Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jet Lagged and Day ??? in Manila

Hello Far Away Friends!

It is Day ??? here in the Philippines. I think it's Thursdsay, if I'm correct. It does feel like a Thursday, I know that I have one day left before the weekend. I have spent a full 24 hours in Manila and so far the trip is going well.

After I blogged yesterday, I finished getting ready for work. I went downstairs to the restaurant and Karly and I ate dinner at the buffet. I love being able to eat rice and salmon and sushi for every meal. I also had tempura shrimp last night. They were huge, and so delicious! They had this amazing little round pudding thing in the dessert selection that had was so incredible. The top was like cake and the bottom part was thick chocolate pudding. Normally, I'm not a pudding eater... but this was so good that I almost went for a second. If you know me, you know that I don't do seconds on anything pudding!

After dinner we went back to the lobby and waited for our rides to work. Karly and I are working in two different centers in Manila. Her ride came first, and then a few minutes later my ride came. I got picked up by a big van thing. It looks like the van on John and Kate Plus 8. The only difference is that the ceiling isn't really any higher... since I was expecting a higher ceiling, I didn't worry about ducking my head once I was inside. Nope, didn't matter. The extension on the top must be used for storage or something... because I hit my head all the same. I was ok, I just sat down faster so we could get out of there and go to work. ;)

The drive doesn't take too long - only about 10 minutes... and I got to see a little bit of Manila nightlife from the inside of the van. It was almost 10:00 PM Manila time at this point, so people were starting to fill the streets and bars. Lots of lights and lots of honking. I love the big city.

We got to work and he dropped me off. I went inside, the building is huge, very tall. I took the elevator up to the floor that eBay is on and there was a cool sign on the door it said "English Only Beyond This Point." It was a little comforting that I wouldn't have to worry about not understanding anyone. The security guard checked me in and I was greeted by some of the supervisors. They were both so nice and made me feel comfortable. They took me around and showed me the different workstations.

I spent my day mostly in side-by-sides with the agents. They are so good, so knowledgeable about the site and about what eBay is about. I was extremely impressed with their empathy. One customer that an agent spoke with was so upset about the fact that a rock he purchased on eBay hadn't been shipped yet... and the agent was so nice to him and helped him get what he needed. I'm not sure how I would have dealt with someone like him, who was so angry... but the agent stayed calm and kept giving him options and information. I thought that was so cool.

After some side-by-sides, I had a meeting with Salt Lake. It was weird being on a call with some of the people I work with every day from so far away. I could tell it was like morning for them, 10:30 AM in Utah time and 12:30 AM the day after in Manila. It made me miss my team a bit... but I know there is a need for me here. It is so cool to be able to see what happens before the agents in SLC get the customer transferred from OS. I noticed that the agents to try to do everything they can before transferring. After only 1 day, I am already impressed with how well they do their jobs.

For lunch, a supervisor and a trainer took me to lunch at a Philippino spot. We had chicken potstickers, beef and broccoli, (it was more like mushroom and broccoli, yum) ham fried rice and some lemon chicken. It was so good! I think they ordered items that I would enjoy as an american... but I would be willing to try some other stuff probably. Before we went to lunch, I met the outsourcing manager who was waiting to go have a working lunch outside... and he seemed really nice. He is from the states and he now lives in Manila and works there. He mentioned that one of the things that Philippino people eat is a duck egg. The egg is developed up until a few days before hatching and then they eat the embryo. I guess to most people, it would sound disgusting, but I thought it was interesting that they considered it a delicacy. I am not sure I would try it, but it seemed cool that they have something like that they enjoy.

They also told me about this place called Green Hills that they want to take me to on the weekend. It apparently has all of the knock off shopping... all of the handbags and the watches that are made by counterfeiters. I'm thinking of getting some Christmas shopping done... :P Send me your requests now!

