Swing Seventeen and Eighteen: Break. Real life!

I took swing seventeen off to head home to the Philippines for my lovely cousins wedding. I hadn’t seen him in years and I can never resist attending a loved ones wedding – it is always a guaranteed good time, with lots of family and friends around!

With my lovely cousin and his beautiful bride! Thanks again for the invite guys. xo
With my lovely cousin and his beautiful bride! Thanks again for the invite guys. xo

I have included some photos from the holiday in this post. I think it’s fair enough that I share these photos with you since I have bored you with all the work stuff for a while now.

Family
Family
Boracay
Boracay
Reunited. Last time we saw each other I was two years old!
Reunited. Last time we saw each other I was two years old!
Breakfast with a view!
Breakfast with a view!
AU$5 for all this. Yup, for real!
AU$5 for all this. Yup, for real!
Swan with the whales in Oslob. We got so close most of us actually accidentally made contact with these gentle creatures. It was scary and mind blowing.
Swam with the whale-sharks in Oslob. We got so close most of us actually accidentally made contact with these gentle creatures. It was scary and mind blowing.
The Eating Team.  Pampanga Food Tour with Poch of Outereater. Check out @Outereater on FB, Instagram and Twitter for more info on Poch and his awesome tours.
The Eating Team. Pampanga Food Tour with Poch of Outereater. Check out Outereater on FB, Instagram and Instagram for more info on Poch and his awesome tours.

Unfortunately, the trip wasn’t all fun and light-hearted catch ups. The day after my cousin’s wedding, my father passed away. Thankfully, I got the opportunity to be there for the wake and the funeral. As sad as deaths are, it is actually still celebrated to a certain degree in the Philippines. Traditionally, the wake encompasses the nine days between the passing and the funeral. The person who has passed is in a coffin in a central point of the home. Prayers are offered every night during the time period, with guests staying in the venue up until the wee hours of the night for a vigil. Fun and embarrassing stories about the person who passed are usually shared during these gatherings. The atmosphere at times end up being pretty boisterous.

The guy in the middle has the same name and nickname as our Dad, so we accosted him for a photo. He wasn't really sure what was going on but we wanted a photo anyway!
The guy in the middle has the same name and nickname as our Dad, so we accosted him for a photo. He wasn’t really sure what was going on but we wanted a photo anyway!

The loyalty of the people I grew up with, especially from our neighbours since way back, could not be measured. Friends and cousins travelled from far and wide to say their goodbyes to my Dad and to be there for us. It is hard to quantify exactly how much their support and presence meant. Thank you just doesn’t cover it. I hope somehow they all realise how immensely grateful I am for their presence, support and kind words during a particularly hard time.

Assembly. Neighbours hanging out! This is how we do it back home. Cannot wait for the next time I get to hang out with these marvelous folks!
Assembly. Neighbours hanging out! This is how we do it back home. Cannot wait for the next time I get to hang out with these marvelous folks!

Swing Sixteen: The Conqueror

I could give you the usual wrap up of what transpired this swing. Tell you about what happened each night and break it all down but due to the immense awesomeness of one event this swing, I won’t bore you with the details of all the other nights.

Although I started writing this entry in May, I can tell you that the awesomeness of said event is etched in my brain that the minute I start typing I get all excited again.

Actually, just to drag it out a bit more… let me start by telling you how the swing ended. The seventh night, which is the last night, was a very good night. The night was going so well that with two hours left in the shift and in the swing, I gave myself a pat on the back for having a good shift. No pipe blockages like earlier in the swing or messy annoying build ups on the tail drum of a certain nuisance of a conveyor. I made the mistake of going against what I mentioned in my last blog entry – never let your guard down because things change rather quickly around this place.

Drenched. How I got home after ignoring the hot tip to wear gumboots! That should teach me... Hopefully anyway!
Drenched. How I got home after ignoring the hot tip to wear gumboots! That should teach me… Hopefully anyway!

We usually leave our areas between 5:30 – 5:45am to do handovers with the incoming crew. At 5:00am I got the call from control room to double check one of the pumps in my area as there was something weird going on at their end of things. The call came with a warning: “you may want to wear your gumboots… just in case”. My answer: “Nah, I’m sure it will be fine. It has been steady all night.” Oh how wrong I was. How very wrong I was. In those last few minutes of my sixteenth swing, I was knee deep in slurry. Wet, muddy, little iron ore rocks all around me and I am pretty sure there were rocks INSIDE my boots too. It was like the process plant knew I had the following swing off, so this swing had to end messy! But hey, that didn’t matter at all. It was still a fabulous swing all around. Why? Because…

IMG_0904

I conquered CV07. Yes! Yes, THE almighty, sways in the breeze, suspended in the air, stockpile conveyor 07. I went up the top. Had a bit of a chat whilst up there, had a look around and headed back down. I sweated buckets – probably enough to fill one of the process water tanks we use at work. And those tanks are BIG!
I ended up on CV07 due to my relentless supervisor or in his own words “Hey, we haven’t done one of these in a while…” At this point I thought he was going to suggest playing a prank on someone. Then he continued, “let’s go up CV07 and see how far you go.” Clearly, the prank was on me!

IMG_1191
CV07. The highest point on site. Suspended. Sways in the wind. Intimidates even those who aren’t scared of heights. THE Holy Grail for heights wimps like me!

I must give my fearless leader credit, if not for his encouragement I would never have made it up CV12 a few weeks ago. He was very supportive the whole way through that ordeal I figured why not have a go at CV07. When we got to the top we posed for the obligatory photo and chatted for a few minutes. On the way down he suggested that I be wired with a microphone the next time I go up CV07 since I make a lot of nervous noises all the way through. I was too scared to take photos of the way down but it looked pretty cool. It was like an illuminated tunnel but a lot scarier. When we got to the top it was not too bad because the wind was playing nice and the stockpile was pretty high. Mind you though I was still really, really scared.

A beautiful sunrise to celebrate my triumph!
A beautiful sunrise to celebrate my triumph!

Once I got back to ground level I couldn’t wait for the end of shit so I could send everyone (including the CEO) the photo of me conquering CV07! Now I get to share it with you guys, even if it is nearly a year delayed…

THE PHOTO. Do I look happy or scared senseless?
THE PHOTO. Do I look happy or scared senseless?