Saturday, April 18, 2009
We arrived at Washington Dulles airport at about 4:15 pm local time. We missed the connecting flight to South Carolina so we had to stay the night in Washington. We took the next available flight the next day at 8:05 am. We had a rented car and placed our things and went to our temporary apartment. The real estate agent met us at the airport and took us around the city. We went to her office and looked at a few houses in the Internet. I liked a few and wondered if I could afford the mortgage. I have to speak to a loan specialist before deciding. We had lunch at the Liberty bridge in downtown. My son had a super sandwich and enjoyed the place. After lunch we went and looked at about 5 to 6 houses. I liked a few and wondered if I could afford it.
The apartment is great - 2 bedrooms and 2 baths in an upscale location near the office. My former colleagues who transferred here earlier, met us in our place and we had dinner at the local Apple bees. It was a nice dinner where we had steak and ribs. We went back a bit late and I felt tired since it was a full day. The next day I went to the office and had an orientation with the relocation manager. Finally I got to meet her after corresponding with her by email and talking to her by phone. She is a wonderful person. My son was with me and like the real estate agent, kept talking to him to engage him. I appreciate that gesture to engage him and I think he learned a lot from the meeting with them. In the afternoon I met my new colleagues and had a chance to know them more. Generally, they all seem warm, friendly and welcoming.
We had dinner with my former colleagues again who are actually a married couple. We all used to work for the same company back in Manila and they recently got married a few months back. During the past 2 days since we arrived, we always have dinner together. They kindly showed us around and helped buy our groceries. Today, I was a bit late at work and spent the morning getting my badge, meeting with the relocation manager again and giving her the needed documents. I was able to get my account at the local credit bank and at the Bank of America. I plan to use one or the other to make a loan and purchase a car and a home. The relocation manager suggested that I can take another job during the weekend once I get my social security card. She is a shrewd lady.
The office is great, probably the best one in the company. I started to meet the people I work with and generally I liked them. I started reading on the project that I am going to do. It's actually a simple but challenging project. I will work as a functional analyst in the project. It seems that I am reporting to 2 bosses. Functional to the project manager - a nice guy that looks like a middle-aged Ryan O Neal. My hierarchical boss is a nice lady who help set-up my laptop and connection to the network. It was all working fine and had a chance to review my mail and read a few documents. I left the office at about 6:10pm and there were only a few employees left. Most people had already gone home early for the weekend.
Earlier in the afternoon, I felt a bit tired and did not feel like talking to anyone. My boss, the Ryan O Neal character told me that I should be taking more and he gently told me to keep asking questions. I realized suddenly that the name of the game is to be articulate and that I should communicate more. This is the crucial skill to succeed in this environment. There is no time for doubt and deep thinking. This place is all about movement and action. I have to spend a lot of time networking and communicating. I also just got alerted about my ACB certificate. My friend back in Singapore was able to register me. I guess I now have the chance to start using everything I learned from Toastmaster as well as the lessons from my previous project. I guess I am lucky to be given another chance to start a new life.
I think that the spirit of the place will not allow me to read a lot but to engage in action. So more writing instead of reading and procrastination. Instead of introspection, the premium is on practicality and engagement. I have to be very careful and rely on my instincts more. It's a great place to live and there are a lot of opportunities to grow. I started to look in some site in the Internet to meet new people with the same interest in writing and reading. But on second thought I think I should spend more time with my son. It's an opportunity for bonding. The new world is a place to start anew and I should know what is the opportunity that I should not miss. I think my main mission is to help my wife and children adjust and it will help me adjust as well.