Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November 30

Last day of the month.  It sure feels weird to not be in the USA for Christmas season...  Another early morning, ready for a bright sunny day.  :)  VERY busy day.  Lots of stuff to be loaded up.  It seems impossible to get everything ready before the last minute here.  Oh well, it kept me busy most of the day.  Have I mentioned that our offices are right next to the airport.  I literally see  dozens of airplanes land or take off every day.  No wonder the natural radiation is so high at our location, of course the shaley soil might also have something to do with it, but nonetheless.  I had a really interesting class in hand safety.  Over half of our injuries happen to the hands, fingers or arms, so I've really got to be careful.  So of course, what do I do today?  Well, my thumb has a nice big bruise underneath the nail.  They just all looked at me when I did it to myself, like jeez, really?  Oh well it's not actually that bad, I just have to make sure it doesn't happen again.  Jess, Dave (a Canadian engineer), and myself went over to Callum and Jamie's house for a little barbi action.  We really need to return the favor.  Those guys are so nice.  Finally home, and it's time for bed.  :)  Goodnight, love you all.  I hope you all have a great December. 

November 29

Happy Birthday me.  :)  Well, it was a really busy day at work.  We were preparing for a full load-out of a rig, where we send all the tools they will need when they finally start a job.  A lot of stuff is leaving tomorrow.  I ended up staying till 9 PM, but at least we got some pizza.  :)  Over 100F, and I'm at work.  I got sunburned on the lower half of my face, too bad no where else is getting any sun.  Thanks for all the birthday wishes, emails, and messages.  It was great.  :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

November 28

Quiet but nice day.  Woke up early and took a long walk around Perth.  Lots of beautiful things to see.  Apparently everybody drank too much last night; I felt like it was just me out there.  I got organized and wrote some postcards today.  I'll need to buy more stamps though.  I went out around noon, and visited some of the museums.  The Western Australia Art Museum, the Western Australian Museum, and the public library.  Not as exciting as I thought they might be, but it was nice to get out on my own.  Looked at shoes, but the shoes I get for $60-100 in the US is $130-180 AU.  Wow.  I guess I'll just have the parents send some shoes instead.  Got groceries, which are so expensive here!  I spent about $50AU, which would have cost me $35 in the US, at least.  Meat just kills me, it's so expensive.  Even Raman is expensive, at $1 a packet of noodles.  Oh well.  Took a nap.  :)  I love how nice it is here.  Went to the Catholic church nearby with Jess and Nick.  They're both Catholic, and it's nice to get back in the church routine.  Then we went and saw Harry Potter!!!  Love it.  :)  Finally, home for dinner, and now to bed.  Another work week, hopefully we get paid!!!!

November 27

Another busy day, but at least it wasn't as early.  Went to work to help Fish, it's a nickname, calibrate some tools.  It took a few hours, but it was actually pretty informative.  Nick, Jess, and I went to dinner at Nepalese/ Himalayan restaurant.  Unfortunately, that basically means that it's an Indian restaurant.  I've had more than enough Indian at my class, but oh well, it was good nonetheless!  Definitely might try it again.  Then we tried to take a bus, but ended up taking the train back to our place.  Tried to get to Harry Potter, but who knew it would be so hard to find a movie theater in the middle of the city!  Found it, about 45 minutes after the meeting started, but then we went and had a Belgian beer instead.  :)  There is a really swanky place kind of far from our house, but really, it's just a walk.  Definitely excited for my nice chill day tomorrow :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

November 26

Black Friday, and there are do not appear to be any great sales.  This is not the same.  Luckily it appears the weather is so much better.  95F today, slightly windy, great day.  :)  Not as busy in the workshop today, so I tried to get more of my computer work done now that my computer is fixed!!!  All it took was a new motherboard....needless to say, I think my boss thinks I'm an idiot.  Note, don't change passwords without great care.  We had 2 hours worth of meetings today.  :)  I actually learned quite a bit about the local IT practices, so it was time well spent.  Jess and I left early today, since our ride was leaving.  Jess bought a phone, and I fixed the problem with mine.  The shops are actually open till 9 PM on Friday, so we made the most of it.  :)  I only bought a summer dress, but Jess managed to pick up some things for our SLB Christmas party.  I love that we actually have the opportunity to shop one day a week.  I'm headed back into work tomorrow to do some tool calibrations, so it's still an early night for me.  I'm watching Don't Mess With the Zohan, it's the only thing on the TV.  Oh Australians...  I hope you're all enjoying your day of, good luck to Trygve on his game on Saturday, and good luck to Ben on his Dirty Dozen bike ride, safe journeys to everybody!!!

