Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015

2015 has particularly been a short year for me. Is it because the older you get, the faster time travels? Seems so! It’s the last night of 2015 as I lay tugged in 3 blankets and 3 quilts and still feeling cold, wondering where I put my pair of knitted gloves. Reflecting back, I have had difficult times, few frustrating ones but predominantly happy times.

Although with a lot of hesitation, I managed to create a blog. I could not write as much I wanted to but I am definitely proud of this small space I can call my own. 2015 saw me making so many new friends through this platform, friends who share my passion for writing and massive love for social media (hehe). I have found friends in poets, authors, teachers, civil servants from other ministries, which I would have never met otherwise.
On the funny side, I lost two tooth this year all in the name of beauty. Not really. I am not blessed with good set of teeth to even be able to openly smile (not exaggerating) so I decided to get braces. The dentist said I had to extract four and I agreed only to realize toothache is a b*tch! I don’t know any other way to put it. I went through excruciating pain for weeks, waking up in the middle of the night with throbbing pain begging for painkillers every 3-4 hours. Anyways I had to wave a white flag to this self-inflicted agony. Lost 2 tooth for nothing!I have a feeling my 80 year old self will hate me for this decision!!!
This year I resumed normal office work after my studies.Professionally, I have been on a roll in 2015. Paulo Coelho, in the Alchemist states, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”. I am a fervent believer of this simple yet fascinating truth because I wished for better things workwise and just like that hurdles cleared. In my 6 years of service, this year has been the most rewarding in terms of satisfaction from work and I am eternally grateful to god and ‘the universe’! I have unexpectedly found good friends in new colleagues and bonded well with the rest.

With the good comes the bad.Didn't want to mention this but despite remaining online on Facebook all day just to check house rent ads, I failed to get one this year. Although nothing changes but the number, I hope 2016 is kinder. Fingers crossed. I will also spare you all the emotional roller coaster I have been through. Lets just say I have grown in the process.Do I regret anything?No. Did I live fully? Definitely! 
On this note, wishing everyone a new year filled with love, success, contentment and positive vibes. Cheers to 2016! Cheers to 365 new days, 365 new chances!  




Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Part 3 : Aged Care Support Worker

After I left my earlier job, I was determined to find a job that would provide me the satisfaction I desired. Aged care work always appealed to me because it would be a new experience and helping out old people would definitely provide me the satisfaction I longed for. Unfortunately working in aged care required certification in the same and I had none! I gave it a try anyway. I used to volunteer during weekends at the JDWNRH, managing crowds and helping with translations between patients and foreign doctors. Thanks to my little experience there, I had something to talk about in the interview. There were three interviewers and I babbled away. Although some of my answers made no sense and made them smile, they felt I had passion and hired me!They put me through 2 weeks of intensive training on types of diseases, how to assist the elderly, administer medicines, dos and don’ts and series of assessments. ‘You have to be patient’ seemed to be the ultimate training advice. I sensed what to expect. Apart from that, we were warned not to share our contact numbers, personal information or indulge in conversations with clients. Most work would entail helping them dry clothes, clean up areas they are physically not capable of, prepare meals and the best part, shopping! Sometimes they would tag along and sometimes they give you a list to buy and you just shop away.

1st day shopping task with client and trainer. I sneaked
 a picture from behind 
There was a client named Liza * who lived alone. She could not move her feet on her own and needed assistance on getting out of bed every morning, change her clothes down to her inner wears and assist her to her wheelchair. Her bed was remote controlled and I would sometimes struggle to get it to the exact angle. She had a way of frowning, grumbling, throwing tantrums every now and then. But what do we expect from someone who lives alone and is unable to get out of bed without someone helping her out every morning? Small things make us agitated at times, so judging her condition, breeding a lot of anger within was a given.I would not complain or get offended but genuinely feel for her.I felt if I could be the object through which she could vent her anger and find its release, so be it. 

Then there was *Simone, almost 90ish, jolly and always beaming whenever she opened her doors to me. She would ask me about my studies, country, family and I loved the way her face would light up talking about her late husband and her grandchildren. I was breaking rules on holding conversations but who cares as long as it made her happy. Sometimes I felt like she needed someone to talk to more than she needed help with household chores. She would always give me a fruit; an orange, a banana or an apple before I left. That would make my day because I am a sucker for things that come from the heart!

