Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Getting (un)Settled...

Today was a very interesting day. I have a lot to say about it, but I am also very tired, so the blog will probably end up being shorter than I'd like it to be. In order for today to make sense, we have to go back to yesterday, and actually a little further back than that...

Tim and I split up all of our marital duties on the concepts of comparitive and absolute advantage. Preference plays a small role in there, but not a ton. As a result, we split the cooking and housework for the most part, because we both lack time and both have equal interest. Tim is in charge of all the electronics and does most of the errand running, since he uses the car for work. I do virtually all of the planning, scheduling, budgeting, etc. I enjoy doing it, I'm good at it, and furthermore, Tim HATES doing that kind of stuff.

You might wonder what that has to do with our trip to Manila. Well... when you are moving through an area (Asia-Pacific to be exact) that largely defers to men for answers to questions and feedback, it makes a huge difference. All of a sudden, questions are directed to Tim (even things like "what do you and your wife want to drink" and questions about our airline tickets), even if I was the one who invested hours to make the arrangements and Tim blissfully knows nothing about the topic. At first this really pissed me off, and still does. In the US I get a lot of respect for what I do, and I work very hard to provide Tim and I with an organized, well planned, financially sound home. (Tim contributes a lot too, but he is not he one being snubbed in this case, so I'm not highlighting those things). However, I will use it as a reason to have Tim take over more disputes over bills when we get home. I don't really enjoy doing that either, and he'll have a lot of practice by then. ;-)

In Japan, I had to present our flight itinerary to get our boarding passes from Tokyo to Manila. . We ended up getting questioned a lot about our visas by the ticket agent and her supervisor- eventually getting our tickets, but not before getting thoroughly agitated at all the unnessecary inquiries. As we arrived in Manila, Tim said "I don't think they would have asked a man as many questions". So this time he presented our passports to immigration and we got through with zero questions - not a single one. I thought maybe this is a coincidence. When we finally got to our apartment last night, I realized that we still couldn't use our US cell phones, despite the fact that I had set up our plan to do so. I logged a case online. The response was "please have your husband call this number to straighten out the problem."

Now at that point, I was fuming. This is exactly what Tim hates to do. That is why I call people to make arrangements. And to make me even more mad, I had to take the time to explain to Tim all of the plan that I had set up so that he could talk to the lady about it. Tim made the call and did a good job. Bottom line - we still can't use our phones here regardless of the plan. I hope we got my Accenture discount still, since he didn't know to ask for it, and I forgot to write that part down.

Similiar situations like this occurred throughout the day. Ultimately, I will be OK with the situation because at work women are very respected and are given credit for their work and for knowing the answers. I'm sure at the heart of it, this deferring to Tim for everything is considered a respectful gesture. However, it isn't how we work, and it will take some getting used to for both of us. I'll just keep focusing on the fact that when we get home, I'll get to pawn off more customer service issues to Tim ;-)

OK - that was the annoying thread to my day. On the good side, we woke up at 8am. We probably needed more sleep, but that is when we woke up (after getting to bed at 3:30am). We both enjoyed the breakfast buffet downstairs (the first time for me), and then we set out to open a bank account. We were not able to, because we don't have the right work visa paperwork. We're going to just get money through the ATM machines, I guess, which will take some research. We have until Saturday to figure it out because that is when our Shipment is scheduled to be delivered and we have to pay our taxes and duties in cash. Even though we were unsuccessful in getting the account, it was good for me, because this was my first walk across Makati and I became a little more comfortable with our surroundings.

After the bank (and my hair was a curly mess from the heat and I was sweating), we went to Rustan's (mostly because it was closer than SM - on the way home - and I was getting worn out). We got food and other supplies we needed. When we checked out, the guy brought all the bags back to our apartment for us. That was very nice of him.

Since Tim had to call Sprint at this point, I started the laundry and set about washing and disinfecting all the fruits and vegetables using this veggie wash solution we got at Rustan's and water that we had boiled for 5 minutes. I then cut up all the food and stored it in containers so that it would be easier to make food during the week.