I ended up leaving work about an hour early, and it had already been 9 hours of work for me. I was so jetlagged, and was feeling exhausted. I could barely keep my eyes open in the last meeting. I totally tried, but couldn't. I came back to the hotel and even skipped dinner. I did, however get to call my husband on Skype. I talked to him for a few minutes and he turned on the Mac Webcam. I got to see his face, and my house... and it made me homesick a little. I know I'm here for a very important reason... but I also miss home. It was very nice to see his smile. I was able to go right to sleep knowing we had been able to talk. I slept for a good 8 solid hours, and now I'm feeling much more awake and happy. Today is going to be a good, good day!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Philippines - I made it!

Here I am, and I'm exhausted! I finally made it to the hotel this morning at 6:00 AM Philippine time. Right now in Manila it is 11:30 in the morning on Wednesday. For everyone in Utah, it is 9:30 on Tuesday night. I lost a day! I'm going to make this entry brief, because I am exhausted, and want to sleep. I figured some good old fashioned blogging would make me tired.

I flew to San Francisco on Monday night on United Airlines. The flight was short, and I spent most of it reading a new book I just bought called "Remember Me?" It's by the same lady that wrote "Confessions of a Shopaholic". It's pretty good, but I haven't read a book in so long it was fun to read something again.

We arrived in San Francisco about 2 hours before our flight out to Manila. I had to go to the bathroom so bad! We found a bathroom finally and checked in for our flight. The line for Economy class was so long, probably close to 200 people waiting to check in. Because eBay is awesome, we got to fly Business Class. We didn't have to wait at all. We checked in and went to have dinner.

By the way, the "We" in this conversation is a coworker of mine, her name is Karly. She's close to my age (we're one year apart) and she is super nice. We're a lot alike, which is cool. We ate at this grill and then went to wait for our flight to board. We got to board first, and when we walked in, it was amazing. I've flown first class before and I've flown business class before... but only on the main airlines most people are used to. I've never flown business class like this business class. The seats were amazing! You could recline and lie flat. We were served a 4 course dinner. I got a hot towel to wipe my hands with! It was a pretty posh seat, for sure.

I didn't sleep extremely well on the plane, mostly because it's hard for me to sleep soundly if I'm not in a bed. It was more dozing for me. Karly slept soundly the whole night through, which is awesome. The little TVs we could watch didn't work to play movies or radio, it would only play a few TV shows and games. The games were ok, but I didn't really feel like playing video games when I was so tired.

We had a "technical stop" in Honolulu, Hawaii. I've never been to Hawaii, and it sucked that the first time I could go there I couldn't even get off the plane. We literally sat there for a full hour while they refueled. I did get to check my facebook and email Arthur, which is good. It took us 4 hours to get from San Francisco to Hawaii. It felt like so much more time... and I realized that we still had like 12 hours until we would get to Manila. It was going to be a straight shot to Manila from there. Once we started back in the air, I tried to sleep a little.

I did ok, and the rest of the flight went by pretty quickly. I mostly just read my book and dozed. When we were about 3 hours from Manila, they served us breakfast. The food on the flight was so good. The night before, I ordered a Curry Sea Bass with Jasmine Rice. It was the most delicious seafood and curry I'd ever had together. The curry was kind of spicy, but not too spicy for me. I ate it so fast and was tempted to lick the curry from the plate. I figured it wasn't a good idea because I was surrounded by high-class people.

For breakfast, I had a croissant, a bran muffin and some kind of weird omlette. The omlette was served with ham fried rice, which was weird, but it was good. For the most part the food was delicious for airplane food.

When we got to Manila, I was pretty happy to get off the plane. We got our bags with no trouble. We had been told that it was likely that our bags would be lost or left in San Francisco for our layover. It didn't happen, they showed up within the first few minutes. That was a huge relief.

We were told to go outside and look for a man in a red coat that would be there with the hotel we are staying in called the Shangri-La Makati. He said we didn't have a car reserved, but he would get one there for us quickly. It was awesome, they only charged us for a Camry rate, but we got a Mercedes! Wooo! It was pretty sweet. The guy who picked us up spoke really good english and told us a little about the city while we were driving to the hotel. When we got here, we got checked in and went to breakfast.

