Sunday, May 10, 2009

Saturday at the Apartment

Last night I watched the correspondent's gala dinner with President Obama in C-Span. I enjoyed the show , especially the jokes from the President and the featured comedian. To me some of the jokes where harsh but I guess it's nothing in this culture. One should really have a thick skin to survive here. We spent the whole day in the apartment yesterday. We only went out to Wendy's to buy burgers and chicken for dinner. Before the C-Span show, we watched the romantic comedy 'Notting Hill' with Julia Roberts. I have watched this show many times but I am a sucker for the romantic moments especially in the end when the male lead tries to win the lady back. It's a great movie with wonderful performances especially from Hugh Grant.

I was able to exercise yesterday morning and I wanted to swim afterwards but people started coming and there where kids jumping in the pool which was not conducive for swimming laps. I will try again today before going to church. It was a relaxing day as I was able to sleep for a few hours in the afternoon after watching mindless television. I cooked adobo chicken for lunch and it was not bad. Since coming here, I have had a lot of opportunities to cook and, so far, I have cooked adobo, picadillo, baked pork chops, baked steak and adobong sausage. I was afraid at first but I guess necessity removes any doubts. When one is faced with an urgent need, one just plunges along.

I also spent some time surfing the Internet yesterday and wasted again some time. But I think I can better focus here than in the past. Life here focuses on the essentials. I do not blog as much in the office like in Singapore (which I should not really do) but more at fear at being caught. So I get to focus on work and I realize that I cannot concentrate while listening to the others in their cubicle. My mind goes into overdrive so I plan to bring my Sony Walkman so I can listen to music which I hope will help me concentrate. It will limit the opportunity to listen in to the conversation around me. This is the main distraction that prevents me from focusing.

Last Thursday, I attended a forum about a new collaboration tool to be used in the office. It was a good tool which encourages collaboration with several people in the project. They talked about blogging and seems that most people do not blog as compared to my own experience. Is that a sign of normality? But I am surprised by the high level of technical understanding of the people in the room who have been working for many years in the company. The featured person in the meeting was someone who has worked there for 20 years. Most of them are middle-aged already but are very open to the new changes happening everywhere. I guess my experience is something that gets me in the door and I should really excel to rise up when compared to the crowd here which is at a higher level in terms of maturity, seriousness and ability.

I am inspired by Obama when I talk with people and speak with others in public. I think I tend to speak like him, copying his cadences and use of words. I have listened to his 2 books and watching him progress especially last night in his speech is really an inspiration. His books make you know him better and allow you to try to be a better speaker. There is no other role model I can think of to guide aside from the immediate people in the office that I admire. It was a good relaxed day yesterday with a few moments of anxiety which my mind again attaches to the the government document. The gala show last night was a good end to this day.

I guess it will be a sign of my progress if I handle anxious situations in a more mature manner. I still have a lot of thinking faults which I have to correct. It's affecting my performance as well in the office. But realizing these wrong thinking patterns is a good start. My problem is anticipating and second guessing, by thinking too much. But working over here makes me realize that thinking too much is a liability. It impacts clear thinking. So there is more impetus here to silence the mind and listen to people and assess the situation. In fact one should get up and start talking and meeting with people. This cannot happen if one thinks too much.

Listening to a lecture last week from TED, it's the background noise that affects people from learning and building new connections in the brain. How true indeed. I started to imagine how living here would mean to my family. Previously I cannot visualize beyond this point. My worst scenario plays out in the mind that I cannot see further than next week. But I am more relaxed now and I get to imagine living in my new flat. To finally experience the new life once I get my papers. But in fact I am already living the new life which I do not yet acknowledge. Selling the flat in Singapore is a major milestone to think forward now. In the office, I do a lot of visual thinking in paper to help me think forward in moments when my mind is not functioning at all. So I am trying to use all the tools I learned to make me effective.

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