#WeAreArity Wednesday: Andrew Agustin
What fictional family would you most like to join?
The Robinsons in Lost in Space. They find themselves in a lot of difficult situations, but they do not have a boring life. A lot of adventures – hopping around and traveling to different planets. And they’re just a really smart family. I’d love to fit in there.
What is your favorite part of working from home?
My favorite part of working from home is the time I get to spend with my family and kids. You know, the hour or two just sitting in the car and going back and forth seems like lost time for the most part.
Now, when I turn my computer off and turn around from my desk, I can just walk up and hang out with them immediately. That’s certainly the most beneficial for me working from home.
Tell us a little bit about your family.
I’m married with three boys, aged soon-to-be 20, soon-to-be 17, and soon-to-be 15. They’re all homeschooled by my wife, so the house is always full which is great. I’m not waiting for them to come back home from school. They’re all here. It’s a blessing.
The oldest is on the spectrum but highly functional. He works at Chick-fil-A here in Atlanta and volunteers at the Georgia Aquarium as well. That’s where he’s off to this morning. My middle one is a swimmer – a fairly good one at that. He hopes to make Nationals this year and working towards an invite to trials next year for Paris. So, he’s working his tail off. And then my youngest – about to turn 15 – is part of Civil Air Patrol with the Air Force, eyeing a career possibly towards Colorado Springs, going to the academy. We’ll see!
They’re all diverse – we kind of joke with the kids that they have to be volunteers at the Georgia Aquarium and a diver, or they’re out of the family. But so far, they’ve accomplished that. My soon-to-be 15-year-old will be joining the family at the aquarium in May when he turns 15. He’s very excited!
What is your favorite season? Why?
My favorite season is Fall. I love Christmas, and the season leading up to Christmas is my favorite. Living in Georgia, we actually have four seasons which is nice. So, you get well-defined seasonality. You get to see the leaves turn going up to the mountains. Those bright orange, brown, and yellow colors are always phenomenal. And then the smell in the air is unmistakable when there are cold snaps around the corner. It’s a great season.
What is your favorite musical instrument?
It has to be the harp because my wife is an orchestral harpist. She went to Rice University to get her master’s degree in harp performance. She’s played with a lot of orchestras around the country, including the Atlanta Symphony for quite a few years.
We’re very lucky. My mother-in-law is a harpist as well. She was the first chair harpist for the Atlanta Symphony in the seventies and eighties. That’s how my wife got into it. My brother-in-law is a bass player – an orchestral bass player as well, but he played rock music all his college years and beyond. So, the whole family is incredibly talented. I was kind of worried I would dirty the gene pool because I do not play, but thankfully, my kids can manage to read through a music sheet and play music pretty well.
During the holidays, my brother-in-law would bring his bass over, his wife would bring her violin over – it’s amazing. We started a tradition last year where we’ve invited folks to our house for a get together, but they have to bring their voice or their instrument of choice to be a part of it. We had so much fun.
What is your earliest memory of this job?
I’m going to be celebrating my first-year anniversary February 14th, so I started Valentine’s Day. Just the fact that I started on Valentine’s Day is a great memory. So far, I’ve fallen in love with this team, with this company, and with this job. So, it’s pretty apropos.
What is your hobby?
My favorite hobby is scuba diving – everyone knows that about me by now. If I’m not breathing on land, I’d rather be breathing underwater. It’s beyond a hobby – it’s a passion. I’ve gotten to a point where I truly get bored underwater when I’m not doing anything because I work underwater at the aquarium, I work underwater for the most part when I do coral restoration projects. So, if I’m just looking at fish, I’m like, “I’d rather scrub a boat underneath” because I have to do something. Unfortunately, now I’m into underwater photography – which is not cheap and not easy. It’s great, it’s something I have to practice for and get good at.
So, underwater photography is the hobby. Scuba diving is beyond a hobby now. It’s a passion.
How did you get into scuba diving?
When my wife and I first got married, we had known each other forever – we were really good friends in high school and ended up together. So, we were looking for something new to do together, and there was a scuba shop around the corner from our house, and we decided to sign up for classes. Every year on our vacation we’d go on a scuba drive trip.
When the Georgia Aquarium opened up in Atlanta, we knew they were going to need volunteers, so we signed up for it. We were accepted into the program 17 years ago, and the more we did it, the better we got. Thanks to opportunities – you know, becoming divers at the aqaurium and giving us purpose and reason to go diving between education, ocean protection, coral reef restoration… It was something we just took to.
This year, we’re going to the Philippines to go diving. It’s the first time we’re going on a vacation to dive for fun in years. I can’t remember the last time where we’re not going to work which is phenomenal. We chartered a boat – 16 of us, all friends from the aquarium. We’re just going to have fun for six days and go underwater.
What is an easy way to do something nice for someone?
The easiest way to do something nice for someone is just smile.
What is your favorite way to practice self-care?
Practicing self-care is just getting under the water for me. It literally and figuratively washes away a lot of things. But it’s not as quiet as everybody thinks. There are so many noises that happen underwater, especially in a very healthy coral reef. You’ll hear a lot of clicking and humming. Hopefully, no high-pitched sounds which means there’s a boat about to go over you which is not always good.
Last time we were in the Philippines, a week before they had a fairly large earthquake. I never thought I’d ever experience an earthquake in the water, and then I did. It is the weirdest thing. All the noise that I just told you about completely disappeared. It was quiet, and it freaked me out. I saw the sand shake, heard the rumble go through the water, and felt it through my body. Cross that off the bucket list!