Relatives and friends always ask me what I'm doing during my sabbatical and I reply that I'm involved in some projects here and there. Of course, it's not really so much as a here and there as I spent a lot of time at our center instead of away from it. I was very much accessible for relatives, friends and colleagues during the last year. I didn't go out of the country or out of town for long periods of time as I had planned the year before when the Clairvoyant was still working in Singapore and we had our nice little home somewhere in Chuan Park.
She came back to Manila months before I started my sabbatical and we indulged in other, more important projects. Unfortunately, the most important project of all didn't bear fruit but that is a continuing endeavor and despite all odds, I still believe we'll succeed somehow. The next big project is one that's been delayed but for our limited resources. Despite being professionals we weren't as well compensated as others nor do we come from wealthy families who can help us out with things like putting up a new home. This we resolved to do as we experienced another deluge right after the wife returned home. The importance of this second project was reinforced by another flood a few months ago. Then, of course, there is the prospect of an earthquake sometime in the future...and we wanted to have a safe, secure home where we could also live happily ever after.
I am thankful for the year off teaching and the schedules that go with it as well as admin work at the college, the institute and our center. The flexibility in my schedule, however, allowed me to take on bigger and more relevant projects. These included two local projects with an international agency, one international research with well known institutes, and a few smaller ones with my colleagues at the center. These were all very interesting projects that I chose to take on because they were not just important for me but also were important from a larger perspective, that of the country. At this point in my life and career and during this sabbatical, I felt I had to choose my projects carefully and not just take on anything that comes my way. Of course it helped that I was able to travel abroad and in the Philippines in connection with these projects. The travels afforded me the chance to make some sentimental trips to old haunts and I got to meet new people and strengthen old friendships.
I now look forward to teaching again at the university and perhaps at a more relaxed pace. There will be research, extension and admin work just like before but I will be looking at these challenges and applying my own style of time management so I can enjoy life. It's perhaps my way of getting out of the proverbial rat race.
And definitely, I'm already looking to the next sabbatical...