After the news that our US cell phones would not work here, we set out to buy 2 prepaid account cell phones. We went to the mall next to us and asked the information desk where to go. A very nice man helped us find the cheapest cell phone there and set up the phones for us with the prepaid account. It feels good to have a way for us to get in touch with each other during the week now.

After this, we ate lunch at a little thai place called Dusit Thai, which was very good, and then headed home. I caught up on emails and other tasks I had to do for a few hours. After this, I made supper from the food we got earlier at Rustan's. Tim took a picture of it, because it was our first supper here. After supper, I continued with work, and now I'll head to bed. That ended up not being so short after all. Today I was able to take most of the day to rest, get settled, and catch up on email. Tomorrow, it is back to the office! I will look forward to the weekend, though, when I can get more acquainted with the area. I also have to get some sneakers... I'll turn it over to Tim now.

Here's my recurring customer service nightmare:

Me: "Hi! Yes, I'd like to buy a stick of gum, please."
Them: "What flavor?"
Me: "Strawberry"
Them: "I'm sorry, you need to have a Section 4 Series Clearance Allignment in your Flux Capacitator."
Me: "Oh. OK. Bye."
Kendra (calling from the next room): "Did you ask them about the Aerobilic Exorcism Adaptor?"
Me: "No...."

And on and on.

It's hard to reproduce the Sad Puppy-Dog look over the phone. You know, the one that Kendra uses to hypnotize the cell phone guy into getting us just the thing we need. I've programmed trance riffs to one-100th of a second in timing and positioned video images pixel by pixel, but God help me when it comes to cellular service and SIMM cards.

Today's Question to the General Public: How exactly do you prepare an ampalaya?

The Highlight of the Day: Sticky rice and mango slices for dessert at Dusit Thai.

Today's Hammarskjold Lesson: "The man who is unwilling to accept the axiom that he who chooses one path is denied the others must persuade himself, I suppose, that the logical thing to do is to remain at the crossroads. But do not blame the man who does take a path -nor commend him, either."


At 8:47 PM, Blogger Dad said...

After I read Getting (un)Settled (very creative, by the way) I couldn't help but think of some lines from your previous post:

"And because we are both adaptable creatures, we will have numerous changes, shifts, and adventures in our lives. It is this trait of Tim that made me want to marry him. He will always come with me, and be excited about it – not drug along."

Adventures - - - adversity - - go for it and grow into - - - - God only knows what (seriously!).

Lots of love from this end as you stretch.

At 8:50 PM, Blogger Jen said...

Kendra - You sound (understandably) stressed, so I apologize for being amused by this post. But I am, only because I know you and I know how much having to defer to Tim on all of those topics must be driving you crazy! Don't worry, it's only 6 months (I hope!!), which is only a blip in the grand scheme of your lives. Try to enjoy the role reversal for awhile. Maybe you can become a tech guru?

Anyway, Jay and I had a great time at Dave & Buster's! We miss you already, but we are keeping Philly warm for you. Actually no, it's really cold here right now!

I leave you with Jay's favorite saying - "It's all part of the experience!"

At 3:33 PM, Anonymous Mom said...

Tim and Kendra, I absolutely love your web page. I truly feel like I can feel with you and like I can actually hear you talk too me. How very cool is that. Thanks so much for the great way to communicate. We love you guys

At 3:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi, just browsing though...i saw you ask a question about ampalaya. i don't eat it, but i make it for my parents (they're from p.i.), and we grow them in the backyard. anywho. i have a really simple way to cook them, and it's pretty good.

so, first you would wash them and spilt them open. remove the seeds, like, with a spoon or something. then, cut them up. i like to do it on a bias. anywho. cook up some onions and garlic with some oil in a frying pan. then add the ampalaya and cook that until a lil tender. add some tomatoes and cook them to your liking. i like my tomatoes a lil fresh. then add some beaten eggs. turn the fire down low so the egg cooks slow and perfect. it should smell really good and goes perfect with hot rice.


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