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Why I’ve Added the Magnificent Eiffel Tower to My Bucket List

I am not a fan of touristy places and want to avoid crowds. While many people rave about visiting the Eiffel Tower, I choose to visit the French Riviera in 2019. Most of my friends’ bucket lists include a trip to Paris, but I still hope to see the French Alps in Grenoble one day. Until now. Ladies and gentlemen, this article is dedicated to the woman who had a tremendous influence on my life. just like the Eiffel Tower, She was strong, elegant, brilliant, and everyone adored her. Here’s the reason why I’ve added the Eiffel Tower to my bucket list.

Why I’ve Added the Magnificent Eiffel Tower to My Bucket List

Took up a bachelor’s degree in nursing, just as most parents want their children to have a decent job when they graduate. To be honest, I didn’t want to do it, but I had no choice. I’d go to school, do my quizzes and examinations, turn in my projects, and then play DOTA with my classmates after we were dismissed. Similarly, I was not the studious kind.

Ma’am Tess, who became my instructor even during our clinical rotations, first met me in my second year. When she asked why I was taking the course, I told her honestly that I wanted to be a physicist or an astronaut and that my parents just pushed me (she laughed and said, “Haaaaaay POWLA” in response). She was the only person in school who purposefully mispronounced my name, as well as the few students she addressed by their first names. No, that was not the “turning point.” During such times, I still procrastinated. I was so disgruntled with my course that I purposefully failed it; the instructors even had to call my parents to address the situation. Not only that, but I felt lost and confused, and I wished to leave and go somewhere else.

Eiffel tower mama tess

That’s when she became my beacon, my personal Eiffel Tower. I won’t say what we talked about, but it felt like a kick in the shin and a huge warm hug all at the same time. Then she gave me Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life, and I sobbed like a baby.

Things improved after that. I began to appreciate my course and concentrate on my academics. She was always willing to offer a helping hand and encourage me to strive for what I thought was an unachievable goal. But I still procrastinated! Hahaha! Our bond was similar to that of a mother and her toddler. I was her stubborn and disobedient child that she constantly reprimanding to then say “Haaaay POWLA.” She was also the first to congratulate me whenever I excelled in tests and examinations. She had the warmest smile.

eiffel tower mama tess
The Dean appointed Dana & me to organize the Clinical Graduation and said to choose an adviser… Automatically, it’s Mama Tess. ❤️
eiffel tower mama tess
Drama Queens

Graduation was, of course, bittersweet. It was exciting to celebrate with classmates and instructors who had become my second family, but it was also heartbreaking to realize that our four-year journey was coming to an end. However, I realize that commencement signifies a beginning, not an end, and I look forward to moving on and preparing for the board exam.

I spoke with Ma’am Tess before the Nurses Licensure Exam, and if I recall correctly, I was ranting about a video game I couldn’t beat (I even told her how reviewing for the exam was interfering with my gaming – in response, she looked at me disapprovingly. Hahaha). But, to be honest, that was one of the most highly emotional conversations I’d ever had. I was plagued with self-doubt once more and wished to join the third batch of examiners. She said, “I see great things in your future. Keep being who you are and do not lose your great determination and focus.” Since then, that has become my life motto. She also gave me another book, Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret. That day, I swear to God, I cried-ugly. I was a wreck, and it took two hot fudge sundaes to make me feel better.

eiffel tower mama tess
Nurses’ Oath-taking 2009
eiffel tower mama tess
We were talking in between. As I complained about how itchy the uniform was and she was hungry.

I didn’t see her for months following the exam, not until I returned to visit the school in March 2009. I brought my Board Rating and Board Passing Certificate (along with a box of pizza) to show her. That was the day I found out she had recommended to the Dean that I take the test with the first batch and that I was one of her top 5s (by the way, I opted to take the second batch). “I told you you’d make it, and you did! You even topped the board exam!”

