Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Kiddos

Another weekend gone and it's Boo's 1st birthday!  I still can't believe it's been a year since she arrived.  It was all pretty chill after I finished my final paper and then went straight to the hospital.  For some reason the first birthday seems like an end of an era, although she's been doing most of the same things for months now.  She's eating like a champ, walk-running, saying Mama/Mum and Dada and just being a tiny little peanut.  She's still a toothless wonder and I don't know when those things are going to show up...I'm hoping soon.  I don't want to send her to pre-K without any teeth!  We will have cupcakes and pizza this evening to celebrate.  We bought her one toy, which Z decided she had to have.  Z was not happy to learn that she didn't get a birthday present as well, but she got over it once Boo decided to share her keyboard caterpillar.

Over the summer, we will do a joint welcome home/birthday party for the girls at a local discovery museum, so they will be where they get to balloons, big cake and lots of friends and family.  I'm actually getting really really excited about the summer trip.  I think the girls are going to love it.  It will be nice that both can run around, play, interact and just have fun.  We have 3 zoos, 2 amusement parks, 2 beaches and lots of park time scheduled.  It's going to be so ridiculously tiring, but I'm excited and my family is being a lot better about actually keeping in touch with us and showing their excitement as well.  Yay summer rain!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Third Culture Kids

I'm sitting here this morning with Z, eating pancakes and watching Dora The Explorer, as she's saying the Spanish words and I'm thinking about what the world will look like to her.  For the past few weeks Z has been saying these "gibberish" sentences.  She was speaking so clearly though and it didn't sound English at all that I didn't even want to respond with my own gibberish in case she was actually speaking in another language and I would confuse her.  So after some investigation, I asked Melody if she was speaking Tagalog and Melody said no.  Then earlier this week Melody was out front with the girls while I was getting ready for work and she told me that Z has been speaking Nepalese!  Karim is a man that works on our compound and the girls like him.  So she's learned some phrases apparently from him.  That caught me so off guard, I know she speaks some Tagalog because Melody has spent a lot of time with her and of course she would pick things up, but they maybe see Karim for a couple of hours a week and she's picked up a lot in just that short amount of time.

Then I think about what will be "normal" to the girls.  Men wearing thobes and women in abayas will be a totally commonplace, having kids in her class from Japan, Ethiopia, Australia, Jordan, Egypt, Brazil, etc will be just how it should be.  We had a friend who went back to the US to visit and told her daughter the name of a friend they were visiting.  The daughter thought the name was hilarious and just kept laughing while saying it in the back seat.  The name...Matt.  She thought it was hilarious, "Maaaaaatt, Mat, Maattttt."  She doesn't blink at Abdullah, Mineko and other names like that, but Matt was hilarious.

While all of this is really great, I can definitely see why first generation kids in the US can have so many issues with their parents.  And I can empathize with the fear that parents have that their kids will lose thier identity in a new and different culture.  I guess, the almost helpful thing about being in the Middle East is that American culture is so pervasive it's not as though they are missing out American culture as a whole.  It's a little harder with Liam and making sure they feel their Irishness.  We don't have many Gaelic speakers around and the only other cultural thing would be Irish dancing, which they can't do for a few more year.  It's something that all of our friends talk about pretty often.  It's particularly important here where it isn't as if we were immigrating and becoming citizens (you can't) and were going to live here forever (also not possible, you can only live here while you are working).  So it's really strange where you have people who have lived here all of their lives and possibly are 3rd generation here, but they still consider themselves Indian or Egyptian, partially because they can't be from here.  But we want to make sure our girls don't feel like they are American/Irish by default.  I think starting after the summer we're really going to make an effort to celebrate some of the holidays that we have let fall by the wayside and a creating a few of our own to help the kids learn about things that you just take for granted living in the US.