Here is the lobby that greeted us when we walked into the hotel:

This hotel is famous at eBay for having the most incredible breakfast buffet. The food was amazing! I had like 4 plates. If you know me, you know I don't eat 4 plates at a buffet. I usually have 1 - maybe 2 - at the most. I had french toast, a chocolate croissant, a big chunk of granola, a plate of jasmine rice, salmon on a skewer, a piece of sushi, watermelon, pineapple and more. It was so perfect, since we were hungry and tired. I can't wait until tomorrow so I can eat it again.

Here is the buffet:

After we ate, I came back to my room. My room looks exactly like the room below, except for the TV isn't old and boxy - it's the new flat screen. I stole this picture from the hotel's website. Check it out!

I couldn't figure out how to turn the lights on, though. I figured it out with Karly that we have to put our room key in a little slot in order for the lights to work. It makes sense.

I wasn't extremely tired yet, so I got my clothes that needed to be ironed in a bag and sent them off to be ironed. They will arrive tonight before I go to work.

You're probably wondering what I'm doing here anyway. eBay is rolling out a new dispute resolution process for items not as described, or when items aren't received by buyers. The resolution center will now be on eBay and not on PayPal, and I am here to support the agents as they begin to take calls for buyers who need help with the new process. I am considered a "subject matter expert" otherwise known as a "SME". I will be running around helping agents with questions they have about the new tool and the new process. I'm pretty excited, but scared that I won't be able to get to everyone who needs help. This is an outsourcing center with over 400 agents. I hope I do ok. I will wear comfortable shoes and try to do my best.

I am getting a bit more sleepy and I think I'm tired enough to go to bed. I am happy that I was able to talk to my husband for a few minutes. He told me it snowed there in Utah. Is that true? Insane. Ok, I'll try to write more tomorrow. I want to go to the pool after work in the morning if I can... and I'd like to take a picture or a video. Check back for more Manila Updates! :) Miss you all...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Caramel Apple Night!

Halloween is coming soon! Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because I love to dress up and eat candy. I was pretty excited for this halloween because it will be our first real halloween in our new house. The sad part is that I will not be able to be here to celebrate it with my family and husband. I have been asked to go to Manila in The Philippines for work for two weeks. I leave on Monday and I'm pretty excited. I will miss everyone here very much... and I will miss Halloween! :( I heard that in the Philippines they call it the Day of the Dead and no one dresses up. Everyone goes out to nightclubs and parties. I'm not sure I will party, but I might order an extra slice of pie from room service. ;)

To celebrate a little eary, Arthur's mom invited us over for their annual carmel apple dipping party. I got some great pictures of the event and have posted them for you to see. Enjoy!

Everone helps unrap the caramels and puts them in a big bowl. We usually get the good caramels that you can find in the bulk candy section. Don't forget to wash your hands! Arthur melted the caramel in the microwave and had to stir them until they were almost liquid. We could usually only dip one apple at a time before the caramel started getting hard again... so you had to go fast!
Lili is Arthur's neice. She's attached to him. She loves to sit on his lap whenever he is around. It's cute to hear her yell his name. Arthur! This is her eating a caramel. I think she was alternating unrapping and putting the caramel in the bowl and eating them.

Arthur's family loves to decorate for the holidays. You will always see their house transform into a decorated halloween land. There are scary things hanging everywhere. This is a little witch that Arthur's little sister Sunny made at school. The head is made out of a rotten apple. The kids put the apples on the window ledge in class and let the apples go rotten. By the time halloween comes around, the apples look just like a shrunken witch head. I had a pretty good laugh at this witch. Her face is hilarious!

Here is the bucket of apples! I had one of the big yellow-red ones. Delicious! We stuck a long popsicle stick in the top of the apple for dipping.

It was time to decorate now! Here is little Noah taking candies off of Autumn's apple. Noah is Arthur's nephew.

We spent some time decorating and then everyone showed off their apples! Here are some pictures of the apples eveyone decorated!