November 25

Happy Thanksgiving!  Well, it's not really the same at all here Down Under, but I'm determined to enjoy it.  :)  Work, work, work, all day long, makes for a happy girl, and seeing as how my boss, and my boss's boss left to go golfing....  We left an hour early and went to the beach!  It took us awhile to figure out how the trains work, note, always have coins, but once we figured it out it went pretty slick.  From the nearest train station it's a 15 minute walk to Cottesloe Beach.  I saw the same little wave placards that I saw in Portland that indicated tsunami, but unfortunately these just point to the beach.  I was just a bit disappointed.  The beach was once again beautiful, but a bit windy.  It's a rather unpleasant thing to have sand blown at you, feels like sandpaper all over your body.  Jess and I took a nice long walk along the beach, saw some kite surfers, and I somehow managed to get 2 bug bites on the bottom of my feet.  :(  It's still pretty awesome to get to go to the beach though.  We came back on the train and had korean barbecue for dinner!  Jess and Nick had never had it before, and I think they both liked it.  Had a bit of green tea and Jamaican chocolate ice cream for dessert.  No, it's not turkey and pumpkin pie, but it was good.  Got home to Skype with Mom and Dad, Grandma, but missed Ben - silly boy was asleep.  :)  All in all, a pretty good day.  I have to say, I'd do it again if I had to!  Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November 24

Just a little sad today.  Thanksgiving is coming, and I'm not going to be home, off work, or watching football.  :(  We're thinking of going to the beach though!  We all got to ride in Laura's car to work this morning.  Sure is nice to have one roommate with a car.  Definitely going to need to buy one as soon as I come back here.  Busy day in the workshop today.  A lot of tools and equipment were getting shipped out to the rigs.  Have I mentioned that the rigs are all over the place?  There are zero rigs off the coast of Perth, but we service rigs off the coast of Melbourne, Brisbane, Darwin, Broome, Karratha, Exmouth, and on the island of East Timor.  (Look these places up on a map.  They are seriously far away from Perth!)  Freight shipping takes a long time, so logistics is vital.  Came home and ran over to Heirisson (spelling?) Island down the street from my condo.  We saw the kangaroos!  Granted, they were only about 2 feet tall, and not nearly as scary as I had anticipated.  I was expected the 6 ft tall grey kangaroos, but these guys were dog sized and brown.  They're pretty used to humans, so when Jess and Nick got to close, they just slowly hopped away.  I stayed safely on the trail.  :)  Home for a great homemade dinner, and the roommates tricked me into some homemade tiramisu.  I love living with a true Italian.  I finally got to talk to Ben!  I think I woke him up, but it's good to know that Google Chat works pretty well from over here.  Now off to bed, after hanging my clothes to dry on the balcony.  Hopefully the winds don't blow anything off!   

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

November 23

Gosh, it's been a good day.  :)  Woke up early with intentions to go running.  Alas, that snooze button is much too close.  Oh well.  :)  Finally got my phone all set up and working, good news!  Another exciting taxi ride to work.  Patricia, Jess's roommate, told us that we might not get reimbursed for our $30/trip to and from work.  We're going to check tomorrow, because at $1200/month, I can totally afford a car.  I'll be finding that out tomorrow.  We drive through neighborhoods called East Perth and Victoria Park to get there everyday.  Such nice little brick homes with big brick walls.  It's kind of like how I remember Mexico being.  Everybody seems to like their privacy.  There's not really a crime problem in Perth, so maybe it just became the style to have really big fences around the homes?  I thought it was going to be quiet at work, and it kind of was, but we managed to stay busy all day.  We helped calibrate some tools, I did some fit testing with the operator trainees, and got my computer worked on!!  It might get fixed tomorrow.  It'll be nice to finally be able to do my SLB work on my own computer.  I had a chocolate milk with my smoko this morning.  Smoko is tea time, or for the Americans, break time.  Normal snack is a meat pie, chocolate milk, and a cigarette.  Needless to say, I just have the milk.  When we got home from work the ladies went grocery shopping.  I got gingernuts; they were NOT gingersnaps.  Disappointing to say the least.  I made chicken korma for dinner, it was great.  I spent some time watching the TV while writing emails.  Google Chat works just fine to make calls to the USA!  I talked with Mom and Dad, surprised them both I think.  :)  Tried talking to Ben, but I'll call again.  Thank goodness today went well, we'll see how the rest of the week goes.  Maybe to the beach this weekend.