A couple, *Sammy and her husband *Sam, normally had their support workers prepare them chicken schnitzels. When they said meals I contemplated sandwiches, burgers and pasta, you know, the simple stuff but schnitzel?! I could not even pronounce it! Luckily for me, my trainer taught me the recipe. I also had to shop for groceries, which would always include chocolates and candies. One thing I observed about them aged lot is that they love sweets. Their shopping lists almost always include candies and chocolates. If you have grandparents at home, I suggest you buy them chocolates. They dig it!
If you are not aware of which Annabelle I am talking

My most interesting client yet was * Claire who was my age. On my first day at her place, she welcomed me in and introduced me to her baby who was in a cradle. I drew closer and waved to her only to realize it was a doll!! Claire named it Annabelle. It was already an unusual and creepy situation for me and to name it Annabelle (as in the scary doll movie) gave me goosebumps! I tried to act normal when she introduced me to another baby in the next room. By then I figured she had a medical condition. She seemed pleased when I told both babies resembled her. Once she wanted to go out shopping but insisted on taking Annabelle along because apparently she does not like to be left behind. I pushed the baby stroller with Annabelle around the shopping mall wishing people did not notice the weird looking baby.
The not so scary Annabelle.Taken during one of our shopping sprees
We even shopped for dresses that fit Annabelle from Target. I learned later that Claire had dementia, a chronic mental disorder marked by memory disorders and personality changes. Having Annabelle was a kind of therapy and a way of coping with her condition. Other than that, Claire seemed perfectly normal, sometimes more aware than I was in many ways. She took pride in remembering road directions and I would pretend not to know just so I could brighten her mood. We became fast friends.

I have fond memories of all the clients I have supported and interacted with. Although very unlikely, I hope they still remember me. I thought I would touch their lives but they ended up touching mine.

In Part 4 (final part of the series), I will be writing about my brief stint as a Sandwich Artist at SUBWAY- a fast food restaurant franchise selling sandwiches and salads. Stay tuned~

 * Name changed

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Case of Missing iPhone and Adventure with the Police

Work was hectic last week configuring servers and computers. Technical glitches here and there consumed whole of my Saturday, I felt sorry for myself. I needed a break so I caught up with my friends for dinner and a few drinks, hopping between places. What is fun without some dancing, so we headed to Viva City. I rarely go out but when I do, I have this habit of losing my belongings. It could be a lip balm, earring, ATM card or my phone! I already lost a phone in a club once, so I always dangle a small bag on me, however uncomfortable it may seem. This time, I made an exception and tugged my phone in the back of my jean pocket and went in. Bad decision. It was gone and I did not even realize it.

The place was so packed, but I managed to screen the entire dance floor battling the crowd. Desperate times call for desperate measures. For once I wished women did not wear high heels. If someone with killer pencil heels stepped on it, it would have crushed my heart with it. None of the counters called in for missing phones. I dialed my number and thankfully it was not switched off. After several attempts, a guy picked up. He said he has my phone, but he is at Kasadrapchu and that he would return it the other day. I heaved a sigh of relief but I wanted to get it immediately, so I called again. That was when my suspicion took flight.  He did not pick up at all. One of my friend’s guy friends offered to help us out and go to Kasadrapchu. There was no point because the person wasn’t picking up. That was when he reminded me of mobile tracking. I had my Find My iPhone option on, so he suggested tracking my phone’s location. The location showed it was somewhere near Punjab Bank. That liar! We were about to check out when another guy friend joined in. He asked me what kind of phone I had. I said iPhone 6 and he agreed to come with us. Yeah, just because it was an iPhone 6. It was funny. My friend plus the other two whom I had no connection before were helping me out, driving around past midnight. Technically it was Sunday and I felt guilty but more grateful. I felt like we were FBI agents out on a mission to track down crooks. Unfortunately by the time we reached the location there wasn’t anyone there except some guys who drove off. We called it a day.

