Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Long forgotten pleasure of learning a language

Its been a while since I have really put myself into the situation of learning a new language. Though I had my english language certification, well, let's put it nicely that I did not die of studying for it (rather the result of years of active practicing :P).

But now at work we did start having arabic classes! And not any more just random stuff, despite the fact that it is mean to help us picking up the "survival" level of language, which I already sort of have/had.
Well, where we are heading is rather elementary and basic, than survival, meaning that it is a way higher level. we have a 20 lesson course and already after the 5th I really need to squeeze my brains into it and pick things up fast...as I said, despite already having some sort of minimal basis.

This was hard at the beginning, but somehow when I got used to studying again, really paying attention, pacing up and down in my room while mumuring words from the vocabulary we took in the last lesson(s)...and I really started to feel happy about it. It is a good challenge which does yield its results! And these are again small pleasures of life!

Like with the last campaign I have launched, finally I did not need a translation of the heading of the ad which I'm supposed to approve! (To the right you can check it out)
I did totally understand what the following heading (the lime lines on top) means:
احكي مع فلسطين ب 9 قروش فقط

(Ehki ma falesteen bi 9 kerusch fakath)
Which means: Talk to Palestine for 9 piasters only

While it is not a very complicated sentence it did feel truly delightful to have no difficulties reading and the translating it!

And then we also started constructing sentences (though we are not writing in arabic...I think I would go nuts from that). I finally can introduce myself in short, but full sentences, actually sharing meaningful information, besides my name (like where do I live, where I'm from, where do I work....) and some random others like my favourite colours.

Anyways, I just felt like sharing this small delight of an internship in Jordan :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

2010, how shall I name you?

I have been asked a few times what do I want from this upcoming (actually already started) year, and this question by itself was anyways buzzing in the back of my brain.

It is known that this is the usual evaluation period, new year starts, bla-bla....however I do not think this is the real reason for me. I guess rather my visit home made me think deeply on how I have been living my life in Jordan, what am I actually taking out of it.
Not that anyone have really challenged me on this matter, but going home and basically only thinking that I have missed home so much had a decent impact on me. I have never been the super “home-sitting” kind of guy, but it did feel different this time.

While such thinking makes it easier to make choices for the far future (far meaning that what is after this one year). But what struck me is that I have not been thinking of “today”, I have not been up to the challenge to take the best out of the time I have hear in Jordan…and that is not me, I have always been able to turn things around, even sometimes against all odds. Well I guess my good common sense took a break for the last 2 months. Good, or I shall curse myself? Nah, none of them are solutions, so it is better to simply change and do get back on course (what exactly would be the sense of sitting in the corner of my room, bored and being all down because of random, stupid reasons???)

Today even my horoscope (starsign, or whatever it is properly called in English) says that I shall change
Sokat foglalkoztatják a jövő tervei. Nehéz lesz a régi életformától és egy kedves alaktól búcsút venni, de a változás az új élet kezdetét is jelenti. (Your mind is full of the plans for your future. It is going to be hard to say good bye to your old way of life and to say farewell to a person dear to you, but change means the start of a new life)

Though I do not believe in the stars giving me a destiny (I don’t even believe in destiny, haha), but today’s one is pretty accurate with leaving Hungary again for 9 months just a day before and having too much time in the Cairo airport to think :)

So enough of the philosophy, how shall I name 2010? It shall be the year of growing up….
Some might ask if I’m not grown up enough to my age. I think I’m. But I have not been using this advantage, I have not been really taking my life in my hands, and now it is time to do it on an every day level, starting with the smallest habits of what I’m doing when I get back home from work.

And the point of it is to actually accept what I have, who I’m…and to truly appreciate and be ready to go ahead with it.
This is my direction for 2010. While it have been broken down into those usual details I use, I do not want to bore any of you….it is already an unusually philosophical and long post :)

May you also have a meaningful 2010!

(the pictures on the side were taken during my recent visit home)

(Random note: growing yup does not mean that I can not turn that that crazy idiot who sometimes I am :))

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Finally - My first above the line project on the run

So, yes, finally my first large scale Above the Line project launched....and because it is launched I can even write about it (place of free advertisement is always welcome :P).

