Thursday, August 14, 2008

What it Feels Like... be a working adult. Some of you may remember my "being an adult sucks" post. Though I'm sure this post won't be as negatively geared as that one, I am just WAITING for the weekend. I am, however, surprised at how fast the week went by, especially during the day and the hours of 10.00 and 15.00. I am close to burnt-out, have been going to sleep no earlier than 01.00 every evening/morning and have been at work by 8 almost every day.

This weekend I went on my first field trip with the office. The trip went from early Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon. Uh-huh; not only was it my first field trip with the office, it was an overnight trip. The itinerary was simple (raft down the Gauja river) and the weekend was, quite literally (and, it seemed, sometimes painfully so), a lazy couple of days. We were driven by a mini-charter bus to somewhere near Cesis, where we unloaded our overnight gear, were piled into another couple of vans and brought somewhere else up-river where the epitome of a "white-trash" water vehicle was waiting for us. The raft consisted of several sheets of ply-wood belted together over huge plastic water bottles. The icing on the backwoods cake: a full-size should-be-in-a-camp-site-and-not-floating-down-a-rive picnic table in the centre of it all. Add a makeshift roof made of cylindrical posts, blue tarp and bungee cords, and throw in a grill and you've got yourself eight hours of slow-moving, barbecuing fun.

The raft turned out to be much safer than it looked and felt and the fear of dying at .0005 mph quickly melted away. Although I gave up on going to the Prata Vetra concert in Mezaparks to go on the work trip, and for all of the cynical comments I have on the material situation of the trip, I really had a great time. There were maybe 13 of us total and it gave me a chance to talk a bit more to some of my project managers and to get to know them outside of the office. The trip also re-lit the canoe bug within me, so I'm getting antsy and hoping that the opportunity to go canoe some weekend will present itself before it gets cold(er).

When we finally, fiiiiinally made it to the end point, Cirulisi, we were all more than happy to get off the raft and start something else. Luckily the Gauja is shallow along the shore for much of the part we rafted down, so some of the guys on the trip would take those chances to jump out and push the raft along to speed things up. We set up tents (I had bought a sleeping bag the day before [a good brand, proper temp. range for summer and on sale, no less!], but don't have a tent, so I had to tent-mooch) and then waited for round 2.5 of barbecuing to be completed. I played some volleyball with a two of the other women from the office and some random (and somewhat to very drunk) guys until food was ready. After food there was a card game called "Vilkaci" ("Werewolves"), which I won't even attempt to explain in type. I can remember how to play now and can relay the rules and process verbally, though. Eventually it got dark and to the point where the flickering of the citronella candles made me feel like my brain was bleeding, so I went and used my Minnesota suburb survival skills and hunkered down for the night. The next morning after taking down the tents and eating breakfast (more barbecue!) we basically waited anxiously for 12 o'clock to roll around when we would be picked up and taken back to Riga.

I'd do it all again any time :)

Monday night I went to the Riga Zoo for a get-together/party that was organised as a thank-you to those people who helped in the process of putting together this book. I wasn't much of a party-accessory, unfortunately, because my brain was completely fried as of Sunday night. After getting back from the trip I went to work on a few projects that were due Monday, and sorely underestimated the type and amount of work it would be. Then Monday was just a very long day, worse than normal Mondays. So at this party I more or less sat with a glass of bubbly and stared blankly out at Kisezers, which the zoo sits right next to. But Monday was another nice night because I got to see some of the other people who helped out with the book as well, talked more with the main brains behind the whole project, and just unwind a bit. I also got to leave with a little hot-pink button that reads HELPER! - it is pinned proudly on my purse :)

And by a bit I really do mean just a bit. When I got back home that night I went right back to work on some more projects. Tuesday was, work wise, a repeat of Monday. It wasn't until Wednesday that I was able to take a deep breath and move on a little. Today was better and tomorrow should be a blast.

My mood has been improving rapidly as well - it may partly be due to the fact that, in the process of going over one project today I learned that 2009 is the year of the ox - my year. I took it as an indicator that 2009 will be an overall positive experience. I've got my residential permit, I've got a job, a convenient apartment, and even a cat. I feel bad for not making that public sooner, but when the cat was first "acquired" I was unsure at the time of where I would be in the months following and didn't want it to be a big deal. The cat was something that I felt was personally necessary and, although I feel like I'm more often annoyed with the cat than not, I also lucked out in picking a compassionate animal; in addition, I supported the local humane society. Besides, if I was renting in a private home I would have gotten a dog. The way I see it, worst-case-scenario, the cat is at least friendly, disease-free, neutered, etc., so if a/the situation arises that the cat can't go somewhere with me, he will be good for someone else, too.

Another thing I not only realised while on the rafting trip, but also made a point to say on the trip, was that I was really happy with where I work. I'm happy with the location, the people, etc. I have honestly lucked out.

Ooooh yes and I bought my ticket to the Sigur Ros concert :))) August 22nd and I am very excited to see how things go down. They're a band that normally and, as a standard, performs outdoors; the Riga concert is going to be in the Arena. But it should be a good concert - I've heard good things, and their new album is very relaxed, so it will be another great night for me to unwind. Amongst thousands of other people, of course.

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