Friday, August 04, 2006

Last Day at the Office

When we first arrived back in the Philippines from our flyback to the U.S., I was so excited for my role here to be finished. Tim even made me a count down paper to post on the fridge so that I could count down the days. The days were even longer because one of my closest co-workers, Racquel, experienced the death of her father and was out for 3 weeks. I missed her cheerful face so much that the days were just crawling by. [Just to be absolutely clear, because I do not want to be misunderstood on this point, I am not in any way implying that my loneliness was more important than Racquel's family. I am only indicating that I missed her.]

I anticipated being more excited as my last day in the office here approached and especially very excited because Tim and I are going to Australia! People where we are from want so badly to go to Australia and most people never do because it is so far away.

However, as my last week was actually here, I started to realize all of the things that I was going to miss very much, and pretty much all of those things were people. Although my entire team joked that I could take them with me, of course I couldn't, although the U.S. would be very fortunate to have such wonderful people as additions!

Today finally my last day arrived. I'm not sure I still believe it and it is over already. I arrived to work at around 11:00am, because I had to be here for the shipping company in order to sign the paperwork. Soon after arriving everyone broke for lunch, and I was able to spend most of lunch watching the video that Arvin had recompiled from the birthday party and added extra footage. It is such a special keepsake.

I also got more gifts during the day which was very touching. I got two purses - one from Gigi and one from Ellen and Gia. I got 2 carved cats from Kath. I got a necklace from Abby. From the entire team, I got the DVD that Arvin made which was decorated with messages from the entire team, pictures from the entire team on the cover, and an absolutely amazing characiture of me with a dragon on a leash that Katsy drew. I wish that we had not yet packed the scanner, because I would love to be able to show you guys the drawing. In the drawing, I am standing up, wearing heels and a skirt, a button down blouse, with a corset laced up the back. I have a hat that tilts off to one side over my eyes with a feather in the back, and I am winking. On a leash attached to my wrist, I have a small cute dragon who is sitting in front of me smiling. It is really amazing, and I can't believe how many subleties about me and my personality she picked up on that drawing.

From 4:00-5:30pm we had a team meeting. I packed up my things and took them to the meeting so that I could leave right from the meeting. By the time it was ready for me to leave, I was almost crying and some of the team was starting to tear up as well. I turned in my key and badge and started the rounds of hugs and thank yous. By the time I got to Keysi, she wouldn't stand up to hug me. (I expected this. Keysi strikes me as the "if I don't say good-bye, then it isn't good-bye" type of person). Eventually she gave me a hug, and I started to cry. Racquel was sobbing. I gave her two big hugs, and then most of the room was crying.

The walk home was sad. Of course I am excited about our vacation and about getting home. How I feel can best be summed up in a portion of what I wrote to the team in my goodbye message.

I want all of you to know that I am happy that Tim and I came here to take this opportunity to learn about your country. The Philippines is full of people who do the small things well and with pride and a smile. It is that aspect of your country that has really made a big impact on me rather than the little things that have been hard for me. For every humorous/frustrating story I have for a temporarily traumatic incident caused by the lack of a convenience I have never lived without or by a frightening food made generally from a pig, I have 30 more stories to tell people at home about the great things and people I have seen here.

Almost every morning, I watch the K-9 people at the Shangri-La play tennis ball with their dogs. I have seen people who sell corn on the street who have come up with an efficient system for taking money, providing change, and bagging the corn. Tim shows me pictures that he took during the non-rainy season of people carving stamps to sell and selling other items from a cart. My favorite pictures he takes are the ones he takes when he walks to the wet markets. Pictures of people working on ancient sewing machines with a huge smile, people selling vegetables and fruits and smiling, and of course there are the pictures of the animal legs and heads... ;-)

In addition to the people, there are many parts of the country that are so beautiful and amazing. Because of all these little and big things that Filipinos do so well, it does not surprise me at all that the Accenture team here is comprised of such excellent, intelligent, and beautiful people. To me, you make not only Accenture but also your country very proud.

The world is full of vastly different people, cultures, and environments. When we come together, confusion, stress, and differences will always ensue. However, Tim and I are taking with us the good memories and the great people we have met will be in our hearts forever. I have appreciated more than I can say the patience, graciousness, and respect all of you have shown to me. You have chosen to see the good in me, despite all of my faults, and you have gone out of your way to help me and teach me more about each of you and your country.

Should you come to America, you will always have a place to visit with Tim and I.

I will miss each of you very much.


After I got home, I got ready for my massage (provided by the Oakwood for my birthday). The massage was very relaxing.

Now I am just finishing up some things for work before we pack up for vacation tomorrow! Talk to you all soon!

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