Thursday, July 24, 2008
A whirlwind trip to Europe
So many of my co-workers from the strategy group didn't really seem to think about it when they saw me on both Monday morning and Friday afternoon this week. After all, they are not used to seeing me as much any more with my commute to a much further away location. But this week was definitely different, 3 days in Europe, a full whirlwind tour! With a few challenges (something about the internet in London, internet cafes closing down, getting up at 4 am...needless to say I wanted to redo Monday). But Tuesday/Wednesday and Thursday were better from a work perspective. Of course I also got to see a bunch of friends on Monday night in London, and that was definitely great! The only downside was my body not cooperating in terms of sleep. Waking up at 4 am, oh boy this will be a long day! When they come up with a legitimate cure for jet lag, then i will be impressed!
Then Wednesday and Thursday were in Frankfurt for an internal marketing conference. I woke up to the plane landing, and let me tell you, THAT was an experience (the take-off as well actually). A sense of cultural shock all over again when I am in a foreign country and cannot speak a bit of the language. Except knowing that "ausfahrt" means exit (and also looks really funny as a word). Overall, it was great to meet colleagues from all over. Sweden, Turkey, LA, France, Canada. The first day I met about 20 people (and proceeded to forget 17 of the names...All very interesting people and a lot of fun to talk with. I definitely now feel split between three continents of course, with friends and family in one, half of my work in another, and the final half in a third continent!
And one of the most entertaining things was the cab ride back to the airport, where our cab driver was talking about Korea (and how the two should re-unite). I mentioned the challenges of east and west Germany when they re-united and the Koreans being scared, especially after the financial challenges 10 years ago (which westerners call "the Asian financial crisis" and here they call "The IMF crisis"). Needless to say this turned into a 20 minute discussion about how Korea is better prepared (and that North Korea has a lot more to bring to the table, from natural resources to military strength). Turns out he used to be a teacher, and the conversation was fascinating (and too funny!)