Monday, January 31, 2011

January 31

Just a note, we had such a weird day.  I think we had a small sandstorm for about 12 hours today.  It was like fog, and it gave a yellowish haze to everything around, but I didn't feel sand stinging my skin or anything.  Not exactly sure how to quantify it, but I got to work outside in it all day.  Guess who's sunburnt now?  Not me!!  I know, I know, I'm learning.  :)

January 29

Well, I know I made a promise that I was going to get some sleep this weekend, but everybody in my class was going to Dubai, so...  Needless to say, I joined them.  I did wait, and I went on Saturday morning, because I needed to get some things in Abu Dhabi the night before.  So off I went on the 6 AM bus ride, darn, that's early!  The group was me, Alex from Turkministan, Gozie from Nigeria, Fatah from Algeria, and Khalil from Oman.  Got to the airport right around 8:30 AM, and took the Metro off to the city!  We went down into the downtown area - Baniyas Square, so the boys could look for their electronics.  I didn't really see anything I wanted.  Mostly just mass produced stuff that I wasn't interested in.  I'm trying so hard to find something cool, but I have yet to do so.  I really hope I find something authentic while I'm here at least.  We then headed out of the city center to Dubai Mall which also happens to be right next to the Burj Khalifa.  Unfortunately we did not plan ahead, so there were no tickets to be had today.  :(  This is going to be a priority for me next time I come.  I really want to be in the tallest building in the world, at least until the new one they're building in Saudi Arabia is complete!  Dubai Mall is pretty awesome, I'm not going to lie.  Not even that I like malls, but it does seem to have just about everything.  Dining, an aquarium, tallest building in the world, and about 500 shops.  It is actually worth going to just to see all the stuff in there.  We visited the aquarium which was okay; not the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago or anything like that.  We had lunch in the food court.  They boys went all out and had McDonalds.  Of course you're going to ask, why have McDonalds when practically every food imaginable is available?  Apparently they've missed it; our training facility leaves something to be desired at times...  They all went off shopping for friends and family, and I tried to make my way to the beach to meet the other students from my class.  After discovering the beach was going to be pretty difficult to get to :(, I headed over to another mall to meet some people.  City Center mall is more like what we have in the USA.  I visited H&M, Mango, and the juice bar.  :)  Now I realize that it sounds like all I did was going shopping, but I really only bought 1 jacket and 7 macaroons (my favorite type of cookie).  I just couldn't seem to find the shoes or souvenirs that I was looking for.  I guess that means I'll just have to go back and try again!  Headed home on the 6 PM bus that didn't leave till 6:45.  Sigh, gotta love this country.  Goodnight!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

January 28

Well, as you can see, I haven't written anything lately, so I'll try to summarize the last 2 weeks. 

Wow, what an experience so far.  So I came back to MLC on the 15th, and it's been busy since then.  My class is pretty great.  We have a lot of nationalities, and I have to say that I really enjoy my classmates.  I sit next to a Nigerian, a Libyan, and a Malaysian (I think Malai is actually how you say that nationality, but nonetheless).  We're a pretty chill group.  :)  I am 'retaking', if you want to call it that, the same class that I took in November.  The schedule and quizzes/tests are a lot different, but it's been mostly review.  That isn't to say that it's been easy.  I have a 70% pass rate that I must maintain, or I'll get booted out of here.  So far so good.  :)  I went out and partied with some of the classmates last weekend, and even though about 1/2 of our class doesn't drink (our Muslims), we had a really good night of dancing.  Juice shots for everybody!  I gave a presentation again - why do these things never go as well as I would like?  I've been sleeping between 4-6 hours a night, and this is supposed to be the easier part of school.  Sigh.  I can see how the next 12 weeks are going to be = tough.  I'm thinking pretty seriously about going to Dubai tomorrow.  It sure would be nice to sleep instead though...  We'll see what I end up doing.   
Moral of the last 2 weeks, tough but fun.  Hopefully I'll be able to keep up this work pace, and pass school.  :) 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January 25

This is a pretty apt description of my job.

