Kendra's First Day at the MDC
6:00am, Tuesday, 1/10/2006 in Manila
Hello! It is Kendra. We seem to be doing so much that it is difficult to keep up with the blog site, but we will be able to fall into more of a pattern on our return trip. This is my first entry on the site, as I am still more used to writing emails. Tim will update the site later today with our Enchanted Kingdom information from this past Sunday.
Yesterday was my first day going to MDC (the Manila Delivery Center). I went downstairs to b3 and used the car service to go to the Accenture office at the Makati Stock Exchange. The office is not far away at all, but I wanted to take the car for four reasons:
- It is complimentary for Accenture personnell
- I wasn't exactly sure how to get there
- The air polution in the city is really bad (however, this does not prevent a large percentage of the population from smoking)
- It is much hotter here than I am used to (although they tell me it is a "cold" month) and I didn't want to arrive my first day sweating like a pig
The project manager, Andy, met me downstairs in reception after about 15 minutes. He, like everyone else on the project, is extremely friendly. I sat in a cube next to his. I went over to meet the project team that I have been working with virtually for several years now. It was a very happy meeting! Some of the girls squealed and everyone gave hugs.
The first dilemna of the day was in picking out my clothes. The method we took at home was to pack all of our clothes for Manila in several suitcases and then take 3 of them in checked luggage this first trip and then 2 more the next time we come out. Well, wouldn't you know that one of the 2 that we left at home was the one with ALL of my work shirts. I have 7 pair of pants and about that many skirts, but only a t-shirt and a PJ tank top. After trying on several of Tim's, I realized I would have to wear my pj tank top under my suit. (Tim is much broader than I am in the shoulders and chest and his shirts come down to my knees). This was an OK solution. Didn't really look strange, but I couldn't take off my suit jacket, and it was HOT. Tim went to the mall to get me a plain tank top and some nylons so that I had at least one other option.
The group as a whole seems very young at heart. Some of them are my age but a lot more easy going and they laugh all the time and are very relaxed about almost everything. Some of them I think are in fact quite a bit younger than I am. They can't believe how tall I am in comparison, and it seems a little intimidating to some of the women from the other projects when I wash my hands next to them in the bathroom or I'm walking in the hall. Even things like the water coolers are very low and I have to squat down or bend down very far to use it. Most of the women in the team are just under 5 feet. Keysi is the tallest one and she is 5'7". I am 5'9" and was not the tallest woman on my project in the US. They really are a collection of jokesters. They keep trying to get me to eat the balut and the pig's blood dish. [balut: a fertilized egg] I tell them no thank you - I am a vegetarian. They continue to press about it and say that especially Tim should eat the balut - in fact 10 balut - because it is an aphrodisiac. Can't wait until they meet him...
Keysi already met Tim. She took us for dinner Sunday evening. Here we are here in the picture! We have been working together virtually since 2000. It was SO NICE to finally meet her. We were like old friends.
After work, the project manager walked home with me to show me the way. Not a bad walk and there are SO MANY people out if you leave at a certain time. The only obstacles are the heat and the air polution. I have the option to take car service instead. I just have to tell him in the morning.
When I got home, Tim and I went to a Chinese Restaurant near the apartments. It was pretty good, but more expensive than other food around here because it is close to the apartments. Costs about what Chinese takeout would be in Philadelphia. I am also going to have to change my drink of choice. Wine is very expensive here compared to the other items you buy. Beer is dirt cheap. Tim got San Miguel Light for 60 PhP (about 1.20USD). My glass of red wine was just under 5.00USD (240 PhP). We'll see how that switch goes...
That night I went to bed very early. I haven't been dragging with jet lag, but I get really tired earlier than I am used to. I was asleep by 9:30pm and up at 5:00am.