christmas blues

Posted by Analyse at 3:33 PM

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

This may sound depressive or pathetic or whatever, but I don't feel the spirit of Christmas. it's just around the corner, as everybody says , but it seems that I’m in the middle of a vast space that I just cannot find it - where is it by the way? After 3 years of being away from home, is this what they call homesickness???

I don’t have any Christmas wish. Not that I’m not excited with Christmas gifts, it's just that, I don't think I need anything. I’ve just completed my list but nothing is extraordinary in what I prepared. I’ve got no glittery ideas for the moment, but I guess my in-laws are used to it now – anyway, every year is the same, so what the heck. I just hope they won’t harass me with the famous Filipino cuisine that I never offered to them.

The weather just intensifies this emptiness I feel. I miss the Philippine Christmas weather, that cozy atmosphere that you could find only in the Philippines. Inspite the smelly cheese, the expensive 1ère cru vin de bourgogne (burgundy wine), the long lasting Christmas dinner and eat-all-you-can chocolates, still, nothing compares to home.

Ghost blogger !!

Posted by Analyse at 11:04 AM

Friday, December 17, 2004

I’m quite used to it, on and off the blogger world. The title I’m back is not relevant anymore as I’m always out. So what were the updates?

Internet access.

I finally have it in the office! I have been waiting for it since I started working here. It’s not that I had no right to have it on my computer, it’s just that my boss always forget to make the demand. Oh by the way, the demand is just a simple email - #&%$*@ !!!

My home access is not yet connected – we had to change our phone number, then stop the old contract, send the modem, then renew the contract. No other way to make it simpler!

We’re finally settled.

Everything on place now, the kitchen, the dining room, the living room.. even the toilet! As we are receiving my in-laws this christmas, it’s imperative that we decorate our house. Every French child believes in père-nöel so we have to continue with the tradition!! Last Friday, we bought a real Christmas tree and decided to place it near the chimney, that way, santa will not be tired traversing the whole living room just to reach it. Just as we tried to fit the Christmas tree to the support, frenchguy accidentally cut his index finger, so we rushed to the emergency hospital near our place – our first domestic accident!

Urgences (Emergency)

It was my first time. Never been in a hospital eversince! Just to give you a glimpse of an emergency à la française: we rushed to the hospital right after I put some cotton on his finger (the solution you should not do when you have cuts!), we arrived there around 10pm. After the registration with the blood-imbibed cotton on his finger, we waited 2 long hours before they took charge of him. After a 5-min-long disinfection of a 6-stitches deep wound, he again waited around 30 min before they finally put the bandage! He was finally released at 1am! Yes, France have an urgent need to boost their hospital employees.

2nd Encounter

I don’t know what my belle Peugeot pawis-steering 106 has, but the thieves again tried to steal it! The first tentative was infront of the company (I had no designated parking yet at that time), the second one was last week, just infront of our newly-acquired almost-furnished house! – our first domestic security dilemma!

Christmas package

Not that bad. Each of the employees had a backpack (best for little hikes), a picnic kit complete with utensils, 2 bottles of wine (red and white), a jar of foie gras (duck liver pâté), and a jar of terrine de veau (beef pâté).

Winter Blues

It will be my 3rd winter this year but it still feels like my first time – and this time, a real pain! It’s been over a week now that Dijon is covered with a very dense fog and a temperature which is always lower than 0°C. Since now I’m obliged to take the car everyday, that translates to everyday war with my car! I just broke that little piece of plastic they use to grate off those snows/frost, so my last resort is to pour lukewarm water on my car everyday, anyway, it’s not snow anymore, it’s ice! A pain - and not the best solution of course.

Work tidbits

I thought there will be a rally in our company today. As usual, the workers want an incentive increase. I saw a communiqué late yesterday saying our hourly manufacturing cost is twice higher than the Americans, not talking about our Asian counterparts of course. The question is, how could we compete? Productivity yields and quality – they’re all comparable, the big difference is the cost! Will the français react intelligently on globalization one day and become more competitive?

still at work

Posted by Analyse at 6:16 PM

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The first time I set foot on the working arena here in France, my first impression was : 'oh, the workers are much older here'

  • Anecdote: the very first product launched in the market from our new Philippine production site (where I worked) was fondly named by the French management as 'made with the virgin hands' - the average age of the workers there was 21yo. (PS: I discovered this from my frenchguy!)

Yesterday, I attended the retirement party of one of our operators and I felt really sad amidst the champagne and the gateau (cake) distributed for the occasion. Among the operators I've worked with, she surely is my favourite. When I confide to her whatever problem I have, be it personal or professional, she always have this to say at the end of the conversation: 'tu sais bien que je t'aime' (you know very well that I like you). That's sufficient enough to reassure me - to know that I'm not alone and I have a mother-figure to depend to.

Laurent always tease me about the fact that most of my closest friends are older than me. Well, in fact, Laurent himself is older than me. And now, he tells everybody that my bestfriend is retiring. Sounds odd nga naman.

Talking about retirement, the subject is a total taboo for me till I arrived here. In the Philippines, as I was surrounded by people of my age, I never even gave it a thought. Nobody in my entourage talks about it. And now that I'm here, surrounded by the retirables, by the stingy French, by people who talks investment, I start to think about it myself.

Here are some helpful tips to plan your retirement à la française (classed by priority):

1. Plan your next vacation stop - better buy a world map so you could organize it intelligently. Farther countries should be considered first while you're younger - European countries when you're older. Of course, unlike when you were still professionally active and physically able, this time, it will be an organized visit.

2. Find a new past time - very important especially when you're not on vacation. Crochet, stamp collection, rock collection, or just the afternoon soap operas could be a good divertissement.

3. Try gardening - you have to grow your own plants to be able to save for your next vacation
4. Learn to be a nanny - your place will be the favourite vacation hideaway of your grandchildren while your children are on vacation themselves.

5. Subscribe - you will discover that crossword puzzles are good stimulators to make your brains work even after retirement. Better subscribe on your favourite magazines.

6. Find a new bestfriend - either a cat or a dog will do. But be warned: it's hard to find a pet nanny during your vacations.