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22

I met Patricia (said the Spanish or the English way depending on who you're talking to), Jess's roommate from Mexico.  She's been off the coast of New Zeland for the past 7 months on a rig with only 3 days off.  Wow.  She seems super chill though, albeit a bit stressed and frustrated with work.  I could understand why.  Today was pretty busy, but in a good way.  We've been learning how to run the other operating system and calibrating tools, but I keep feel like I'm missing out on how to troubleshoot problems.  Maybe that just comes with experience.  One of the rigs got their tool stuff downhole, but luckily were able to get it unstuck.  It's a pretty bad thing when that happens.  We came home early, around 6, and then went over to my co-workers Callum's place for a quick barbi.  I'm going to try to wake up early to go running in the morning.  Here's to hoping that happens!

November 21

First Sunday in Perth.  Thank goodness we deccided not to go into work.  :)  I woke up early and ran around on the River View Road this morning.  There's a lot of bike/walk paths all around.  There was a really big bike ride going on, and it was nice to see all those people out and about.  I found the kangaroo reserve, but because of the scary signs warning me them, I decided to wait for another time, when I have some company to put between me and the roos.  It rained for a bit during the adventures, but it was nice to have a change in the weather.  Afterwards Jess and I went shopping for some phones.  I bought a Telstra, Australia's local cell phone company; I sure hope it was a wise choice.  Also visited Target, which I thought seemed a little bit classier than our version.  We then walked down the River Road a bit more to King's Park.  It's the tallest place in Perth, with a war memorial, concert venue, and botanical gardens.  Great view, I'll definitely be coming back here.  We then had a bit of a late lunch, then Jess and I walked home through downtown while Nick took the Metro home.  Only $2.50 to get to Victoria Park.  I can see that we will definitely be visiting him more.  Downtown is a really nice place during the day.  I like it at night, because it's all lite up for Christmas already, but it's so clean and quiet during the weekend.  Gotta love having your Christmas in the summer.  Strangely enough there are a lot of decorations that feature snow.  :)  I had big plans to make dinner, but I ended up Skyping with Mom, Dad, and Ben instead.  Definitely time well spent.  :)  It had been about 3 weeks since I had talked directly to them, and I have to say I'd missed it.  I can't wait to try to talk to the family on Thanksgiving.  Even if I have to get up during the night to do it, it'll be worth it.  I'm glad I took today off work, it's so nice to enjoy the few days that we do have off. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

November 20

Saturday morning was a little rough.  Needless to say, I should have taken more vitamin B12.  I did get some vitamin C today, so at least Mom will be pleased!  Got up and moving about 10:30 AM, and went into work till 4 PM.  Big thanks to coworker Dave for driving us to the supermarket!  Things have strange times around here.  The supermarket is open till 9 during the week and Sunday, but closes at 5 PM on Saturday.  Thank goodness we got there early enough to get some food.  I looked around for some kangaroo, but sadly didn't see any.  :(  Perhaps I have to go to a real butcher for that.  We found a fishmonger though!  I got stuff to make chicken korma.  Yum, maybe for Sunday night.  They have such interesting foods here, but figuring out if the prices are the same is a bit tricky.  Meat is way more expensive, WAY more.  The most economical thing I could find were chicken thighs, which is fine, because I like them, but roughly 1 lb of ground beef was $AU 12.  Holy crap.  I guess I'll be eating vegetarian most of the time...  Nick's roommate Jack volunteered to run us back to Jess and I's apartment building, so we took him up on it!  He told us there is a kangaroo reserve right by our place.  Guess where I'll be going tomorrow?  We found out that we live across from the Indonesian embassy.  Just in case that ever comes in handy.  Nick and Jess helped me move into my new place, it's 2 floors down from Jess, the same apartment.  I'm even staying in the same room.  Still no air conditioning, but I'll be buying a fan soon.  My roommates seem nice, but they were the ones that were out till 5, so I understand why they might be tired.  We walked over to Northbridge (I think I'm spelling that right), to check out what is supposed to be the best nightlife in Perth.  It was maybe 1 1/2 to 2 miles from our place, but it's a pleasant and well lite walk.  Perth always seems to have live music, and there were 2 stages set up with bands.  There are a couple streets with no cars, Hay Street is one of them!  (A lot of things are named Hay or Hayes around here.  Must have been a very popular British name.  :))  We walked by museums, galleries, the mint, the national museum, the city library, civic buildings.  The area we got to was pretty nice.  Lots of young people, cafes, diners, bars, dance clubs, and all this live music going on.  Definitely come back here.  We sat outside for a burger and drinks, but then called it a night.  Nick decided to try and see how the metro would be at taking him home, so Jess and I walked slowly backing, admiring the scenery.  We live in a pretty cool city, and it is growing on me.  Way too many kebab stores, and not enough clothing stores open late, but it'll do.  :)  Tomorrow, it's workout time, maybe a trip to Kings Park or Fremantle, and some good dinner making.  I hope Trygve has a great football game, good luck to Ben on his bike ride, and Happy almost Thanksgiving!!

