Eloisa, Filipina, RN (Part 1)

By Cristina DC Pastor, Marivir Montebon & Ann Constantino Beck

The worldwide lockdown brought about by the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the mushrooming of virtual chat rooms of family and friends who yearn to keep in touch with each other.

Two friends, one from Beijing and the other from New York, decided to create a chat room in order to continue being in touch with their close friends. To make things worthwhile, they decided to weave a story, asking each one in the chat room to write one episode each to build on what is now the Story of Eloisa.

census short

It begins with Eloisa, a nurse from the southern province of Surigao in the Philippines who comes to New York to work at Elmhurst Hospital at a  time when the Big Apple is the epicenter of the coronavirus in the U.S.

Each episode turned out to be exciting, mind-boggling, and, sometimes funny. The friend from Beijing is Cristina DC Pastor, and the friend from New York is Marivir Montebon. Together with Ann Constantino Beck, DJ Chinita, Elizabeth Cueva, Grace Labaguis, Joyce Andes-David, Lara Gregory,  Laura Garcia, Mona Kuker, Muriel Iturralde, Nieva Quezon-Burdick, Vanette Colmenares, and Vivian Talambiras-Cruz, they imagined the woman that is Eloisa and, paragraph by paragraph, stitched together  her story that is suspenseful as it is hilarious (and confusing in some parts). This is a story in nine parts.

Cristina DC Pastor: It was Eloisa’s first day reporting for work at Elmhurst Hospital. A FOB nurse newly recruited from Surigao, she was wide eyed with shock as she saw a long line of sick people waiting to get inside the hospital. It was not the day she envisioned. She was hoping to just get a few hours of orientation done, and then have coffee with this wickedly handsome man she met on the R Train. 

Marivir Montebon: Sige lang, I am wearing gloves and mask. I am ready for this task, said Eloisa to herself. But deep inside, she was worried. New York is the epicenter of this COVID19, her heart screamed. She paced hurriedly to the second floor of the hospital for her work orientation. There were 10 of them in a well-lit room overlooking the bay for ambulance. In five minutes, the work orientation began. The supervising nurse Charlotte Smith introduced herself to the newbies who were seated six feet away from each other.  After an hour, the orientation was done. Eloisa got to know Jessie, a nurse from Jamaica – tall, dark-skinned, brown-eyed. And there’s Michael, beautiful half-Italian, half-Filipino, who would be working on the same floor with her. Exciting ito, Eloisa said, as she bid the two goodbye. Tomorrow, her work begins. But for now, Eloisa hurriedly left the hospital and walked towards the French coffee shop where she’ll meet that wickedly handsome dude on the R Train.  Her heart was beating fast. Stupid girl. But first she went to the bathroom of the cafe to wash her hands.  Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me…20 seconds of cleaning my hands. There, and soon, I’ll meet you again, George. Eloisa was trying not to giggle on her way out of the bathroom.

Story Weavers Ann Constantino Beck, Cristina DC Pastor, DJ Chinita, Elizabeth Cueva, Grace Labaguis, Joyce Andes-David, Lara Gregory,  Laura Garcia, Marivir Montenon,  Mona Kuker, Muriel Iturralde, Nieva Quezon-Burdick, Vanette Colmenares, and Vivian Talambiras-Cruz.  

Ann Constantino Beck: This is on the first week after patient 0, restaurants were still open with limited capacity and practicing social distancing.

Eloisa went to the counter, she was thinking of ordering coffee and something sweet. She looked at the menu and talking to herself quietly “aha! there you go Affogato you look really enticing”. Perfect! she said after paying her coffee.  While she was waiting for her order she heard a familiar voice and looked. She realized it was Crystal, her childhood friend and they went to nursing school together. She walked towards the chitchatting baristas, she pretended that she needed something and said “excuse me Miss! may I ask if… Oh my gosh, is that you Crystal?” Crystal responded, “no freaking way! OMG! Eloisa! How’s everything?” Crystal walked outside the bar and said “I would like to hug you but with this corona special and social distancing situation won’t let me do it, so weird, by the way I miss you Eloisa.” “I miss you too my friend, it’s ok said Eloisa, It better this way, It could be worst right? At least I got a chance to see you again after our graduation day, what’s your number?” she asked. Crystal answered, “It’s 347-691-8277 let’s talk more later after work, look there is a long line of customers, I think your coffee is ready. See you later, girl.” Eloisa responded “Ok, later Crystal.” She grabbed her coffee and she had a glimpse outside the window and saw George crossing the street heading to the coffee shop. “OMG! he is here! She started to talk to herself again and suddenly remembered something “how can we talk with stupid social distancing? Grrrr! Oh well I can move to a bigger table so he can sit at the other end of the table.” She moved to a bigger table for the sake of social distancing.

census square

To be continued

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