7. Be a 'pétanque' champion - rendez-vous every 3pm at the park with all the other retirees. Of course the conversation will be centered on the last vacation each one had.

Well, well, well.. Doesn't sound bad, does it?

let's talk about work

Posted by Analyse at 7:35 PM

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

masaya ako ngayon

i received a congratulation email from my big boss this afternoon for a job well done on my missions to the philippines these past months. we finally reached the target after a long struggle of process tuning! our markets accepted our product and the big bosses gave their go signal to officially launch the production. i can see the volumes going up now...ouaiiiis!

ps: the big boss of my big boss was on copy in the email. in the office, informing our heirarchy of such email translates to financial incentives, ehem.

why am i so gaga on this project

it's my baby and i actually saw it growing. i did my OJT in the same company a year ago and my mission was to do the technico-economique study of this project. during this time, aside from working with an excel file trying to figure out what will be our production cost if we consider such and such scenario, i also worked hand in hand with their R&D team to develop the product and even participated in its industrial pilot. after i got my diploma, this same company called me up offering a permanent job. wow, i havent even started looking for a job! my first project was of course, this same project. we were on the industrialization phase when i finally joined the company - the challenge was there and i felt like somebody who just came out of the university with the diploma on hand ready to conquer the real world!

getting motivated

for sure, other inclinations of this project will be started very shortly. i can see them coming now. being the only one who have an expertise on this project, im quite busy responding for queries on this subject. i love the feeling of being a consultant, ehem.

we are working in the same company

what do you expect? 80% of the conversation are work-related. we just cant help it. ok, ok, it's been always like that since we knew each other...hehe, we knew each other at work..

i forwarded to him the congratulation email, and as usual, he's proud of me. he told me that it's very seldom that we send such kind of email, normally we just receive a group email to all the person who worked in the same project. i received both.

im still on my clouds..

meet my france!

Posted by Analyse at 5:41 PM

Thursday, November 25, 2004

french people, to be frank, are the spoiled brats of their government. they receive financial support which makes them naturally indebted, just like the filipinos towards their parents. yes, im talking about the utang na loob thing.

in fact, the government takes charge of its populace remarkably. from conception to, i will say, death. ties within the family are not that strong compared in the philippines as french parents don't undergo the same sacrifice as filipino parents do. i should add in this list the panganays (the eldest in the family) of course. la preuve: education doesnt cost here. and almost everything is reimbursable (i say almost as not everything could be reimbursed at 100%). would you believe that if they get a nanny for their kids, the government will even pay up to 30% of the charge! hallucinant!! and they're still complaining.

but hey, dont be misled..the government gives...but they have to take back in return (aba, kung di ba naman, p@#&!! ang mga walang utang na loob!!!) ! that's universal law!

VAT: one of the highest in europe that habitants near the frontier do their shopping ober da bakod! (to neighboring countries).
... and taxes everywhere!
... and charges wherever the government could tax!

i was just confronted with one of these.

we had an appointment with the notary two days ago in line with our house acquisition because we had to do our testament. it sounds normal to me that we declare our patrimoine in prorata of our respective contributions. and so there we went with the explainations and all. blah blah blah. i was dozing off (hikab). and then the notaire suddenly said, if ever something happens to monsieur, madame will have to pay such amount so i could actually call the house my own (still in prorata of monsieur's contribution). WHAT? and of course i will pay a significant amount as i own just a meagre part of it. eh merde! in fact, aside from the parents, the government is also our héritier (heir). houses, unlike cars, are considered national patrimony!! the funny thing is that, you could disinherit your parents in case you have a child of your own...but not la france!

vocabulary check

Posted by Analyse at 7:23 PM

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

PIPE, pronounced as 'pip' in french could mean either the apparatus used for smoking (clay pipe) or oral sex (BJ) when it is used as slang.

here is a conversation with a colleague just this morning, using PIPE in the sentence.

scene 1: MR and I with another girl colleague were talking about a project and visibly, MR was a bit nervous and stressed out with the result and so i proposed him...

ME: hé, vas fumer, ça va te detente. (hey, go out and smoke, that will calm you down.)

MR: oui, une bonne petite pipe de temps en temps, ça fait du bien. (yeah, smoking (or...) from time to time makes us feel better.)

scene 2: me and my eyes wide open trying not to laugh. my colleague who cannot contain it anymore burst out. well, well, malicious minds :). and MR suddenly realized what he just said - he was all red.

on 35h and delocalisation..france laments!

Posted by Analyse at 6:53 PM

Monday, November 22, 2004

globalization has always been an interesting topic / polémique and each point of view varies depending on which sector we belong. it brought an irreversible impact on the market that demands competitivity - a cut-throat competition at that.

many industries delocalize their production mainly because of exorbitant manpower cost. how could they compete with asia, for example, where manpower cost is divided into 15 for most countries. add to the fact that taxes are far lower in these countries. we haven't even talked about productivity and overall production cost which is way advantageous compared to here.

i have seen french industries closing to migrate in east europe or asia. this really hurts! some companies try to dissimulate it by staying in france, but then, they dont expand their production here anymore, they create jobs elsewhere. unemployment rate never stopped to soar, i've heard insecurities everywhere! to control it, the government implemented the famous 35h/week from 39h/week to promote job creation. to no avail! they just lowered down productivity and tagged french people as fainéants (lazy). it didn't really solve the unemployment problem.

now, they talk about reviewing the 35 heures and not everybody is willing to give it up. i guess france has a problem with the word change. they are always reluctant and afraid of change - even if they see right infront of their eyes what's happening. and who will say yes? here, we have an average of 0.83 day/month of RTT (réduction de temps du travail = effect of 35h), that adds up to our already-long vacations.

the government will surely do something to at least keep the industries which are still in France by lowering patronal charges, increase the budget for research and development to create jobs, help entrepreneurs to start their business, etc. delocalisation will nevertheless continue. that's the price we pay. we have to be competitive. we have to think global.

we're being questioned!

