Overcoming the “Myself of Yesterday”: What Is More Important than “Working” 「昨日の自分に勝つ!」~海外生活のどん底を経験して知る、私にとって「働く」よりも大切だったこととは?~

Published on: December 06, 2019

Moving to Hong Kong where she was “allowed to work” but finding herself depressed, Azusa realized that what was most important to her was a space where she could be helpful to others.


By Azusa Uchida / Translated by Fumi Yasui [日本語記事へ]


As expat dependents in Thailand, not being allowed to work and develop your career might make you feel like you’re being left behind, especially following the drastic life change of giving birth and parenting.

That was exactly how I felt when I was living in Hong Kong until 4 months ago. I was depressed; I didn’t feel like doing anything, was irritated all the time, and often would find tears stealing down my face.


In Hong Kong, anybody is allowed to work, even family members of expats. After living in Bangkok for four and a half years, I had excessively high expectations for the move to Hong Kong. But that ultimately created a large gap between reality and the ideal. I thought it was very strange that I was dropped into the depth of misery for the first time in my life since living abroad, by moving from “CANNOT work Bangkok” to “CAN work Hong Kong”.


I wondered what caused this reversal.   Now I know what the answer was. The difference between the two experiences was whether the location had a space, a community to which I could commit myself and from which I could receive support to embark on new challenges. Perhaps communities like BAMBI, which draws in people who want to make use of their abilities and help others, tend to grow here in Bangkok precisely because we are not able to formally “work.” Communities like this make possible for us to find our roles and to get support when we’d like to challenge ourselves and try our hand at new things.  


In my case, the encounter with BAMBI enriched my life in Bangkok, where I cannot work, more than anything in Hong Kong, where I could work. In other words, what was important to me was not “whether I can work or not” but “whether I have a place where I can be helpful to others.” And I found it in Bangkok.  


Of course, I am back to BAMBI now that I am back in Bangkok! BAMBI has given me many chances to grow: it allowed me to do BAMBI magazine cover shoots even when I was still an amateur photographer and to step up to positions of responsibility even though my English skills were far from excellent. Through facing these challenges, I learned that limits exist only in my mind and I will never grow or live the life that I really want if I don’t get over them


“Because I have a small child…,” “Because I don’t speak English…,” or “Because the law prohibits working…” — these can’t be excuses to stop us from doing what we’d like to do or to deprive color from our life. We can bring our children along when taking photos; we can use English if we have to; volunteering can give us as much fulfillment as we can get from working and even help us build a basis for our future career.


I don’t excel in anything in particular. But nothing could make me happier if you thought: “Even someone like her can challenge herself to new things, of course, I can do it!”   


I’m ready to take another step — even a very little one — forward, into a world I have never seen. So that I can overcome what I was yesterday.  


「社会から取り残されているような気がする」 出産、子育てを経て、それまでとは、180°変わった生活を送る中で、ふとそのように感じたことのある方は多いのではないでしょうか。


BY 内田あずさ  










ではバンコクと香港では何が違ったのだろうと、今改めて考えてみると、それは「挑戦を応援してもらえる環境の有無」だったのではないかと思います。 バンコクでは「働けない」からこそ、「自分が得意なことを活かして人の役に立ちたい」という同じ思いを持った者同士が集まり、その中で自分の役割を見つけたり、新たな挑戦に背中を押してもらえたりしやすいのではないか、と考えられたのです。  


私の場合、BAMBIという自分が貢献出来る場に出会えたことが、「働けないバンコク」での生活を「働ける香港」のものよりもむしろ豊かにしてくれたのです。 つまり、私にとって本当に重要だったことは、「働ける・働けない」では無く、自分が「人の役に立てている」ことを実感出来る場があるかどうかだったのだと両方の環境を経験して初めて、知ることが出来ました。  


そして、2回目のバンコク駐在となる今回も、もちろんBAMBIのボランティアとして活動をしています。 これまで、カメラマンとしてはド素人だった私にマガジンの表紙撮影を任せてくれたり、拙い英語でもポジションに就かせてもらったりと、無謀な挑戦をさせてくれているBAMBI。 そうした挑戦を通して、限界を決めているのは自分であること、しかしそこを超えなければ成長は無く、いつまでも自分が本当に望む人生を歩むことは出来ないことを、実体験として感じてきました。  


「子どもが小さいから」、「英語が話せないから」、「法律で働けないから」、 これらは、自分がやりたいことを諦め、自分の人生から彩りを奪う理由にはならないのです。 子連れで撮影をすることだって出来るし、英語しか話せない環境に身を置けば嫌でも使えるようになるし、ボランティア活動を通してでも、働くことに勝るとも劣らない充実感を得たり、今後のキャリアづくりの足元を固めることだって出来るのです。

私は、決して人より何かに秀でている訳でも無く、器用な訳でもありません。 どちらかというとむしろその逆なのですが、そんな私でも挑戦出来ているのだから、あなたにも出来る、そんなふうに思ってもらえたら、それ程嬉しいことはありません。  


そして私は今日も、とにかく足を1㎜でも前へ、未知の世界へと踏み出します。 昨日の私を、超えるために。  


About the Author

The “Babywearing Photographer” Azusa is a freelance photographer who takes her three children around on her photoshoots. Her message: “Never give up doing what you really want, even mothers!” She has been volunteering for BAMBI for four years. Azusa held photo exhibitions twice in Bangkok and has done over 300 family photoshoots since she started AZUSA Uchida Photography. 


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AZUSA.U.PHOTOGRAPHY/

The views expressed in the articles in this magazine are not necessarily those of BAMBI committee members and we assume no responsibility for them or their effects. BAMBI News welcomes volunteer contributors to our magazine. Please contact editor@bambiweb.org.