Tardy first week digest

7 May

Magandang umaga from the super noisy MCH, the municipal compound conference room and currently the Mayors makeshift office space. Noise is now a massive part of my experience. I hear constantly the roar of motorbike engines, bicycle bell dings, jeepney horn toots, vendors touting their wares and even indoors my poor ears are on overload hearing text alerts going off, the secretary in the office singing along to her ipod and endless chiz miz (gossip). When all that dies down for a brief moment, there is still the constant hum of the air conditioner on full blast, sometimes complemented by the fan if it’s really hot (which it definitely is). I have almost forgotten what silence sounds like and didn’t realise how much I loved it until I was exposed to so much noise.

My first week was a typical first week in a new job. I was taken around to be introduced to everybody around the office, where I immediately forgot the previous person’s name as the next person introduced themselves to me in broken English or Tagalog. In my office, an annex to the main office (just like at FCC), I share with 5 other girls and anyone the Mayor is in meeting with, and it is a very funny encounter when someone initially ignores me assuming I am just another Gubatnon staffer, then when they hear English, they mime a nosebleed (nosebleed is a term people here use for when they are stressed out speaking too much English) and run out the door to avoid any further conversation. I have already experienced some loneliness and isolation brought on by only speaking tourist and family Tagalog, and I know I will for the first few weeks while I am starting my language training.

I can easily get used to the working day here, where everybody reports to the office 8 to 12 and returns 1 – 5 after lunch and maybe even a quick siesta. The girls in my office are good to go home both shifts 20 minutes before the set time and I laughed very hard the other day when in lightning bolt speed, the girls unpacked their bags and set up for work thinking they heard the Mayors vehicle outside (it was a false alarm). I hope I don’t get too used to acceptable constant texting (what are they texting about so constantly??? I have absolutely no idea) and almost equally constant facebooking. It was pretty weird to look around me on my second day and see so many people on facebook. The work pace here is slow to say the least and the excuse is often attributed to the heat, or the island time culture, or just the Filipino way, but I wonder what would happen to productivity levels if texting and facebooking were not banned, but maybe limited….? Bah listen to me ranting from my high horse.

This came out as a real ranty complaining blog post but I really am starting to see why it’s more fun in the Philippines… More on that soon.

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