Posted by Analyse at 6:06 PM

Thursday, November 18, 2004

hay naku, we're buying a house and we're getting indebted! piles of papers to be signed everywhere, medical examinations to be done, preparations, etc.

we've been constant visitors to our bank representative but hélas, laurent and i have been together to sign a paper there just once. the rest of the appointments, we've done them separately. either i was out, or he was out. and since we're binded by PACS, we're being questioned if we're really together. of course, the bank representative was only joking...but then, reality bites! i have been out quite a lot these past months (25% of my time since i started working) and it's not yet finished. hay naku ulit, mahirap kumita ng pera...

trying to stay awake!

Posted by Analyse at 5:12 PM

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

just came back this midday from a long trip from home back to home! one colleague who stays in the philippines as an expat asked me one time which country i consider home now. what a question! i didnt even think about it before, nor did i consider the idea. philippines will always be my home, i have my family and friends there. part of me will always be attached to my native land. but my life now is here - where i construct my new 'home'.

so what's up with my boring life?

i finally found a way to sleep on the plane!
the secret? just let myself doze off without doing anything to catalyze it. haha! if i only knew!!! actually, it has always been a dilemma for me, so i try to read, watch a movie or just anything supposed to be boring so i could sleep. on the contrario, those stuffs just make me awake because i end up interested on them. i even tried taking a sleeping pill, and read a book while waiting for it to take effect. it worked! but i slept only for 3 hours as i was so taken by the story of my book. hopeless!

i didnt work last nov 15.
yeah, it was the end of ramadan in the philippines. in case you dont know yet, they started celebrating it since 2 years now. good or bad? no comment. all i know is that, there was a 2-day weekend and i was able to go home to zambales, and was almost left by my plane because the north expressway is not totally finished yet - got it right, traffic jam!!!

i spent my 1st week in a monastery.
i was exhausted! i had 4 out of 5 dinners in my room during my 1st week of stay there. i was on bed at 9pm. i didnt give any phonecalls for the 1st 3 days - not even to my families. good thing they phoned me up! i didnt read my book during those times. i was dead tired!

the complexity of my job.
3 times on-site support in 5 months, total of 9 weeks spent on site, not counting that of my boss! if time translates how complicated this particular process implementation is, then, this is extremely complicated! it's a new technology for us, we're just building experience curves and it seems that we're not finished yet. all problems not encountered on the feasibility and development phases, we have them all right now. when i left, we succeeded to reduce the problem from 100% to 0.34%, a fairly significant improvement. but everybody knows that the process is not as robust as the traditional processes we have. the technical support manager's farewell remark was: 'see you next month.' merde!

laurent's thoughtfulness.
he's out to germany for work but he left a note on the table. well, actually, it was the menu for the day. he prepared lunch and dinner for me and left them in the fridge with the welcome note and all. what makes it special is that, all were my favorites!

i fell inloved with spiderman.
i saw it twice on the plane. oh man, he's adorable! nakakatuwa.

no filipino newspapers?
would you believe that lufthansa doesnt distribute filipino newspapers for their franckfurt - manila flights? quite odd, i've used different airlines (KLM, Emirates, Cathay..) and on economy class at that, but i always had newspapers on board.

the guy seated next to me..
i swear to god, he kept on farting! sayang, gwapo pa naman sana...kainis, he never stopped polluting my air!

trying to fight the jetlag..
im off now. jetlag has finally won over me...ciao amigos!

double jetlag, anybody?

Posted by Analyse at 7:04 PM

Sunday, October 31, 2004

i just arrived from vacation last wednesday (oct 28 am) but my professionalism??? pushed me to rush directly to my office. hélas! 137 emails (not including personal emails of course!)! dont even ask if i read all of those. i just checked those which concerned me directly and needed response asap. the others, i classed them to my personal folder, i'll have time tomorrow at the airport to read and respond if needed.

oct 29 was ISO day! another training to prepare everybody for the certification. i just realized how much paper works i have to complete before the D-day!

tomorrow, as everyone does their stuff for the haloween / all saint's day, me, ill be flying back again to the philippines for work. my colleague told me that im the only one in the service who travels for work and goes home at the same time. lucky girl huh! yeah probably, but this time, im afraid i wont be as efficient as usual?? as ill surely have a double jetlag: from the US to france, from france to the philippines - with just 3 days in between. wow, let me check if my stamina is still the same, i just felt im growing old..darn!

i'm back!

Posted by Analyse at 3:52 PM

Saturday, October 30, 2004

a western adventure at that!

it started out quite bad. oct 11 after work, we rushed out to the station to catch up our train going to paris. arriving there, we took the wrong direction thrice - considering we consider ourselves parisiens after being dijonais! then we decided to try out the only filipino restaurant in paris. it was monday, and unlucky, it's closed every monday. well!

ok, i'll stop ranting and try to trace out our american adventure. the fun is just about to begin.

from the SFO airport, we headed directly to the car rental and drove to yosemite national park that same day. we arrived there late in the evening and here's one of the beautiful sites which greeted us there. we did a little hike (it started out progressively then the last part was too steep!!) which gave me a big pain on my knees. that kept me car-bounded within 3 days :(.

next stop was at death valley. check this lost sahara dessert - sand dunes in the middle of the USA. isn't that astonishing! it was a wow. hikers are adviced to always have water with them. it was too hot in this area. at badwater basin, ~86m below sea level, temperatures stay around 49°C during summer.

nope, not in paris - las vegas mi amigo. what can i say, casinos everywhere! it was fun, we lost $15 in less than a minute - it costs to have a feel of it!

who wouldn't stop at the mythic grand canyon? please zoom to have a better glimpse of it.

western spaghetti? there you go, welcome to monument valley! we captured nice pix here - with of course laurent playing as cowboy!

not tired yet? ok, ill give you a peep on la mesa arch at the canyonlands. given the chance, ill return here one day to discover more of this park. there's just too much hikes to do around around the area, but we didnt have much time..

hiker? dont miss this out. it was worth the climb.

look closer, do you see snow?? yeah, no tricks! this announced the end of our parks adventure. we were not equiped to ski nor to snowboard. too sad, bryce canyon seemed to be better during sunny weather - ok, we were nevertheless warmly welcomed!

we visited los angeles instead: hollywood, beverly hills, sunset strip, universal studios, etc. here's a pix of a baywatcher's hideaway..sunset lover, i am!