Offshore & Onshore, Oil and Gas Exploration. Generally what we do, there is a team of 2 Engineers, 2 Crew Chiefs, 2 Operators and/or a Seismic Specialist, MDT Specialist or an MSCT specialist. We are asked by the Oil & Gas companies to go and evaluate their well. So they tell us what they want to know about their well, like exactly where the oil and gas is, how far from the surface it is, how big the zones are, how easily would it be to extract it, will it flow out on its own etc.... So we go and get our tools which are huge pieces of steel/titanium pipe that are completely filled with geophysical sensors and electronics. We then check them in the base and then send them to the rigs. After the tools leave for the rig, we leave soon after and head to the rig. After we arrive on the rig, we unload the tools and check them again to make sure that they haven't been damaged in transit. After that checks out ok and the client is ready for us to evaluate their well (Just finished drilling it). We then connect our tools in different configurations and winch them into the well on wireline cable (Armoured steel cable with 7 copper wires inside for power and tool communications). After we reach the bottom we start coming up slowly taking measurements generally every 6 inches and recording them on surface in real time so that the client can see exactly what their well looks like below the earths surface as soon as we measure it.. After a few days of this we pack up and go home.

This is going to be life soon, assuming I make it through school.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

January 17-19

We've been learning basic equipment these last few days.  Interesting, but I've done most of it before, so thank heavens it's mostly review!  We had a group dinner at the Shangri-La, the awesome buffet dinner I've been to before.  Delicious.  :)  I've had some software problems on my computer, but those have been resolved, and I'm working up a storm!  And trying to get some sleep.  I have a feeling that 6 hours a night is going to become the norm.  :(

January 16

First day of class.  I'll list everybody in my class, so you can't appreciate the multi-national company that SLB is.  Here are the countries represented: USA, France, Romania, Turkey, Turkministan, Pakistan, India, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Nigeria, Egypt, Oman, Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan.  We're a good group I think.  :)  My instructors are from Indonesia and Malaysia, and my soon to be primary instructor is from Egypt.  Should be interesting....  
I've started studying, so I'm sorry if I'm not updating this as often as I have been.  Here's to a great 94 days!  They're going to be hell, but hopefully I come out of them saying I like my job.

January 15

What a day to forget.  7:30 AM flight to Singapore, so we're at the airport at 5:30 AM.  Way early...  Talked with parents though, as I used up all my minutes on my phone.  I'll definitely be getting a great plan if I come back here.  Nothing too exciting about the flight, except that Singapore Airlines really is a nice way to go.  They do try to treat you well.  Got into Singapore and explored the airport a bit.  Really swanky place.  A 7 hour flight to Abu Dhabi, land that I have come to appreciate.  Took a taxi to the accommodations, why can't taxi drivers ever know where we are going??  There are 2 classes going on for wireline people, and they put us all in the same wing of the accommodations, it's so nice to see everybody!!!  I passed out early.  Let's here it for 10 hours of sleep every night!  :)

January 14

Last day of work.  :(  I'm a little bit sad, but I know that I'm going to miss this place when I'm in school.  Finished up a few things, and studied!  Home 'early' for Perth, around 4 PM!  Went out to buy a last minute essentials.  I went out with Nick for dinner to a place called Little Caesar's Pizza.  No, it's not the same as in the USA.  It's awesome.  At least 50 types of pizza that I counted, with every topping you can imagine.  We just beat the dinner crowd at 7:30 PM, and it was one of the best pizzas I've ever had.  I'll be going back there again!  Had a few drinks at the Irish pub and watched some cricket.  We headed over to my boss Togto's place to meet up with coworkers to go out again.  (Jeez, all this going out!)  Jess joined us, and we had a pretty nice time.  I was in bed by 12:30 AM, but Jess didn't get any sleep.  Oops, thank goodness we have a 7 AM flight!

