Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sungguh...aku tersentuh...!!

Assalamualaikum w.b.t...

Let me tell you a series of events, and then at the end of the day how all that make me feel.
  1. Arriving at Residential Area with 2 people waiting.
  2. Arriving at the office with a booked cubicle under my name
  3. Heard my name mentioned even before I stepped into my future boss' room.
  4. Having talked to another manager (my future boss' level) only to find out he knows almost all about my recruitment, justification and what kind of development that I should be looking at.
  5. Receiving series of welcome email from fellow Malaysians here. And this leads to another memorable moments. By lunch time, a guy walks in, my future boss had emailed him earlier, letting him know that I am visiting, in just hours, I received those 'Selamat Datang' greetings, and this guy walks into the office and asked if I can join him for lunch, meet Bunyak, from Sarawak. We took a seat at the restaurant and sitting next to me was Vladimir (a pinoy by the way) and later Anton and Ravi (I think) join us. I get my brief intro to MASIP (used to stand for Malaysians in Port Harcourt) but now they have converted to Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore & Phillipines gang. They started throwing tips, jokes, do's and don'ts and there has even be a request for me to cook nasi lemak. 
  6. Today,we had Safety Day at work and I have to leave by lunch time to meet with the Outpost ladies (the expats wife) in the RA. Taxis were not available to send me back, so what happen is I was sent back to RA by the GM's driver (the GM is my boss's boss). Siap ada escort lagi..(well, that's standard, due to safety reason)..
    escort kat belakang ye...
  7. Same thing, during lunch I get more tips, packing list, tricks to 'bring in' stuffs and the whole enchilada. 
  8. The head of the Outpost ladies is actually the wife to my boss's boss. She later drove me around to look for the houses. The condition was bad, at least few that we looked at was a total rundown. No doubt the real estate people will fix it before I came, but the condition is too bad that it will take quite some time for the renovation. Of course we weren't too happy. My boss's boss was actually out on business trip, and he only came back later in the afternoon. With some turns of events, I was stuck with the wife until he came back. I met him for the first time in their house. (Gila ko..first time jumpa dah kat umah..gila personal) She told him about the houses condition, and he somehow sits on this committee that discuss about this kind of stuff, promised to bring this up. There are few other houses that we are supposed to look at, but tomorrow would be my last day. He asked me to push some of the appointment and make time to iron out all about the house issue. I will be in the office in the morning, and hence need a separate arrangement for the transport back to RA by lunch time, and guess what...? the GM offered his car and his driver...again...!!!
    Denise checking out the house for me
They even sent me back to the guest house after that. Reaching the room, it dawn on me, did I deserve this? I definitely gets way more than I deserve, too much, too good. Regardless, I felt blessed, rasa syukur sangat-sangat that Allah has put me in this position, around all of these people. Seriously rasa tak layak dapat nikmat sebanyak ini. I pray for Allah to give me the strength to deliver what I have promise them, moga Allah permudah segala urusan visa dan segala bagai...
*mode hari : tersentuh sangat-sangat....

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Residential Area 101

Assalamualaikum w.b.t,

I touched down here, Port Harcourt on Monday, the experience from Lagos to PH was horrible (jalan free lagi nak complaint kan..? hampeh) . But seriously, both airport are currently under going renovation, and it was not really much of an airport. The crew was shouting for which flight is departing (no notice board ok) and we the passengers have to go out and identify our bags right at the stairs leading to the plane, only then the luggage gets loaded to the plane. Horror..!! Ok, to cut long story short, I arrived in one piece at the company's residential area (RA).
Logistic crew loading the luggage
I was greeted by the protocol people in airport and sent to the residential area, where I will be staying for the next few nights. At the RA, two people were waiting for me (bangga kejap, nasib baik takde carpet merah..hehehe..) One was Annie, she's a fellow Malaysian, following her husband who started working here ~1 year ago. They have this expat network and they do lookout for one another, so when they heard that I am coming for the visit, they make a point to meet and greet me and put all effort to make me feels welcome.

Another one was my future work buddy, Uche. He was in close contact with the protocol people even as soon as I touched down at Lagos. After the brief introduction, he left me with Annie since he sees me already in good hands. Annie showed me around a bit, such as places to eat, where to buy things and few others. After lunch and short break, I met Annie and her husband and they took me to dinner.

