Sunday, April 01, 2007

a week in hell...

Well, I could sum up the past week in three words : hell on earth.

First and foremost, I noticed that, very strangely:
- my nose and my eyes were damned hurting, I was close to a ‘I look like an agora rabbit’ status. My best friend these days is… my Kleenex box. Sad but true.
- Cars in Seoul became dustier and dustier
- People started wearing masks
Conclusion : the dust pollution from China is coming. What’s that? In Spring, winds from West to East bring back charming dust from the desert, full of bad bad chemicals from China (we learn to love industrialisation in China, don’t we…) Well, to be honest, I have never suffered as much from the eyes as now, and Aerius, my anti allergy pill, is useless. Well, strangely, these days, at my local High Mart, tissues are on sale. I guess these 6 big packs of tissues for 5 dollars will be consumed in the coming 5 months…

I was a work slave. Well, that is, I was chained to my desk until endless hours (well, til it really got dark). Spent hours coaxing my Asian comrades so that they give back their f… excels files, not strangling them when they would hammer away at the same old song ‘I gave the excel file 2 months ago to XLL, the project coordinator”. No, do not try to kill them, don’t tell them “I have not heard from XLL for about 3 months, I am the poor one handling these f…. non-harmonised messy excel files, these interviews written in an Asianised English, correct 80 times the questions from the questionnaires that she had written (well, you have two pages of questions, let’s say 20 mistakes per page, reproduced 80 times by your lovely comrades, so, I really got crazy…). I was about to get totally nuts. By the way, my mum happened to send me this very cute file (Nora playing the piano) to struggle against stress.

Well, if you add to my official research work my unofficial jobs as tutor (Salvadorian student at Lycée Français and New Zelander for French lessons), I felt I was on the verge of becoming a Marxist/Marxian (I’ll leave to my friends the honour to make theoretical distinctions, comments are open… Too lazy to get into details…)
Well, I think I got the meaning of “to get one’s body and one’s soul alienated at work”.

On Friday, was strange, hectic atmosphere at work. Restless printer, stacks of papers piling up next to me. At 6 pm, strange, strange, my boss in a Dr Jekyll phase (suit and necktie) came at office, notices that his desk is taken by someone, and goes to the other boss’s desk. Little mouse just looks awful, looking like a tired panda, tired eyes by bad excel and bad interviews, the day before, left the office at 1 am… Then, at 6.30 pm, quite a lot of people come in, I recognise a few of them, they all go to the seminar room, strange strange… My colleague then tells me that there would be a meeting for Asia Peace workshop (their library project in Iraq). Two Iraqi guests are there, they are government officials, KDI scholars for a year in Korea. For once, the seminar is in English, so I can listen to it. So, we had a long talk on the everyday situation in Iraq, no big political revelations, and the men in suits did not ask too many questions. I asked my somehow provocative questions at the end. All these mens were actually members of the executive board from AFI… and that was their annual meeting. If I knew, I would not have come dressed in jeans… These Iraqi officials were nice, warm-hearted people, enjoyed chatting with them.
Weekend: was worn out, supposed to read my first Korean books (for children). I spent my weekend resting…

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