November 19

Late night, but not as late as some!  I'll explain.  A Friday at work, thank heaven's I'm done with the first week  It's not really a weekend, because the job isn't like that, but it's nice to think that I might have a day off.  Jess, Nick, and I put together a tool string and tried to make it work in the tool operating system.  Quite a challenge, since it's a different system than we're used to, but we're getting better.  Jess and I left work a little early to help Callum, an engineer that is my age, but with 3 more years experience, get ready for the staff party.  Rob and Laura are two engineers that are leaving Perth to do other things with their lives, so they had a party for them!  The shopping with Callum (said Kellum) was an interesting experience, and needless to say, we spent a lot of money on alcohol.  SLB people sure like to drink.  :)  Callum did all the cooking, he wouldn't even let us help, so Jess and I chilled till people started showing up.  I drank my Dark and Stormy (rum, lime, ginger beer), and everybody else dived into the beer.  We had some mixed grilled veggies, sausages, garlic bread (it's not real garlic bread like in the US, but it's okay), and chips and dips.  Overall, good, but one of the operators brought this rice dish and marinated baked chicken.  Now that stuff was incredible.  I can't tell you where Reuben is from, but he sure knows how to cook!  Spent quite a few hours just hanging out and talking, and got to hear some nice words from Rob and Laura about the good and the bad times they've had in Perth.  We were going to go out clubbing, but decided to retire instead.  Apparently the group that kept partying managed to stay out till 5 AM at the casino.  A great time was had, but they partied hard with some clients that came by the party.  Oh well, next time I know to take a nap beforehand.  :) 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

November 18

Well today was great!  Early to rise, early to work, work, work, work.  We had a lunch and learn where we discussed all the failures in the past couple weeks.  :(  Wow, be ready to defend yourself.  Most of the time it was things that were out of the engineer's control, but at least one of the incidents was because a switch accidentally got switched off.  Wow, talk about trouble.  At least lunch was nice.  Some sandwiches had beets (apparently Australians and myself love beets!), some had chutneys, and one was a vegetarian curry thing.  Delicious.  I locked myself out of my computer today, and it takes 24 minimum for IT to unlock it.  Not my smartest move, but at least I did it now, and not later on when I really need my computer.  Needless to say, I spent a lot of time down in the workshop.  At least I'm getting to know all the workers.  6 of us went out to the beach after work.  This is NOT a common thing at all, but since Rob is leaving, we did it.  Went in the water at sunset (right around the time where the most shark attacks occur, oh well), did a bit of swimming, then up to the boardwalk for a bit of dinner and a drink.  Really nice and chill.  Came back home by the scenic route, Rob got lost, oh well, and finally home.  In bed early again.  Gotta get my 8 hours of sleep while I can.  Sunday is going to be really busy at work, I an tell.  Love you all!

November 17

Another busy day.  I'm starting to get used to this place, but the 7:30 AM morning meeting can be a bit tough when you also have to catch a taxi.  I'm writing this a day late, and I'm having trouble remembering everything that I did.  :(  I had lunch with the engineering boys (they're mostly all boys), at a mall area, and Jess and I bought laundry detergent and q-tips together.  Yes, we're having that smashing of a time.  :)  We left work and went to a colleague's house in Victoria Park.  Really nice area, I kind of wish we were staying there, but the inner city is nice.  We had some nice leftovers from a big party they had this weekend, beers, wines, and hookah.  Jeremy is from Pittsburgh, Rob from Michigan, and Dave from Toronto.  Really great guys, but we live pretty far from them.  Talked a lot about what work has in store for us, and then started issuing shots if people talked about work.  :)  Hope to return the favor to them, but Rob leaves on Sunday for Bahrain.  SLB is having a party for him on Friday, can't wait!  Home late, laundry, and bed.  One of these days I'm going to get on Skype, until then, I hope you all like the blog! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November 16

Well, 2nd official day of work went okay.  I moved all my stuff to Jess’s apartment, since I’ll be living in the same building as her.  Got to work at 7:15, then in coveralls to go to the morning meeting.  Introduced to most of the Wireline staff, and then over to the engineer’s meeting where they talk about things they need/want for the next job.  I worked on my on-line training for the morning, then we got to go out into the workshop with the operator trainer, Tony, and pull apart a head.  The head is what connects the cable to the tools.  Spent an enjoyable 3 hours with them, then back to training.  Finally met Zane, our real boss, around 5:30 PM.  He was having a hectic day, since he had just gotten back from vacation.  Nice guy, I’m sure we’ll talk more tomorrow, after he’s a bit calmer.  We met most of our fellow Wireline engineers today.  Mostly Brits, a Canadian some Australians, and American.  We think there are some Latin American girls, but all the girls are out on the rigs right now.  We sit in a cubical kind of environment, with really low barriers, and I’m seated in ‘row’ of cubicals.  It’s not terribly nice, but it does keep me focused on my work.  We’re starting to get better about this whole taxi thing in the morning.  We are given little passes to the take the taxi every morning, at least until the girl roommates return.  Then we can borrow an SLB car to go to and from work.  Went grocery shopping with Jess, and bought $AU 33 of groceries.  I had fresh pasta and sauce for dinner.  Excellent.  Now I’m just going to show, get my stuff ready for tomorrow, and sleep.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings.  Good night!

