This last week I have been at work for the whole seven days, including 13 hours working on Saturday and 11 hours yesterday (Sunday)… although I am not that weary that I can’t update my dear blog!
It’s been a very long week, broken up only by one single day where I came home early, but every day I have felt happy, every day has had really good, happy moments:
- Monday 16th Feb – I had good chats with Fiona, Carol, and especially Natalie at work about our respective weekends; they all liked my lovely new dark blue suede boots from Next that I bought while with Kirsty at Belfast. Natalie gave me more advice on shoes (she says New Look ones will kill me),and also on tennis gear – like her, I also love playing tennis, and hope to find a meetup group that will facilitate this. My Project Manager is struggling to pronounce my name the way I want, though he is not alone, people in Southern Ireland pronoun Andrea in a different way from UK. Could be worse of course…
- Tuesday 17th Feb – had another fab chat with Natalie, told her about my totally disastrous morning getting ready, including wardrobe indecision – she loved my shoes (black patent heels, not new), she also said I have great legs “unlike her tree trunks”!! In the canteen at lunchtime I got a wrap made up from one guy, then got a pancake with berry compote from another on the hot plate, and I am totally sure they don’t recognise me! The sandwich guy cut my wrap into two, whereas before I began living my lovely new life he knew to always not cut it; I daren’t tell him now! After about an hour, I left HQ and returned to me temporary office, and before I left I made a cup of tea and another of coffee to take with me in case I came across the homeless people that I know… and indeed they were there, so I gave them their drinks along with loads of sugar and a plastic spoon, and they were really pleased; the girl got up, said “thanks honey”, and then gave me a hug. By late afternoon my back was killing me, I am wondering if carrying my breasts around every day is affecting it… or whether the constant wearing of heels is also an issue. As I left the office the ageing security guard on duty bid me a cheerful goodbye – pre-RLE, he was as miserable as sin, and even though I always said ‘Hello’ to him I got barely more than a grunt… but NOW he is SO much more cheerful. Alas this week was half term and the evening trains were really busy, and so I had to stand for 35 minutes on the train; I took my heels off, and for once was quite glad that my toe nails were painted.
- Wednesday 18th Feb – within 10 minutes of arriving in the office I received a lovely email from Natalie saying “Lovely dress!!”; how nice, huh!! So, I rushed over with my handbag, wearing my knee-length boots (which she said were lovely) that I wore as it was chilly, then removed said-boots and showed her my recently purchased New Look shoes (which she also liked) – she commented with some amazement that I even painted my toe nails, and also said my finger nails were great. Breda said I looked really girlie in my dress, a black knee-length with beige spots. In my new building there is a window at the end of the corridor, with a meeting room beyond, where I can see my reflection as I walk towards the kitchen, and it is a joy to see my dress gently sway with every step I took. For lunch I had sushi, which I really like, I find it really cleanses the palette, anyway, it is perfect girlie food as it can be eaten without any danger of smearing ones lipstick! In the afternoon I was on a conference call (where several colleagues in different offices do a meeting over the phone), I joined early with my PM Pat, then John joined… and the conversation went something like this:
John: Who’s on the line?
Pat: Hi, Pat here.
Me: Hi John
John: Oh, hi Andrea (pronounced more or less correctly)
Me: See Pat, John can pronounce my name correctly! It’s not that difficult!
John: Pat, just think of Andrea (‘An-dray-a’) Corr… and it’s not that!
Me: John, that won’t work, he’ll think of Andrea Corr, and then just think of her and nothing else as she’s much prettier than this Andrea.
John: Oh, I don’t know about that…
Me: Oh John, you flatterer!!
That was rather a fun conversation!
I left work early, to post my passport application, and then for a meal out (see previous post).
