Thursday, February 04, 2016

Singapore Trip


  1. Sitting at my desk, it is raining. I like the sound of the rain, while I sit inside, its a cozy feeling. 
  2. Stupid snapfish site isn't working, just as I was in the middle of finishing making a book, annoying.
  3. Came back from trip to Singapore this weekend, a disaster, I totally ruined it. Made my Mom's time here visiting with us, terrible. Sigh. Feel awful, wish I could turn back time. 
  4. Not much in the mood for writing, Mom leaves in a day, sad about that. Feeling a bit blue in general. 
  5. Linking to something that makes me laugh. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Work Venting

I just need to vent about work and what better place to do it than here on the blog, no?

This post I'm at, I'm not feeling it. People seem very selfish, self-centered, maybe I got lucky on the first post, but this one seems like no one cares to help anyone else out. There is no sense of team. I tried to send out a nice reminder to everyone in my section that W-2's are out and I was shot down, like why? They already know. Is that wrong of me?

I was trying to help my replacement and she wanted none of it, as I predicted, she knows the score and doesn't need my assistance (unless something screws up, than I'm sure it will be my fault).

I don't know, if the person before me, wanted to teach me how they did things, I would take their advice. I had a great mentor at my previous post and she really taught me a lot about how to do things.

Here I think I have to just disconnect and not care; as it seems everyone else seems to be doing.

On top of which, I signed up for this special project and the three other people on the project seem to be making it into this massive ordeal which I'm not seeing. I kinda snapped yesterday at one of them, the only guy on the team (clearly a recent college grad, full of lots of talk but little action, I was beyond annoyed).

Right, I gotta check out of this mess mentally at least. I think it would help if I had better friends here at post, but that is not the case. Hard to make friends here for sure.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Thank you Cards




Does anyone do thank you cards anymore? I mean the handwritten kind. I do, I find them nice but I'll be honest when I get them, unless they have something very personal written on it, I don't pay much attention.

My mother gets very upset when people don't write a proper handwritten thank you card. While I think it is polite to do so, I don't mind if someone doesn't, but it would be nice if someone would at least acknowledge when they get something from you. For me this is especially true as I live abroad and most often send gifts by ordering via the internet, flowers, cookies, baby gifts, gift cards and if the receipt doesn't send me some form of a nod or wave, I have no way of knowing if they truly got it or if it was delivered to the wrong address or something. This happened to me one time, I ordered for a sister-in-law, a baby gift and after about two weeks from the time it said it was delivered, I contacted her and found she had moved and I had the wrong address. I guess who received it on the other end never sent it back but the story has a happy ending. So I reached out to the company, drugstore.com and they resent the entire order, free of charge! Shout out to www.drugstore.com

The point is that I think a thank you in some form is nice, it doesn't have to be a card but at least registering that someone has done something kind or good for you, should be de rigor, no? If you can't do that, what type of society do we live in? Entitled? I hope not.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Soooo....last Thursday, it was a regular day, I had run to get pictures taken for my India visa when this happens

Jakarta Terrorist Attacks January 2016

Yeah, that was not a fun day from 10:45am on, this attack happened less than 2 miles from the Embassy. Thankfully the kids school is not in the vicinity and they were none the wiser about what was going on. A bit scary initially but as the day unfolded and we heard that the attackers had been caught and than as we watched the video and footage (thank you social media), it seems the terrorists were part of the "c" team, not good at all, not organized, nothing. Thankfully, Indonesian police arrested the "a" team back in December when threats of attacks at Christmas and New Year's surfaced.

Just another day in the foreign service :)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Office supplies

Three months after putting in an office supply order, a local staffer comes back to me and tells me that you can't put both items in the same request, which fine, I get since this is the government and normal way of thinking doesn't apply but what really gets my goose, why did it take the local staffer 3 MONTHS to tell me this?! URGH! #neverwouldhavehappenedinSarajevo

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Happy New Year

Happy New Year from Jakarta - or as they say in Indonesia, Salamat Tahun Baru! One of the few expressions I can say with ease.

I stayed up late to watch the fireworks and it was quite worth it. Amazing, for 20 minutes the city was a symphony, ablaze with fireworks and with our apartment building being in the center of town we had an amazing view, the best view I have ever had of a fireworks show, front seat balcony so that one can see from far and wide and all in my pajamas with a ready bathroom and not freezing (i.e. Times Square).

As fireworks are not regulated in Indonesia, every tom, dick and harry was lighting them off; which can be dangerous (I did see one house fire in the poor shantytown in front of the river) but did make for a beautiful fabric of colors and sounds that was a joyous way to enter the new year.

What was even more interesting was that I was celebrating New Year's 12 hours ahead of my family, so it was fun to wish people a happy new year and know that I was already in 2016 while they were waiting for the clock to turn.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Customer Service USA vs. Indonesia

This morning I was waiting in the Starbucks line, not moving and realizing the stark differences between customer service and or the customer's expectations from American customers versus Indonesian customers. 

The barrista's working the line were very nice and pleasant, but very slow (as perceived by this American), being the only non-Indonesian in the line, no one else seemed to mind the turtle pace. The cashiers seemed unable to do more than one task at a time and each thing was done with painstaking care and no worry for how long it would take. The barrista making the designer drinks was busy chatting and occasionally paying attention to composing the drink. There was no concern by either the customers or the employee's that anyone had to get back to work, that they were "on the clock." I was trying to make a bus shuttle and I had one minute to go, at one point I did finally tell the woman behind the drink counter, "please hurry, I'm trying to make the shuttle." She was still unconcerned. 

It made me think of what would have happened in the USA, first I would not have been put in that situation, as the initial barristas I came in contact with, would have pumped me out, quickly taking and executing the order. And if their was a line, Americans would have grumbled and the manager would have come out and pitched in, working to clear the line. 

But does this take away from the customer service provided, are they American barristas not as friendly or warm. On the contrary, I find them equally engaging as in Indonesia but understanding the needs of their American customers, where time is money. 

As I write this, I wonder if the difference isn't between customer expectations but our concept of time??? 

I will say this, these cultural differences are often the biggest of foreign service challenges.