My address is 80/131 Adelaide Terrace, Perth, WA.  Don't send me anything yet, because I haven't figured out if my mail is delivered to my apartment, or just left in the common area - like I've seen other people's mail.  If that's the case, I may be getting a PO Box.  Look it up on Google though, sure is a nice building!  My work address is 9 Searle Rd, and it's out by the airport.  It might not be on Google Maps, because it's still a relatively new area.  This whole driving on the other side of the road is a real mind bender, but I'm getting better about it.  I can actually stand going on a roundabout without freaking out that cars are coming right at us.  Right hand turns are a doozy though. 

November 15

Long red-eye flight.  I hardly slept a wink, and I didn’t have anyone sitting next to me.  Makes for a very long day.  Got into Perth at 6:30.  Funny thing, as we got on the airplane, the pilot comes on with an announcement, “We’re afraid that the plane is going to be getting in a little later than usual this morning, we have had to reroute the flight plane to avoid the erupting volcano in Indonesia.”  Holy crap!  I forgot that I am now a neighbor of Indonesia, and that actually affects me.  We did have a lot of turbulence, but I think we successfully avoided the ash plumes.   Went through customs, I didn’t get checked or anything.  There was a huge line, and we all thought that we’d be there for hours, but we were just whisked right through.  We think it might have had something to do with the fact that we have work visas.  I didn’t even need to use the documents that I printed out, so much for that expense.  We took a taxi to SLB-Perth, it’s only about a 2 minute drive from the airport.  It’s on federally owned land, and SLB is renting the building from the federal government.  We got there, and Nick and I were not expected.  They only thought that Jessica was going to be there….  Right.  Well at least they told me I can stay!  We met with Andy, our boss’s boss.  Nice fellow from the U.K., I’m really glad that he had some tie to talk to us today.  He told us that all 3 of us are going to be going to Roma, Australia, approximately 400 kilometers west of Brisbane in the Outback.  We are expressly forbidden from going offshore with any of the clients here in Perth, so we will have to do some jobs in Roma/ Eastern Australia in order to complete our job requirements.  So may new things today, I can’t even go into them all.  We only stayed around till noon, then we went back to our respective accommodations.  I am unfortunately staying in a hotel tonight, but I’ll be in the same place as Jess.  Nick is unfortunately a little ways away, but we’re all going to get phones tomorrow at work.  I came to the hotel, paid for my this funny little card that SLB gave me, got a salad, and passed out hard for a couple hours.  I met up with Jess and Nick in the downtown area, we thought that everything would still be open.  We were mistaken.  Everything closes down early, I guess we’ll get used to that.  After a short dinner, and a side trip to the supermarket, we split and I came back to my hotel.  Tired, but I’m glad I’m finally here.  Tomorrow should be interesting.

November 14

A wonderful day of travel.  I woke up early, or so I thought, had breakfast, called the cabs, and checked on where everybody else was.  Apparently I was the only one that really slept.  I should have stayed out with the gang last night though.  They found a very nice bar with lots of Americans and Brits Jess, Tiffany, and Nick all had so much luggage that they spent hours packing it all up, and trying to decide how much it was going to cost them at the airport.  Took a cab with Tiffany, pleasant drive.  We realized that this has probably been the first time we’d been in a car during daylight hours since our first week.  Wowzers.  We arrived, and I got through with my luggage/ticket no problem.  The other 3 paid varying amounts to check their bags.  Needless to say, I’m glad I stuck with one checked bag.  Customs were a breeze, and the prices were nice at duty free, but I really had no reason to buy anything.  I realized about 5 minutes before we were to board our flight to Singapore that I didn’t have a hard copy of my immigration document to Australia.  I couldn’t quite remember how much I needed it, but it freaked me out a bit.  I’d take care of it at the airport though, no worries.  A nice 8 hour flight, I watch Oman pass by, along with seeing both coasts of India.  Can’t wait to visit there.  Probably got 5 hours of sleep, but it was bad sleep.  I watched Despicable Me.  Got in to Singapore at 10 PM local time.  What an awesome airport.  There are information desks every 100 feet or so, the nicest stores, restaurants.  Wow.  It was like a rather snazzy mall/hotel in one.  There was an indoor koi pond, but we missed seeing the indoor rollercoaster.  Next time.  I got my documents prints for about $7 US, and picked up a bagel sandwich w/ mango tea for $7.50 from Dunkin Donuts.  Unfortunately Jess and Nick had to again pay to have their luggage shipped.  Apparently Etihad, our first airline, made a mistake when they arranged to have their luggage sent the first time.  They had to pay again what they had already paid in Abu Dhabi.  A very expensive day for the two of them, I really hope that SLB reimburses them.  Waited till 1 AM and got on our flight to Perth.

