*waves* Hi. I’m alive.
Work is going well. Found my groove and I’m pretty happy. My colleagues are quite vapid and not funny but what can you do. As long as they are nice-ish and the boss is not a dick, I shouldn’t complain, amirite.
So I found myself in London in mid-March for my induction programme. They fly in newbies from all the overseas offices every three months for this. The induction programme is an intense 2-day programme where every department head presents on the work they do for the company. I only listened when the department(s) I either belonged to or had interacted with or will interact with, spoke. Otherwise I just daydreamed about what I was going to do in the evening! Nevertheless it was cool meeting IRL people I had only communicated with online.
I made the mistake of making friends with this chick from the New York office who ended up ignoring me throughout our planned “London at night” outing when she invited someone from the London office to show us around. It would have been fine as he is a local and all, except she was flirting with him all night, calling him handsome and praising every goddamn thing he said. Curiously, she only mentioned her boyfriend when this guy was out of earshot. It was sickening. When I was entering the tube to return to our hotel, I turned around and she was nowhere behind me. She was probably photographing something or other in the station but didn’t have the courtesy to tell me. (London guy had gone into the opposite tube at this point so I knew she wasn’t with him.) So wtf did I do? I entered the tube and the tube left without her. Ain’t nobody got time for disrespectful bitches. I never saw her again as we all flew out the next day, so whatever.
Joy was discovering a Bread Ahead outlet 15 minutes from my hotel so I could get my doughnut fix without having to go to Borough Market. (CBA because too far.) I honestly started having dreams about those doughnuts the moment I found out I was going to London. So I was practically shaking with glee. One time I bought some close to lunchtime and was able to expense them because the company pays for lunch.
I also got to catch up with my London-based Galway (Ireland) Airbnb flatmate, whom I got along like mad with when we met last September. We sat outside of Spitalfields Market for seven hours just gabbing and I laughed till I cried. She’s hilarious without even trying. I love her.
My adventures on this trip included getting asked out by a waiter from Honest Burgers and by a shopowner on Portobello Road. I never felt more attractive. But neither one took place as I wound up getting stood up by the waiter and I stood up the shopowner. Haaa.
After London I trained it to Germany. The Brussels attacks occurred a few days before that so it was chaotic at St Pancras and then understandably at Brussels Central Station. I took this really shitty photo of military trucks that were outside of the station. It was all I could manage as security was yelling at people, “NO PHOTOGRAPHY!” So I nervous-snapped.
Germany was…hmmmm. Maybe it was just that part of Germany though. Yeah, Stuttgart was a bit blah. But I got to hang out with SV – always a good thing – and I was brutally reminded that German food is mostly porky so I can’t move there ever. Spätzle is great though. Naturally I had the bland German version when I was there but I brought some home and I make it so delicious with butter and ground beef and caramelised onions and balsamic vinegar. Come on, Germans.
We went to some castle outside of Stuttgart and it rained the entire time. It got so cold I swear my face became frozen. Along the way SV turned me to the greatest invention ever – car seat heaters. Ahhh. Having warm butt checks when it’s freezing out is divine.
There’s not much to do in Stuttgart so for shits and giggles SV took me to a pig museum. Seriously, it’s called Schweine-Museum and it’s a museum of pig artefacts. No real pigs – that’s why it was safe for me to go.
The sun finally came out on my last day. Typical.
Verdict on Germany: Germans are (surprisingly) very friendly and the Autobahn is mental. 10/10 will go again.
Work is sending me to London again next month. This time because we’re celebrating its 10th anniversary. Yes, they’re flying all its overseas employees to London for a party. I know, right? Don’t you want to work for my company now? Heh.
It will be Ramadan though, and I’m sad that I will lose a couple of days of fasting whilst on the flights to and fro. One is officially exempt from fasting while travelling, especially for a legit reason like being on the plane due to work, but I might not be able to fast even while on the ground. It might be too hard because coming from Singapore where the times for dawn and dusk stay the same throughout the year, the 4am dawn and 9pm dusk (because it’s summer) might be a bit too taxing for someone who has never done it before. Doesn’t mean I won’t try though.
You might be wondering why I’m sad about not fasting. Isn’t fasting difficult? If I were you, I’d be looking for every possible excuse not to fast, someone said to me. Let me explain: fasting in Ramadan is one of the pillars of Islam, so if you’re a Muslim and you don’t fast for no good reason, you’re not a Muslim. Secondly, being able to fast is a privilege. One of the legit reasons for being excused from fasting is being ill. (Being diabetic falls in that category). If you are able to fast, it means you are healthy! Now isn’t that a blessing? So why would you not fast if you can?
Anyway, but of course I have to make it extra hard for myself because I am – once again – using the opportunity to do a bit of travelling. This wanderlust; it’s incurable. I am flying out a few days before the London ceremony to re-do a city I did four years ago on my first real solo trip. I don’t think I did it justice, plus I miss my friend-bro, AX.
Yaaas. Here’s one of the ways I didn’t do it justice: I didn’t visit Parc Güell. I mean, who goes to Barcelona and doesn’t visit Parc Güell? I have no good explanation, just that I was an idiot. AX now works at Parc Güell too, so I get free entrance to the paid area. Woo!
But yeah, will I be able to fast while I’m gallivanting around town in the hot summer sun? Stay tuned to find out.
So that’s June. Next Saturday I am going to Hanoi for a week. Leisure trip, not business. I was supposed to go last August but cancelled it because I decided to spend three months in Ireland instead. Halong Bay and halal pho, here I come!
In the meantime…I mopped the floor earlier this evening as I do every Sunday, then immediately forgot I’d just mopped the floor, so I walked quickly – not gingerly as one should on a slippery floor – and because no good deeds go unpunished (especially mine), I slipped and fell…on my hands. And now my arms are achy, as are my back and neck. Lovely way to cap the weekend, don’t you think?