Panic arose as I stood in front of the ticket counter, helpless.
This cannot be happening, I thought. I’ve just had one of the best weekends of my life and I was all revved up to begin my first day of internship in less than 12 hours.
“I’m sorry, but we’ve closed 15 minutes ago. We can’t let you board the flight.”
I couldn’t believe it. I dialed my brother, and then my mom – she was furious, and I thought I had just died and gone to hell. Just as I was about to take my brother’s advice to go home the next day, I turned and saw that I wasn’t the only person who missed it. There was a queue of people who were stranded as well! That was quite a comforting sight to know I wasn’t the only one stuck in the predicament. Or the only idiot.
“Alright, although we can’t let you take this flight, but we can move your flight to the later one at 9.30pm. Would that be OK for you?”
I didn’t know whether to thank or choke the ticketing man. If he had told me sooner, I could have just told my parents my flight has been delayed and saved myself from all the drama. But then again, based on my carelessness, I probably deserved it.
I had one and a half hours to recover from that temporary cardiac arrest, what better way than to do revive myself with a dose of caffeine. Made my way to Starbucks, plunked my luggage on the ground and took out my little sketch journal.
This certainly wasn’t the transition I hoped for.
All the drama that happened the day before still seemed surreal, as I stepped into the office for the first time.
“Which one are you? From which engineering faculty?”
“I’m Wei….Vern….” I replied as I helped her look for my resume, “…there. Mechanical Engineering.”
“Oh. You’ll be under Ow Yong. Please sit here while you wait for him.”
I glanced at the seat, and my gaze fell onto the name tag that was hanging on the side of the cubicle. I’m supposed to sit at my boss’ seat even when I haven’t met him?
“Sit lah!” The feisty lady who was busy matching us to our supervisors confirmed my doubts.
Obediently, I sat, and begun the screening process. Like a bar code scanner, I observed his desk without touching a single thing. I saw a picture, it looked like a group shot taken after a badminton tournament. OK, so my future boss is a badminton fan. I wondered which one was him. My glance continued to the toy cars on his table. A Ferrari fan? Overall his table was pretty neat, so I assumed he was kind of an organized person.
I was still nervous, nonetheless.
“So you’re the new intern?” A voice startled me from behind. I immediately stood up and greeted my new boss. He wasted no time in telling me the roles of an intern, or he would call it “assistant engineer” (a term that was forgotten the very minute he mentioned it and my new name became “trainee”, which I’m grateful for).
“Ah.. yes. I’m Wei Vern,” and then the nervous handshake.
“What engineering discipline are you?”
I was beginning to think no one took my resume seriously. I was kind of grateful for that too.
“Mechanical Engineering,” I repeated.
“Mechanical? Ah good! I know who you can follow! Come, I introduce you to Teoh.”
Oh, so this wasn’t the guy I’m supposed to follow. He’s the bigger boss. So he gets to assign people to other engineers.
So we met Teoh. I think we’re about the same height. His hair was dyed, and he’s quite fair. I think if he had blue eyes he could pass for a Caucasian easily. My first impression of this guy was that he’s quite soft spoken (a fact that was proven wrong later on). I started to warn the questions in my head to shut up.
“So… you’re a Mechanical Engineer too?” I asked, to break the ice a little.
“Nope. I’m a Physics graduate. Not an engineer. But I’m one here. And to be honest, I’m quite new here. I’ve only been here for 3 months. There are things that I still don’t know. Maybe you can teach me along the way.”
He walked ahead of me to get me my gear, such as ESD (Electrostatic Discharge) shoes, mask and smock. As I glanced at the disappearing figure in front of me and processed all that has happened for the past half an hour, I sighed.
Hello, 8 long months.
(End of Part 2)