last stop: SF! among the other cities we've visited, SF was voted to be our fave! a mix of culture and architecture wrapped into one city. that was a pretty interesting visit we had.

that summed up our tour. tiring and fun, wasn't it. so to really sum it up, here's a list of interesting facts from an asian and europian eye comme moi:

  • french people should stop hating dutch people on their roads. they should be contented of not having an american neighbor: caravan/camping car = bus. look at that! the bus hauling the pick-up, not the other way around!
  • french autoroute translates to freeway. you got it right, dude: FREE!
  • they have wide roads which is limited to 75 mph whereas in france, the same road would be limited to 85 mph and of course, they will drive at 95 mph. germans will surely drive faster, no limits!
  • basic commodities are cheaper
  • everything is king size! cars, roads, burgers! we normally order for two, you bet, we even have left overs!
  • they give you the bill without even asking if you want to order more such as dessert or café or tea.
  • hike trails are well-organized! too organized that sometimes it's even paved!
  • they consider 146m altitude gain as 'difficult level' - hikers, hello?
  • and of course, they use english units instead of metric not used to it, i always convert!
  • worst! a friend's remark: i've changed my accent to french accent. QUOI??? (as in WHAT???)

so that's it folks. american dream is over. back to reality now...

very unlikely

Posted by Analyse at 1:57 PM

Saturday, October 09, 2004

im hopeless...a real hopeless!

as i was looking at myself infront of the mirror friday morning before i rushed to work, i suddenly realized how baduy i was! it's not because it's automn and i had to dress up like a suman with all those wrap-arounds, it's simply because my clothes are century-old already.

this morning, i was in the centre ville trying to force myself to buy something, but as usual, i just went home with just a baguette with me. the mile-long queue to get to the fitting cabin stopped me, the choices were just too much for me that even before i start, i already resigned. oh well...

i hate shopping! when i was still in pinas, i was always buying in the same boutique - that cuts down choices. or else, i buy those displayed on the shop windows - that prevents me from searching. good thing in phils is that, i take my size and i know that it will fit me to T, here im obliged to fit them, clothes here are not cut to fit asian women! or else, my last resort is - i visit my sisters' closets :).

i hate heavy luggages! - this is in consequence with my hate of shopping. i once went home with a 12 kilo backpack. full of pasalubong! i dont bring clothes, i buy it there - oh well, ok, i visit my sisters' closets. and when they're fed up with me, they bring me to shops and do that stuff for me. and now that i travel for business, i try to bring more clothes (to be able to work the next day). but i still stay to my 12 kilo quota - not with pasalubong but with paperworks.

i hate la cuisine, or la cuisine hates me. i dont really know. what i know is that, it's not my favourite place. a friend of mine calls me up around meal time when she knows that laurent is on travel. her welcome remark is : 'have you had your meal already?' f...! she talks like laurent. i call her mommy now.

i hate HER. oh yeah, i still hate her.

hate her!

Posted by Analyse at 7:29 PM

Thursday, October 07, 2004

just want to vent out..

i start to hate HER. i'm starting a project in asia and SOP says: thou shall coordinate thy project with their engineering on-site.

i finished the industrialization project, did a good report in compliance with ISO standard (everybody in the office talks ISO now, final audit on december), and communicated it to the project team - europe zone.

conclusion: production pilot should be done in asia!

after the nomination of my ASIAN PARTNER, i started to feed HER with all the infos SHE might need for the start-up (im rushing things up - im leaving on monday for a 2-week long vacation! - and SHE knows it.). weeks passed and there were no questions. did i really write my report so well that it did not provoke any question or violent reaction? ok, i'll have to take it that way. another week passed, no questions either.

our agreed planning is to start the project in 2 weeks time. and i'm leaving on monday -that's 2 working days from now. i guess reality striked HER big time that SHE bombarded me with emails these past days. asking documents already existing on-site, asking obvious questions - i have this impression of spoon-feeding HER. worse is that i asked HER to send me a document that SHE started to write days before to which SHE responded that SHE doesn't have it available on HER computer. what?????? f... me! ano yun, sa typewriter nya sinulat??? and then SHE organized a project meeting this morning - french time - with me on copy, i promptly send HER my direct line as i start to be worried with the project advancement - but SHE replied that it will be an internal meeting. f... me twice! did SHE forget that it's MY project? is SHE trying to exclude me? what is this politic?

i was in a meeting this afternoon, and when i arrived in my office, hélas, i got mails! the project manager who is in asia at the moment was asking questions already asked, looking for documents already provided. that means to say that SHE didn't even answer to those inquiries i have already explained to her. what the heck!!!

i hate her...!

on the loose...

Posted by Analyse at 8:39 PM

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

just got my driver's license this afternoon! it took me barely 5 months to wait before they finally released it. actually, it was because there was this summer vacation and nobody was in the office to process thousands of files, thus the delay.

a morrocan national was at the prefecture at the same time, complaining about the long wait in obtaining the license. FYI, he filed his application a year ago. the lady replied 'every application is unique, it's a case-to-case basis mr'. good thing my case doesnt take a lifetime for the processing.

since i was already out and my boss knew that i was at the prefecture, i decided to ask for an international driver's license so i could optimize my time. after 15 minutes, i already have it. efficient!

well, just another crazy-on-the-loose pinay with an old pawis-steering peugeot 106 roaming around dijon...

my climbs..

