2014: You Can’t Handle Me

It’s been a rigtale tradition to compile a year end summary highlighting significant events in my life. I started 2014 with no real goals, and a lot of angst. I finished the year with clear goals and peace of mind. So here’s the highly anticipated year end report! Enjoy. 

1. In a fit of rage, I kicked and shattered a mirror in the staff house elevator in Doha. I had a meeting with HR about it. It was embarrassing. Soon after, they installed cameras in the elevators of my building.  

2.I got kicked off a rig, and subsequently banned from Qatar Petroleum offshore jobs. [A tremendous blessing.]

3. I boarded over 25 plane flights.

4. I had my passport stamped in 8 different countries.

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5. I visited Robben Island.

6. I got my PADI open water, advanced open water and enriched air diver certifications. 

7. I’ve been SCUBA diving in 3 different countries. 

The Fish

8. I spent more than a full calendar year without returning home. 

9. I got a speeding ticket in France, which my father intercepted in the mail. My father intercepts all my post.

10. I had a psychologist. She helped me.

11. I started playing soccer again.

12. I tore a muscle. For the first time. I felt so old. 

13. I went over a full year without hugging or even seeing my parents. It changed me. 

14. I really struggled at work. I also really thrived at work. Sometimes, I didn’t know the difference. 

15. I made new friends. 

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16. I approved and signed someone’s promotion.

17. I spotted three grey hairs on my head. I felt so old. 

18. I moved rooms to have roommates. We do roommate things. 

19. I swam on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Arabian Gulf, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Great Australian Bight

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20. I saw the southern hemisphere for the first and second times.

21. I went to sleep many nights thinking to myself, “My mom is the only person who really understands me.”

22. I held a Koala. It held me back.

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23. I got athletes foot on a rig. I cried from disgust at myself.

24. I won a highly competitive industry challenge with my co workers and teammates. (see maerskoilandqpchallenge.com)

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25. I didn’t sweat the small stuff. I didn’t loose sleep.

26. I let go of not letting go.

27. I ended the year by seeing my parents. I now really know the meaning when “nothing changes”

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Stick Stuck

I’ve been offshore for the last week or so, on the Chinese rig again. It’s a rather large job, with many runs. I’m working shifts with another engineer and am already experiencing the effects of working the “night” shift.

All the supervisors on this rig are Chinese, as mentioned in a previous post the last time I was out here. Some speak English better than others. The man who watches everything I do doesn’t seem to know English hardly at all. His name is Mr. Yew. Mr. Yew likes to sit as close to me as possible. He touches my computer screen, uses my mouse to browse things he wants to see, takes my calculator from in front of me, and is constantly saying “You give me data!” (though its really pronounced more like, deyterr). Mr. Yew and I have become more comfortable with each other, as I’ve asked him to allow me to move the mouse around if there are things he wants to see, and he always gets his deyterr in time.

After one run, I gave Mr. Yew and his colleague, Mr. Chew the geologist, a field print of the log data. On the wellsite, they like to correct any mistakes in the field print, such as typos or comments. After delivering this print, I was summoned with some very important questions.

“Here, it says tool sticking. And here…..*Scrolling through document*…. It says stuck tool. What is the difference? Is the tool stuck or is it stick?”

Usually, I go into these sessions prepared to face harsh scrutiny and take serious notes on what to fix so that the next draft is near perfection. At this question, I eased my guard and explained that stick and stuck , for their purposes mean the same thing. Different forms of the same verb. Everyone laughed, and Mr. Yew and Mr. Chew practiced saying “stick….stuck. Same word!!” Their amusement pointed out to me the subtleties in languages. In Chinese, the pronunciation difference between stick and stuck would make those words have totally different meanings.

When offshore, everyone on the rig is reporting to someone “in town”. It’s very much like a royal We situation, as whenever you’re not sure of something or need to make a decision, you can simply say, “I’ll check with Town” or “That would have to be up to the guys in Town.” Aside from decision making, the guys in Town need to be briefed and updated on the operations offshore, so that they can all have meetings together. Mr. Yew refers to his guy in town as “my Leader”. This leads to him saying phrases like, “I will call to my Leader” and “I give deyterr to my Leader”. His phrasing makes me giggle inside, as all I can think is take me to your Leader. Like an alien.