Friday, January 14, 2011

January 13

Well today I gave my presentation on organizing the 'jars'.  These are a tool that is used in case a tool gets stuck downhole.  With this tool we can sometimes get the tool string unstuck without destroying it.  It went okay.  I had a project that was actually pretty useful, as opposed to the Jessica's project, which was a waste of her time unfortunately.  :(  I came home to an empty apartment; the other girls have gone to a job in Darwin, so I enjoyed some time to myself.  :)  Had dinner with Jess and got my bag all packed up.  I'm sure that it's over 44 pounds, but without a scale it's hard to say. 
I'm a bit sad to be leaving, and quite a bit stressed.  This is going to be pretty difficult.  I had my 'controls' for going to school, and I knew enough for them to allow me to go.  Honestly though, I have a lot to learn yet. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January 12

2 days to go; I'm so ready to get out of here!  Presentation tomorrow, packing tonight.  Geez, it's going fast.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January 11

Well, I got my Lean project mostly done today!  Now, I just need to give a presentation on it on Thursday, and I'll be mostly ready to go!  :)  Came home to make a great big dinner.  My lunch of Ramen noodles was not cutting it.  Watched some True Blood with Juliette, and finally finished my Christmas cards!  Gosh I feel productive.  Now if I would just say up a bit later to do some packing....  Yeah, that's not happening.  Happy Anniversary to my parents!  They celebrated their 30th anniversary on the 10th, and I'm so glad to have them in my life.  Here's to another 30 years Mom and Dad!

On a much less positive note, I found out today that one of my co-workers had been kidnapped while on a job for SLB in Sudan.  Scary, scary stuff.  He was held for 27 days, and it was the worst time of his life.  While very thankful that he got out alive, that is scary stuff.  Not to self: never go to Sudan.  Can do.

January 10

Well, everybody loves a good Monday.  The boss isn't back yet, which makes it even nicer.  :)  As my last week here, I got stuff to do though.  Packing, finishing my coursework, and saying goodbye to everybody.  Wichien, Sarah, and Patricia played wii all night long while I finished my coursework.  Gotta say, it sucks to be the only one working.  :(  At least I got it done!

January 9

We went on a vacation!  Rottnest Island, just off the coast of Fremantle, is a little island with lots of beaches.  We, Nick, Jess, and Dave, another co-worker, took the ferry over there, rented bikes, and had a grand old time.  I spent a lot of time on the beach.  Goodness knows, I've waited for a good vacation.  Unfortunately I got quite sunburnt.  :(  SPF 30 is not enough.  I've got to get some 50 for next time.  We came back and went for a barbecue at the Shannon's.  They are the couple that I had Christmas dinner with from Texas, and their son Collin is a pretty cool guy too.  They are heading to Hawaii this week, so it was nice to have a dinner with them before they left.  Now off to bed....

January 8

It was a nice long day of work, actually it was quite productive.  It's amazing how much you can get done without people interrupting you all the time.  I worked pretty much all day on my Wellsite Zero, which I need to get done before I go to school.  I came back home and went out to dinner with Nick and Jess to a Korean place.  Then we went and watched part of the Summadayze concert that was happening about 4 blocks from my house.  We didn't bother to get tickets, we just listened to the music from a nearby hill.  Came back to the apartment and got ready to go out after awhile.  Jess and I went out with Sarah and the boys for awhile, then they ditched us.  We ended up meeting some nice people, locals!  We stayed out till 3:30 AM.  Oh my, quite a night!

January 7

Thank God for Friday nights.  I was a little peeved, I thought the work friends had gone off without me, but apparently they were just being lame until later.  I went out with Juliette and a few of the boys last night, and I had a blast.  :)  We went out dancing, and I'm glad to say I stayed nice and sober.  Gotta watch out for the others!