November 13

Well, the last day of school was actually pretty nice.   Oh well, next time.  Headed to class, talked about our year old plan with SLB.  I’ll have a lot to do, but it’s attainable.  I had my meeting with Yogi about where I need work, and what he thinks that I do well.  Considering I know that some of my fellow SLB’s read this, I’ll keep the details to myself.  Needless to say, positives and negatives.  Had some lunch, then out to the well pad for some more practical action.  I think Yogi could tell that we were exhausted, so he let us out early.  I went back to the accomodations, and took a nap.  Sweet, sweet nap.  We then went into the city for a little fun and dinner.  Went to a hooka/sports bar in the Marina Mall.  Strange place, we were definitely conspicuous, but it was a fun time.  Since they don't serve any alcohol, they had an awesome non-alcoholic drinks section.  I had a real ginger drink with lemon, it was kind of thick, and Jess had cinnamon tea.  Had a mixed meat platter, pitas, cheese, and grilled veggies.  Very tasty.  I finally got to talk more with Badar and Khalil, the two most conservative members of our class.  Really nice guys, I think Badar just isn't as comfortable with his English.  Khalil went to school in New Zeland, and he seems pretty chill.  Went back a bit earlier, others stayed to go out to the bars, and got all packed up.  Early to bed, if 1 AM is considered early.  Tomorrow should be in an interesting traveling day...              

Saturday, November 13, 2010

November 12

Well, today was mostly positive.  :)  I passed my test this morning on the first try!!!  75/100 and a 70 is passing.  I know what you're thinking, Mary Kate, you didn't actually pass by that many, but I was in the 70% percentile of my class, so most people passed with 71, 72, etc.  Thank goodness I'm done with that for a month and a half.   Spent an hour figuring out the problems that I did wrong.  :)  Then we had a nice relaxing afternoon out on the well pad where we looked at all the tools, and tried to figure out how what we learned in the theory classes corresponded to what we could see in the field.  I went home, did more of my training, watched The Hulk, because it was like the only English show on.  We went out as a class to dinner with our instructors, helpers, administrators and their families to an Indonesian/Malaysian restaurant, since Yogi, our main instructor is Indonesian.   Delicious!!  I didn't actually eat a lot, but I did have 2 beers and a wine.  A wonderful time, we met our new instructors for our next class, and talked to one of Yogi's best students from the past.  He's from Kazakstan (spelling?), and he's about to go to Grade 11, which is like our goal after 3-4 years.  He was just a nice take on the whole 1st year experience.  We, well 10/13 of our class, went out afterwards to a chill bar.  Had some strange sangria thing that was okay.  We were going to go a club, but the only girls in there were prostitutes.  For a country that is so conservative, there still seem to be a lot of things that Muslims don't approve of.  Once again, thank you God for letting me be an American.  :)  Bed at 2 AM, lordy I'm getting used to have no sleep.
Everybody keeps warning us how hard Peptec 1 is going to be.  I wish it was just here already, but I'm going to enjoy my next 2 months, preschool, before I have to start.  Christmas in Australia.  Be jealous.  :)  Jess, Nick, and I are gonna have a great time I hope.  Good luck to Trygve with his football game, Ben with his bike ride, and Torsten with his his birthday tomorrow!

Friday, November 12, 2010

November 11

So, sleep deprivation, isn't it great.  I actually did pretty well with it though.  We had more tool presentations, focusing on sonic wave technology.  Salman, from Pakistan, gave a really good presentation I thought.  Probably the best this week.  He just really seemed to understand his topic.  We had 'Italian' day cafeteria.  I have no idea why, but these guys cannot make a pasta dish to save their souls.  Nick, who's of Italian descent, was just shaking his head along with me.  I gotta love the fact that they try.  The waiters were wearing Mexican outfits though, I'm surprised, usually they have very ethnically appropriate outfits for the theme lunches.  Learned about high pressure situations today.  Really, it was nothing compared to the types of prep that Marathon gave me, but this was just Level 1.  Apparently Level 2 is incredibly difficult.  I will have practicals, where I actually set up
tools according to SLB regulations.  Should be fun.  I stayed up till 1 AM studying for my exam tomorrow.  I was actually pretty darn alert until 12 AM, then I just started falling.  Hopefully I'm ready for it...