Managed to take a screenshot before 
the map filled up with red marks
I called again somewhere past 9 am in the morning. He promised to return my phone the next day. No sign of picking up. I thought maybe because he stayed up late he wasn’t awake yet. Mobile tracking showed a different story. He was moving all across Thimphu town, showing a different location every minute. He wasn’t asleep and not picking my calls. Why wasn’t he switching off the phone if he wanted to take it?! Everything was beyond my reasoning. A friend suggested I seek help from the police. I thought why would the police help me find my phone that I lost from to my own carelessness. Or not. Probably stolen? I didn’t know. I like watching Crime Patrol or India Fights Back on TV and the solution to all cases is the police. Always report to the police! I mean those are Indian police and they have a bad reputation. I believed our armed force fare much better. I could give it a shot. The tracker showed my phone battery was down to 8% before it switches off. I didn’t have time to lose so went straight to the police station. The duty officer, fortunately, offered to help. Yes!!

He assigned a few police guys to go with me. I had a troop of 4 men in uniform (hereafter called as ‘my troop’) in my car (Hehe). How cool was that? We followed the direction shown on the Find My iPhone app. Our target was constantly on the move and we had to catch up. I overlooked the fact that my driving skill was average and I had a bunch of police as my passengers. Boy! It felt like a driving test and I suddenly became a nervous wreck. I was telling myself to calm down and not lose engine, get stuck or mess up. I drove through Norzin Lam through swimming pool road and down through Kelki School road towards La Meridian. They figured I was driving at snail speed. One offered to drive, thank god. Me and the other three police guys assisted with directions while one drove like a pro. It was a like a scene out from Crime Patrol. Our target was somewhere near the vegetable market, but he was constantly moving. The application showed two green and blue dots depicting the target and the locator, which made it easier for us to check our proximity to the target. We drove through Changlam through children’s park road to the vegetable market. As the two dots drew closer my troops noted down numbers of cars that drove past us. These guys knew their stuff. Felt proud!

 The car was parked a little away from the VAST studio. It was the same car from the other night. The guy had my phone but was taken aback by the police who took him straight to the police station. Turned out it was his elder brother who found my phone the other night and had kept it in the car. He borrowed the car for the morning. Made sense why they didn’t pick up. He seemed terrified during interrogation and I immediately felt bad. When asked on the phone, his brother said he found the phone outside which was fishy because I lost it inside and didn’t step out at all. Moreover, he could have just handed it over to one of the counters and save both of us all the trouble. But despite everything I would still like to believe he was a kind soul for not switching off and for that I will remain grateful. I forgot to get his number, so thank you, whoever you are. Special thank you to the RBP for helping us citizens. My four troops aka the policemen who were with me were surprised such phone trackers existed. Trust me, I didn’t know how it worked until I had to. They seemed interested about the phone model. Maybe that was their first experience. Maybe I made their Sunday morning a little less monotonous? Glad after all. Lastly, thank you to my two new friends for sacrificing your sleep and helping out when I was feeling a little crappy.

Who would have thought a missing phone would lead to such an epic Sunday adventure? Not me!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Part Two : Office Cleaning

I am absolutely thrilled by the interest and appreciation people have shown for the first part of my Job Series. Thank you very much. This is Part 2 of the same series, which is long overdue, but here it is, sealed with my apologies. As you have read earlier, my first job experience ( Hotel Housekeeping) was not as pleasant on an interpersonal level. I assure the rest were much more easygoing compared to the first. 

So after I left my hotel housekeeping job, I was determined to get a better one,preferably in a sales environment. I applied for night filling and checkout service posts in all large supermarkets such as Coles, Woolworths, IGA around my suburb/vicinity. Nothing like working with smart uniforms and getting employee discounts. Problem was, we had to apply online and due to huge number of applicants, they had online questionnaires to screen candidates. Maybe I could not get the options right, I never got through the filtering process. After almost 15+ regret-to-inform-you emails, I thought I should probably try something else. Something easier to get, you know, like something dealing with vacuum cleaners and mops! True to my judgment, I got a call from a manager for job induction and paper work. She promised me enough hours work a week at the University of Western Australia, which suited me considering my student working hour restrictions. Doing odd work at another university filled with students and friends seemed challenging but I was willing to take it. I was told work starts at 5am in the morning. Major oops!
UWA: One of the administrative blocks ©

