Mar 28, 2015

Treasure Trove in Thailand

Hello everyone, meaches here. I've been in conflict about whether I should post personal stories here on "No Real Plot!" or write them up in the other blog but I finally realized I'm too lazy to manage too many blogs and social network profiles. So I decided to dump all my entries into this blog. The title "No Real Plot!" fits the bill of mixed something and nothings anyway.

You see, I've recently warmed up to an interesting benefit in corporate careers. As I've mentioned in my previous post, I'm involved with the family business now and that's what has been eating up most of my time like school deadlines. But the time I've been working has taught me a lot of lessons and insights.

When it comes to business trips, we usually think it's the same boring meetings and seminars and other office events, just in a different location. It's partially true that business trips are solely meant for activities related to the business but since those trips also mean traveling to another place, it can also be a time for experiencing other cultures. So when my dad and I went to Bangkok in Thailand a few weeks ago, we made sure to have a few extra days for sight-seeing and going around the city.

Thailand was an interesting country. Despite being a popular tourist and shopping stop, the local Thai managed to preserve their cultural roots and maintain the Thai flavor in their fashion, architecture and cuisine. The weather was typical Southeast Asian hot and humid, where a five minute walk under the sun leaves you sweating like you came from the sauna. Bugs and critters and sausages seem like the popular street food but I stuck with less creepy-looking pad thai noodles and fried chicken. I bought just two cute hats but brought home more memories and life lessons.

I never really talked about the struggle I went through in helping out the family business instead of pursuing a career in the art industry. After graduation, I worked as a freelance artist for about a year. I had planned to go to Thailand (interestingly) and join this missionary art school after the freelance project finished. Yes, I was into the 'my talents for Jesus' thing and yes, it's a missionary school that uses art and media to share the Bible. I thought it was the next best thing since I didn't think I was talented enough to be able to work my dream job in Disney. However, during the course of preparing my application, Dad asked if I can stay at home instead and help him run the business. God didn't tell me the same thing specifically but the Bible did say to honor my parents. Admittedly, I initially disliked working in the business, stuck on the desk typing invoices and receipts and talking to all these customers and suppliers that I've never met.

Our line of business is simple but "old." I don't mean archaic or obsolete, but I mean that it's not a trendy line or a quick job, not a field popular with fresh-faced, fashionable and talented young adults who like to live life excitingly and extremely. So feeling suppressed from creative pursuits, I became bored to death to a point that I started to doubt if I heard God correctly. I mean, who trades what they like to do for something they don't like to do? I asked God again and again if this is really what I'm supposed to be doing with my life because it sure feels like my youth is being wasted being cooped up with these middle-aged men, balancing finances.

But over the dinner with my dad's business partners and associates, mingling and interacting with entrepreneurs and professionals, I discovered something. All of these events happening in my life right now are meant to develop my character for the future. This is a future I didn't know, a future I haven't dreamed of yet, a future God had prepared for me. I have no idea where administrative and managerial skills and diplomacy fit in my life but I became sure that it will be important. My time and experiences in the family business is the exact preparation I needed for whatever position I will holding in the future. This was the first revelation God showed me.

The second revelation happened during our last day in Thailand. Mom asked Dad to buy this coffee brand she liked and we searched for it through several grocery stores. We were leaving one mall to cross to the next one when a familiar melody floated into my ear. The chorus was from "Wonderful Rush," a song from my current favorite anime, Love Live. When I realized the music was coming right outside, I automatically rushed out the entrance to an open plaza where I was greeted by a crowd of cosplayers cheering and dancing along to a performance onstage.

I felt overcome with delight and wonder. I stumbled on an open anime convention and I could hear God laughing. It felt like He told me two encouraging things: 1) He was reminding me that He really rewards those who listen and obey Him, and 2) He was telling me that I'm on the right path in my life, to keep it up, that I'm doing okay and I'll be okay in the end. Somehow, Dad understood too. After we moved on to the next mall where we finally! found the coffee, he let me go back to the plaza and enjoy the convention while he finished doing the groceries.

So, despite the conflicting interests I had and the skepticism I was developing, God trumped all my fears and doubts in life and taught me the perspective I should be looking at. This is the longest personal entry I have written in a while but the lessons I've learned and the renewed perspective for my life need to be told. I believe it's all part of my journey to become better, as a person, as a Christian and as an artist.