at the hardware when I recalled that I have to go to the nearby ATM machine to withdraw some money for my stuffs.  Going to the ATM machine, I saw Dennis in front of a laboratory clinic beside the machine.  “Padi, kumusta?” I greeted him in Bicol and told him that I just saw his wife a while ago (who just went out from the lab clinic).  “Who’s going inside there?”  I asked.  Anyways, the conversation between me and Dennis went on as he told me about his struggles to pass the NPTE (National Physical Therapy Examination) and how he passed the Physical Therapy Assistant examination in the States.  He also told me about the content of the examination and so on.  Then, he told me that he was planning to meet some of our classmates too one of these days.  I gave him my number and then he told me that he will just text me when the date will be.

I received a text from Roel (another college classmate of mine who is teaching at our alma mater’s Physical Therapy Department).  He told me that Dennis had asked him that we will meet that night for some get together.  After that, Dennis texted me about the plan.  They fetched me at our house at around 8:00 pm that night.  We fetched another classmate of ours, Tong and suggested to dine at Gerry’s Grill in the mall.

Roel, Tong, Dennis and Me at Gerry's Grill, SM Naga

It was a good dinner at Gerry’s Grill.  We asked the waiter to take pictures and we continued to exchange stories about us and our families.  Dennis, as a ‘balikbayan’ from the States told us how he acquired his US citizenship, how physical therapists are in demand in the States and many more.  We left Gerry’s happy.  The night is still young; we decided to transfer to a nearby bar.  We had some beer and ‘pulutan’ and then the ‘kurumustahan’ and story-telling went on.

Good company

It was good to hear that as a Filipino physical therapist, Dennis demonstrated mastery of his craft with fellow PT's in his work.  He told us how he was amazed by an old American physical therapist that he was assisting in treating his patients.  How he uses techniques that he had developed over years of physical therapy practice.  That there are PT techniques that weren’t taught in college, which can be learned upon scrutinizing the PT reviewers and the PT books or assisting other physical therapists.  That being a physical therapist is envied by some of his neighbours in their place.  That, if we want to go to the States, we should see to it that we pass the TOEFEL and the NPTE.  That it is much better to have an agency for the employers trust these recruitment agencies.  The examination in the States as compared to Philippine PT examination consists more practical questions being asked in the test.

I thought his experiences in the Middle East as physical therapist made his journey to the United States much easier.  And having a wife who is a nurse added to the fast processing of their papers too.

Well, we had a good time.  Thanks for our ‘balikbayan’ classmate, Dennis.  We had enough of information from him.  Someday, when we are the ones who will need to process our papers to work abroad, we are equipped from the information he had given us.

Good luck!