On my first day I woke up at 4am with ample of time for driving(15-20mins). I was filled with nervous energy so the early working hour did not bother me. It was still dark outside and foggy. My friend dropped me on time. There were many others there, all as fresh as a dewdrop at such an early hour, giving warm smiles at the awkward newcomer. I was introduced to my supervisor Sharon* who was assigned to demonstrate and explain the things I had to do. She was almost fifty sixtyish, skinny but very strong and active for her age. I was expecting the worse but fortunately she was funny and friendly unlike my former supervisor. She took me to my assigned administrative building, which had three stories and spanned till eternity. Little exaggeration here but for the first time, it did seem like that. She gave me 2 ½ hours to finish cleaning the entire building. From the frying pan to the fire, I thought. My luck could not get worse. 
Matilda Bay:My early morning view ©
It was not as difficult as it appeared luckily. I had to vacuum the office and classrooms only if it was dirty and empty the bins. It was hardly dirty. The vacuum was cylindrical and huge, and had to be carried on the back like a school bag, which was amusing. I liked the work actually except for the timing. For the first few months, I used to be scared of opening rooms because it would still be dark outside and the building would be pitch silent. I had to turn on the lights in the corridor and due to a faulty switch I had to go the other end of the corridor (almost 70mtrs) in the dark to turn it on. I would put loud music on my phone, turn it’s flashlights on and do a 70 meter dash to the other end and breathe a sigh of relief when the lights were finally on. After a few months I was assigned another building and to my dismay, it was the Forensic Science building which had a large poster of research done on a mummy with its pictures right at the entrance. The building had a spooky feel to it and I partially blame it to my crazy imagination. Once I opened a room to find various skeleton heads on the table. I never entered that room before dawn! 

It was not long until I would finish work 1 hour before time, which was awesome. By the time dawn would break and I would occasionally wander off to Matilda Bay, a river foreshore, around 5minutes walk from my block. I was not allowed to, for your kind information.I just was not caught. I would admire the stunning distant view of Perth City and surrounding suburbs, the still river reflecting early morning rays of the sun, private yachts tied to the shores, the sound of seagulls swimming towards you for food and people going for early morning jogs. I would let all the beauty sink in and feel completely alive. My few occasional times there were therapeutic and uplifting and somehow kept me sane amidst all the stress and daily hustle bustle. There were times I had to stay up till the wee hours chasing assignment deadlines. The fact that I had to wake up at 4am meant I sometimes slept for an hour or sometimes not at all. By that time, few of my other Bhutanese friends joined me in the same job. Every morning we would share our woes of lack of sleep and how difficult it is to wake up and work so early in the morning, how nice it would be to get a night job. Once I received a call from my manager asking me about my whereabouts only to realize I dozed off till 5.30am. Work starts at 5am. I told her I overslept because I was up late with assignments and fell asleep without setting my alarm. Luckily she was considerate about it. Honesty is the best policy!

Another angle ©
I think I worked there close to a year. Deep down I wanted to do something else for a change. A job that did not require me to curse every time the alarm went off in the morning and to wake up half asleep. But I did not apply for other jobs because my friends were co-workers and the management was considerate enough to let us take long leaves during exams. Until one day that is. I used to drive another friend to work and back each day. I did not sleep well for that particular night and was pretty drowsy. I probably drove at 70km/hr when I suddenly felt a jolt from the speed breakers on the road that brought me back to reality. I realized then that I had almost dozed off and my car had diverted from the road and almost hit a footpath railing. Thank god my reflex kicked in right on time and thank god for the speed breakers! My friend was probably asleep and did not realize what had happened. I was completely shaken to my bones. It was then that I thought maybe it was a signal from the universe telling me to get a new job before I endanger the live of my friend and myself.

I bid goodbye to my morning job soon after and found myself in the job market again. Back to square one. Later I got the chance to try my hands in supporting aged people. Stay tuned ~

*Name Changed