Archive for July, 2007

Jet-lag wins…

Posted in Uncategorized on July 31, 2007 by wally426

31-07-2007 Sinagpore, Singapore

Sleeping through the night proved to be more difficult than I’d imagined. The jet-lag god finally won at about four in the morning. Luckily, there was a rerun of the Yanks-Orioles game on ESPN, watching them lose put me in such good spirits. On the way into work, I picked up some red bean and coffee sticky buns, fresh out of the oven, they were almost as good as a Brooklyn bagel. My new underling, Cuc (pronounced ‘cook’), strolled in around 9:00 and proceeded to bombard her manager with a slew of problems that had been plaguing the GPS Asia business since May. Needless to say, I’ll have my work cut out for me over the next few months! As much as I wanted to dive into work, it was tough keeping my feelings in check. There were a few times during the day where I had to excuse myself and calm those awful pangs of homesickness. Such intesnse emotions come on at the strangest times. Seemeingly out of nowhere, a memory will pop into my head and bring tears welling to the brim. Zeus’ floppy ears, dad’s gruffy laugh, the smell of my pillow at home, cigar nights with Vic, laying on the grass in the backyard watching the planes fly overhead, the heat of the subway in the morning. It’s all so vivid and close in my mind but so far away, I’ve never felt so alive and sure of where I wanted to live the rest of my life. The city is my home, and this experience will serve as a reminder of where I need to be. I went home completely exhausted around 5:30. The damn escalators have proven to be one of my biggest problems. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost gone up the wrong side, silly english need to get their sides striaghtened out! For dinner, it was giant prawn and chive dumplings, a side of sea scallops wrapped in rice noodles (delish) and some fresh mango/pineapple juice. This morning, I came into work early so I could catch up with my people on the ‘other side’. Finally spoke with mom and let go for the first time. By the end of the conversation, my nice pink shirt was soaked in tears. It’s going to be a tough transition, but with time it will all get better.

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First Impressions

Posted in Uncategorized on July 30, 2007 by wally426

27-07-2007 Frankfurt, Germany

So, this is it. The moment of truth has come and gone. New York City, my home for twenty-six years, is now in the rearview mirror. Southeast Asia is now only a few hours away. So many strange emotions are flooding my head and heart, creating a sinking feeling in my stomach that rivals the Cyclone’s first drop. A mix of longing, fear, and determination is present. For someone who enjoys talking, I have a feeling that I’ll be conversing less during my time abroad. I’m content with that, silence is a discipline that I’ve yet to master, one that all people should learn to utilize. It’s amazing how cheap some talk can be. I always envied Vic and George’s silent nature. There was so much thought they put into their words before saying them. You could see how people paid more attention to their words than people like me who loved to babble on.

Seeing Germany was quite the special experience. I couldn’t help but think of my father and grandfather as the clouds broke to reveal the telltale rolling hills and checkered farmland below. the fatherland was exactly how I’d envisioned it in my thoughts: Grey skies, patches of thick pine forests, quaint little dwellings loaded with bleach-white stucco and exposed wooden frames, a rigid, plain, organized landscape that typifies the orderliness of the German people. My only wish would have been a longer layover, if only to have a wurst and a cold beer before moving on. Speaking of which, I had my first Tiger beer on the plane, not at all bad! The service and accomodations on the plane were fantastic. being waited on hand and foot, fine champagne, impressive food, a constant barrage of hot towels, and seats that folded out into beds. Never thought I’d say this, but I’m wholeheartedly looking forward to the remainder of the flight.

 29-07-2007 Singapore, Singapore

After spotty sleep and more delectable food, we touched down in Chiangi airport at 7:15 a.m. Customs was a breeze, the baggage came quick, and the $5 cab ride (in an S-class Benz, mind you) went without a hitch! After getting set up at the Oriental, I took a short walk over to the Lehman office at 5 Suntec tower. At this point, my stomach had been turning despite everything going as planned. Nothing I’d ever experienced compared to the sadness and separation from my loved ones I was feeling. Halfway around the world, with nobody to lean on in times of need, and only my thoughts, memories, and the looming task of setting up a business in my head. Strangely enough, settling in at the Lehman office was quite comforting. They have the same color scheme, fake wood interior, and even the same telephones as the NY office. I can imagine Claire felt the same when she came across the pond. Hopefully jumping into work will be that much easier if the comfort persists. After meeting a few employees (tech guys working on a weekend move) and migrating my work profile from NY to Singapore, I decided to take a walk around the city. The air was opressively hot and humid, it was like walking over a pile of piping hot pancakes. If you know me well, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I became helplessly lost after a few minutes. All the better though, that remains the best way to know and understand a city. After wandering around streets that were devoid of people, the Raffles hotel appeared, bustling with life. Eventually I found my way to the places I’d been most curious about, the Little India / Arab Quarter sections of town. The open air markets were a sight, teeming with people drifting past dried sea creatures, old watches, rings, sunglasses, bikes, buddha statues, saris, spices, and fabrics. The smell of dead fish, curry, and burning cloves hung heavy in the sultry air. After fighting off hunger all day and feeling apprehensive about the food, I gave in and had my first meal: Prata (a baked egg dough) with curried chicken and vegetables. I washed it down with a refreshing banana smoothie afterwards, quite the tasty meal. Afterwards, the jet lag hit pretty hard. With any luck, I’ll sleep most of the night and kick the jet-lag gods squarely in the balls. Enjoy the pics, I’ll be in touch… Miss and love you all terribly!