Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Reflections

It's that time of the year again. It's Christmas! How careless and stupid are we (Opps! I mean am I) letting the year slip through the fingers like sand, disperse into the air with the wind. What have you done with your year this year?

One wise man, or a bumper sticker said that the only constant in life is change. Indeed 2010 for me is a series of changes, major ones in fact. The biggest change happened at work. I was move into a new role with a new team covering new scope back in April. It was more of a managerial gig, something not entirely new but definitely more intense. I was swamped with quite a fair bit of management reporting, workshops, traveling, KPIs and another big bunch of abbreviations. The words on the streets and the office corridors have that I was doing a pretty swell job. (Ahem!) I suppose I can be good at it and I can like it, but I'm not sure if I want it. It's not really my cup of tea. I'm a coffee guy. This short managerial stint made it clear to me. Nonetheless I enjoyed the wonderful opportunity to learn and grow.

Then came the super major move: I was transferred to Khartoum, Sudan. It had been brewing for awhile. The good news, or was it the bad news, finally came early October, that I should be reporting for duty in Khartoum on Oct 1st! It was a hectic time at work then so I only landed in Africa a month later. Another round of new: new place, new environment, new people, new culture, new language, new routine, new work, new role, new (and bigger) responsibility and new (and slightly fatter) paycheck. 2 months in here I'm still settling in, learning as plentiful and as fast as I can while enjoying as much as Khartoum has to offer. The job is managerial in nature but with a heavy focus on technical stuff. I'm walking a fine line trying to balance the management work and the technical tasks. Well, every so often I do tip the scale a little. (OK, maybe a lot.)

Then I bought my own place. Oh finally! Finally I did so, and probably paying too much money for that. But the truth is I was a bit sick of searching and desperate. The location is convenient and the place was nicely done up. I can just haul in my suitcase and move straight in. I always wanted hardwood floor for my pad but this once has Italian tiles instead. Well I'll learn to love them tiles. The rest of the place was done up pretty much to the way I'd get it done anyway. So it saves me the hustle of going through renovation. Mortgage approved and my ass now belongs to the bank. This is the biggest financial commitment of mine to date. It's both exciting and daunting at the same time, if that's even possible, or I'm just delirious.

With the apartment sorted, the pressure, especially from mom is mounting ever so quickly to settle down. That's just next to impossible. Sometime as I go to bed at night I do wish to have someone to share my life but then I wake up confronting the reality that no one take pity on me as yet. Is there something wrong with me? I'm indeed quite a mess at the relationship department, need to have that sorted.

In fact I'm a relationship-challenged person. I'm having trouble maintaining my relationship with my family, the very people who have known me for 34 years and love me unconditionally. Over the years I find the gap between mom and I is widening. Talking to her is so much challenging these days. I just can't figure out why, and that sadden me a great deal. Our mom-son love is overwhelmed by the fact that we both are just as strong-minded, determined and opinionated, just plain stubborn. We just end up agreeing to disagree. Then there's the clash of personality with my bother. Oh that's just awful.

This is something I need work on-being accommodative and appreciating others' perspective. If we still can't see eye-to-eye, at least I should response with a smiley face. That reminds me of BD from my office in KL. He always have this grin stitched on his face and I never saw him raised his voice once for the 8 years I worked with him. No matter how grim the situation is or how irrational the management's request is or how incompetent the colleague is or how bleak the outcome is, he never complained or even uttered a word with the faintest hint negativity, let alone bitch. He just smiles and moves on with it. That's a skill I want to master.

Oh and the art of small-talk. Suggestions anyone?

No comments: