So, what have I been doing lately? Right now, I’m at the Amsterdam side of the house and keeping Hubbah company. That’s my brown Labrador who is just so annoyed with firecrackers that every New Year’s eve, it’s been our tradition to spend twelve hours together, sitting on a Monoblock bench and waiting for the neighbours run out of those noisemakers. I guess this is as good a time as any to reflect on what had happened in the last twelve months.
On the work front, everything’s fine. The events that have unfolded some time around July might say otherwise, but taking my personal goals into account, I say I have accomplished many things in the first half of the year. See, contrary to beliefs purported by a few, there was nothing for me in that project except for the learning experience. And indeed I’ve learned.
The learning experience isn’t just about the technical stuff: making high-traffic web applications work and keeping them working even when physical resources seem all too ready to give in. Perhaps the more important lesson for me is that people really do exploit people; and people who are real experts at exploiting others are also expert in portraying themselves to be benevolent, honest, and capable.
I should have become overly cynical after July of this year but things turned around somewhat. In September, I signed a short-term contract with an academic institution that is, as expected, full of people who seem benevolent, honest, and capable. But barring a few minor reservations, these new people seem to be beyond portrayal— the benevolence, honesty, and capability are quite real.
Nevermind that I am getting paid by these people. The great thing about this relationship that I have with them is that they know what they’re spending their money on, they have reasonable expectations, and they actually work with me so that I can meet those expectations.
On the work front therefore, I am resolving that starting from 2012, I will try to be more discerning when working with amateurs.
But 2011‘s blessings extended beyond work: this was the year when Inez finally came home! Yes. After four long years of being apart we are finally together, doing stuff together, working together. And that’s just great.
Of course, we have done good stuff together even when she was still studying in America. The Internet, after all, is our domain. But nothing beats being able to get out of the house, meeting her somewhere (now, usually at the office), and typing away whilst bouncing ideas off of each other. I most certainly hope this sort of thing doesn’t change any time soon— although a short-term job assignment abroad might be something to wish for.
But 2011 is without tragedy. We lost a cousin, manang Emma, a couple of months ago. She was vacationing from Washington State but she would never make it back. I had not seen her and her family for more than a decade; and visiting our house had been on their itinerary. Unfortunately, it was going to be an unhappy reunion.
However, it was so good to see that so many people loved my cousin. During her wake and burial, I had seen her former co-workers and students who dared not forget her even after a long separation. Many relatives took long trips just to say their farewells. Manang Emma was truly special because she was truly benevolent, honest, and capable.
So as an added resolution: I will be spending 2012 learning what it means to be truly benevolent, honest, and capable— not just being good at portraying that I am. It seems the old year has forced me on that track any way. And I’m going for it.