Rowena Delmundo, 55, retired on September 30, 2005 after 15 years with GWL.
But as Michelle, her supervisor, said, she doesn’t look like she’s retiring. Rowena looks as young as ever. She doesn’t seem to age. She’s as beautiful and as elegant as she was on May 27, 1996, the day I started working at GWL.
Before that, Rowena worked at the Toronto BPO as preprocessor under Esther. When the BPO integrated, she moved to the Winnipeg office with Esther and then in 1996, she took on the role of a benefits examiner.
At first, I thought that her name was Norweena because of the way Pat, our Trainor, pronounced her name. I didn’t know that here in Canada, they say Rowena (Ro-wee-nah) differently than we do in the Philippines, which is Ro-weh-na. I was very glad when I learned that I was training at the HDCC with a fellow Filipino. She was very amiable and she introduced me to her other Pinoy friends. We always had lunch together at the north end corner of the cafeteria in the old building on Osborne Street.
Rowena’s name, I have learned from the internet, could mean 1. red haired or rugged, 2. slender and fair, or 3. fame and happiness. All meanings are appropriate for our very own Rowena.
At the luncheon held on her last day of work at 1:00 pm in the lunch room, Michelle told us a few things that she would miss about Rowena. Her sense of humour. Her thoughfulness. She always brings little presents on Christmas to her co-workers and supervisors. She does that as well whenever she returns from holidays. Michelle said that she would miss her spring rolls. (Ooops. Rowena just brought spring rolls at the luncheon.) And of course, she continued, whom will they buy their purses and shirts now that she will be gone. Heh heh heh.
I agree with Michelle. Rowena has that jovial disposition. She is always the life of the party. And speaking of parties, she’s a very gracious host as well. She comes out as the centre of attention, without her intending it to be. She just exudes gracefulness and elegance. There is always confidence in the way she walks and the way she dresses. She likes bright, vivid colours. She likes red. Red is the symbol of warmth (of her friendships), confidence (in everything that she does in life), bravery (inherent in every Batanguena) and as the Chinese believe, good luck (after a long search, she finally found Mr. Right).
When I think of Rowena, there is one incident that always comes to mind. I was still in the Alberta Unit then. This was before I worked from home. Our cubicles were opposite each other. We were just one thin cubicle divider apart. We used to come by into each other’s cubicle for little chats. There was this one afternoon on a cold winter day. My oldest son, Reggie, who was 11 years old at that time, went away to winter camp with his Grade Six class. It was the first time that Reggie was away from us. He’s had a few sleep-overs with friends before but it was the first time that he went out of town for more than a night. I was feeling melancholy and missing him terribly. Weng came by my desk for a little chat. I told her how I was feeling. Tears started to fall. And then we both laughed about it, me crying. That’s the kind of friend Weng is. You won’t be embarrassed to share your feelings to her and yet you could both laugh about it.
I already know how it is to miss Weng. I have been apart from her since I started working at home in 2001. I missed our little chats. Her “Hay Cathy.” Her Batangas accent. Her usual giggle at every little thing. But the good thing about it is that we still got to see each other at different gatherings with our tropa (group). So I just hope that we will still continue to see her whenever there is a get-together, whether it is a birthday party, a Christmas party, farewell lunch or dinner, etc.
Rowena’s plan for retirement is to travel. Lucky girl. So, happy trails to you, my dear friend, my kumare.
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