Posted by Analyse at 7:12 PM

Monday, October 04, 2004

seems ages now that i haven't packed my hiking stuffs for a week-long or even a weekend climb. though im the kind who barks like a dog when im tired of walking and climbing and searching for the right path to get to the peak, i always make it sure that i reach the top. never surrender!

my first ever week-long hike. a loop itinerary crossing different villages and mountains of the beautiful island of corsica - l'ile de beauté. this was during the almost unsupportable hot summer of 2002. the 5-6 hours daily itinerary climb was a real tough challenge. the unforgettable breath-taking views, however, were real blasts!

a beautiful oasis in a natural swimming pool - still in corsica. simply natural. a hidden paradise which springs miraculously amidst the modern world that surrounds it.

on the way up.. who wouldn't want to savor this fantastic paysage as you go up?

hautes alpes - les arcs mountain ranges - bourg st maurice. this is what nature could offer... let's preserve it.

camping sauvage - in the wilderness. love it! not recommended for those who hate adventure. you will have to forget being chic here.

facing foggy geneva - with mont blanc on the back scene. switzerland view from the top - moooo!

jura's winter delight with the view of the majestic and eternal mont blanc - europe's highest peak, and the alps. you have to stare closer to appreciate the view - click on. we arrived just on time for this breath-taking view.

a must-see stop-over on the south - pic du canigou - an eye-refreshing natural park on the way to the peak where only footprints should be left and memories to be taken. a real nature's wonder.

barcelona - view from the nearby mountain. we just cannot stay on vacation without visiting mountains around the area, to appreciate nature and get away from the modern chaotic world.

my highest climb so far. >3000m altitude, >1000m delta height and proud of it. im bound for a bigger challenge. a friend told me that i should prepare for the mont blanc, oh dear, my stamina is not as energetic as that. i should content myself with what i could soar.

cant wait for my next destination...and that's just in a week...a different paysage, a different view, a different experience!

frequent traveller

Posted by Analyse at 5:59 PM

Friday, October 01, 2004

one downside, if you consider it that way, of my kind of job is travel. since i belong to the global engineering team of our company, the projects that i handle are on a worldwide scale upon implementation. and interventions on site could be decided in just a wink of an eye.

so far, im still enjoying it. the benefits are interesting. add to it that i could equally earn miles while travelling. during my last 2 travels, my miles status has just been upgraded and im now a certified 'frequent traveller' which gives me a direct access to business class lounges and all series of other benefits, isn't that great?

my next travel will complete my growing mileage stock and will give me a free round trip ticket via paris-manila...hmmm, i should save that so my parents could visit me here without me paying for it.

we will be on vacation soon...all travel expenses free!

always the last one to know..

Posted by Analyse at 5:24 PM

hay buhay...laurent was upset yesterday...

he was out of the office the whole day for a meeting in one of our production sites. he arrived late, but i wasn't home as i was in carrefour for my weekly grocery shopping. but just before that, i was chatting with my mom informing her i'll be in the phils for a two-week mission by november. i went shopping without closing the yahoo windows so he accidentally read the news. but i was planning to inform him that same night....

i woke up early this morning...

he: why so early?
me: i have to, otherwise i'll miss my train.
he: where are you going?
me: i have a technical meeting in paris.
he: what????

oh well, he should check my agenda so he'll know what i'm up to everyday...i gave him an access on my outlook calendar!

ok ok, we should communicate more, i know. but remember, he was upset last night.

hehe..i should have sent him an email...geez, aren't we bound to workaholicism???

a golden pot at the end of the rainbow...

Posted by Analyse at 6:10 PM

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

I'm just overwhelmed by the way people react to one's actions and achievements, to different situations, etc. Different folks with different strokes. In a conversation, especially in heated topics such as politics, work environment, work attitude, and the likes, everybody here is interested to know my opinion as I'm a product of a different country, thus a different culture and different views. Before I stress out my opinion though, I warn them that I might step on their feet and hit their sensitive egos. It's a pity that French people, especially those who haven't travelled yet or those who stay firm on what they believe in, see France, their country, differently as I do.

There are so many things here that they could be proud of, not counting their superb patrimony, their fascinating history and their rich culture. Their social security is the best in Europe. But of course, for that to function well, they have to pay a lot - which of course doesn't please to most. But hey, at least they know and see where their money goes. Everything here is accessible to all class of society, be it in education, medical benefits, etc.

Here are some facts:

- Each opening of the school year, every family receives a certain amount destined to buy school stuffs for the kids.
- The government gives financial allocations to families, in pro rata of their total monthly income. If they've got no income, the government is there to help.
- If you need a nanny for your baby, the government helps.
- Education is almost free. They just have to pay a very cheap entrance / miscellaneous fee and they're in. in addition to that, there are a lot of scholarship grants available for everybody. Plus the fact that the government, generous as it is, gives a lodging allowance for students.
- Almost all of the medical and dental expenses are reimbursable.
- The company where they work gives a share on your taxes..(this, on the other hand weighs too heavy on the shoulder of the companies that most of them tends to delocalise their production in countries where manpower is less expensive)
- And a lot more...

Of course, in return, they have to slash down their salary to almost 35% (for singles) for the government plus an exorbitant 19.6% VAT for each purchase (5.5% for basic necessities such as food, etc).

Talking about work cultures, few personal experiences have shaken me which made me realize how different my culture is compared to my adoptive country. As I'm currently working in the same company where I worked when I was in the Philippines and now that I'm here in France, I could blatantly check certain differences.

Situation 1: Philippines. I was the fourth person in our department to be hired, the only mademoiselle in the group. My first contact with my workplace is in a layout. It was actually under construction when I arrived so all I could visit is the drawing of the workshop. I was one of the pioneers, I wrote the first procedures, established work methods, set up the process, created a working culture. After a month of survival in a workshop that doesn't exist and trying to negotiate with all the suppliers all around the globe to have everything in place on time: my Filipino boss told me 'you lack initiative'! Wow, what a comment.

Situation 2: France. I actually started here as a trainee, in line with my post-graduate study. After 5 months, they called me up proposing a permanent position in the company. Who am I to decline such proposal considering that it's my dream job? What do you expect, I of course hastily grab the opportunity. Barely after 4 months, my H+4 (4th level hierarchy) requested to meet me to personally welcome me in the group and convey his complements for a job well done. Wow, what a complement. After 7 months of working with them, here again my immediate boss asking for a rendez-vous. He wants to meet me for my annual interview with an exceptional objective: to raise my salary! Would you believe that?

I can't help myself but smile. I work just the same but I get totally opposing feedbacks. Of course I did get a raise in the phils - coming from my French bosses. I'm not the kind who generalizes things, so ill just say that I unluckily had a one-of-a-kind boss who dealt with people in a very stiff manner. Let's just say, I was under Martial Law :)...anyway, im out of it now and enjoying what life could offer...

Saving the world of NEMO...