I received an SMS inviting me to the school shortly after the Oath-Taking in 2009. I dialed the phone, and it was answered by the office secretary, who said, “Florence Nightingale ka daw sabe ni Ma’am Tess punta ka dito para masukatan ka.” (English: Ma’am Tess informed me that you are Florence Nightingale; please come over so we may get your uniform fitted.)

Florence Nightingale, often called “the Lady with the Lamp,” the British nurse and social reformer who was the foundational philosopher of modern nursing.

I quit my work in 2010 because I wasn’t satisfied. I wasn’t sure if she approved or disapproved; all she said was that there are lots of opportunities out there and that you should pursue what you want to do. The next week, I began to organize my credentials, telling her I planned to take the US Licensure Exam for Nurses – she was very happy until I told her I had also enrolled in pole dance classes, at which point she gave me this disapproving look. Again. “Didn’t you tell me to go after what I want?” And she said, “Haaay POWLA” then asked, “Paano ba mag pole dance?”  (English: How do you pole dance).

I was called to the school once more because the Dean wanted to speak with me. It was a formal invitation for me to speak at the Capping and Pinning Ceremony. That night, she told me that there were openings at our affiliate hospitals and that I should come the following week to get my recommendation letter.

eiffel tower mama tess
“Guest Speaker”
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The Brat & The Proud Momma

I ran into her at the hospital three months into my new work. We talked for a while, and I wanted to invite her to lunch, but our schedules didn’t coincide. I also requested that we get our photographs taken. It’s ironic that she was assigned to my ward for a week. I ‘borrowed’ her from her pupils and introduced her to my coworkers and Unit Manager, telling them that Ma’am Tess was my mother back in school and that she shaped me into the person I am today.

Ma’am Tess was “teary-eyed,” according to my Unit Manager.

Drama queen. 🙄

eiffel tower mama tess
I fangirled upon seeing her at my workplace.

❤️❤️❤️

If I had to pick a famous landmark to compare her to, it would be the Eiffel Tower. She was La Dame de Fer, a firm with an obvious expectation of excellence, she was also quick to hug. She was strong and stubborn, yet she was also loving. She had no qualms about expressing her opinion or putting you in your place, but she did so with tact. She was beautiful in her attire, hair, speech, and, above all, prose. I was always impressed by her ability to get ready so early, especially when most of us had only rolled out of bed five minutes before class. She was brilliant. She was wonderful to have in class not just because she was a giver, but also because she was eager to share not only her knowledge and skills, but also her wisdom and insight, moral judgment and respect, and appreciation for others.

She died on August 4, 2021, but she will be remembered for her quiet brightness and compassion, which she showed through the lives she touched and inspired over her years of service as a nurse and educator. Her greatest pride in life was found in being a loving mother to her only son, despite all of her successes and loves.

If I ever travel again, I’d add the Eiffel Tower to my itinerary and dedicate that journey to this strong, elegant, and brilliant woman.

eiffel tower mama tess
Image Credit: Mama Tess’ FB Page & Canva

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Polly Amora

Polly Amora is a Filipina businessperson based in Manila, Philippines. She's a life-long learner who is extroverted to the nth degree, speaks 4 languages, loud & talkative, loves adventure: mountains, beach, and the city. Throw her anywhere and she'll manage life like a pro. Ice cream and beer are her weaknesses.

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18 Comments

  1. this is such a heartwarming story. ang ganda ganda ng relationship niyo even after college. you are who you are because of her. im sure she is proud of you always.

    ps. although ive always wanted to go to Paris and se Le Eiffel. it is my son who is pushing me to go there soonest time possible as if kaya. hahaha

  2. This blog was a surprise and im so sorry for your loss. Losing someone who meants a lot to us is tough, but we can always look back at the joyful memories we had together cause those are worth keeping.

  3. She’s such a good person and a teacher to always guide you. In this world, there are only a few people who see the real us and our future. I’m happy you met someone like her. I know you’re hurting as she passed away but I bet she’ll be guiding you from above.

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