Here is Sunny's apple! I like the top of hers. She did a great job!

Here is my apple!

Here is Ka'Lea's apple! She did such a great job with those straight lines of M&Ms!

Here is Arthur's apple! We couldn't get a good picture of Arthur. He kept closing his eyes. This is his "I'm-annoyed-with-you-Genevieve-because-you-won't-tell-me-when-you-are-going-to-take-a-picture" face.

This is Arthur's dad and mom. Arthur's mom didn't want to be in the picture so Arthur's dad tried to make it less awkward for her. Here's Arthur's dad's apple!

A closeup of my apple

Here's Eli's apple! He wins for most candy on an apple.

Here is Ka'Lea's first apple!

Here is Autumn's apple!

This is the apple I made for Mike. He loves KitKat. I was so excited to bring it home to him, excited enough that I texted him a picture of it right after I made it. He was not here when I got home to give it to him. It is in the fridge.

Another shot of our apples together. Brother and sister!

I hope you enjoyed this enty. I had some of my apple this morning for brunch. It is delicious! Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Five - My Favorite Song

Genevieve's Friday Five

I got this week's Friday Five from a blog that offers Friday Five questions to people to use in their blogs. I like these questions because I think you can learn a lot about a person by listening to their favorite song.

1. If the world was ending and you could listen to one song, what would it be?
Standing Still By Jewel. For some reason, I can listen to it over and over and I never get tired of it. I think that's the way it usually is with a favorite song, right? The song talks about being at your very lowest point and asking some of the most emotionally intimate questions you can be asked. The questions "Do you want me? Do you need me? Do you love me?" can mean anything to anyone, based on the situation. I understand that they are mostly connected to social interactions - but can really be anything that you can feel connected to. If the world is ending, I am going to be doing a lot of thinking about my life and if I feel confident with my final day. Did I love others enough? Did I act in a way that made others need me? Did I try hard enough with others to make them want me around?

2. How did you first come across that song?
Normally, I would be embarrassed to admit that my favorite song is a pop radio song. I first heard the song on the radio. That's the beauty of a radio song. It is totally random when it plays, and if you happen to need to hear it when it comes on, it is a nice reminder that there is someone or something bigger out there that is watching out and is aware that you are struggling. It's funny - I will hear it in restaurants, malls, gas stations - anywhere... and it's usually when I need to hear it.

3. If it reminds you of a person, is that person still with you?
Fortunately, this song does not remind me of anyone but me. I have listened to it through many different relationships and times in my life... and it doesn't remind me of any one person. That is the beauty of the song - it is so versatile. It can apply to most any situation and most any relationship I've encountered.

4. Does anyone else know what that song means to you?
At it's deepest level, no. I don't think I've ever been asked this question. There are different lines in the song that mean so many different things to me. Each of my favorite lines have run through my mind many times when I'm about to give up.
Cutting through the darkest night are my two headlights
Trying to keep it clear, but I'm losing it here to the twilight
There's a dead end to my left
There's a burning bush to my right
You aren't in sight
You aren't in sight

Between fight and flight
Is the blind man's sight
And a choice that's right
I roll the window down
Feel like I'm gonna drown
In this strange town
Feel broken down
I feel broken down
5. Where would you listen to it, and with whom?
I can remember specific situations when I have listened to it, and with certain people who have been aware that it is my favorite song and used it to try to connect with me. Usually I appreciated that they made the effort to acknowledge that my favorite song was so important to me. I also feel like I keep the deepest reasons why I love the song to myself. I may not even be able to say why it works so well for me. I know that whenever I need to hear it, it somehow relates to my current situation and reminds me that "a sweet sorrow is the call tomorrow". This line means that I get to live through whatever I'm dealing with right now today - and tomorrow I will be sad that I had to go through the tough stuff... but I know that I've learned something which makes it a little bit sweeter.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I am in Omaha. I came here for business travel. I got in on Tuesday and will be here until tomorrow afternoon. I like coming to Omaha, the hotel is my favorite part.