Posted by Analyse at 6:32 PM

Monday, September 20, 2004

As laurent is a diving addict, we always make it a point that when we are in the Philippines, we should at least do some of these water stuffs. Our favourite place is of course, palawan, at dos palmas, where we did a lot of ocean kayak and snorkelling. This is a place to behold for those who love this activity. It's a wonderland down there. The varieties of corals and sea animals in all their colours and forms are real delicatessens to the eyes.

My diving baptism was in Puerto Galera - yeah people, I have this PADI certificate issued from a 12-meter dive in Monkey beach dive site. That was fun! The thing is, you get to approach the corals and swim with the fishes. But personally, I hate this sensation of being compressed so I still prefer snorkelling. Funny because one not-very-windy afternoon, Laurent and I decided to take a look of the corals just infront of the resort where we stayed. Little did we know that there was low-tide that particular afternoon. So as we go farther, the sea level started to go down. My big belly started to touch the corals, and there was even this sea animal which attacked me because I was getting very close to there hide-out. Of course we cannot get into our feet to go back to the shore, so we crawled carefully so as not to destroy the corals. Well, we arrived at the resort safe and sound with a lot of bruises of course. But that was part of the fun.

Another favourite spot is Anilao in Batangas. The access is not that agreeable but it's worth it. The corals, I think are better than in Puerto Galera. The only disadvantage is that, there's nothing to do at night unlike in Puerto Galera.

We were in the Philippines last December but we were not able to go to other places because it was also the wedding of my kuya. So we decided to stay in my town, in Sta Cruz, north of Zambales. Honestly speaking, I don't really know what my town could offer to tourists such as Laurent. For me, nothing is spectacular in this area. But for him, it's a totally different scenario. He loves my parent's place because it's very natural, the rice fields just at the back of our house, the trees around, even the little boy next door fascinates him. Once we were at the beach and there was this Danish guy who offered us a snorkelling session anytime we want, Laurent readily said yes. Wow, that's what he was looking for...

corals in bloom..

We went near the Balaki Island where we did a 3-hr snorkel. Wow, I didn't know that we still have some corals down there after we suffered from massive and irresponsible dynamite fishing years back. (I assure you, this kind of fishing still exists, I was hearing bombs while snorkelling...hope this will totally stop asap). When we had enough of the fishes, we did boating around up to Putipot Island and had a drink with some of the bakasyonistas there. That was cool!

one of the magnific sights underwater..

On second thought, there's something interesting to do in my place...a hidden secret, a secret paradise...

journées européennes du patrimoine

Posted by Analyse at 8:27 PM

Saturday, September 18, 2004

this weekend is like an open-house here in dijon. everything is open to visitors for free: universities, museums, city hall, everything! it's the europian patrimony day. in exposition is dijon's liberation from german (nazi) occupation way back 1940 - 1945. it's very interesting to see those pictures of the past, making you re-live the history and have a feel of it.

on the same weekend is the braderie here in dijon..yep, weekend sale! it's just so sad that shopping is not at all my stuff. i hate checking and searching with all those varieties and choices...i prefer buying something which i already saw somewhere, so i just have to search for this particular dont be surprised if you see me with the same clothing as that of the manequin infront of the shop...yeah, that's how lazy i am...

ill try to bring a camera tomorrow and grab some shots so you could get a snap of dijon too..

work pressures

Posted by Analyse at 5:57 PM

Thursday, September 16, 2004

I wasn't able to sleep last night...

Yesterday was the presentation of previous and future activities, targets and results of our big bosses. Naturally, most of the people are there. One of my colleagues purposely bumped into me to ask me some technical stuffs about my project. He was actually at a lost because one of the raw materials I listed did not correspond to the reference (each product has its own code). Oh my, I took all those references from a colleague and I even rechecked it from our procurement agent, so why the difference? My mind started to panic that I didn't understand a thing about the presentation, the main reason why I was at that meeting.

While I was supposedly listening to the presentation, my mind was actually calculating all the investment losses if ever the company where I forwarded this list bought another chemical. If ever, I am in a big s...t!!

For history, I spent 7 weeks in the Philippines for my first project, and take note, I went back to France once. The project has been 4 months running, and all these times, there was always somebody from Global Engineering (where I work) staying on site to insure the process. That translates to plane business class tickets, train tickets, taxi fares, hotel expenses, everything! All expenses paid of course. For 4 months, this project has been consuming loads of electricity, treated water, chemicals, manpower, and don't forget the non-stop brainstorming with the project group to optimise the process. Loads of investments. And still, the problem is still there!

Everybody involved in the project is analysing, trying to solve the problem. And when this colleague asked me this question, it's like I was convicted of something. I began to doubt myself thinking my credibility is at risk right now. For info, I just started working. I sent a quick email to the Philippines inquiring about the quality of chemicals they're currently using. And since there's this time difference, the answer will be the day after, if they have time of course.

My evening has been shattered into pieces. I cannot think, I panic!

This morning, first thing i did was to read my email, praying that there will be something from the phils. And yes, there's one! The chemical they're using is the right one. What a relief!

Whew...I should be more careful next time. In fact, it's only in Europe that we use the reference code, so even if I added it on my file, Asia will never use it. Luckily!

PS: after the meeting, there was this 'drinking' session so participants could exchange ideas, comment on the presentation, or just have a drink and go tale-telling with some colleagues...i missed this one!

our new hide-away

Posted by Analyse at 9:59 PM

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

just signed! whew, this is our new hiding place. after long days of searching, we finally found something which corresponds to what we really like, something that reflects our personality, something which we could be proud of, something which combines convenience and functionality...something which we could call our own...our home.

our new hide away..

front view..

it will be a big change for us, surely. we started thinking about bringing our personal touch on this new place, and this personal touch entails hardwork, imaginability..and don't forget creativity...and of course, another budget. i've been browsing on some sites where i could get an idea of interior designs, but honestly, i still havent made up my mind. i'm torn between asian or europian design. our appartment has long been asian, from indonesian paintings to thai handicrafts, and yes, some stuffs from china too. any suggestions?

i have a little garden too. will i really indulge myself into gardening? i guess im more into that than cleaning the whole house, that will freak me out!!!

this is my little garden view from the terrace where i will grow potatoes :)

oh well, i guess im a little too excited to move in and start painting the house red and have a party! ...

dealing with finances..

