A few days before the Christmas holidays, I was told that I have to continue working on the project for another two months. It means a return to Canberra. So here I am, more than a month since and drawing closer and closer to my last day here.
I welcomed that fact for the following reasons (not written in order of significance): 1) if I didn’t go back, then I feel that the satisfaction that you usually get when you see things coming to fruition will not happen 2) I wanted to know the people I’m working with more and maybe build friendship 3) there are things left to be explored and 4) I wanted to go to Melbourne to see the Australian Open in person.
My trip to Melbourne to see the Australian Open has been the best thing that happened so far. I’ve only seen it on TV my entire life but there I was, sitting inside Rod Laver Arena. It was a tiny bit of a bummer that on that day, Roger Federer was not scheduled to play. But to see Serena Williams or Novak Djokovic play live, I’ll take it any day.
There was a tinge of loneliness, however, because I was there by myself. But one of the ladies seated next to me was nice enough to strike up a little bit of a conversation asking me things like (1) where I am from (2) am I having fun (3) who of the two players am I rooting for. I don’t remember if I asked her anything, silly me (so it wasn’t a conversation after all). She was with her pals and they sure are having so much fun, with them holding cups of beer and chips. I am shy (that’s true) that I usually get jittery when talking to people that I just have gotten to know or worst, I won’t even talk at all. In hindsight, I should have asked for some selfie with them, as a “keepsake” (haha) but it just didn’t happen.
I’ve been with the people I am working with, day in day out, for close to five months now. It’s true that you spend more time with people in the office than your own family. It then goes without saying that getting along well with them and being friends with them are important. One of my implied goals is to build connection with them, to go beyond being just office co-workers. So I’ve been consciously eager to join any activities that the team may have outside of work. One would be after-office drinks. Whereas previously, I tend to avoid it because I feel socially awkward, but now I don’t have any hesitations in giving it a go. Another time was when two colleagues planned for a kayak and I was just happy to tag along. It was a good fun. And I got to meet their wives, which was also nice.
I have also made it a point to be more adventurous this time. I’ve climbed up hills that I never knew existed until a few weeks ago. I’ve done stand-up paddling, which was fun in the sense that I got to try something that I have not done before. I am looking to do that again some time soon, probably early in the morning or perhaps close to sunset. The sun set when viewed from the lake, I reckon, must be stunning.
Right now, I am thinking about conditioning my mind for my return to Manila. I have to settle back in. Surely, there are a lot of things to be missed here in Canberra. But I just needed to get back to my reality. I am guessing I will be asking myself this, months or a year after this stint: “Was that just a dream?”. Good thing I have taken photos to prove that no, it wasn’t. 🙂
Or should I get a totem like what Dom Cobb has in Inception to know that he lives in his own reality?