By Jacqueline Mac, APIASF Staff
This #fromwhereistand photo is of my feet, my partner’s feet, and our husky/shepherd mix, London. I am one of the few people in my family and from my close group of high school friends to move away for college - and sometimes, it feels like I’ve moved away for good. This picture captures the two sentient beings I spend most of my time with. Both hold a special place in my heart, being both my friends and family, in my home away from home.
I met my partner several years ago at a leadership conference for first-year Asian American students at the University of Maryland. He delivered the keynote speech and I facilitated a workshop on Asian American history. We stayed connected as friends because we are both nerds, love developing people, and share a deep appreciation for baked goods. Fast forward to present day, we live together with our dog, London, whom we adopted last August from a shelter. As cliche as it sounds, my partner is one of my closest friends.
What keeps the three of us together is patience, immense loyalty to one another, and trust that the other(s) will always be there (or come back, in London’s case). One of the trainers at the shelter where we adopted London warned us that he is not a “plug and play” dog - that we needed to spend a lot of time working with him to build trust and confidence, and ease his anxiety because he was likely abused or abandoned. In early January this year, every dog owner’s nightmare came true for us: London escaped from our 4th floor apartment and was missing. During this time of uncertainty, my partner and I stayed focus on finding London and trying to keep in mind that he’s a smart dog. Luckily, a neighbor saw him roaming the neighborhood and we brought him home just before a deep freeze came over DC. I never slept so soundly that night.
I share this story because it epitomizes the importance of the three values that keep us connected: patience, loyalty, and trust. These three values keep us present in the journey while being focused on a destination. My partner and I knew we were ready to adopt a dog but the journey with London has been a new adventure every day. This lesson applies to any new situation where you might be sure you want to do something, but you’re not sure what the journey will look like. For example, being the first in your family to go to college, studying abroad thousands of miles away from home, or trying an internship in a potential career field that you’re not sure your parents will understand. It also applies for staying true to your friends as life happens - you know you will be there for them no matter what but sometimes you do not always know how. No matter where I stand, I always come back to that trifecta of friendship: patience, loyalty, and trust.