Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The end of Africa journey

Today, I’m a proud daddy’s little girl who can happily claimed she has successfully completed her 6.5 months Africa life. Despite the tough pre-mid life crisis, stinky environment, silty country and more and more work stresses, today I can finally concluded that the 6.5 months experience was priceless. The journey to an African country was never an easy one. I have to quickly adapt to the change in environment, change in culture, change in work ethics, change in communication skills, and most importantly was change in mindset. Without the lalter, nobody can ever survive in any country.

Africa is totally different than any other countries that I’ve been to. Not that I’ve been to a lot of places, but with my limited travelling experience, I still think there are a lot of things that you should expect if you ever went to this country. Based on my one and only African country experience (soon to be a second one, duh!), one should expect the following whenever you book your ticket to Africa.
  • Expect lots of diarrhea, so be very careful when it comes to food. Don’t get too excited with their local food and never ever make any drink using the tap water. In Mauritania and I believe in many other places too, they have big issues with water supply. In Mauritania for instance, has no drainage system at all and limited sources of water. People value water more than anything else, and to be able to get a proper shower in the morning and evening would probably be in most of the local peoples’ wish list. No I kid you not. 
  • Learn their language. It’s not necessarily important to be fluent in whatever language they speak, but enough to grab few key words to get you going around. In Mauritania, they speak mainly French and Arabic and I don’t know any of both. I learnt few French words there and pretty much can get me survived in the city. But French is quite difficult I would say as they have separate lingo for male and female and many other things that I don’t even know how to describe! But hey, I enjoyed speaking French. Bonjour!
  • Lower down your expectation. If you came from a hip metropolitan city where you think people are very much civilized (except for mat rempits?), then you have to quickly change that perception. It’s always good to have ZERO expectation wherever you go so that you won’t end up disappointing yourself.
  • Do not bring your favorite expensive clothes. Not sure of other African country, but Mauritania is a country of sand. I believe it’s just the same in other parts of the continent. I had my brand new shoes sand blasted after just 2 weeks of living there. If you were ever to be deployed to this type of country, bring a cheap shoes and clothes. As they also have problems with water supply, you may want to consider bringing dark color clothes.
  • If you have international driving license, don’t bother using it. Not sure of other parts of the continent but Mauritania is a dangerous place for me to drive. They follow French rules, left hand side driver and they have almost no traffic light. They are developing and just had their traffic lights installed. Give it few years, and I think they are going to be okay.
  • Their night club was pretty much happening and don’t be surprised to see fully covered female end up having very minor clothes on her body when she entered the building. AHA!
I enjoyed myself there and learnt their culture. It’s disappointing as I didn’t manage to explore the whole city, didn’t go to the dunes or even ride a camel or donkey!! Better luck and more time in the next project!
More Africa project and I’m pretty much prepared for it. Bring it on bosses! :P

Among the best moment I had on the rig.. miss you grandpa!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Where Life Took Me

I feel blessed to be on this rig now when all this not-so-nice episodes knocking hard on me. Somebody said it’s not shit, it’s another chapter for my life book and there are some good memories in it. I can’t seem to disagree with this statement. Though it’s considered as the toughest challenge for me so far, but it also carried the best wonderful memories with it. I’ll take the beautiful memories and leave the bitter part behind.

I didn’t walk down 2010 memory lane on this blog. 2010 was a year of everything. I had the best experience in my life as well as the hardest pain too. Sounds balanced isn’t it? Had few wakeup calls and brought me back to this path, wiser.

I’ve always been so stubborn and it has been running in my blood since I was born. But with all the unfortunate events, I learnt to step back when I need to and learnt to listen even though I do not agree with what I’ve to listen to. I hope it stays in me for the rest of my life as I do not wish to go back to the dark side of me.

I could say 2010 was the “moving” year. After serving Petroleum Management Unit for 4 years, I decided to take one step further and joined the operator. And I took a big jump to be in deep water, instead of shallow water with almost zero knowledge. I started fresh, as new as fresh graduates. I have to say being in the management for 4 years really helped me a lot. The vast difference between me and colleagues made bosses gave me the responsibility to handle management stuff.

I was given a huge opportunity to travel across the country for a couple of time. And I’ve placed my footprints in few other countries that I’ve been dying to visit. And it was all paid for! *with huge seat too!* Nothing more that I can say except thank you God for creating this path for me! My career has been treating me good since the beginning. Not that I’m bragging about it, but I’m really thankful and grateful for that. I know I’ve not done my very best to be in this seat today but I’ll try to improve it from now on.

I’ve pinned few European countries & UK and I’ve always love Europe. The feeling of being in these countries can never be described in words, be it when it’s warm or cold. But yeah I hate cold weather! And the major achievement in my personal shopping history was when I shopped like a mad woman during summer sale in London. Bliss! Besides shopping experience, I’ve seen so many beautiful sceneries that just made me stop thinking of everything else. Deep inside me, I wish to live in that kind of country one day, where I can walk down the road without feeling insecure, enjoy the sun and the breeze, be romantic all day long with my loved ones. *one day hunn, dalam erti kata lain, gua nak kawin mat saleh okey? haha* But yeah, I also had to experience being stranded in London for almost a week when the volcano erupted and disrupted the whole Europe airspace. And it was both a freaky and fun experience!

After so many business trips a.k.a. free shopping trips, I was finally deployed to work outside of Malaysia. First time ever for me to be away from home for more than 2 weeks! And I survived to be in Africa for almost 4 months now with another 2 months to go *hopefully*. A very valuable experience, for both career and life. There’s always a first time for everything and this is the very first time for me for so many things. First time to work outside of Malaysia. First time to work on the rig for deepwater operations. First time to be in Africa. First time for every single thing! And again, I survived and enjoying every moment of it.

Being on this rig is just wonderful. Previously I did work with few expats and I always enjoyed working around them. But the rig in Malaysia will always have another Malaysians onboard so you will never feel like missing home or anything like that. Here, I have to deal with my ever challenging work load & expectation and also great deal with emotion. I became very close with almost everybody on this rig. I noticed its always enjoying being out here on the rig rather than working in the office and sucking up to all the politics.

I meet a lot of people from other places, where we always change views on everything. We talk about our life, country, religion, work wise and everything you can think of. It’s an amazing experience and undoubtedly it broadens my knowledge in various aspects. Some are very young and some are very old but I enjoy being around them and I know they like me too! *okay puke now!*

I learn new things every day. No matter what happen today, take the good things with you and use it to start your day tomorrow. There’s always a good thing in everything that you do. I love talking to these people, who are way older than me. I call them grandpa and dad. And they all love joking with me. But hey, life is all about being happy and having fun.

And today I learn new definition of life from “dad” Kurt.. “No fake, no bullshit and no mickey mouse.. That's what I call life”. I love you all!!