Posted by Analyse at 6:08 PM

Monday, September 13, 2004

now that we already found our dream house, our financing scheme should be reviewed accordingly. never had i took a real close-look on how my salary should be divided into such and such expenses. last week, i was infront of my computer trying to balance my finances, budget what should be budgeted, and try to allocate excess salaries into something which will create value to my money. yes, the investment phase is not yet over. we are at the moment staying in a small appartment with a minimum of stuffs which suffice us in our everyday lives. moving to a bigger house obliges us to furnish it with at least, for the start, a minimum of stuffs to fill it and make it look, well, a house.

after a head-aching afternoon trying to stretch out what is unstretchable, i finally came up with this:


  • 21% - goes to taxes which covers medical / dental insurance, unemployment insurance, retirement, and other stuffs i pay that i dont even understand or know what. but anyway, an equivalent of 46% of my salary is added by the company as a supplement to these insurances. they call them patronal charges. oh, i cannot rant more in terms of social security. i know i'm covered and i see where my taxes go.
  • 3.6% - goes to land tax.
  • 2.4% - goes to housing tax.
  • 35.7% - goes to mortgage. that hurts!


  • 14.3% - goes to everyday expenses, from groceries to gasolines.
  • 7.1% - goes to my personal expenses. yes, sometimes i do shopping too. this one i guess will be considerably lowered as other priorities will come shortly after we move to the new house.

wow, that's already a soaring 84.1% of my salary! im thinking about investing and try my luck in stock markets while im not yet taxed on my revenu. yes brothers, since i just started working, i wont be paying tax on my revenu for one year. but after a year, 14.3% of my salary will equally go to tax. oh well, isnt that what they call pushing up to the limits? i still have 0.6% of my salary left, and yet, i havent included emergency expenses which is very important. i really need to squeeze more that bloody variable cost to get even with my finances.

oh well, life starts...

learning and growing...little by little.

Posted by Analyse at 1:26 PM

Friday, September 10, 2004

It's been 3 years now (last 23 august to be exact) that I strive, struggle and enjoy all blows of life in a foreign land and the learning process is not yet over. The most difficult part - learning their language - has been a great challenge but it's just a part of the adventure. Learning it was difficult, capturing it was another story, knowing it and being able to understand and engage in a conversation was a turning point. Living in another country without learning their language is for me, a waste of time. You will never know, appreciate and enter into ones culture without this weapon.

One thing I learned and really appreciated just this morning, on my way to a meeting in Paris, is that I could actually pay the taxi with my visa debit/credit card. Isn't that great? It was my first time to try it so I'm quite overwhelmed. To be frank, I forgot to take some cash with me (I normally don't have any cash with me as I always pay with my card or check, yes France I guess is the #1 user of microchips which I think is convenient), and to be more frank, once I got my feet into the train station at Dijon, I also forgot to withdraw some cash. But hey, I left my place at 6am, and I tell you, I was still on my clouds. And worst, when I arrived at the train station in Paris, I again forgot to withdraw. Am I having an Alzheimer here?

So I asked the taxi driver to drop me off somewhere where I could take some cash. To my relief, he told me I could pay him with my visa. So I thought ok, but I still have to take some cash for my next taxi, and he again told me that I should reserve a taxi and precise beforehand that it will be a card payment. Yeah, alright, I finally understood it :) kulit ko!

Oh well, little things like that facilitate life. Good to know. Actually, for my last two arrivals here in France, twice I arrived without any euro in my pocket? And twice have I searched for an ATM machine inside the airport with the luggage, the jetlag and all...I swear, it wasn't funny. Little did I know that I could eventually pay with my card. Oh well, innocence is sweet, but ignorance kills!!!


Posted by Analyse at 3:48 PM

Sunday, September 05, 2004

one good thing about europe is its diversity. you could visit one country to another without any problem, provided you have the schengen visa. what i like in this kind of adventure is observing different culture as they unfold infront of your eyes. one myth about europian, as ive heard it is that, women from the north are as hot as the men from the south. well, did i really saw that??? i was always wondering if france is considered north or ive said it's the crossroad between the two regions.

we once visited the north and i particularly liked brugge, the venice of the north. it's refreshing there, and almost everybody speaks either english or french. isnt that a bonus!

typical house in brugge..can i find the same in dijon? Posted by Hello

this is one of the sites there, my favorite place. where you could have your sandwitch and have siesta at the same time. :)

one of my precious moments.. Posted by Hello

bye for now..

common interests vs differences

Posted by Analyse at 3:42 PM

Saturday, September 04, 2004

in a relationship, having something in common is a must: points of view, interests, beliefs, etc. that saves the ship from shrinking in times of storms. differences, on the other hand, adds up to the spicies of life. it definitely makes life more exciting. it creates some kind of mystery in a couple that keeps them on a 'search mode' for life. one challenge is to convert some of these differences into a common interest.

hiking is one of those 'common interests' we share with gusto. the difference is that he does it for sports, among others of course. and me, i do it for photography, of course, among others :). we also love having our siesta in the middle of mother nature, with the fresh wind, and the lovely scenery, all natural, no artificial flavors, ika nga.

one of the highest peak i climbed so far.. Posted by Hello

differences? we have a lot! he loves water, i hate it. in fact, kayak is his first love, a dangerous sport at that. every year, he organizes a sportive weekend where we go out with our colleagues for them to have a feel of what wild water is all about. i once tried rafting and it was a blast! an experience! and honestly, i loved it.

most of the people that go out with us have this apprehension of fear. but everybody goes home with a great souvenir - that is, the sensation of fear and fulfillment.

while im reading, laurent's on his kayak gliding.. Posted by Hello

well, im just proud of him when he's on his kayak suit...

les vacanciers

Posted by Analyse at 11:40 AM

les vacanciers Posted by Hello

this was last of my favorite pix..far from problems, far from stress. i love the french coast, but then, i find it hard to submerge myself into the water, too cold, brrrrrr!

summer vacation is a must for europians. everybody's out. traffic jam everywhere as france is the crossroad for all the northern europians who who like to spend their vacation in the south..under the sun of course! spain, south of france, portugal.