What it is about? (I guess the arabic advertisement on the right is entirely self explaining for Hungarian/English speakers).
So for the coming days Umniah prepaid subscribers can call any international destination and talk for 50% of the price (after the 5th minute).

What is the point? Did you ever try catching up with family or friends abroad in 1-2 minutes...impossible. So imagine if you could call a friend around (Well, me calling Hungary is not the best example.....but let's say Egypt) and for 400 HUF you could talk for 10-12 minutes...

So it does have a certain sense :) We will see how it works...meanwhile I keep preparing the rest, I just needed to really share the first one :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Team

Just could not stand not posting this picture :)

This is my team at work...at Umniah. Part of the Marketing department, the Core Products division.
We are (or yet rather Tala and Ahmad) behind all the voice based products as owners, whether they are pre or post-paid.
Definitely an interesting job, giving an excellent exposure on all aspects of marketing...so it is being fun and a nice challenge. Hopefully soon I can post more on what I'm doing exactly!

From left to right: Tala Hamarneh, Ahmed Alasker and guess who (the alien on the right).

Our manager though is not on the picture, so the total team is 4 people.
Anyways, just wanted to give a small snapshot from work :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A week to negotiate :P

So, I’m writing this post at work, from one of my friends notebook, as my PC over here denies to work for more than 5 minutes in a row (having fun always having it shut down :P)

But anyways, I was not intending to give a full report on my advancements in technology (though I’m learning a good amount working in product development, thus seeing how complicated IT can be :P). My sister asked me to sometimes turn not that very philosophical but to also tell what is happening to me.
While usually not much, I mean nothing unusual, Jordan is not any more the exotic destination, but rather some sort of a second home…so I also live somehow as it would be home. Sometime I go out, sometimes I stay home…nothing like what it feels very special to share.

Until last week! Because obviously there are always surprises and last week a few things what are typically Jordanian just piled up on me. Well, nothing to really worry about, all is sorted and going pretty well, not easy, but cool J
So, what exactly is the line of activities to do – the first round is to be outside of work. Here you go with the list: Residency application pack, Ministry of Interior (Belugyminiszterium), Flat negotiations and deals, Flight ticket for January.

Let’s go step by step. Pack for residency. Usually it is easy, I have been through the process itself, but now of course it is different, as I need to renew it…so no one really have an idea on how to do it, what do you need, etc. So it starts if I need an HIV test…I did it, and then turned out that I do not need it, or I do not need it at least for the ministry part of the procedure. Then the recommendation from AIESEC, for which I needed certain things to be written, in certain format, which for sure turned out only after waiting 4 hours in the Ministry to be sent back home in less than 2 minutes :P

Oh, yes, the ministry itself, lovely place. You only need to wait like 4 hours to get along in the queue, but then it is usually fast to be sent back home to bring a new piece of paper, or change something on another one…always to be told one-by-one, for sure not all points given in one pack :P. So in total I spent 6 hours in the Ministry of Interior. What helped? Well, that is the other typical Jordanian thing. As obviously I do not speak Arabic it is indeed a challenge to communicate with ministry representatives who do not speak a single word in English, despite the fact they deal with foreigners every day for many years of their service. What to do then? The following lessons to be taken care of:
· Do not panic – they don’t really appreciate if they see you nervous….allthough why would you be calm after waiting 3-4 hours, and not understanding a word over what is happening to you :P
· Smile – this truly does open doors!
· Speak 2 sentences in Arabic. Just saying hi and asking how they are in Arabic is totally breaking the ice! They become super helpful, seriously!
· Again don’t panic – coz they will ask or tell you stuff, maybe tell you that you should pay one more visit – just stay smiling, they might end up actually helping you out (this did happen to me by copying my Hungarian national ID – what they do need for the process, though I have certain doubts if they will understand a single word in Hungarian :P)
· And say thank you as many times as something gets along, even it is small Generally pamper them and be nice – so they feel their importance and power – they are like the secretary, who things she is the decision maker…she is not, but she is the gate to the actual situation, if it is blocked, you can complain whatever J
So, cool, one down, now comes the waiting, and on the 2nd of November inshallah I’m going to get an answer – if I get it, then it becomes faster and easier….inshallah of course :D

