Science and Technology in Literature pieces
The first time I had been vaccinated for COVID-19 was also the first time I actually went outside since the onslaught of the pandemic. Aside from the afternoon trips to the sari-sari store to buy toyo or patis every few days, going out to the vaccination center was one of the first few trips outside of our village in a long time. The highways leading to the mall where we were scheduled to be vaccinated seemed wider, and the streets less busy. While outside I often forget I’m wearing a mask, and I’m only ever reminded when I see other people wearing them or when I have to pull it down for a second to for a big inhale when it gets too steamy from my hot breath. It was a whole new world. When we got to the holding room it was even more uncanny–we were held in a cinema where we had to move seats every few minutes when they called in the next five people to be injected. It was a long process of filling out papers and getting strapped on the shoulder for our blood pressure all the while trying to brave the freezing room temperature. Once called in we were greeted with a flurry of people walking to and from different tables and the next thing I knew a needle was inside of my left arm. By the time we were done we were seated again for monitoring and if we had any questions we were free to ask the doctor in front of us, but the only question ringing in my head was if this was the first step to living a normal life again.
First science experiment
My first science project was to grow mongo seeds. I was probably in second or third grade when our science teacher Miss Alunan instructed us to bring mongo seeds, tissue paper, soil from our backyard and two containers to class the next day. I cleared through our cupboards as soon as I went home to find my mother’s precious tupperware. The rest of the requirements needed were packed neatly with the containers in a paper bag the following day when I woke up.
It was more underwhelming than I thought it would be. Science period came and we were told to assemble the seeds into their respective containers. One had soil and the other had a damp tissue and each of them had a few mongo seeds sprinkled on top. I didn’t know what I was expecting but I wanted them to at least grow a leaf by the end of science class. I brought it home where it sat on top of our refrigerator where the sun hit the morning. As I passed by our kitchen throughout the whole week I started to forget its existence until I saw a thin long stem of green above the aluminum colored door. By that time I wished I was in high school so we could start doing more exciting science experiments like exploding volcanoes or dissecting frogs.
The Dental Clinic
I had been a loyal customer to our bedroom door for tooth removals since I first had a loose tooth. It was the first method of removing baby teeth I was introduced to until it was my canine tooth that had to be removed. Walking into the dental clinic I was greeted not by the dentist, but various fake teeth. One chair was a fake tooth, on my dentist’s table was rainbow colored tooths and there were dentures everywhere I looked. I didn’t feel scared as children would usually feel towards having their teeth removed by drills and pointy tools. I just kept thinking of the ice cream they promised me after the procedure was done. After my mom filled out forms and answered a few questions from the dentist, I was asked to finally go into the room and sit on the chair. I recall the bright light directly above my head had me squinting the whole time so I didn’t even notice she had already injected my gums with anesthesia. I felt the whole thing. I imagined myself actually not feeling it, as if the tooth fairy snapped her fingers and had my tooth in her palm in a second, but I felt the tools dig into my gums, loosening the tooth but there was no pain. She said she was impressed. It was a breeze to work with me as opposed to the children who would cry and cling onto their mothers in refusal. In my head I was already contemplating what flavor of ice cream to get.
Living in a city my whole life, the sight of goats and cows and wide fields of greenery was new to me. I haven’t been to any of my parents’ provinces until the summer of 9th grade. Or atleast one that I remember. I was told I was brought to Samar when I was five or six years old but not a flash of memory comes to me when I see my pictures in the baby album. By the time I went to my mother’s province in Casiguran, Aurora I made sure to take it all in. She lives in a beach town, a few towns and approximately 3 hours after Baler. It was beautiful, the beaches were practically untouched since it takes about 10 hours to get here. The roads back then were rough and unpaved. Not to mention dangerous, since there was probably only a few meters allowance for the vehicles before a steep cliff, but the torment of the long voyage was worth it. And it still is. I’m back here as I’m writing this with only rows and rows of roosters crowing to disturb my train of thought.
The simple life in the countryside is hard, but definitely fulfilling–people wake up at early dawn to do strenuous work all day and by 7 pm the whole sitio looks like it’s already fast asleep. It’s also not as comfortable as it is in the city where they go through living life every day with convenience; they have no wifi, no plumbing system, and they also have the frequent unexpected brownouts. Despite all this, I’d still choose to stay here over the city. I always prepare to come with the thought of leaving as early as planned but somehow I keep extending my trip. The communal and busy work of farm life keeps people away from their phones, and there’s nothing more that I want than to be away from my phone since the start of the pandemic.