January 6

Okay, I might have told a small fib to get out of work early but it was totally worth it.  I said I had 'mail' at the post office that just had to get picked up.  This might not have been completely true, but I really needed to get out to the shops.  I bought some soap, moisturizer and toothbrush.  This may not sound like a very exciting trip, but considering this is the first time I've been able to go shopping, it was great!!  I now have some good shampoo and conditioner, at least I won't have to be going shopping right away in Abu Dhabi.  Goodnight!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

January 5

I actually left work before 5 PM!  A nice run, and then out to dinner with Sarah, Juliette, and Patricia.  Patricia just got back from Sale, Australia, so we had a welcome home Indian dinner.  Yum.  I got a letter from Trygve today!!  Thanks Tryg.  Although I did manage to spill glitter all over myself; nice polar bear card though! 
I love hearing about the wine my parents are making back home.  I helped them set it up, but I think they've caught the winemaking bug.  Maybe they've found their retirement passion!

January 4

Well, it's Tuesday, but it's the first day of work for the Australians.  Again, it feels like Monday.  :(  I should have gone out with the other internationals, but I just didn't feel up to it.  They had a lot of fun and hangovers, and I had sleep.  I think I might have the better deal.  I got packages!!!!  I got a package from Nikki, and letters from my cousin Brenda and my aunt Norma.  Thanks so much everybody!  Granted, I won't be here much longer, but it is really nice to hear from people back home.  :)

January 3

Actual Monday also feels like Monday.  Sigh.  My Packers won their game!!!  Nick and I 'watched' it this morning.  What fun!  I don't have to take my test till after I get to Abu Dhabi.  Grr......  Well, at least I don't have to study quite so hard. 
I just love my neighborhood.  I've been running and taking walks all around, and it's such a nice little area.  I can't wait to buy a bike!!

January 2

Well, it's Sunday, but it feels like Monday.  I can see this is going to be a bad theme this week....  Long day at work, but at least I feel better.  More studying, I have an exam to think about!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

January 1

Well, I was hungover this morning.  Pretty bad.  Thanks to Nick and Jess for making sure I got home in the morning.  So, after a nice long mid-morning nap, I'm feeling a lot better.  Spent the afternoon loafing about, and met my new roommate.  Her name is Juliette, and she's from New Zeland.  Seems pretty nice so far.  I went to the movies, saw The Tourist.  I really liked the ending!  Now home for some much deserved sleep.  :)

Happy New Year's!  I hope to challenge myself with this new job, stay in contact with as many friends from home, and learn something new.  I love resolutions, but this time I think I'll be sticking to them.

Decemember 31

Happy New Year's Eve!  I had not made a single plan before I got to work, so I'm gad the evening turned out well.  Busy morning, as usual.  We got to leave work about 2 PM, so we ran over to the mall to buy stuff for the later barbi!  Came home, and sat out by the pool for the last few minutes of direct sunlight that our pool gets.  Went out for a quick bite to eat at McDonalds.  First fast food I've had since the US I think.  Headed over to the party at Ally and Nicola's house.  They're a SLB dual-career couple; really nice people.  Had some good food, and apparently I drank too much.  :(  Oh well, I'm glad that I'm a happy drunk.  :)  Watched the Perth Fireworks, from a great distance, but they were still beautiful.  Ally's Mom was there, and she's from Sydney.  She really recommended going and seeing the Sydney fireworks.  Maybe next year!  Made it back to Nick's house to crash on his extra bed.

Not too bad for my 1st New Year's outside of the US!  Happy New Year!!

December 27-30

I'll keep it short for these days.  I worked 12-14 hours each day, and came home and studied.  I have a lot to learn and remember.  I gave a presentation on Thursday about a tool, the same tool I did last week, but this time focusing on the theory.  It went much better than last week.  :)  I made some mistakes, but I am very solid on this tool, now only 11 more tools to go!  Ha.  My Uncle Mark has always told me how hard I would have to work in high school, and college, and at my first job.  He told me that he worked 16 hour days, and I thought he was crazy.  I know what he's talking about now.  Thanks Mark.