- Thursday 19th Feb – on the way to work I sat next to a lady on the train, when I got on board I said ‘do you mind if I sit here?’ (i.e. next to her) and she said ‘of course not’. As the train neared Dublin I heard a Beethoven symphony on her headphones (not really loud, but the melancholic finale was audible), and so as I put my coat on I said “Was that Beethoven’s 7th Symphony?” and she said “Yes! Oh, I’m sorry if it was disturbing you” but I said not at all, that it made a nice change to hear something I really like rather than the normal loud tinny crashing and banging that I usually hear on the train from headphones that really are too loud, and then we had some good chat about different composers that we like. Once again Natalie and I had some lovely chat – again she liked my dress, and warned me that she is going to come around my house to raid my wardrobe!! Ha ha!! Alas I noticed a ladder in my tights as I was sitting with her my first since going 24-7), Natalie advised that one can use nail polish to stop the ladder spreading if one notices it early on. That day my feet were totally wrecked with whatever footwear I had on, I had a blister on my big toe, and my little toes were swollen too. In the afternoon I phoned up More-Than and changed my house insurance to my lovely girlie name; the lady on the phone was really friendly.
- Friday 20th Feb – today it was my daughter’s birthday, I sent her a ‘happy birthday’ email; she’s now a teenager. AGGGHHHH!! A less eventful day to write about at work, it was really busy as we were getting ready for a long weekend of work for a system go-live. My colleague said that he thought my coat was really very nice – it was my navy military coat, that I got on ebay for an absolute bargain. I was wearing my beige M&S jeggings and a really pretty navy lace top from Tesco, and Breda said something like ‘Oh, fashion parade again”! The security guard and I had more cheery greetings! On the train I was sitting next to a guy on the train, at one point he dropped his mobile phone and got into a total panic trying to find it, so I stood up so he could hunt around on the floor (in vain) and then he asked me to ring his phone… which he eventually found had dropped into his sports bag. My daughter sent me an email thanking me for my email, and thanking me for the clothes I had ordered online for her birthday; it is nice she has some manners still.
- Saturday 21st Feb – 13 hours of work!! Ugh! But it was a good test for my face, which lasted very well… especially considering that as I got off the train that morning I started with a cold, with much sneezing and blowing of my nose which turned into a tap… and subsequent face-patching-up above my lips with my foundation sponge. In the afternoon I went out to a pharmacy, the security guard was really helpful and told me where it was; the tablets I got did a FAB job of banishing my cold. I had a great long chat with a South African girl at work called Liesa all about her travels, later while I was waiting for something to run during the system implementation I did my nails, removing the original colour as much as possible and then applying a new light pink colour – Liesa said it was lovely, and we had lots of laughter as I suggested painting her nails and setting up a nail-bar at my desk! That’s something I never thought I would be doing during a system implementation, painting my nails!!! I left work at 11.25pm, and a male colleague nicely offered to drive me to my guesthouse – even though it was only 10 minutes walk, I totally appreciated it, for safety reasons.
- Sunday 22nd Feb – I arrived at work at about 9.20am, and immediately had a really long chat with a Belgian guy called Eugene about each others historic travelling adventures – he has a stutter, but generally I am convinced he is more confident talking with me than with some after several observations, because I listen to what he says and when he does occasionally stutter I don’t offer to finish the words off for him like some, which is really not the right thing to do. An hour or so later I had a beautiful conversation with a Sri Lankan colleague called Nava, he is a lovely guy, he said how much him and his colleagues admired my courage and that they now just think of me as Andrea; I nearly cried. I left work 11 hours after my arrival, my PM walked with me part-way to my guesthouse, where after checking in I had to complain about my room which was boiling hot and I could not adjust the heating. Once it was sorted out, I went back out and got myself a Chinese takeaway at a noodle bar, and popped into Supervalu for yoghurt, fruit, and juice, where the checkout girl (who once before served me) initiated chat about the weather, and told me she was glad her football match was cancelled in the morning.
So that was my long, working week, week 3 of my RLE as the person I was born to really be. It was a long, tiring week. However, it was full of happy moments, even if my boss was a bit of a nightmare half the time (unnecessary panic, lack of trust, dreaming up non-urgent work to get people to stay very late, etc – general alpha-male type), but the weekend of hectic work proved to me how I am totally the absolute opposite to him in every imaginable way… including of course gender.