… that was the first thing I thought of when I stepped inside this enclosed and highly-guarded area in Manila. It was so — clean. So clean that it was impossible to believe that such an oasis exists in the heart of this bustling city. The walkway leading to the main office building was lined with flagpoles and flanked with two Japanese koi ponds. I had been into this area last year, when we were to renew our clearance from NBI. I always wondered how the place looked inside, knowing what it was. You won’t be able to see anything from the streets, and I don’t remember having a peek while the LRT traverses Taft avenue (or is it even visible from the railway?). One has to leave an identification by the gate, subject any bags for inspection, and get frisked by the guard before entering. There were barely any people walking by the excellently manicured lawn, and I was half-expecting children doing cartwheels on the grass. LOL
I had a couple of “appointments” (you very well know what I am talking about) in the Philippine office of this international organization. But as much as I want to put its name in writing, I fear that doing so might either jinx my chances or bring the panel into my website. Not that I have anything to hide, but I just don’t want the contents of my blog to influence the selection process. I am still hoping for the best and, of course, preparing for the worst. What’s the worst thing that can happen now, anyway?
I have already been inside twice now. One was for the exam, while the other was for the interview. It was a demanding and technical position, in the sense that all my French of knowledge was squeezed out of me. The written exam might be particularly short, but doing a translation of an official document/statement from English to French on top of your head without any dictionaries or internet access was not something to sneer about. There were three of us and from the looks of the papers next to their keyboard, the two were translating the same document as mine. What was peculiar, though, was that I was the only outsider. J’étais l’étranger. They were just carrying coffee mugs and pencils, while I had my bag, bottle of water and snacks to sustain me for three hours. I’m used to taking exams really seriously. LOL
The scenario in the interview was also something I have already expected. It was with a panel of five people, asking a question each. The moment the first person introduced herself, I knew right away that I would be at least gauged in French. I cannot even remember all of their names because her formidable French accent immediately sent me to mentally translate my would-be answers. However, the question was something I have answered several times in my life, so I had no idea why I made myself that nervous in the first place.
I was told that they would contact me within four to six weeks once they have already made a decision. Looking back, I knew that I could not have done otherwise and I do not regret anything (as if mulling over what had happened will change anything). I have always imagined myself working in any UN agency, and to have the opportunity of using both my International Studies and French background would be superb. The time is ripe for me to finally move on. But for now, que sera, sera.