21 August 2010

How's my day in Siam?

So what does a day in a Pinoy’s life in the Land of Smiles looks like? For me, it is quite a simple one but not boring, in fact each day something exciting or fun happens (or I try to  make it like that)! 

If it is during a working day, and I don't have field work, then I am in the office from about 830 am until 5pm. Sometimes I arrive before 830 am and leave after 5 pm. If one is a researcher like me, then there is no fixed time really. Even at night I still work, reading, writing, analyzing, discussing, thinking. At night it is still work because we have European partners and they are just starting work while we are winding down, and sometimes we schedule video conferencing around 8-9pm here.

During a normal working day there is hardly any other time for doing other things. Unless you really schedule it. So gotta make work as fun as possible. I do not just do one thing but try to multi-task or vary my tasks. But it also depends on whether one specific task needs to be finished soonest so it has to be done first, with full concentration. It depends on how one manages time and allocation of work. I take breaks of course especially as sitting in front of the computer for long periods is not advisable. The breaks usually consist of walking around, drinking water, eating some snacks if any (sometimes only but my Thai RAs bring a lot of kanoms!), going out of the office and walking on the corridor, looking out of the window to look at the greenery, etc.).

As my office is quite far from the coffee shops on campus, and it is just so hot to go walking over there, it is not that easy to just go out and buy from there. So I set up a coffee corner in the office so anyone can just make their own coffee (instant, 3 in 1, brewed) any time they want.

There are no Pinoys in my office so I don't get to interact with one face to face, only electronically or by phone, sometimes. I also go to Siam Pinoy Community website  for some Pinoy-related information and discussions. 

After office hour activities depends on where one lives. Living in the same area as the workplace has its advantages, as there is more time to indulge in activities such as exercise and playing sports, visiting friends who also live nearby, and cooking meals. But if one lives a bit far, like me, well, there is really no time to do these things. One has to jump into his/her vehicle, brave the traffic, maybe stop by a mall or food center for dinner, then go home, arriving there by around 7 or 8 pm. And if there is traffic jam, or if it has been raining causing more traffic jams, probably one would arrive home by nearly 9pm or later. Sometimes there is food at home for dinner, which was prepared the night before so that saves us time.

It is more tiring than stressful as a passenger. To be sitting for an hour or more is not good to our muscles and joints. If one drives, then it is both tiring and stressful, I think. It will be sabai-sabai (thai for nice and easy) if there is no traffic and if people drive properly and keep within their lanes. And if it is not raining and there are no flooded streets. Sounds just like Manila, eh? We can still survive despite that, and every time we arrive we thank the Lord for keeping us safe. It is always a relief to reach home.

Keeping daily contact with family and friends in the Philippines is common, even if one is busy. I would usually send text messages to my loved ones to greet them for the day and wish them well and encourage them, reminding them to trust in the Lord, and to thank Him for his blessings. If there is any urgent matter then it is time to call. I use deedial service which is much cheaper than most phone services here. Other means of contact are by email, chat and social networking.

Of course the day starts with a quiet time with the Lord, reading His Word and meditating on it, thanking Him for the night before and committing the day ahead, and for other prayer requests. The day ends with a prayer, thanking God for His protection and provision during that day, asking for forgiveness, praying for protection while sleeping, for a good sleep, healing, and also praying for others. Reading God's word and devotional before going to sleep helps to bring quiet and peace to the mind and heart, especially after reflecting on how the day has been. 

Each one living away from home and what's familiar faces different challenges and have different experiences. These things can sometimes strengthen us, or discourage us. Hopefully they are more of an encouragement, but if not, hope that we can try to look up and see the good in each thing that happens, and remind ourselves that we are special in God's sight, no matter what.

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