SARS and Starbucks, Part Three: 6500 Miles Teaches Ya Sum-thin


I shouldn’t whine.  I just spent ten glorious days in a region that I may call home at some point in my life — there’s too many development opportunities to pass up.  A culture unlike any other I’ve experienced greeted me with open arms, and I freely took advantage of the opportunity [yum yum, dim sum!]  Nevertheless, this trip had the same ebb and flow of a typical Michigan basketball season: started out good, everything cushy…but a letdown in the end.  And I owe it to the disappointing experience of the project I was sent for in the first place.  Boo, ULAC!

I can tolerate times of slowdown, sure; in fact, I swore off anything longer than a 50-hour workweek early in my career, simply because el trabajo conflicted with my daily Mario Kart playing/Ding-Dong binge eating sessions (I kid!).  But when you’re literally grasping for work to accomplish while on assignment, that suggests a logistical problem. 

As I wait for my now-expected ding from my alma mater [maybe I should have given up the Hella list for Lent, too…], I’ve fruitlessly pondered exactly how I’d answer the question “Describe a time where you were frustrated with a situation and you took action to change it” with a prognostication: I came back from China, went Terracotta on management, and volunteered to restructure the whole thing. 

That potential opportunity — the one to truly evoke change — is the WD-40 to the squeaky door of my engineering career, one that will hopefully ride off into the sunset in nary a few months.  It’s the mere dissatisfaction with what was observed, and the pressing need to change things rapidy, that drove me to promptly reply “no” when my manager asked if I wanted to stay an extra week. 

But for a moment, just a moment, I considered it: would I prefer to be distanced from those close to me as I prepare for March 15th?  It was a fleeting thought, really: they’re the ones who have helped shoulder my burdens through this process, and they accept me, nervous wreck and all.  My hotel room would as well, but with far less compassion and panache, I think.

GirlyGirl is prepared to meet me in the Bay Area Friday evening with a smile and a warm hug.  I hope the joy-filled tears in seeing her cover up those that usually follow heart-wrenching rejection.

…It’s time to go home.


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