Then let’s get to the flat situation. Nothing really fancy again, I just wanted to negotiate the rent :P And I did get a discount, not big, but I got J Why is that an achievement from someone who have spent years in partnership negotiations??? Have you ever tried negotiating anything, when it comes down to money!, with basic English and in many cases just relying on body language??? Definite experience! Good advice here – have paper and pens with you, drawing and trying to find out what is on the paper is the best exercise ever, stretches your brains a lot J Back to the stone age almost…but it is a true fun (besides the stress that if it does not work you might get kicked out the next day :P). This one as well is sorted

Flight ticket – good European approach: book online! Aha, as it would be that easy! I book my flight on Royal Jordanian, just to discover when going to pick my ticket up that my flight (no, not the booking!!!) disappeared. Not cancelled, or anything, but simply no sign of it any more in the system, though I booked the day before :P.
Telling me, that there are no flights for the dates what were kind of carved into stone, with other stuff to fix, well, that was not my favorite situation…and honestly I freaked out when they told there are flights only on other dates and for more money (the money is the smallest issue here). So what happened? Again the Jordanian approach – start calling J And forget online crap :P And I did find Egypt Air, on the right dates, for the price what also RJ offered for the new dates…sweet…so I booked on the phone, carefully noting down the dude’s name, who took my booking and then went myself to pick the ticket up, triple checking everything before I actually paid. And yessssss, I have my ticket J Getting back to Hungary for 2 weeks on the 1st of January (prepare for the New Year’s Eve after party!!! I need to recharge my party levels :P)

So, then what really happened? Nothing unusual over here. Just a normal week with a bit of extra stress and finally also solutions to long time pending issues. Which feels pretty good! Totally easing up (though not solving) my mental state I have been writing about in my last post.

Enough of talking, this have become a novel kind of post again :P But now at least writing about actual happenings and not about philosophy :P Comments are welcome!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The missing piece

Have you ever tried to completet a puzzle (with at least a few hundred pieces) and encounter the situation that it somehow doesn't fall into place?And then in most cases discover that most probably a piece is missing, but there are so many you just do not know which one it is?
Well, I kind of have this feeling :)

Because if I list down what is in my life, you just can not find the gap on this list. I have my place, more or less stable :P, work is great, I kind of also have free time :) and I do spend it (even if I go out a bit less, so that I can go home in January), I have my friends here...etc.The first reaction, coming naturally, is that I'm just missing home and family, which I do...but this is not it.I'm not entirely sure if I would have had the same situation if I would have stayed in Hungary, but I think the answer is yes. Coz thinking through the difference of my life here and how it would be in Hungary, well, not that very significantly different.

My usual approach would be that it must be some detail, what I did not take good care about....but it does not feel like.
And now another discovery, just looking back at this very post...full of "feel" and assumptions, haha, seems like I'm slowly learning to listen to my instinct (or I might just have too much time to think, lol).

Anyways, I didn't mean to go overly philosphical. Just when people ask me how am I doing (and now I'm not talking about the daily random nicesties) I'm stuck on how to respond. Because I'm good and doing really fine - and that is true...but not full heartedly...and it is not bad, I do not mean to express I feel bad...just missing that one piece, which I have no idea what it is :D I will scream when I found the piece :)

End of "deep" post, again I managed to reinvent the wheel and shake the world with my wisdom over myself :P

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

That one month again

Recently I was reading back a few of my previous bogposts...finding some interesting titles :)

One of them said: One month notice...well, here I go again. It has been one month since I'm back to Jordan, so here are a few comparisons and reflections.

