Monday, April 30, 2012

KCAT CAN: Sisters

by Maria Kahrina Lopez Yarza 
April 30, 2012

A sister is a best friend who will never desert you, no matter how often you sneak out wearing her prized dress or snarl up her precious make-up. No matter how many times we may fight and argue, our sisters will always be our friend. My sister, Talitha, and I have a good relationship as sisters and as friends.

Although Talitha and I have a five-year age gap, we had a close relationship while we were growing up. When we were kids, the two of us played a lot, and most of the time, it would end up with her crying. Then we would go back to being friends as if nothing happened.

I tutored Talitha when she started to go to school.  When she delivered her graduation address and said, “Thank you Ate Kathrina for teaching me…” was I so proud even though it was just her graduation from pre-school! Talitha was diligent and good in her studies more than I was, but I gladly helped her with whatever she needed me to do like artworks all throughout her school days – grade school, high school, college and even with her masters. I had shared sleepless nights with her.

When I was in high school while my sister was in elementary, Talitha often dropped by my classroom on breaks and eventually became friends with my friends. In college, whenever I went out to party, I tagged the 13-year old Talitha along! That’s how I have become so comfortable having her around me.

When I had my first boyfriend, it was Talitha who first knew about him, met him and learned about the break-up. I told her everything that went on with my life.  It doesn’t matter if she wasn’t that keen in telling her secrets, I would just know anyway because of our non-verbal understanding of each other.
When I was hospitalized in 2005, she visited me every day after school. I was so weak then and often silent. But whenever she came around, she went to my bedside and held my hand. That was all she did, but I really felt comfort whenever she did that.

I have realized something, that if Talitha and I weren’t this close and she didn’t know any of my friends, would I be able to go out with them? I won’t because I always need someone to push my wheelchair and translate the conversation to me whenever I could not understand their moving lips. Talitha willingly does those things for me as she can relate to every conversation.

With my current condition, I am still her shopping buddy even though it is not really easy to tag me along because of my heavy wheelchair. We still often go out together with our youngest brother, Maro,  even though it entails a whole day of pushing me to here and there.

When Talitha was in grade school, she answered in one of her schoolbooks that her ambition was to become a Computer Engineer, “because my mother is a computer, and my father is an Engineer,” she wrote. It was so funny and I couldn’t forget it because she was so serious about it.

In high school, she wanted to become a doctor and so she earned a degree in Psychology from San Beda College. I was already deaf that time.

I had my cochlear implant and often consulted my ear doctor and audiologist for my regular mappings. She got interested with my hearing condition and devices. Right after college, she took further studies at the University of the Philippines and mastered in Clinical Audiology.  “Having a sister with a cochlear implant, it is just rewarding to provide her with first-hand assistance,’’ Talitha wrote in one of her essays.

Her decisions though were not just emotionally driven by my condition, she had always wanted to acquire a profession in the medical field in order to help improve a person’s life.

There are not too many people who study clinical audiology.  The ratio of audiologists in the Philippines is one is to three million, that is why I am so proud that my sister is one of those few.  
After two years of stressful days, sleepless nights and asking me to pray for her during exams or presentations, she proudly graduated, now with a MClinAud initials after her name.

Congratulations to the clinical audiologists Batch 2012 of the University of the Philippines – Manila namely Myra G. Capistrano, Ana Leizei SP Chin, Amadona R. Luistro, Fauziah Marie Margarico and my sister Talitha Karisse L. Yarza!  Cheers to you all!

The photo I used was taken by (Tito) Jim C. Lopez

Photo from L-R: Ms. Myra, Ms. Lei, Ms. Dona, Ms. Fau & Ms. Talitha Karisse Lopez Yarza, MClinAud!

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