A couple of days before this post was published, I transferred my dog Fu to her new foster family. It was a big decision, given that I had been taking care of her since September 2018 and we had already grown close to each other.
Fu was just the latest one to whom I said, “Kita kits” (“see you soon” in Filipino). Just this spring, I said zàijiàn to a couple of close colleagues who went on to new adventures in Beijing or back home.
And now, I’m the one who’s leaving.
It’s a sad moment, especially for the people with whom I worked directly, but I like to see this as a celebration. I’ve worked for beijingkids for 2.5 years, and it was all grand and action-packed. I have long forced into my mind that Andy is timid, but my work for the magazine has allowed me to explore the confident and communicator Andy. I may have flunked in my first managerial experience in Manila, but my career in Beijing has brought out a pragmatic but compassionate leader who’s always looking forward to motivating young minds.
I will always be proud that I handled the very demanding When I Grow Up column in the magazine. Not only does it requires precision in planning and coordinating, but also care as I need to work with a lot of pupils. During the times I conducted bimonthly question-and-answer sessions at various international schools, I’ve seen how pure and simple the pupils’ concept of the world is. And that was refreshing, given the dizzying pace of expat life in the capital had brought me to bumpy parts of the path toward achieving my goals.
Many of those road bumps derailed me, but the other humps have nudged me to stay on track. Never did I think that rescuing an old, limping, visually-impaired dog would eventually help me recover from anxious states of mind that had begun in the summer. And immersing myself into tons of events was stressful at first, but would prove rewarding later on.
There are many things in my daily grind that I will miss (like being the first person to open the office every day…) and I know it will take time to sink in, but I’m excited about what happens next. Yes, let’s acknowledge that sadness is a significant emotion when someone departs, and departures are a normal process in life. But by accepting reality, we set ourselves free.
After all, “there’s no way to go but forward and upward.” That’s what I told myself before I left for China. And it’s the same thing I’m telling myself now that I’m setting out for a new and thrilling journey.
Photos: Andy Penafuerte III