Thursday, September 04, 2008

More Farewells

I was checking on the specifics of the luggage allowance this afternoon and learnt that from Singapore to Dubai, the airline only allows 2 pieces of check-in luggage not exceeding 20 kilograms. I weighed the backpack that I'm going to check-in, and the weighing scale shows 19.2 kilograms. I hope that scale is accurate, because excess luggage is going to cost me approximately USD 22.00 per kilogram.

I had some painkillers with my backpack earlier. While reading up on Dubai on the internet, I learnt that codeine is a prohibited drug in Dubai unless with a prescription. I can't find the doctor's prescription for my codeine among my files. It might have been discarded or packed into one of my boxes. Just in case, I took the painkillers out of my backpack.

The farewells are getting harder. A good friend told me this afternoon that she might not be around to see me off. Her uncle is dying (fourth stage of cancer) and she had to fly home to Indonesia as soon as possible. I didn't know how to respond to that, because it means this week might be the last time we see each other for a long time.

I wanted to hug her, but I didn't. I may regret that one day.

My current contract is for a year, with a renewable option. So it could be more than one year before I return.

I am asking myself why I chose to leave.

I had a long conversation with a colleague this afternoon about how leadership in an organisation affects the company culture. We talked about how people spent so much time engaged in office politics, trying to protect their petty interest. In the process they lose sight of the bigger picture. It happens in many organisations, and the company suffers because the negative influences of these politickers often spread like black ooze to other members of the organisation.

Over the past few years, I feel myself growing more disillusioned and indifferent to my job. While I complain about my former manager and her unadmirable traits, I have enough self-awareness to see how I have picked up these similar negative traits. I used to be more passionate about my job. I used to be a fighter. Now fear of office politics made me passive aggressive on the job. What happened to me?

I need to get out.


Doc Martian said...

as we get older, we're able to tolerate more horseshit. we learn that the gentle world we walked in with our parents isn't the experience that represents humanity. the key is to remember how you can fight... and know that you have it in you should the need arise... but to pick your battles. it might be because you have to take on the school system to get your kid a quality education... it might be that you need to have empathy for your kids when they scrap with the establishment... but lessons learned usually become relevant later... even if its not in the way you expect.

btw... you might want some room in your bag to buy a couple goodies at the duty-free store.

also... dates... learn some recipes with them... you'll find them more available there anywhere else in the world... except maybe my hometown of Indio, California that is the date breadbasket of the new world. date bread, stuffed dates, bacon (vegetarian, of course) wrapped dates, they're good for just plain snacking too. premium dates aren't the same beast as the ones you've probably encountered up to this point... its like having fresh milk after living on dry milk your whole life. the most common date varieties you'll encounter are deglet noor and medjool... the medjool's are thick, sweet and delicious... the deglet noors tend to be a bit dryer with body but may be more palatable than the richness of a medjool. they're safe to eat off the ground too... should you live in a region with date palms as decoration. dates are perhaps the most nutritionally complete foods in the world... the prophet muhammed would live on barley bread and dates during fasting periods and campaigns. i currently have a lb. of brunette dates that i got for $5.00 US 5-8 bucks a pound is a fair price for fresh dates... although premium varieties and packaged to ship dates may run more.


darkorpheus said...

Doc - I'm hoping to pick up the dates from their markets rather than the duty-free. I think the market experience is going to be more interesting. I hear so much about the richer parts of Dubai. I want to see the other side of Dubai - the more traditional side.

Wonder how is it like? Full of pickpockets and sly merchants out to cheat clueless tourists? Awesome! :)

Anyway, it's Ramadan, so they're not supposed to sell foodstuff at the moment.

Doc Martian said...

my advice is to hit the tourist areas... not the rich tourist areas... that should show you what to look for in the locals mercantiles... because the median priced tourist areas will generally be run by folks with less money than the high ditch hotel... so the stuff they present to you will be closer to their own reality... rather than that of a well-traveled dubai native who is trying to present a more cosmopolitan board-of-fare.

i tell you... i've lived in a town with a large latin-american population for years and still find little corners of culinary goodies that have like stared me in the face without my knowing it.

don't rush into it though. a fish out of water is often fleeced... or becomes dinner.

i'm sure you'll have some tours from co-workers and you might be able to offer money or trade goods in return for them picking up some yummy candy or tasty snack foods or choice viands. then find them later on your own once you've learned the lay of the land and its inhabitants. when i was a kid... i used to give my lunch money once in awhile to a kid who always had the choice mexican candy... some of it i wasn't able to find again for years... now *I* clue in folks who have lived here all their life where to find goodies.

Good luck.

Ana S. said...

Saying goodbye is never easy. I know it's not quite the same, but you can always tell your friend you wish you'd hugged her. And hopefully you'll be able to keep in touch via e-mail and stuff.

I think I'd feel a bit overwhelmed if I was about to move to another country for more than a year on my own, and I bet I'd second guess my decision constantly. But you know, it really sounds like this change will be good for you.

darkorpheus said...

Doc - I'll be sure to look around. Ask questions. But I guess for the moment I will need to use th expensive supermarkets. Thanks for the advice. Will keep my eyes open.

Nymeth - Not sure how soon I can get my internet up and running. But I'll try, just so that I can keep in touch.