November 10

Well it was a couple stressful days, so I'll summarize.  Had a horrible nightmare last night.  Can't even really remember what it was all about.  Got chased in the snow by a person, and had to sleep outside.  :(  Very busy day.  We talked about nuclear and gamma ray technology, and I gave my presentation on a gamma ray tool.  Not terribly well received.  I feel there were things I could have presented better.  Yogi had to help me.  :(  It seems to have worked out okay, because everyone did well on the quiz.  I started studying for my final test on Friday: 100 questions, 2.5 hours, 25% on the tools I've learned in the past 3 days.  Righto.  I spent my early evening in the classroom studying, yet again, then it was out to the well pad for 4 hours of well site visit time!  We watched a DSI log, which I can't remember what that stands for right now...  Met a really nice guy named Ali who kept quizzing us on what we're going to need for our Peptec 1 class (that'll be the class I come back for in January, basically it's my first true test if I can do the job).  Abhi, the Indian guy that I sit next to in class (super cool fellow), and I met our Peptec 1 instructor Hanafy.  He's an Egyptian, 9 years with the company, stints in Libya, Egypt, Sudan, and Pakistan.  He spent 3 years in Centerville, OH when he was in middle school.  He asked me about Mary Kate and Ashley; first person to do that here!  He's going to be a hard-ass, no doubt, but that's exactly what I was expecting.  It's not supposed to be easy, it's supposed to be your job.  Bed at 2 AM....

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November 9

Busy night, so I'll try to keep it brief.  First day of tool introduction classes.  They're going okay, just a lot of electronic things to learn.  Ate lunch with Yogi today.  His wife is expecting twins; they know that one of them is going to be a boy.  He's super excited about it.  Apparently most of the Wireline instructors here are twins or have twins.  Must be something in the air...  I'm presenting tomorrow, so I'm trying to get my talk down.  One quiz tomorrow on everything I learned today.  This is really like 2 or 3 classes all in one, but boy am I learning.  I can't wait for preschool (my first time at my location).  Learned about radiation safety today.  If I lose a radiation source I will be fired.  Pretty much no questions asked.  Apparently SLB has only lost 2 sources ever, one in Nigeria, where they were stolen, and another one in Australia, where they fell off a truck.  Both were recovered, and in the second instance, people were fired.  I guess you can't fire people in Nigeria when they are attached and robbed.  Note: I'm never going to Nigeria.  Way too many people getting killed or kidnapped there.  I went to hip-hop dance class with Jessica tonight.  A small skinny highly-athletic French woman taught it, but honestly I think I impressed her.  That's right, I can boogie!  Jessica is really good; she was on the dance team in high school.  I'm going to a Malaysian/Indonesian restaurant with my class later this week, and my instructor in Indonesian.  He says it is one of the best places he's been outside of Indonesia.  I really can't wait for that fun experience.  Well back to studying.  Thanks Ben and Mom for the nice emails, and thanks for keeping Grandma informed.  :) 

Monday, November 8, 2010

November 8

Both an exciting and a boring day.  I slept in today, till 8!  Actually, that extra hour helped.  Perhaps I'll try getting up a little later tomorrow.  I talked to Frank this morning on SLB communicator.  Apparently China is not turning out as he had hoped.  The area is extremely dirty, he says he can taste the air.  He gets propositioned by prostitutes every day, and everybody talks Chinese around him.  He's the only ex-pat, and the one Chinese guy that he did know isn't very nice to him.  :(  I hope he can come visit for Christmas to get away for awhile.  He obviously needs it.  I went in and worked on my presentation on for the TLD - three-detector lithology density tool.  That's quite a mouthful, and I'm going to be saying it quite a bit.  Also worked on understanding the SLB proprietary software for well logging some more.  Boy do I have a lot to learn.  Khalil from Oman, Kazuma from Japan and I did our group log together in the evening.  Edith from Peru was our instructor, and we logged an open hole here at the MLC center.  Logging is basically putting a 'tool' at the end of a cable and lowering the tool into the well to determine physical characteristics about the formation.  Hopefully discovering oil or gas rich zones that can produce.  I will be doing open hole, which is logging before the well is cased, or cemented.  Casing a well seals off the formations from each other, and allows for the cased hole people to perforate, aka use explosives, to selectively puncture holes in the concrete and allow only certain oil or gas rich zones to produce.  It's pretty fascinating stuff.  :)  Tomorrow starts the first round of tool discussion presentations, which is 25% of my final grade.  I'm going to be paying really good attention, let me tell you.  It was nice to get notes from Nikki and Mom today, thanks girls!  Sorry I haven't been putting any pictures up, it just always seems to come down to a choice: sleep more than 6 hours at night, or put up pictures and sleep only 5.  I'm choosing the 6 hours of sleep.  Hopefully I'll get on Facebook after my course finishes.  Today we basically had a mini sand storm.  If that was just a mini one, then I hate to think how bad the real ones are.  My eyes are still very dry and gritty, and apparently, the dry season, which I'll be coming back for in January, is know for their sandstorms.  Great.  Interesting fact of the day: my instructor Edith is taking a leave of absence from SLB and is going to graduate school in petroleum engineering.  In Perth, Australia.  Haha!  Good night everybody!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