Last year around the same time I felt much less at ease with my life and my lifestyle than this time. And no, it is not about the fact that I obviously know my way around much better than I did a y
ear ago (around Ramadan I was already more or less on track), I would look for the reasons somewhere else.
Place number 1 being myself and the effect on my personality of the last year and the recent decisions I have made. Decisions of coming back, decision on leaving AIESEC (and its reasons behind).
Story number 2 - my status. Hmm, this might not be clear, but being on a leadership role vs. being a "random" intern (if I'm an intern, at my company I'm handled totally as junior officer - which I'm truly grateful for!).

Even things around me are totally different or what I do with my days.
Good example is the holiday (though am starting to get a bit bored of it....busy life is suited for me much better :P) - and again the point is hidden in the tiny details.
How much do you see me online? When last year everyone was used to see me there, most of
the time working, but even in my free time being stuck on my laptop, watching movies, being online, chatting or anything else. In comparison this year I barely opened my laptop - and I do feel great about it, even if I keep watching movies, though now on TV :P, because it somehow makes me feel that I have a life.
Or the other point of enjoying every minute of cooking or cleaning around the new place I moved to (hopefully settled for a long time in here) - the point is not the cleaning, but that I care about what is around me, I care about the details and I enjoy caring, enjoy the small fragments of life, a phone call, a random gathering, sudden discovery of a good film on TV or a good random chat with anyone I like (and if I'm online).

I know it sounds a bit cheesy, or like "ok, what is this bullshit again....how can you enjoy cleaning
for 3 days???". But despite that sometimes I think this, in general I feel really good about this new ability of being happy about the small things. Makes me balanced, keeps me going and gets me recharged. And this is awesome....coz I know that my usual sense of responsibility or persistence can keep me going - but it is like getting into a new challenge while charging batteries :)

Challenge? Well, not in its usual sense for me as I'm not (yet) collapsing under workload or I'm not learning a totally new field and handling high risk and stress projects....but I do learn a lot. About myself - now that I have time to think and digest (the last few years at least :)) - about marketing and the telecommunication industry, as my job is truly turning out to be an awesome opportunity.
Through my current job I also do learn to appreciate a lot of things which I thought again to be natural. Like that I can keep sensing the market and in the same time handle numbers and statistics; the ability to learn and understand fast (I definitely delivered a decent surprise to my boss on this matter), the sense of clear but diplomatic communication. Natural, right? For anyone still, or right after AIESEC they all seem like usual traits for 'survival', but well, not in the
corporate world where these small things turn out to be real assets and surprises. (I had my first month evaluation with my direct manager - I was surprised how surprised he was :P He needed convincing that I do not have telecommunications background :P)

About place number 1, the decisions and the reason behind them - this is the part what is hard to formulate into a post...or I guess even in a discussion it would be hard to do. One thing I feel now, that I have made the right choices (though fully only time will judge them) and this does make me feel at ease ;)..and I hope later on I can share more than this.

Besides the philosophic stories I did upload a few more pictures from the company Iftar we had. Iftar is meaning 'breakfast' in arabic, but is usually heard like this during Ramadan when it constitutes the first meal - around 7 pm :P. Here usually companies do organize a gathering for their employees in the form of an Iftar during Ramadan, lovely networking and good fun (though I did not win anything on the draw, hehe). It is good to see around 500 people together, being able to connect to people also informally (I was truly waiting for this opportunity) and enjoying a dinner (khmm, breakfast) together :)

Also another Iftar, the last one during the Holy Month, when I cooked together with a few friends. We spend a whole evening together, from shopping to eating, through cooking....and the necessary shisha (or how it is called here: argeeleh). And the good point is that they live like 200 meters from my place :D looking forward to more fun with the Tunisian gang (unfortunately no pictures yet).

Also my kung-fu trainings have started with the boys, and did have my first arabic class (damn, I need to do the homework :P)...and I really enjoy both the trainings and feeling that I do give in conscious effort into my arabic, really looking forward to some improvements :)

And I guess I could point out many small fun stories...stories of normal hangouts, of daily and lively snapshots. But point being here - even now I'm not someone who has nothing happening with him (and I can put this up on the list of small things taking me forward).

P.s.: Do keep kicking me for more regular updates! With less laptop usage comes less attention on this matter, please do not let me become lazy with my blog and personal updates!!!