Day 35: Dito

Dito: [tagalog] n. - here.

Dito ba? - Is it here?

It's official! I'm one step closer to being a local!

Well, no, not really. Still feeling like crap today. Turns out, while I gave the technical name for my sickness yesterday (Upper Respiratory Tract Infection), I indeed have what is called Gringo Sickness!

Sounds bad, right? Well, not really. I've already written about the horrible air quality out here in the Philippines on Day 10. Where I was mistaken in that post was that I had acclimated properly, and I am able to breath without problem. I'll certainly admit that I can breath in Manila much easier than I can in Nashville - significantly less pollen in the air. However, my lungs tell a different story. The story they tell is a sad one - one of dispair and hate, as they drown in the nasty air of Manila.

Yes, I have an infection due to the Air Quality. My lungs could not stand it anymore, and sufficiently started to give up - Hence, the infection. Am I proud? Nope. Why would anyone be proud of such a badge of honor? I am sick, and I still feel like crap.

Nonetheless, I find myself enamored with living in the City. I've lived in dense areas before, but nothing like this, and I love it. Case and point: Yesterday I needed to iron. Yes- iron. I typically iron my clothes in the morning, and allocate a specific amount of time to make sure I can iron my clothes. Sometimes I miss that window, and end up going out looking even more like a slob than I traditionally do. Instead of distributing the pain, why not just get it all over with? Started ironing. Then, I realized that I didn't have enough hangers in order to properly hang all of my freshly ironed pants. Well, in the US, I would have given up - a ride to the store to pick up hangers is a 30 minute trip. (10 minutes in car, 5-10 minutes in store, 10 minutes back). By this time, it's yet another chore and I don't want to do it. Inconvenienced, so I stop.

However, I just went downstairs and walked to the store (2 minutes), bought my hangers (and some C2 - 3 minutes), and then went home (2 minutes). 7 minutes. Yes- that's right. 7 minutes. I was able to complete my chore because I was not restrained by the spontaneity of the moment - I didn't have hangers, and I didn't have to plan to go and get hangers. Done!

Now, if I were truly taking advantage of my time in the Philippines, I would have had a helper do all of the above while I sit and enjoy a Jack and Coke.

Well, it's here. Today was one of the last days to prepare before my team begins what we're calling their Practical Exams. This is an exam to test whether they have sufficiently learned the ways of my department before we turn them loose to go and start doing stuff. My bosses-boss (is that how you write that?) has just arrived to help administer said Practical Exams, and so I'm anxiously awaiting them to begin.

I'm nervous - yes. Not of failure, not for the team; I'm nervous because of the new process as a whole. The concept we're executing out here is one that different from all the other method used at the company today to on-board people. It's not proven, and it's created from scratch, largely due to a lot of hard work from a lot of people.

The last several months have been a giant trial to determine if I can pull this project off, and it culminates over the next few days. We're ready - as ready as we're going to be. Only so much book knowledge can be absorbed, and then it is up to the execution of that knowledge. I'm proud of my team with all the hard work they've put into the last four weeks, and I know we'll be successful. Yet, I'm still anxious.

There is still so much left to do before we go live on Monday. None of it is major - it's the little things... the things that eat you up. Did we get accounts created? Do we have Telephones (well, no - they're in customs). Little things. Do we have workarounds to all of these little things - absolutely! As such, one less thing to worry about. Nonetheless, lots of little things to eat me up.

A neat site popped into my view today- one called The premise is that spending some time every day to jot down ideas/thoughts/etc is good to keep the creative juices flowing. This is very much akin to the Getting Things Done method - get things out of your head so that you stop worrying about things and start thinking about solutions. I cannot tell you how many times that I have been unable to solve a problem because I'm so busy worrying about the magnitude of things that I have to do in order to solve the problem. Take things one step at a time, clear the roadblocks, and execute. It's actually one of the benefits I have found after I started this blog - I am able to have some sort of catharsis in relation to my current life situation. Helps me cope.

Finally, I found out today how to get rid of evil spirits. It turns out, the secret ingredient is SALT! Sure enough, front page of the Manila Star this morning has this beauty!