November 7

Well, again, it's Sunday officially, but it's the beginning of the workweek here in Abu Dhabi.  At least today had a good start.  20/24 and 11/12 on my quizzes.  :)  Significantly better than the class average.  Oh well, the real test is coming on Friday, so I've got to get ready.  I have a well site log tomorrow, a presentation the day after that, and 2 well sites visits in the evenings.  It's going to be a busy week.  We had a rig-up practical this afternoon where we actually cleaned our tools, tested them, and rigged them up to the wireline cable.  Tomorrow my practical is from 6-10:30 PM, and I'm pretty excited.  First time actually using the wireline equipment.  We got out of class marginally early today, so I worked out with Tiffany and Jessica, after we walked around the whole MLC compound.  The boat part, WesterGeco, is so cool!  I would hate to be on a boat for months, but the set-up they have here seems really swanky.  There is a squash court too, and apparently Alex and Aziz both like it.  Perhaps I'll improve my squash and table tennis skills.

I miss my family today.  I hope you're all having a nice Sunday.  :)

November 6

Well, I certainly had high aspirations for today, but somehow common sense took hold of me.  I did not get on the Dubai bus as I had originally planned, and instead slept an extra 2 hours.  Frankly, I think it was the better choice.  I had a charming breakfast with Jessica and Nick, the two people going with me to Perth, and then we headed out on the MLC bus to downtown Abu Dhabi city.  It drops us off at Marina Mall, and then we walked over to the Emirates Palace.  Talk about a swanky hotel/jewel of the city.  Obviously, if you have the money in the UAE, you spend it.  Saddest thing about the whole place was that there were no people on the beach.  I repeat, no one.  We saw 8 people on the beach during the entire day.  Certainty there are places we couldn't see, big billboards block the view of the beach for privacy we think, but it was just incredibly depressing.  We just need to figure out where we can have co-ed swimming.  We hear Al Maya Island is nice, and we may try to get there next weekend.  We visited a local market area, which had a lot more 'normal' people from Abu Dhabi in it.  We finally found shwarma for Nick, it's a sandwich/gyro like thing, but unfortunately they don't start serving it until 5 PM.  Oh well, at least he knows where it is now.  We had some 'American' fast food, that was pretty nice actually.  Jessica and I got stared at and winked at constantly by these strange Algerian? guys.  So creepy.  I guess we were pretty much the only girls not wearing hijab, but really?  Oh well, at least we had Nick.  :)  Caught a taxi back to the mall for our bus pick-up, then home for a nap.  I had a pretty productive evening working on my homework for class.  Looking forward to next week when I finally leave for Australia though.  :)  Love you all!

Friday, November 5, 2010

November 5

Kind of a more relaxed day.  I got really lucky on my quizzes, I messed up a number, 7504 instead of 7540.  Luckily it turned out that I had the same estimate as the answer, but seriously, I could have messed up a well quite badly if that had been a real situation!  I'm going to have to work on not transposing any more numbers.  It could kill.  We had a rather inexperienced presenter again today.  She seems like a nice girl, but frankly she need a lot of work in the presenting department.   It was Alyaa from Malaysia's birthday today, so we had a birthday song and cake for her in class!  They have some delicious stuff here.  (I will not eat dessert, I will not eat dessert.)  :)  I'm also digging the cardamom tea they have here.  Kind of like chai, but better.  We got out of class early, around 5:30 PM, so I played some ping pong doubles.  Needless to say, I'm probably the worst, but it's really hard to compete against the Southeast Asians!  They're so small, I swear, they just bounce around to get the ball.  Sigh.  I guess I'm never going to rock at that sport.  Had a nice dinner with Alyaa, and worked out for the first time in a few days.  It felt so awesome to stretch out afterwards.  Now, it's back to homework for now, and then I'm off to Dubai in the morning.  Can't wait!