Week One

This past week has been a mix of the familiar and new. I was sent out to a rig on my third day here and the rig sites across the world are pretty similar to each other. There is a large derrick, small living quarters, lumpy bunk beds and slow internet. All the comforts of home. Some of the new things include language, crazy taxis, local food and daily lack of water.

My trip out east to the rig site allowed me to see some of the country side and new towns which was nice. Some of the sites included cows and goats roaming freely on the highway, large mountains overlooking a valley with thunderstorms dotting the skies and clusters of rigs with massive flares.   Once we found the correct cluster of rigs my taxi driver drove around to 5 different rigs trying to find the one I was supposed to be on. This did not take much time as the rigs are not more than a few hundred yards from each other.  One of the new things I have to get used to out to the rig is the daily lack of water. Every day we run out of water to bathe with and do laundry or wash dishes. This is something I have never really experienced. This will make you appreciate running water very quickly, because a bar of soap and a pot of water doesn’t make you feel as fresh and clean as soaking in a hot shower.

The most unique conversation I had quickly followed my arrival at the rig site. The other MWD knew absolutely no English and my Spanish is only slightly better. We headed out to the cabin to check out the operations and get me situated. So here we were two people who have never met trying to communicate in two languages about a job we both do on a daily basis. The majority of this first conversation was done by pointing and repeating words very slowly. After 30 minutes of this we were satisfied that this new girl understood what was going on. Then started the attempted small talk. While we successfully got past the basic questions of how long have you been here, where are you from, and how old are you we ran out of vocabulary.  Much of this time there was many “No entiendo,” spoken and followed by rapid talking probably along the lines of  “This is ridiculous and slightly awkward. You seem like a nice person, but I have no idea what you are saying.” Followed by a bit of silence. Finally we broke out google translate and typed our way through a conversation which worked surprisingly well given the fact the keyboard wasn’t working properly. The most important thing I learned from that experience is you can make friends with people even though you can’t converse well. I look forward to the day I have enough Spanish skills to talk without help from the internet and laugh with my new amigo about the time we met.

I am extremely grateful to all the men I have been working with all are very nice and helpful.  I am learning a little bit of Spanish every day and hopefully in a few months I will understand 70% of what is being said vs only the 5% now.