I woke up this morning with a simple plan for the day that involved getting my flight medical reissued and getting a test scheduled to prove I can speak English. As is usually the case, things didn’t go as planned. Now, I’m sitting waiting to take the English proficiency exam in a shirt I bought off the street and I’m itching all over. A few years ago I would have been surprised at how this day turned out, but somehow I feel absolutely zero shock and can even laugh a little as I think about how it came to this.
When I went to schedule my exam today the man behind the counter stamped my application with “1pm”. I originally figured I would have one week notice to get my paperwork in order. AS I thought through what it meant to make a 1pm test appointment on the far side of the Manila international airport I couldn’t help but feel like I was in “The Amazing Race.”
Now I had 3 hours to get ID photos taken, an application filled out, photo copies made of my licenses and passport, get a dress shirt and somehow get my passport in my possession and sign in early for the test. It doesn’t sound like much but you have to understand that I was at the Manila International Airport and all these errands need to be accomplished all across Manila. Any one of these things could take the entire 3 hours – you just never know what will happen.
With the help of one our friends at the NTM office who met me at the testing center and hand delivered my passport I was able to get everything accomplished except the shirt. I was wearing a nice, company polo shirt but when I saw the look on the proctor’s face I knew it wasn’t going to pass the dress code. With only a few minutes remaining before test time, I ran down the street to a little thrift store and bought the least stained and biggest shirt I could find. In the end I look way worse than I did in the polo shirt and this one itches something awful. It meets the dress code though, and in a few minutes I’ll be called in to prove that I can talk good English.