Well, it is starting to seem more and more like home here. I am getting used to a lot now. Some of the things that will take getting used to will be not being a loud American (who would have thought - me = loud???) as well as using Britiish grammar (i.e. programme) and definitely the metric system day-to-day! The food situation is still taking some getting used to, especially since the mini fridge in my room does not get cold at all. So, i am very limited in what groceries I can buy; I've been living on granola bars, chex mix, grapefruit, noodles, hot tea, water and gatorade. Not bad, but boring. I have a little pitcher in my room that boils water, so maybe I can get creative - I'm thinking oatmeal.
Today was the first day I had two hot meals. For breakfast, I decided to splurge before work and stop at the buffet. I didn't eat nearly as much as I thought I would: turkey casserole (the only meat I've eaten since I arrived), pancake with syrup (meh), danish, olives, cucumbers, orange juice and tea - all in dainty little portions. The good news was that apparently I am special: the guys at the check out asked for my room number even though I was paying cash, and they lifted a note on their counter that said I get a 20% discount for breakfast. Woo Woo! Then for lunch, I went out with a few of the engineers I work with - Samar, Nidal, and Khaled, all originally from Lebanon and all very friendly. We went to a place called Times Square, which is kind of like a food court. Today, I just had a three cheese with mushroom panini; I wanted a falafel wrap but Samar said other places had better. So maybe tomorrow.
I got a taxi to take me to work this morning and the guy had NO clue where to go. He was very nice, but I basically gave him directions based on the map on my blackberry. The good news is that I know exactly where I am going! So, I'm thinking I may soon rent a car and get moving; apparently Americans can get their driver's license fairly easily here, while many people from other countries have a very difficult time.
I arrived at my office and right away the older man who gets our drinks during the day brought me a glass of water and a hot tea the way I like it (milk and sugar). This was the first of three teas he brought me (the third he brought me as soon as I returned from lunch), plus my usual breakfast tea. I feel like the summer I spent in England all over again - today I had 4 cups of tea and I wanted more!
I actually started my first job today - writing a report for a resort in Oman. Very very simple geology and no engineering recommendations as it was just a straight factual report. This is a good way to introduce me to the writing guidelines here at the office. Most of the difficulties I had with the assignment were not technical but regional differences (what the heck is this guy's name? Where is this place? Word has lots of red - is this spelled correctly?)
The HR lady came in briefly this afternoon saying she hadn't abandoned me but had just been really busy. Getting my degree attested may take longer than 30 days, which is what my stamp in my passport says. Not to worry - they will just send me to the Oman office for a few days if necessary, giving me an additional 30 days. I tried not to smile too much; I've been dying to go to Oman!
Joevet took me to the nearest metro, which is unfortunately not that near the office, at 5:00, where i hopped the train to Sharaf DG. Like I said - old pro now! For tomorrow, I'm going to take a taxi in the morning then see about getting a bus from near the office which should take me to the metro. Maybe this weekend, I will look into renting a car. Joevet and I are supposed to hang out on Friday - she is going to show me some places in the City. Yay!
Also, I talked (via email) with a contact one of my coastal engineering colleagues introduced me to; he has some young engineers that may be up for taking me out. Double Yay! (This included another discussion about how "Alexis" is not a common girls' name in most of the world; he originally asked me if I wanted to go out with his younger engineers to pick up girls...)
Well, I am exhausted again, but at least I lasted the whole day today! It is amazing to me that I've already completed my second workday of the week and you all have yet to start.... Good night!
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