First off, I obviously took a while to blog again. A couple of reasons for that:
A) I've been busy. The act of moving into and furnishing an apartment is really really time consuming. (Plus side: I'm in an apartment and when my couch shows up this week, I'll actually be able to sit down and relax in my own apartment). Also work's been draining, it's been taking so much out of me that it's hard to find the energy to write about anything.
B) Work isn't the only thing that draining. Culture shock and settling in can also take a bit of an emotional toll. It hasn't been an easy adjustment and it wasn't a couple of weeks that I wanted to blog about for everyone to see. But I'm sure anyone who's done anything like this knows what I've been going through. You miss the little things that make home, home. And the little annoyances in your new location just grate on you until you can barely stand it. But you wait and you hold tough and you realize that it's all going to be alright. (A good night out drinking with another New Yorker who can talk baseball can really be a mental reboot. Good to see you Greg!)
C) Most of my expendable mental energy has gone into making sense of my other situation. I spent a lot time in self reflection and making sure I felt alright or if I didn't, why. It really was monopolizing my thoughts (and rightfully so) but again it was nothing to blog about. Despite Facebook and Twitter and all the others, deep personal introspection has no place in the digital public square.
I have no intention of complaining about any of the above, I just wanted to give some reasons for why I've been so quiet.
The big event of note was the Arup Annual Dinner. This is like a holiday party in that it's around Christmas and with everyone from the office. Those are about the only ways however. First and most notably, there is a theme. 2011: Circus Circus. So during cocktail hour* there were clowns and magicians. If your company didn't have anyone on a unicycle at the holiday party, you missed out. But the performers weren't the most noteworthy aspect of the theme. That would be the fact that those attending are welcome to dress in costume. So it's a formal thing (I wore a suit) but you can also wear a costume, there were employees dressed as clowns, monkeys, ring leaders, etc. This isn't just tolerated, there's a costume contest built into the entertainment. (More on the entertainment later). So they're giving out Long Service Awards to people who've been with the company a while and surrounded by well dressed coworkers, there's a guy in a circus monkey costume accepting his award. Now if you don't have a crazy costume but still want to accessorize they had a table with clown wigs, giant glasses, sequin bowties, etc. The Directors were encouraged to don a little gay apparel. I had never seen anything like this.
And the entertainment. They had two emcees (going over everything in two languages) they had Vegas style show girls with the outfits and the feathers, they had professional singers who apparently were old celebrities around here. A number of the locals went nuts!! (One singer sang a medley of James Bond themes...) Of course there was a live band to go with them, too. They had a professional hula hoop girl come do some amazing things! It was a spectacle. And the production value. A huge stage with a professional set. Four giant screens with pro quality video cameras filming so everyone could see from anywhere in the banquet hall. It was stunning!
And breaking up the courses of dinner were silly games. Music Bingo, create the longest chain of balloons, etc etc.
You might ask yourself, "what's the catch? That's got to be expensive." And the catch is booze. There was beer, and wine with dinner. But that's it. No real bar like at an old fashioned party at home. But I suppose you can't have it all.
So other than that, I'm finding more things to make myself comfortable here. Discovering places in the western districts that are pretty neat. There's an Italian Delicatessen that I found that I will probably go back to on regular basis. Prosciutto and Mozzarella!
What else, what else? I have a television but I'm only getting the base set of channels right now which doesn't have a wide range of English language stations. I find myself watching literally anything on the Australia Network. I might buy a BBC package and a sports package (ESPN would be so nice) but I'm going to hold off a bit on that.
I do miss all of you guys and anyone who finds themselves on Skype at an hour when I'm awake here, my skype handle is christopherpsimon.
Also download either whatsapp (+85293002381) or textplus (cpsimon), for your Androids/iPhones and we can text for free.
I'd love to hear from you guys.
Sorry I don't have pics. But I'll get some up when I have a couch and I've sorted things a little more.
*Cocktail hour was cheap beer, orange juice, and coca cola. No real cocktails to speak of. But it was an hour...