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Why I like Sofitel

I do not know the start of summer here in Saudi Arabia. But I can already feel it as we have to use the AC again in our room. I already miss the months of March, April and May back home. Philippine summer is not complete without going to the beach, swimming and vacations. I also miss going to water theme parks or pools to either swim or just watch the kids enjoy the water. And thinking of these lead me to remember that afternoon when my sister-in-law and her husband invited us at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel. This is their hotel of choice not only because of its five star rating on its accommodations and services but also because it is near my in-law's house. We went there on a weekday and we expected less guests at the pool. We were wrong. Gabby and Sunday were the only guests who used the pool when we arrived!

I like Sofitel so much. I was working at the Marketing Department of Walt Disney Home Videos Philippines when one of Mickey Mouse's Christmas videos was launched in one of their big ballrooms. I remember how excited I was because I haven't been there. Kids from prestigious preparatory schools were invited and the Marketing Manager, who's a genius in coming up with grand ideas for events like that, made sure that the program is well-prepared for and followed to a T.

I was assigned to do a big connect the dots face of Mickey Mouse which would be printed, mocked up on a big board, mounted on an easel and placed in the stage. For the kids, I printed the smaller version of it in letter-sized bond papers.The program says that the kids will connect the dots while following an art teacher who connects the dots on the board.

The kids had the pool all to themselves

The program started well. The kids whose ages I guess ranged between four to six, were watching the movie when my boss told me one shocking instruction: I would be the art teacher mentioned in the program! He didn't inform me the night before. All the while I thought it was the emcee's job. I wasn't prepared.

I knew there was nothing I could do to change his mind. The movie was about to end when I was told of my task so I had no more time to write or edit what I should say in front. I prayed silently, took a deep breath, mentally rehearsed what I would say, fixed myself and hurried to the stage when the art teacher was introduced.

I was overwhelmed by the crowd at first. Those kids came from schools known for high academic standards and they already speak English fluently. But what made me really nervous was the fact that their teachers were also there. AND MY BOSS IS WATCHING ME. What if I my grammar is wrong? Or the kids sense from my voice that their art teacher is a bit nervous? I think I shouldn't have worried because with God's help, the connect-the-dots session went well. The kids followed me precisely as I connected the dots number by number.

About 4pm, the guests just like these two boys, started arriving
I have a little secret on why I was able to nail that task in such short notice. My years of teaching Sunday School in church served me well that crunch moment. Being in front of the kids every Sunday has given me confidence, knowledge of what they like and how they behave, and unspeakable joy knowing that I was part of a child's spiritual growth. How I miss teaching Sunday School.

I would love to go back to teaching if I have a chance. And go back to Sofitel. Even if we're only guests of guests. Even if we only have to swim at its blue painted swimming pools. Or just sit back and relax at their deck while watching the sunset. This is my hotel of choice, too, if I have the money to spare. And with the good experiences I had there, I'll also give it a five star rating.

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