And now I'm getting really excited for our summer trip! My mom has said she'll take off the week we are there to take us all around, so that's a pretty good effort on her part to actually spend time with us.  We will also have a non-birthday birthday party for both the girls where the whole family can come and we will get 8 bags and 184kg of luggage to bring home!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Office Manager Position

So I had a partner and a senior associate pull me into an office separately and then together to discuss what's going on in the office.  I was frank, but professional and let them know what the issues were, how we could try and fix some and how we could try and make sure it doesn't all get so screwed up again.  The partner was also kind of miffed that in the office structure reshuffle I'm not longer working for him.  :) Made me feel kind of good that I made a good impression in just a few weeks.  The partner asked if it came to pass that this position was created would I be interested.  I said sure, I would think about it.  I really really would, but I still don't know if this firm would be for more in the long term.  It will be interesting to see how things progress going forward...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hope I'm Not the Last One Out

Apparently I'm the Supervisors new bff.  I don't know why, but it's not going to keep me there because I know what will happen if everyone else leaves and I'm left.  I have seen evidence of her forwarding "modified" emails to try and foist things off as being someone else's fault.  There have also been accusations of someone losing things that were later found on Supervisor's desk.  I was asked to chase up a document with a client, the partner asked me to check that the client actually received it.  Nope, still on Supervisors desk from February!

I have met with a few members of the office to try and find out what issues there are and what can be done about it.  Apparently everyone has lots of issues, but no real solutions.  I made one suggestion and seem to have the backing of most people.  I'll try and get it implemented as soon as possible.  Even if I'm only there for a short time I would like to try and make some positive improvements.  But if Supervisor is there, it seems like being thrown under the bus would be a daily occurrence and I don't want to have to watch my back constantly, "ain't nobody got time for that!"  But it's official, all the admin and legal secretaries are looking for work elsewhere.  Even one who has been there for 6 years, her exact words, "I'm not putting up with this sh*t anymore." Duly noted.  At least my partners are pretty nice!  I continue to watch the train wreck with rapt attention and semi-amusement.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Office Revolt

I think it's brewing.  Either all the admin are going to jump ship or the Supervisor is going to have to change things.  Supervisor actually told a partner "It's not my problem" about an area that is entirely her problem!  Let's just say that didn't go over too well.  Everyone is bitching about how the system isn't working.  I'm trying to arrange meetings to find out what the current system is because I don't even know, what improvements would be made in the dream world and what we can actually get done.  I mean it's seriously ridiculous when someone directly contradicts themselves in written trackable email form and still tries to blame other people.

I'm also loving the fact that everyone, including partners are in the cubicles, because it means that I can hear everything! Which is hilarious now because I'm so new that nothing has really been my responsibility at this point, but I'm sure it will suck once they are talking about me.  It's just funny to hear the Supervisor try and blame others, then walk away and you can hear everyone call bullsh*t.  As you can tell by my attitude change, things are better at the office.  It seems people do want to change, but are kind of being held hostage by Supervisors inability to let go of things/not wanting to do things.  I think I can work around it, at least for people in my department.  But the feelers are definitely still out there!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The New Job's getting there.  The firm is kind of a mess.  It's not like offices I'm used to where there are people to chat with and go out to lunch with and get your work done.  I talk to one person, Samantha, in the office pretty regularly and no one else talks to anyone unless they want something or have work to give out.  I mean some people are downright unfriendly.  I tried to ask one person how long she's been in the office and she pretty much snapped at me and told me she didn't have time for this right now.  Not "oh I'm swamped we can talk later," but "I don't have time for this."  Ooook.  By the end of the first week, I was seriously wondering if I would come back.

If it weren't for Samantha, I probably wouldn't have.  She told me she's gone home crying some nights and gets super stressed.  I'm not down with that.  Apparently I've been good at helping her reassert when it's time to leave the office and not taking things personally.  I'm out the door when the clock strikes 5:00pm.  I stayed during the first week until 5:30 because someone put something on my desk at 4:55.  I stuck it out, did the work, it took an extra hour to get home and the girls were asleep.  I nearly cried.

So I'm still looking, but I'll suck it up and do this job as best I can until something better comes up.  I've literally been told by at least 2 people at the firm that I should get out while I'm still new and don't get sucked in.  That's reassuring.  I was excited about starting new processes and organizing things, but it really seems like no one wants that.  Maybe things will change in the near future, but I doubt it.  In the meantime, it's a nice paycheck, I do my work, head out at 5 on the dot and leave it all behind once I'm in the car on the way home.  But it's really not a place I feel comfortable, happy or look forward to going to everyday.  I guess you can't have it all!  And see look all that time I was bitching about not having a job and now I'm bitching about my job.  I'm just never happy! :)