Canberra Stint

Today is just a day shy of being away from home for three months now. It’s high time I thought to just list down things that have stuck out for me over that period.

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First photo I captured of Canberra. Taken while inside a taxi on the way to the hotel.

Let me start with work-related matters.

On my first day, I was introduced as a developer. I was caught by surprise and felt a tinge of discomfort. In my mind, I asked: ‘Why was I introduced as someone who isn’t? Was the resourcing wrong to begin with when they got me?’. Anyway, I just continued to do what I was supposed to do. I am a functional guy, not one who writes codes. (Note: I only had a single programming subject back in college. I remember having fun in that class so if I just devote some good amount of time on it, I think I should be able to learn it.)

With regard to the project itself, I must say it’s not smooth-sailing, which happens all the time anyway in any project. The over-all project delivery process was not clear enough. Questions such as what needs to be put out, who reviews the artifacts and when, and things like that I thought should have been clarified from the very beginning. I cannot help but think back about the time I was in an insurance company, in which the delivery process is mature and everything is clear-cut. But the good news is, I believe everybody wants the project to succeed so each one is doing the best they can.

The actual things that I work on are not overly complex that I’d be stuck thinking these through for days on end. The more challenging part is learning how the current system works and why was it designed as such.

That is more than enough for work stuff.

The team is multi-cultural. There is nothing that strikes me as significantly different from what I would expect in regards to social behavior. I guess certain things are universal and can conclude that humans are wired a certain way regardless of ethnicity.

Living in this city itself has allowed me to do some activities that I don’t think I can necessarily do in Manila or perhaps I can but there is just no physical infrastructure in placed. I’ve gone hiking a couple of times up a hill. I’ve done biking around the city and around a massive lake. I’ve experienced Go Karting (which was incredibly fun!).

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Lake Burley Griffin. Attributed to the man who was the chief designer of Canberra.

There are paths that you can choose from for the bike around the lake. The time I took the western loop was something to remember.  I picked up a bike that in hindsight, really wasn’t meant to be used for long rides. I struggled with stretches that were uphill (which  were aplenty). The loop was, by my definition, long (it was 16km). I got lost at some point when I took the wrong path at a junction.

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The climb up the Black Mountain was also one for the books. I had to walk 2 km, give or take a few tens of meters, to get to the starting point of the walk trail. There’s a long stretch where I was alone, no humans in sight. The slope is steeper than Mount Ainslie. But again, I steadied myself and just kept going forward.

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Atop the Black Mountain is Telstra Tower.

Lastly, I want to say something about communications.

My command of English as the primary communication language remains a work-in-progress. When I speak, I translate Filipino to English so there are times I remember the syntax won’t work. There have been a number of times as well where I just couldn’t pull out the equivalent English phrase for something or totally forgetting the right word to use.

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All in all, the experience has been good. I have got two more weeks left here before flying out to Manila. But I hope to be back. 🙂

 

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