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Hello, TCA-981!

Driving to work this morning made me smile. I saw my old car, TCA-981, and I was very happy that it's in good condition. Seeing it brought back memories of my first years behind the wheel...

July 1, 1994 (or sometime close to Daddy's birthday)
It was early evening, we were about to close up our shop (which was then close to the Lopez Elementary School). We were just waiting for Daddy because it was his birthday and we were looking forward to a dinner outside the house. When Daddy finally came, we three siblings jumped up and down with excitement because he was driving our new car! Mommy knew about it of course, but I think they kept it a secret from us kids.

Anyway, it was a shiny and blue 1991 Toyota Corolla 1.6 GL that had caught Annapet's eye when she joined Daddy in one of his car-hunting expeditions. It became the family's travel companion, having gone to Baguio on family trips at least twice. The plate: TCA-981. 

It's the car I grew up with.

April 1998
Daddy began teaching me how to drive using this car. Kuya Junjun also lent a hand to teach me some parking skills. Poor car, it had to endure scratches every time I drove too fast across the railroads near the UPLB-IPB facility, every time I hit a curb with a miscalculated turn, and that one time I hit a dog (while driving at a heart-stopping 20 kph). I guess the engine also suffered too, because I used to make mistakes while shifting gears. Daddy had to bring it to the mechanic's quite a few times because of my dismal driving skills.

May 15, 2001

A day after the 2001 Philippine senatorial elections, Daddy finally allowed me to drive the family car!! He got convinced partly because my driving skills had considerably improved and mainly because my BSc thesis schedule was messing up his lunch hour. On weekdays, I'd drive the car and he'd be tailing me (in the family van). Mommy used to stay with him, but when he was sure I could drive properly, Mommy became my constant passenger. I just had one problem: since TCA-981 did not have power-steering yet, I had a tough time driving it: Mondays and Tuesdays were okay, but then I'd be asleep all day Wednesday out of exhaustion! Recovered, I'd drive to the BIOTECH lab Thursdays and Fridays, only to sleep all day again on Saturday. That schedule worried me a lot.

(Rochie's thought bubble: What will happen to my Wednesday sleeping habit when school term starts?!?)

Little did I know that Mommy would force me to have more courage while on the road. If it were not for her, I would not have driven the four hours to Sta. Cruz from our house, nor the two hours up the winding road to Liliw. 

Yes, I used to be a driving nightmare both for other motorists and for my passengers.

September 2001
At last, Daddy decided to assign me to the newer car, ANA-118, because that one was still covered by comprehensive insurance and I was the least experienced among the drivers in the family. TCA-981 was no longer covered, so it went back to him. Over the next few months, I would drive either car to school, depending on Daddy's car schedule (Biboy used to contest why I had the sports car, hehehe). 

April 20, 2002
Since I had to be in school earlier than the rest of the family for the UPLB-CAS recognition program, I drove TCA-981 to school. In the middle of the program, Daddy asked for the car key and went out of the hall (I thought he was just going to park the car somewhere else). When he came back, I asked for the key but he said, "Ah, naibenta ko na yung kotse mo. Sasabay ka na sa amin ng Mommy mo."

No last-minute checks; no good byes; no souvenir key chain even. Little did I know that my last day in college was also the last day I'd be seeing the first car I was assigned to. Thank goodness the timing of the sale was impeccable; otherwise, I might have been in mourning all day.

June 29, 2010
I've been wondering for some time now about how the cars I used to drive are coming along. Then this morning, I saw a familiar blue car. I know that plate number... whoa, that's my first car!! The glass tint's a lot darker, and the colour is not quite as blue as I remember it, but I still recognised it from far off. I guess some details don't really change.

What a way to make the days leading to my birthday light and happy. =)

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