Let me tell you about the residential area, its an area owned by the company, with 3m walls surrounding it, topped with barb wire (and a secondary inner wall that is 1m distance from the main wall). What does that sounds to you? A prison? almost definitely..hehehe.. When I was brought in, I was in a van that was fully curtained, that is why I didn't realize the built of the wall. The expat living inside the RA (or camp) are not allowed to drive out, so both Annie and her hubby had bicycle, the lent their son's bike and we cycled to the next door camp that belongs to another company operating in Port Harcourt. During the short cycle, only then I realize the whole wall etc. The next neighbouring camp also was heavily guarded, but a little bit more relaxed compared to our camp. According to Annie, we are not allowed to go out un-escorted. Any trip are to be planned ahead. They have organized trip to buy groceries..(betul..tak tipu..)

For day to day needs, we can get from few stores inside the camp, but sometimes they need to get it from outside, and since PH is an industrial area, the cost of living is also quite high. Annie was advising me to include groceries inside my shipment as well. The transporter are not liable for food, so we have to bear the risk for any damage, lost, etc.. I am starting my checklist now. I have yet to see my potential house, plan for this Thursday, insyaAllah. The list will grow then. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Hidup Huru Hara...and for what?

Assalamual'alaikum w.b.t,

My life has been a complete mess of upside down for the past few weeks. Many reasons but let me just tell you two :)

One, we (the women at work) has been working on converting a cabin from a construction project to a mini library. I was tasked to be head of the furniture team. We started off by having a charity carwash on 9th May whereby the employees are asked to bid for their choice of leadership team members to clean their car. Of course, there were some hesitation at first in getting people to bid, :P but after a bit of persuasion, we managed to get the bid in. It was a success, we managed to raise more than RM 1500 in both bidding and donations.
volunteers playing a fool

this group really did their thing :D
From that money, off we went to IKEA and of course Jusco to splurge on the bookcases and pillows, the end result..tara...!!!
Furniture's team vision came true ;) Feature wall was done by a contractor, painting was taken care by other task force

The collection of Malay version of Harry Potter. My gift to the kids !!
Seronoknyala boleh summarize 1 month of hardwork to 2 para and 4 pictures (you wish is it that easy..hehehe..) Regardless, we handed over the library to the folks, and PD womens club will follow up to maintain the library.

In the midst of running around organizing stuffs for the library, I was also running around KL-PD almost once every 3 days or so, all because to settle things that leads to me being here. Where? Here, in a soon to be my rice bowl country, insyaAllah. As mentioned before, I received a new job offer, and yes, I am now in Nigeria. I am not starting work yet. I am on my APT (assignment preview trip). Leading to this, I need to get my medical check up done, which leads to multiple types of vaccination, you name it, I would most probably have the shots already, starting from the famous yellow fever vaccine, rabies (3 shots!!) , meningitis, hepatitis and yes I am still due for typhoid once I get back next week. Those shots are all taken in KL and I was scheduled to get it on Wednesday, so yes, KL-PD dah macam Cheras to Times Square dah gayanya...tiring OK!!

What more with the whole visa application, chasing letters from the Hague and all kinds of bureaucratic matters. At last I managed to get my visa on Friday 14th June. Flight confirmed on 15th, what kind of time gap that I have :P and that is not the whole of it, I still need to apply for my actual visa once I got back in KL. This is only a once off business visa for the APT trip only.

Let me just share the legs of travel this far (and I am not even at the final destination yet).
2200H : Taxi from flat to LRT Cheras
2220H : LRT Cheras to Tasik Selatan
2240H : ERL from Tasik Selatan to KLIA
2320H : Reached KLIA (I prefer the train from KL Sentral, non stop and only 28 minutes to KLIA)

0330H : KUL-Doha (flight time est 7.5 hrs)
1100H : Reached Doha , 1 hours break before transit
1200H : Doha - Lagos (flight time est 7.5 hrs)
1900H : Reached Lagos (local time around 1400H)
ye...nama saya binti Yusop..hahaha..dieya, totally got you :D
ample space for my foot..tidoq tak hengat!!
Am staying in for the night. Tomorrow morning (0900H local time) I'll be flying to my final destination, Port Harcourt. It will be a 1 hour flight. And from Monday till Thursday, I'll be meeting my future team mates, bosses and potentially neighbors too..!! Can't wait :)

on the way to hotel from airport. normal scene for them, well at least much better than begging, they earn their living and nothing wrong with that.