With Christmas literally days around the corner and being in the midst of this year’s finale, I reflect back on my year in 2016. Amongst many changes from leaving my job, friends, and life in Vancouver to pursue my dreams of travel, cultural immersion in an effort to learn Spanish and enrolling in continuing education, to this life changing opportunity working in Colima, I would say this is probably one of the most unforgettable years of my life. I have grown and learned so much from all the people I was fortunate to cross paths with and after many years living in existential crisis, this year has been nothing short of adventure and self-discovery.
Prior to coming to Colima, I mostly feared social exclusion and not being able to find people I would connect with. I envisioned a six month internship where I would be battling some of my deepest fears of loneliness, and inability to communicate on even a fundamental level in Spanish.
Yet, fortunately so In the two months being in Colima, I have never once felt lonely or displaced. There seems to be something magical here at IPCO. The team at IPCO as colleagues at the office, friends in the evenings, and family for the weekends/special events, and for the holidays. Unlike the traditional working environments I’ve been used to where there is a fine line between your personal and professional life, I’ve finally been blessed with the opportunity to join a inclusive, hard working team that extends themselves above and beyond their capabilities in a strong effort to accomplish projects and goals. And even though my time here is limited, for as much as I know I’ve been treated as one of them, part of the team, part of the family. Even with a short period of time here, I’ve already been invited to and attended a baby shower, a bridal party, wedding, and unfortunately so, even a funeral.
So what is my one takeaway from my time here at IPCO? It’s the value of team work cannot be underestimated. Cultivating a team environment beyond colleagues, IPCO does a great job at extending that on a more personal level. Seeing how the IPCO team work together has made me realize how important it is to be apart of one where I’m comfortable with voicing my concerns, where I’m comfortable in general to speak my mind. IPCO has taught me, team members not only need to work together, they need to connect on a deeper level to inspire transparency, to encourage a safe space for communication and ultimately the formation of strong relationships that draw people in to work in a cohesive entity. I strongly believe that when this is in place, people are empowered to do their best, working towards one objective with utmost efficiency to accomplish goals and projects – much like what IPCO is doing right now. Despite it being the midst of the holiday season, the office will remain open and everyone will be here working away in an effort to meet project deadlines. The beauty of it is seeing how hard working they are, how not once do they complain about being here and not once do their egos get in the way where they expect praise for their hard work and dedication. They are here at the office to work, to get things done, for the ultimate benefit of the city in accomplishing goals and project deadlines.
Before coming to Colima, I worried about spending the holidays alone, but with Christmas only days away I haven’t even so much noticed December is already nearing an end. In the weeks leading up to December 24th are many posadas which are customary festivities held between family, friends, coworkers and I have already attended an innumerable amount. Fortunately, I’ve been invited to several family Christmas dinners as well. My only issue now is deciding on which to attend. Regardless, I’m lucky to know I won’t be spending the holidays alone and have fortunately never once felt an uncomfortable sense of solitude here.
Wrapping up this year with another bang and wishing every all the best and very warm and happy holidays!
By: Wendy Ly