Jul 29, 2016

Ode to City

It has been five months after I arrived at your doorstep, you strange big world. You welcomed me with your winter spell.  It was white all around you, the trees bare, and smokes whirl at random, chimney, breaths, cars, dreams perhaps.

You taught me to be brave because there was no one around. I remember one night, a pain in my stomach made me awake all night. I called emergency but you spoke of a weird language. I waited till morning. In all its discomfort, I promised myself to you that I'd be good and would be content for life if the pain could go away. As if I hoped for any magic. It did not go away that night. I waited until morning. The promise still lingers because the pain did disappear. It was a stupid case of winter virus, the doctor said.

In some idle moments, You wonder how on earth did you get here as if you were just transported. It is not humility I guess. Remember, you Competed for this job and you emerged out from the many who desired to get your post. If there is one thing that you should feel is that you should take care of your job. Not only you deserve it but also you knew you fought a hard. So each day, I try myself to be relevant to myself and to my commitment to my job. That is the purpose why I am here, everything else comes secondary.

Reality sinks in.  In my first spring. My boss is below expectation. You suddenly realize you are entering a solitary battle. It was not new to you. You did it before. Many times, you were dreaming of a world to be a better place all by yourself. So before it is too late, change your perspective. It may be a lonely but whatever it's worth and measure, Be kind. 'Act in good faith', my boss told me - the  most sensible advice I have ever received so far in my stay here. 'Act in good faith' and you will never go wrong. Never go wrong in my work and in this city.

With faith, comes the doubt.  The cold concrete absorbs you. And you do not speak its language. You decided you can begin by living each day and marvel. But at night, doubt lingers.

With doubt comes the entitlement. At some point, you  begin to believe that some people owe you. That one person owes you a lot. But you knew it was not right. You begin to search angels in vain. Butlately you realized angels fly. You begin to search for  humans. Humans who can guide you. In random, you act in good faith as you find them one by one. Yes, you continue to find them. Suddenly every weekend, which is supposed to be rest day, is becoming full.

Uncertainty flows but what is certain is the city makes you feel its love, its skin. It reveals before you both the kind and the cold, the kind and the warmth, the transient and the things that stay with you. You can learn. You can unlearn. And everyday, you choose to live.

What have you done to me? I close my eyes. Sometimes, I wish its January 2018, the year my contract ends perhaps start all over again back home and I can't wait. Sometimes, the heart says No.  Start Now, Right Here.

Jul 9, 2016

It is inevitable.

Since I got back from my Manila mission, which is my hometown, where recently I moved heaven and earth to accomodate both my business and personal schedule, my preoccupation back here has been all work.

The work has all been piling up. My boss is not helping to ease the situation. Strangely enough, I cannot even complain. I still can tolerate her. I had been trying to make sense out of this complexity. There is no secret to this. We know the drill. In my case, when faced with such ‘work challenge’, I make a to-do list. It gives me a sense of control. And every time, I cross out all items, I give myself a treat. That is simple and efficient and tried and tested formula.

But the inevitable happens. After a long meeting with my boss late last week, she reminded me of the many things that should be given to her. I just got overwhelmed and despite the many things I had done, and despite the list that I had, I forgot one item. And I never really got what she meant. Then I started to panic. I even submitted a different set of documents. Friday early evening I was still finishing it, we were the only two people in the office. 

She said to me, as cheerful as she could become, that since it’s Friday, she does not want to ruin my Friday night. She can just have the document by Monday first thing in the morning. Instead of responding positively, I told her if I could have a word with her. And then I broke down. To be fair, If I have to rate it, my tears level were just two out of 10. Gentle tears, if that can qualify. Inaalis lang ang eyeshadow.

In essence, I told her I am sorry because I felt I have been at loss lately with all the work piling up.  She was all ears. And I think I never have said the phrase ‘I am so embarrased’ as many times in my entire life since then. I felt I was not diligent enough. I felt like I needed a sense of a new way of organizing. 

Fast forward. It turned out just fine. She listened. She cheered me up. We became a bit personal. She had her issues with the work. 

Now, I am still draining my energy. I felt I needed the whole night of weekend, just wandering somewhere. Facebook and movies do not even help. For one thing, it was a relief that I let it out. I sent over the message. I did not expect my boss to say ‘So, what do you want me to do?’. In fact, we ended our conversation with me clarifying her instructions again and by Monday, I will submit the documents.  

To be fair, I did not tell her that she could be a factor of my panic. Her management style was so decentralized that I will even bet that she can afford not to see me in a year, just give her the output. I realized it was not about her. It was about me. Strange enough, I had not thought of quitting. But again I felt the uncertainty this brings. I felt real about the moment. I needed that moment. So what I can do for now is to take all the lessons learned. 

So what are the take aways of the day.  
  1. No matter what. Still Do it in a professional way. It was good that we were the only people in the office. So there was no distraction at all. By the way, I learned that I was the second cry baby on that day! Another colleague of mind cried. I thought I was the original on that day! When she said that, the first thing that came to my mind was, ‘Ah, may problema nga talaga ito’. 
  2. I never thought I could express straight American slang. I felt so Poveydan. 
  3. Work-life balance pa rin. Given all of this hullabaloo, ang dami palang nangyari Life moments the week that was. Hindi ko man lang naapreciate na noong last Sunday, may lakad ako with my ate atehan at pumunta kami sa embassy ulit (gate crasher for this oath taking ceremony) at kilala na ako ni Ambassador Hernandez sa MUKHA! haha. Next goal ko sa PANGALAN naman. Hindi ko man lang naappreciate yung lunch and dinner ko with my other ate atehan in Seoul Global Center. Yung nakita ko at nagusap kami ng crushie ko sa banyo habang nagtotoothbrush siya. Hindi ko man lang naappreciate na yung mga colleagues ko who had already prepared the itinerary for our local tour tomorrow. At yung pagpunta ko ulit sa Sunday sa embassy. And my operations director reserved a one day tour in Nami Island. I overlooked all of them because of fucking work. Until now, I feel guilty for not being grateful enough and I promise not to do it again. 
  4. Minsan talaga pag stress ka, the best way to cope with it is to get 7-8 hours sleep promise. At sa kaka internet ko, waley. Kaya pag kagising parang buraot din ang aura. Pandagdag bad vibes yan tuloy. So stressed, napabili tuloy ako ng self-help book, my gawd. Maganda naman siya to be fair, ang pamagat F*ck Feelings by Michael I. Bennet, MD and Sarah Bennet. May pagka Jessica Zafraish ang tone. Buti na lang hindi The Secret!
  5. Feeling ko nawala yung Me-Time ko. I do not know. Napagod yata talaga ako sa Manila Mission. Not that I do not like it, pero naoverwhelmed ako sa dami noong schedule. I could have rested a bit pero too late there was no time to recharge at all. Sabak agad. Kaya hayun. Nagdomino effect tuloy. This can be all part of the experience. And experience is still the best teacher. 
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