Singapore Adventure

Monday, September 05, 2005

Hi Ho, Hi Ho
by venitha

In honor of Labor Day in the US, I'm focusing on the positive aspects of my starting work tomorrow.

  • Routine. Fun as my free form life of late has been, it'll be good to get back into a normal routine and out of the limbo of the last six months. So I'll wave a fond farewell to the lazy days of sleeping til noon, of ascending the ladder of Yahoo! Games Sheepshead, and of whiling away hours at the spa being slimmed, tanned, and polished. Tragically, aside from the occasional pedicure, I have actually done none of these things. Instead, my accomplishments for the last six months are the following: learning to walk, moving across the world, writing more blog posts than I care to count. Not too shabby.

  • The scoop on Agilent. Ch-ch-ch-changes have abounded in the time I've been away. S'bout time to check in and see what they're calling the company these days, what business they're actually in, and who still works there.

  • They know me there. A quick visit to Agilent Singapore in January revealed that I know a good third of the Singaporean engineers in the lab here thanks to extended stints that many of them have done in Colorado. Seeing a lot of familiar faces will surely give my mental state a boost. Even better, though, these guys know the me of a year ago, two years ago, five years ago... You know, that person I've been missing lately.

  • The chance to make friends. The few friends I've made here so far are all other expats, and they're great! But I would really love to befriend a real living breathing Singaporean, someone who can explain the appeal of the eggs in mooncakes and help me exorcise from my mind the stereotype of Asian women.

  • The chance to see what working here is like. Yes, Jim brings home tales, but there's nothing like first-hand experience, especially if I'm to get good stories to blog about. Plus, then when I finally do muster the gumption to quit once and for all, it won't be like I didn't give working here a try.

  • Air-conditioned goodness. Our apartment is air-conditioned, of course, but not to the hyper extent that public Singaporean buildings are, and spending significant amounts of time in arctic temperatures is bound to help my attitude about the heat. Jim's advice for my first day of work: Take a sweater.

  • Money money money. I'm fairly surprised how unimportant this aspect of working is to me now, especially given that I was convinced before we moved to Singapore that this whole experience was going to drive us into the poorhouse. The last three months have reassured me that it's possible to live frugally here, Jim's transportation allowance goes a long way, and there are many cool vacation destinations that are easy on the budget.

    So, assuming that Agilent, or whatever they're calling it these days, is still solvent, what shall I spend my first paycheck on?
    1. Booze.
    2. A maid.
    3. Airline tickets to _____.
    4. New Orleans disaster relief.
    5. Tickets to Quidam for Mark so we don't have to give up funny taxi stories while he does time in Changi Prison.

    Your suggestions are welcome.

  • Half-time. Yes, indeed, I deserve to be caned for all this angst over working just half-time. I've been wanting to work part-time since my first day ever as a salaried employee, and now I'm finally getting to! Woo hoo! Twenty hours just seems like a lot compared to, well, zero.

  • Brain cell detection. Let's just say that moving to a foreign country is rife with experiences that leave you wondering just how stupid you can be and still maintain life support. Combine this with the facts that I did lose several weeks of my life to a narcotic-induced haze earlier this year and that if it's possible to melt one's brain, I have accomplished this on several sunny Singaporean afternoons.

  • The benefit to mankind. This was Jim's brother John's contribution to this list that I am making while Jim is IM-ing. It made me laugh so hard that it definitely belongs on the list, and I will certainly keep it in mind tomorrow afternoon as I try to stay awake while reading through stacks of documentation. Seriously, there is something to be said for being a contributing member of society. Or at least to feeling like one.

Crikey! You're still reading? Get back to work!