I’m writing this blog as I wait for an Uber to pick me up in Brooklyn and drive me to JFK Airport. Midway through my assignment, I came back home and re-encountered some of the people that make life matters the most – work colleagues and friends, all around the amazing and lovely Thanksgiving vibe of November. I’m looking at my suitcases now, and a bittersweet taste comes to my mouth as I, once again, leave home to board on a 24-hour journey (door to door) to the Philippines.
Three months have passed since I got on a plane to Manila for the first time. Three months in, and I ask myself – has it lived to its expectations? Well, it’s a tough question to answer. As Bilbo Baggins (“The Hobbit”) once said, “it’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to.” Well, Bilbo, I can clearly say that I had no idea where this was going when I stepped out of my South Philly apartment, and couldn’t be more surprised about where this journey has taken me.
Personally, I’ve had amazing moments in the Philippines. I met a great bunch of people, people I will never forget, people whose faces will always pop up in my head when I hear a song that reminds me of when we had fun together, or when I think about the crazy things we did together. I visited paradise-like islands filled with breathtaking beaches. I got an open water and advanced diving certification – the latter accomplished at the island of Malapascua, a tiny piece of land off of the coast of northern Cebu. There I saw thresher sharks from up close; there I met the best group of adventurers I could ever bump into. But everything has its ups and downs. I miss the other people I also care about, and sometimes, I wish they could also be there with me, experiencing the same things.
On the professional side, I have to say that the first three months were tough, quite tough, and I had to get used to the fact that sometimes the picture you draw in your mind is not the image you will see when you get there. That’s probably been the biggest learning for me – manage my expectations, accept the “different”, move on and enjoy it for what it is. So now that’s my new mantra. I will enjoy this experience for what it is. I’m definitely becoming a better professional, more resilient, turning into a better person from it, and that’s already so great!
I should start bringing the suitcases downstairs now, I think the car is almost here. Thanks to all of those who’ve been with me through this journey so far, I really appreciate the support . See you on the other side!