Friday, June 29, 2007

View from Our Office Window

Cubeville isn't so bad when you have this view:

Oh, yeah. I haven't blogged about my new job!

So where do I start?


One crazy day last year, I decided that I didn't want to practice law anymore. It was a fleeting thought and the decision lasted only about an hour or two. But in that brief moment, I submitted a resume for a legal content administrator position. At that time, I sent out my resume from time to time just to confirm to myself that working at a high-profile law firm, with its extended working hours and a stress level so high you'd be amazed there's still hair left on your head, was a choice.

I didn't hear from the advertisers of the job for months and completely forgot about my not-so-lucid job application. So, I was surprised when someone called me up for an interview for a Professional Support Lawyer (PSL) position. Curious about the job title, I scheduled an interview on a slow daw at work. For most part of the interview, Mich, the HR Director tried to explain the the work of a PSL. I honestly didn't understand a lot of what she said but the phrases "work-life balance", and "lots of travelling" convinced me to agree to another interview when they called me up a couple of months later.

The 2nd interview was a puzzle to me since it was not actually an interview. Marian, a lawyer who worked as a PSL for a couple of years before she was promoted, explained to me what she did on a day-to-day basis. The "interview" gave me a picture of what is expected from a PSL. It also became clear that there were a lot of positions above the PSL level in case I decided to pursue it as a career.

A couple of interviews and a written "test" (I was asked to summarize a couple of cases and a powerpoint presentation) later, I was offered job. At that time, I was spending too much time in the firm working on both client and administrative matters. The job offer was an opportunity I couldn't turn my back on.

I've been working as a PSL for a month and a half now. While there are still a lot about the job that I need to understand, I appreciate the flexy time which allows me to choose which 8 hours of the day I would spend at the office as well as the challenging tasks that I am asked to do. I love working in a virtual team , and even if my boss tends to ignore me for days (after all, they do work in an international firm), working on tasks without a partner breathing down my neck feels like drinking a glass of green mango shake in the middle of Boracay (this is definitely exaggerated but the point is, it feels good to work without so much stress!) Of course, the small and light-weight laptop, the huge LCD monitor and the blackberry issued to me help boost my contentment level.

I was sad to leave my job at the firm because I would be leaving co-workers who have became close friends. I didn't want to miss our extended lunches where we talked about anything from entertainment gossip to the latest Supreme Court decision. But with my new job, I still get to visit my old officemates and I am now enjoying lunches with my new ones.

The only things that I truly miss from my old job is my enclosed room (with 4 solid walls and a wooden door) and the services of a waiter. But I'm slowly getting used to cubeville (besides, I don't have to "live" in it!) and I have, in fact, started to personalize my space in it. As for the waiter, well, it's not difficult to microwave my own food and clean my own mug.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Cheering for Cutie-pie and Orange Cakes

Everytime I see Araneta Coliseum, I am always reminded of the times when Papa, Vanni and I would watch the Toyota-Crispa championship games on our 14"-Sony color TV at home. The reception on screen was a bit cloudy and there would be some static when the wind blew on our rooftop antenna, but we would clap and cheer for our favorite team - Vanni for Toyota, Papa and I for Crispa. A few years later, we would be watching the UAAP games at the Araneta Coliseum with Vanni and Papa cheering for La Salle, and me cheering for Ateneo.

Nowadays, I would only get to watch a basketball game when B plays NBA Live on the XBox. So, I got really excited when an officemate invited us to watch her husband's game. Actually, it was a bit embarassing since I didn't know who her husband was - the only players I remember are Samboy Lim, Allan Caidic, Alvin Patrimonio and Jojo Lastimosa who all stopped playing at least a decade ago! I had to wait until I got home so I could ask B.

It turns out that my officemate's husband played on the Alaska team and we we had tickets to their 4th semi-finals game against San Miguel. B reminded me to cheer for Alaska.

The game was at 4:30 PM but we arrived at the Araneta Coliseum at 5:30 PM, when the game was halfway through the 2nd quarter. We had nice seats - we were seated a few rows behind the game officials. I was still trying to figure out who the Alaska players were when the buzzer announced the end of the 2nd quarter.

I was a bit disappointed that the coliseum was only half-full. I thought that people would watch the game live because it was already a semi-finals match. It didn't help that the few times I watched other basketball games, the coliseum was fully-packed with people. Nevertheless, I heard myself cheering for the Alaska players. At first, we just clapped every time they sank a shot. But as the game progressed, we started screaming every time they stole the ball, when the ball was stolen from them, and even when the San Miguel players missed a shot. We even cheered even if we didn't fully understand what was happening! It was a good thing that another officemate was kind enough to answer all our questions.

Halfway through the 3rd quarter, I could already match the names of the players with their faces even without looking at the back of their jerseys. I started cheering for them individually. Of course, when I noticed Ferriols for the first time in the middle of the court, I just had to scream, "Go cutie-pie!" not knowing that his girlfriend was seated 2 rows in front of us.

By the 4th Quarter, we were all screaming and clapping continuously, specially after Alaska stole the lead from San Miguel.

It was a good game that left our hearts pounding until the end. We were ecstatic when Alaska won the game! I was amazed at the range of emotions I felt (and the amount of adrenalin my body pumped into my blood!) for a team that I just "met".

After the game, we were so hungry, that we were almost in a hurry to go to Bellini's at the Marikina Shoe Expo.

Bellini's is a cozy restaurant with painted walls, Italian home-cooked dishes, home-made sweet wine, a cheery Italian owner and Italian-speaking waiters. Our waiter patiently explained the items on the menu to us. When we ordered the vino dolce, he explained that it didn't go well with the food that we ordered and that it was more suited for dessert.

Food was served in a few minutes and I loved my fetuccini al vongole. The clams were fresh and the sauce was lightly flavored to emphasize the taste of the clams. It was perfect.

The Bellini pizza that we shared wasn't bad - I loved the thin crust. I would have preferred a pizza with less toppings, though.

After our pizza and pasta, we decided to have orange cakes so we can properly enjoy their home-made vino dolce. The orange cakes were so good! It had the texture of butter cake, the moistness of a good rhum cake, and the orange shavings on top added a chewy texture. It wasn't too sweet but it wasn't acidic either. We easily finished the generous servings on our plates.

The vino dolce was very interesting. It wasn't as sweet as the other dessert wines I've tasted but it effectively masked its alcohol content. By the end of the evening, we were giggling like school girls.

On my way home, I realized that watching a PBA game and having dinner at Bellini's were pleasures that should not only be remembered but experienced over and over.

[Note: Araneta Coliseum doesn't allow spectators to bring in cameras so I left my bulky DSLR and smuggled in my little point-and-shoot.]

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Person Who Made Me Blog Again

I've been a bad blogger. Really.

My blogs have been abandaned for months.

Not that I have nothing to blog about, in fact, I do. Lots.

But everytime I think of blogging something, I just find something else to do - create a lay-out, crop, resize or upload a picture or 2, read a book or even sleep.

But this man, Paul Potts, made me blog again.

The moment I saw his audition in Britain's Got Talent in Jessica Sprague's blog, I just thought that the whole world (or at least my world) should see this man.

I'm not an opera lover but neither am I new to it. I've listened to several opera singers and while I can't relate to most of them, there are some singers that I love. But seeing Paul Potts singing Nessun Dorma was different - he made all my hairs rise! And while he's not the best singer I've ever heard, he definitely is the most sincere.

And he looks so ordinary! And because of what he did, he reminded me that ordinary persons can do great things. I hope someday I will.