i particularly like the south, because there's a lot of variety you could get there. from the mountains to the seas (and yes, the ocean for many). normally, we do hike early in the morning up to late afternoon, then do a bit of swimming to finish the day (as if i know :). restos of course, pour la route, to savour the regional products, faits à la maison.

well...i guess ill need another vacation now...

looking for a new 'chez nous'

Posted by Analyse at 5:56 PM

Friday, September 03, 2004

It's been more than 4 months now that we decided to find a new place for us. something we could call 'our home'. and it's been a 4-long-month of biking around the area, asking people around for possible houses to be sold, talking to agents, talking to proprietors, visiting potential houses to buy...and it starts to tire us up. i just hope we will not be fed up to the point that we buy something we don't really like just to finish the process.

yesterday, we saw something which pleased 'us'. yes, normally, it's him or me, but never 'us'. the problem is, it's quite expensive. well, we could still stretch out our budget...which means to say no new car in the coming 2 years, no other investments, etc.

the good thing about this process is that we learn not only the procedure of this and that (loans, laws, etc) we also discover each other. yes, it's been almost 5 years now that we 'know' each other, and 3 years of being together without really knowing each other. i mean little details like he doesnt like that and she prefers that one thing.

one thing i've learned about him: he pays a lot of attention to prestige, to what other people might think about him, the 'standing'. oh well, i never knew him that way before. he was always the kind of guy who doesn't really care about those kinds of details...but not with his house. oh well, good to know.

one thing about me, to be fair, is that i don't want to stay far from the town center. with our kind of job where we're always bound to travels, which means that most of the time, i will be obliged to stay alone. summer time, yes, but not during winter. it's agreable to be able to go out and be with the world without taking the car. well, for me, it is.

well, more to come on our quest in finding our new nest...ciao!

easy-money: the filipino way

Posted by Analyse at 8:04 AM

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

i've always hated the system. the corruption, the mentality, the government, etc..but the saddest part of it is that i have to live with it. it's like i'm obliged to accept it and take it as a normal thing. my principles though, dictate me not to support any of this kind...oh well..
when taxi drivers ask a minimum of P20 tip, you'll say, it's nothing. but then, when i work longer than the required time, do i get a raise? do we really have to negociate each time we pay? dont you find it tiring?

the last time i was in the phils, i asked a favor from one of our secretaries (to change my plane ticket), i was told to give 'pasalubong' next time i will be assigned there (the one who told me was her fellow secretary, who happened to be my so-called 'friend'). take note, that was in 2-wks time. and i told to myself, what the heck, i should have been a secretary then. they rule! i hate this mentality of 'suhol'. i really hate it. my former colleagues actually brand me as 'kuripot'. and take note, each time we go out, i pay! what the heck!

my thai colleagues once visited pagsanjan falls. they paid P1200 for the boat. after the visit, the boatmen wouldn't let them go because they were asking for a tip, a soaring $50 tip! wow! with the news about the philippines, plus the fact that the thais couldnt really express themselves, they were really afraid but still tried to negociate. in the end, they just gave $30 for EACH boatmen. in a day, they spent more than P14,000. and i tell you, this is not remboursable from the company. with this, why are the filipinos still ask why thailand have a 25M visitors each year while the philippines have a hard time reaching their 2.5M target on tourist??? aren't we killing our own business? these boatmen thought about what they could gain on that particular day, they just forgot tomorrow.

im tired of hearing colleagues complaining about the philippines while praising our neighbooring countries. yes, we speak english...but it's not enough to gain the trust of those 'blessed ones'.

another example is the interest rate practiced in the phils. when i was in a discussion with these same thais, i was stunned to know that the 2 operators with us have their own car back in thailand. filipinos are normally paid higher than the thais, so why is that? me who is an engineer didnt even have my own car when i was still working in laguna. the thing is, they could loan from the bank, and charged only with 2 - 4% interest. in the philippines, we're already happy if we could find somebody who could lend some money to us at 10% interest rate, yun ang sistema e. their country prefer having more sales volume than having too high interest rate which scares away all potential clients. i thought, that's a better solution. business à la chinese. could filipinos do that? i guess they would still prefer bigger profits in a very short span of time, anyway, there will still be some clients...those who earn dollars. and those who couldn't afford, pasensya na lang?

im quite bitter about our system. it's like opportunities are exclusive to those priviledged ones. even education is inaccesible for us to think that after graduation, we dont even have a guarantee of what future awaits for us.

it's like there's no sense at all...where are we going?


Posted by Analyse at 5:41 PM

Sunday, August 29, 2004

my job has been taking most of my time and loving it. just came back from a 10-day project assignment in the philippines and still struggling from the jetlag. yes, that's my biggest problem. i can't sleep in the plane.

well anyways, just came back here, and know what? i'm alone! yes, my honey just left barely an hour ago to go to germany, and that's because of work. we have the same nature of work, he's on equipment and i'm on chemical processes. and most of our work are destined to other countries. oh well, i arrived yesterday afternoon, and he left today. i'm having a jetlag on our set-up too. but that's life, some sacrifices have to be taken in order to reach what we really want.

i'm tired..tulog muna ako..

career background

Posted by Analyse at 5:03 PM

having my diploma nov 1997 and my professional license may 1998, my life after that has been a rapid shift to a career-oriented workaholic life.

worked at a public entity for almost 2 years and being a victim of blatant work politics, enough has been enough for me. i decided to do a career move, and worked in a multinational company. life has been more challenging eversince.

personal choices led me to change course. i then moved to another country, to france, where everything is different, especially the language. after exactly 2 years, 6 months, 7 days, and an entreprises administration diploma, another door has been opened to me. i started working in the same multinational company, but in a totally different setting and environment.

a dream job. i feel really blessed! hard work, and even if you have doubts, dont forget to believe in yourself...that's the formula.

me and myself

Posted by Analyse at 4:18 PM

well, i was just browsing and fell into this page..and thought why not?
i have been contemplating on creating a page, but never had the time to do it. so i'll create this on my rythme. well, i will try..

so what about me and myself? practically nothing, they're just the same. yes people, im just the real me, true to myself.

oh it's boring...