12 January 2007

A taste of the life

This whole week, I’ve been in Warrenville, IL working at a client’s office. Every day was spent in meetings, going over software requirements line by line. Long, tedious meetings and discussions that were very useful to us understanding better what the client wants and needs. It’s been a really fruitful and insightful week, but very draining.

This has been our routine. We arrive at the client’s office before 9am and the morning session goes from 9am to noon. We eat lunch at cafeteria, which is pretty nice and serves good food. The afternoon meeting goes from 1pm to 5pm. Then we check our email, make phone calls to the office, etc. Then we head back to the hotel and we partake in the happy hour at the hotel lobby. They serve a different treat everyday (chicken wings, mozzarella stick, etc) and we can enjoy some wine. After happy hour, we either rest up or work out. Three times this week, I managed to head to the gym and run on the treadmill for 30 mins. Kind of feels weird doing this after having even just a few sips of wine. Then we meet up for dinner. We’ve had Korean, stir fry, pizza, seafood, pasta, and so on. I have a container of Ben&Jerry’s ice cream in the fridge in my room. Eating is such an easy pasttime when there’s nothing much else to do. Scary.

After getting back to the hotel, we do more work, send more email, watch TV, then go to sleep.

This is the life of a contractor who travels to the customer’s office. Work, work, work, eat, eat, eat, then work some more. Once I get to my hotel room, I can’t seem to stop myself from going to the computer to review the notes for that day, to add more things to my to do list, and do more work. And even when I manage to close my laptop, my brain still doesn’t stop. It’s churning away, going over the discussions we had that day, thinking of what should be done and what will be coming in the next few weeks and months. Thinking, thinking, thinking. The only time my brain would stop thinking about work is when I watch TV. No husband and cats to distract me. No home to be my retreat.

This week has been a great learning experience and this will really help me do my job better. This business travel life, though, I can’t imagine how people do this week after week. I’d get really fat if this was my way of life. Especially with the size of food servings here. Even the salad is in a massive bowl.

Anyway, I miss my home, my hubby, my cats. Here, it’s me and my Mac. Not quite the same.

Tomorrow, though, Randy and I get to explore downtown Chicago. Yay, it’s a break from working all the time and living in a hotel. We plan to visit the Art Institute, Michigan Ave, and Museum of Science and Industry. I’m looking forward to it very much.

8 January 2007

Are you over 25?

When Randy and I picked up the rental car at Hertz at O’Hare airport on Sunday, we informed the lady processing our rental that I will be an additional driver. She looked at me and asked if I was over 25 years of age. 25! I actually was speechless for about two seconds because I was mulling whether she asked that question all the time or if she actually thought I was around 25. Then Randy blurts out “25 years old?!?” and I realized that she didn’t ask him if he was over 25. Oops. I told her that I was, unfortunately, over 25. Randy asked her how old she thought I was and she said “hmmm, around 22 years old”. 22! Hahahaha.

4 January 2007

That went fast

It’s 2007. What happened to 2006? We celebrated the coming of 2006 at Paul Chung’s house and that party seems like it was just last weekend. Has it been a year? Lot of things did happen in 2006 but time sure just sped by. Let’s see... The highlights are:

• Training for and running in the 10k Vancouver Sun Run. I really was not much of a runner prior to that but after the first few painful runs in January, I began to enjoy it. By April, I was going on 10k runs after work. At the Sun Run, I finished in 62:30 minutes and I was happy with that result.
• Training for and competing at the Vancouver dragon boat festival in June. I took my training more seriously - running, weight training, time in the marathon canoes, and of course, our team practices. The hard work felt good.
• Trying out paddling in outrigger canoes starting in July. I joined the novice program at FCRCC and by August, I raced in my first ever outrigger race. It was in Vernon and it was a 27km long race that required water changes. It was a lot of fun!
• My first ever admission into a hospital’s emergency room. Interesting experience.
• Our visit to the Philippines. Definitely the highest of highlights for me and Ed. Spending time with family and old friends, visiting new places, experiencing new adventures. It was a wonderful trip.
• Christmas with Lizza and Pat in Spokane, WA. An excellent way to end the year.

Other very notable notables:
• !Dop Van Dop (aka Joshua) was born. Cute little sweetie.
• Josh and Mon got married. (and 5 other couple friends tied the knot and we got to share their special day with them)
• Introductory flying lesson. Thanks to Ed who gave the lesson to me as a Christmas gift, I spent an hour in a two-person plane and I even got to take the controls for a while. It was a little bit of a dream come true.

We had one lowlight - our house got broken into in late April. Bastards!

I’ve been thinking that 2006 was a humdrum year for me but after thinking back and recognizing the highlights and notables, it actually was a good year. There were some disappointments, definitely, and many things for me to improve on but I continued to have excellent health, a job that I enjoy, great friends, two very adorable cats, and a loving husband. I also spent more time with my family here in Vancouver and my sister in Manila. And these are really what matter. I look forward to being blessed with these gifts again in 2007.