I am here with my boss, someone from HR, and an agent from my department. We all get along really well, and it's fun to go out to eat with them. Last night we went to the Cheesecake Factory. I wanted to send my husband a picture of the menu so he could be jealous. The picture wasn't very good, and was kind of blurry - but I believe it still got the point across. Here is the picture I sent him:

I ordered a delicious meal - it's called the Chicken Bellagio. Pesto pasta, breaded chicken breast, and prosciutto (italian ham). Soooo good!

As soon as I sent him a picture of the menu, within minutes he replied with this:

Poor Arthur! Stuck at home with an 88 cent salsbury steak tv dinner. lol.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Five - Would I Rather?

Genevieve's Friday Five

This week's Friday Five comes from Whitney again! She and my brother love to ask the question "would you rather..." These made me smile.

I've had kind of a tough week, so I haven't had much desire to blog. I knew that I wanted to blog today because it's Friday and the weekend is almost here. I'll try to cheer up, Charley. :)

1. Would you rather be raised by dolphins or wolves? Why?
Definitely dolphins. Dolphins seem like they have so much more fun. They also seem happier. They can "fly" in the water, which sounds really fun. Wolves probably smell bad and also probably get mats in their fur. I don't like fur mats.

2. Would you rather be stuck for 10 hours in an elevator with 10 wet dogs or 10 gassy old men? Why?
I would prefer 10 wet dogs. Most people may assume 10 gassy old men because I like old people and would love to joke with them, but I'm not sure how long I would last in a small space like an elevator if they are gassy. 10 wet dogs would eventually dry off and they may keep me warmer if it gets cold. Also, I can lay on a dog if I need to take a nap. Not so sure I could do that with 10 gassy old men.

3. Would you rather have a thumb growing out of the middle of your forehead or an extra arm out of your stomach? Why?
I would prefer an extra arm. I believe that you could use an extra arm in your stomach more effectively than a thumb in the middle of your forehead. I could carry an extra bag of groceries, or have my third arm carry my drink if I was going downstairs to watch a show. If I was worried about the social aspect of having a third arm... it doesn't seem as "out there" as a thumb growing out of your forehead. I could probably hide an extra arm if I had to, probably with a belt or a tight shirt. You can't really hide a thumb on your forehead, unless it's removed. Can I have it removed? If I can have it removed, I would choose the thumb.

4. Would you rather be put in prison for 15 years, or have all your teeth pulled out? Why?
I would rather be in prison for 15 years. I know that if I had to choose between the two of these things it wouldn't be because I'd done something bad... so I wouldn't feel guilty going to prison for 15 years. I might just sleep through it. They may have ice in prison, and that would be pretty tough to eat ice if I didn't have any teeth.

5. Would you rather be able to fly or be able to live to 200?
Fly. Who wants to be 200? That sounds terrible. Flying would be amazing, think of all of the life experiences you could have if you could fly! An extra 100 years or the ability to fly within my current remining 75 (or so) years? Definitely flying, because of how much more I would be able to experience.

Happy Friday, everyone. I hope your week was happier than mine!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday Song

Hey everyone! Happy Sunday! I have had a really good weekend. On Friday night I had a fun dinner party with one of my friends Tyson from work and his wife Aimee. Check out their blog! We had grilled salmon, grilled shrimp skewers, steak fillets, asparagus, fresh squash from the garden, CHEESY RICE, and delicious rolls! It was really good. Salmon is one of my favorite foods, and I got that from my dad. After dinner we played two games: Wacky 6s and Chicken Foot dominoes. Have you ever played these games? They are so fun!

Wacky 6s is this intense card game where you combine the speed game with solitare... it's really fun, and you have to be a good multitasker to do well. Unfortunately, I lost every game beacuse of how tired I was. I spend all week at work multitasking, and so after work I usually shut that part of my brain down. ;) It's the kind of game that I would like to play by myself for a few hours to really get good... and then bring it to the table with other people!!

