If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to work on-site in oil and gas industry, for me it goes like this:
The day starts at 6 am with a meeting (and a blob of sunblock, SPF 110), then work starts (I usually sneak out for a quick breakfast after the meeting, because, who in the world could have breakfast before 6 am?). Lunch break is 1.5 hours, and sometimes I take a blissful nap in this time before having lunch in the last minutes. Work ends at 6 pm, and I usually stop for dinner on my way back to the room which I share with 2 other people. I read for a bit, then go to sleep. Repeat.
On a busy day, I could be out for the whole day, in 37 degrees Celsius temperature. Sometimes when I don’t have time to go back for lunch, they send the food to wherever I’m working at. Other times, things get broken, and we need to wait for a long time to get a repair/replacement (mind you, the nearest city is 2 hours away, so it can take a long time to get something). In these times, I usually get bored to death because there’s nothing much to do.
The internet is crap, the water is a bit yellow, sometimes there’s an encounter with the wild life (like a snake, for instance), the scorching sun makes you feel like a pie in the oven, and guys there act like they’d never seen girls before — something I’d foreseen, but still tacky and gauche nonetheless.
People there usually assume that since you live in the city, you won’t be able to endure this kind of life. It’s one thing that irks me, actually. How condescending some of them are.
But actually, it’s not all bad. The air is so much fresher than Jakarta (except for the times the smoke from the forest are thick and I feel like suffocating, thanks to the people who burn it to make space for palm plantation). The sky is clear, the sunset is breathtaking (and so is the sunrise, I guess, but I never get to see that as I’m always in the meeting at that time). I get to see rows of trees instead of building and I get to walk, a privilege Jakarta doesn’t offer.
Working in this faraway place also means one thing: you miss out on important things. Weddings, birthdays, farewells, and so on. Two of my good friends left Indonesia when I was there, and I got back with just enough time to catch up with my sister before she left too.
Missing things hurts a bit, even more if you miss the chance to say goodbye to your loved ones.
But for now, it’s okay.