Sociologist-in-training Jonnabelle Asis talks about her experiences studying and traveling around Europe.
Member: Jonnabelle Asis
Institution: Dipartimento di Filosofia, Sociologia, Pedagogia e Psicologia Applicata (FISPPA), Università degli Studi di Padova
City: Padova, Italy
1. Before coming to Europe, what stuff have you been doing back in the Philippines?
I was an assistant professor at the Department of Sociology, UP Diliman. I was also doing a lot of odd jobs on the side just to get by (hahahaha!).
2. What stuff are you doing here now?
Well, this year I attended lectures along with other first year PhD students and now I am doing field work – and desperately trying to maximize my remaining days in Europe.
3. How do you like the working environment in your institution?
Well, my classmates are great – we really help each other and have after-classes hang-outs. I am also glad that my research supervisor is very supportive. But of course not everything’s perfect, I’m still learning Italian so sometimes I feel that I am not able to take in as much as I would want. We are also not as “marketable” as other departments, so while relative deprivation tells me that the conditions in Padova are better than UP’s, there are a lot of things that could be improved (i.e. while we have free printing, photocopying, and an Aula Dottorandi (PhD room), there are only six computers and, one table and about 20 armchairs! And don’t get me started on journal subscriptions!).
4. How do you find the city you are living in now?
Comfortably small university town suited for people who like a quiet life but with some night life. Bike tours and free concerts near the river are also nice.
5. Which qualities of the locals in your city do you like?
Easy-going and warm… and oh, our department portinaio (doorkeeper) is also very cool (he goes to work wearing his punk clothes and attitude)!
6. What have you learned about yourself while staying here in Europe?
I was surprised that I have adapted quite well, and was able to make lots of new friends (honestly, I think I don’t know how to approach other people and I don’t know how to ‘small talk’, especially with non-Filipinos!). That I can still acquire new habits… I now drink coffee (latte macchiato nga lang) and spritz (kapag kasama lang ang friends). My experience has also re-energized me, and got me into thinking about what other things I want to do with my life (after eight years of teaching in UP, this is my first time to be a full-time student again). And now I know that… I still don’t know what to do with my life.
7. Which new memorable places have you visited and what makes them special?
Genova, Italy. We went there on a “quest” with friends (Jerome Unidad, Juan Miguel Montes, Joel Maquiling) and were reunited with the “fine young men and woman” of Genova (Stif Belisario, Leo Lofranco, Ruth Pascual). Lots of beautiful pictures and memories in Cinque Terre!
Sweden. After months of lectures in Italian, I was happy to attend a (freezing) Spring School (Finalmente, in inglese!). I came back in early summer (still freezing!) with some friends (Joel, Leo, Stif) to visit workaholic friend Frances Vega, who showed us around her kingdom – Stockholm, the “Summer Capital of Padova.” Haha!
Santiago de Compostela, Spain. The only city in Spain that I visited… just because good friend Johnathan Pimentel is studying there and hence, free accommodation. It was also a reunion of sorts with a former colleague from the Department, Elma Laguna, and again, the fine young men of Genova. And who could forget the “makasalanang sinangag”?!
Bratislava-Vienna-Prague-Pilsen. I had the grandest time couchsurfing with Leo and Stif and knowing other people along the way. It was also memorable because on my flight back to Italy from Prague, I was stupid enough to go to the wrong city, slept in the wrong airport, and therefore, unsurprisingly missed my flight. I was stuck for three days more in Czech Republic with no money, but miraculously a friend of a friend’s family in Pilsen hosted me.
8. Given the time and opportunity, which other places would you want to visit?
Iceland (Sabi nga ni Leo, “for more “paabove” mode – literally and figuratively”)
France (sasabihin ng iba “cliché,” pero ano’ng magagawa ko di pa ako nakarating duon! Hahaha, at sasabihin na naman ni Louie Vallejo, “drawing”)
Asian countries naman sana and the rest of the Philippines…
But honestly, for me any place would be nice as long as I am with good friends (charot pero true!)…
at siyempre dapat may ETERNAL JUMPSHOTS!
9. What stuff about the Philippines do you miss the most?
Pinoy Food (especially dinuguan, sinantol, and inihaw). My national language: Gay lingo. Of course, UP Acad Oval. Tongyang eat-all-you-can. And sige na nga, showbiz chismis.
10. Favorite saying in Filipino.
Life lesson from “Temptation Island.” (hindi yung re-make): (sorry hindi Filipino ang line na ito, pero galing naman sa Filipino film) “We all need a shipwreck sometimes.”
Thanks Jonna and more power to you!