Chicken Foot dominoes is extremely addicting. Whenever my family gets together we play it together. It's kind of hard to describe, but it's really fun. After dominoes, we had dessert and played some Guitar Hero on Wii. All in all it was a total blast!

Saturday we spent the day getting some stuff for our basement. We are finishing it ourselves, and so we needed to get some floorboards and grout for the tile. I will for sure post a video when everything is finished. It's going to be nice to have a basement to go relax in. :)

Arthur introduced me to this intense new band called Owl City. Have you heard of them? It's kind of like the Postal Service if you've ever heard them. There are a few songs I love, like Fireflies and Hello Seattle. Check out their music on iTunes or MySpace! Owl City on MySpace

Have a great new week!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Five

Genevieve's Friday Five

This week's Friday Five comes from my beautiful sister-in-law Whitney. Whitney and Leo (my brother) live in Provo and were married in 2006. Whitney has a blog as well, you should check it out. The Little Things in Life She is studying to become a teacher. Love ya, Whit! :)

1. If you had to eat only one type of food for a whole month, what would it be?- and I mean specific.
Hmm, when you say type I assume you mean like GENRE. I have a real hard time with this question because of how much I LOVE food. It is as much a part of my life as sleeping is. I will probably go with Italian food on this one because of how often I can eat it and not get sick of it. This goes for very vague Italian, including Spaghettios. LOL. I love Pasta, and tomatoes, and Pizza. I would eat Pizza every night for dinner if I could. One of my favorite salads is Caprese, with fresh mozzerella, tomoatoes, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. OMG. Hungry now... shoot.

2. What is your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memory is of my cabin when I was growing up. It wasn't actually my family's cabin, it belonged to my great uncle. It was located in Island Park, Idaho right on the Henry's Fork of the Snake River. We had our own "private" dock and it was very close to the water. I loved going up there nearly every summer with my family and spending a week fishing, running around in the weeds, swinging on the huge wooden swing, going to "town" to the IGA store and getting lunch, and visiting Yellowstone. When my uncle died, his sons took the cabin, and unfortunately we can't go there anymore. I would really love to make it back someday and just stay at the little Mack's Inn resort.

3. What is a talent, that you don't have, that you wish you did?
I often wish I was more active. I am not really the classic "lazy" person, but it often takes a lot of mental motivation to get me going or doing anything productive when I don't have to. I am kind of a procrastinator and I may put off doing something I don't want to do and distract myself with something I'd rather not do. One thing I have found works is to think of something else I don't want to do and then do the lesser of two evils. I should be cleaning right now for our dinner party tonight, but obviously I am not because it's only going to be Friday for a few more hours, and you can't do a Friday Five on Saturday! :P

4. What is your favorite holiday and why?
Most people say Christmas because of the gifts, but I will probably say Halloween or Thanksgiving. I am not huge on gifts, mostly because I usualy worry about if the person will like what I am giving them. My husband is much better at gifts and Christmas. I love Halloween because it's the only night you can dress up and act totally stupid and get away with it. It's also awesome because you can walk into any grocery store during the entire month of October and buy a big bag of candy without being asked "Having a party?" Thanksgiving is my favorite because I love the food and the family. I don't love how I feel after I eat, however. :)

5. Would you rather be rich or famous?
Definitely rich. I think being famous would be annoying. I'm kind of an introvert, so a bunch of people knowing who I am and recognizing me when I'm trying to buy food or something at the grocery store would be totally awful. I would prefer to be rich to being famous, for sure!

Sorry these were so late, but I forgot it was Friday this morning! ;)

Tommy Tricker

"The coast of Canada is a beautiful sight... with it's TALL TREES, TALL TREES, BIG TALL TREES!"
"Take a trip to CHINA! Sang ya cha nah yahhhhh!"
"But I can-cannot trade, they're my dad's stamps... Al-Albert has forbidden it!"
"That's your dad? That's your real dad?!"
"Nice banister! Expensive picture frame..."
"Your a LIAR!"
"Could be treasures."
"My beautiful album!"
"This is where his front legs were, and this is where his back legs were!"