There has been a significant change in my routine over the last couple of weeks – and this change has come about due to the fact that I am now working 6 days per week. Although there is certainly a greater sense of purpose to each day, I will admit, I do miss the freedom of my previous lifestyle which consisted of going to the gym, attempting some Spanish, figuring out what to have for lunch, going to the gym/pool again and figuring out what to have for dinner. The days (so far) instead commence at 5.30am with a shorter gym work-out, followed by the fastest shower I have ever had before I emerge hair still wet and drive Ezzy down to the administration building to catch the 7.00am bus out to my workplace “Malabo Dos”. After 10 hours in the office, I catch the shuttle bus back to compound and either: 1. go to Zumba 2. cook dinner or 3. have some beers.
Going from no work to a full six days is certainly a shock to the system!
As may be imagined, work itself is quite different to private practice in the legal system (the no-billable hours aspect is quite a novelty for one!). At the moment I’m working on familarising myself with the company’s electronic document management system, and in a few weeks time, I will be assisting to clean up and implement a new system of electronic file sharing. For someone who has recently felt that she would likely be a half-decent project manager, this may well be a step in the right direction.
However, to date, the most enjoyable parts of my day involve my interactions with the rest of the team at the office. The team consists mostly of locals plus a couple of guys from the Philippines. So far, the locals are happy to indulge me while I test out my terrible Spanish speaking skills on them and even offer corrections on occasion. One of the guys was even kind enough to lend me a portable hard-drive containing Spanish movies so that I could copy them and watch at home to assist my learning further. All I can say is that in a work environment, the group of people one works with is so critical to one’s enjoyment of the day. So far it seems I have been blessed!
As I now have my “papers” (which expire again in 60 days – funnily though, the husband had only be granted 30 days?!) the opportunities to go into town and leave compound are less likely to be missed. Fortunately, I was able to attend the belated Engineering Department Christmas party at La Luna after my first week of work – a restaurant which was more like a resort with a swimming pool in the middle, and a disco in the basement. I opted to avoid the discoteca after the husband attempted learning some dance moves from one of the local guys on the restaurant dance floor. It was a “late night” for me in that we intended to catch the last shuttle bus back to compound at midnight rather than following the rest of the “young-ans” to the Irish pub around the corner. The shuttle bus is the only “legitimate” way to return to compound – the company strongly advises against using any local taxis, being the roughed-up white and red cars that travel around town, picking up other passengers to ride with you. Not wanting to risk potential taxi-fun and me having hit my inner-midnight-pumpkin-curfew, the husband and I with a few others, waited outside the restaurant and made multiple calls to the compound to find out when the bus (scheduled for 11.30pm) was going to arrive. The constant answer effectively “it’s on it’s way” may not have been completely accurate.
One hour of waiting later, feeling sick from too many beers and lack of sleep, my patience and humour shot to shit, we were finally on the bus on the drive back.
Australia Day “celebrations” took place yesterday evening with a (very) low-key BBQ and a couple (non-Australian) beers. Tonight is a much-needed night off before tomorrow’s next town outing.
Tomorrow’s outing is into the centre of town to watch a soccer match for the African Cup of Nations which EG is hosting. I am not quite sure what to expect – other than the worst – after hearing the locals at work constantly talk about the “mucha gente” and difficulty to be faced in going out in town at the moment while the Cup is on. The match is Ivory Coast against Cameroon – although I can’t admit that I understand the rules, I am excited to be going out to a live stadium game in Africa! Fingers crossed the bus is somewhat on time tomorrow although I cannot say I’m terribly confident…