I’m heading to a week long meeting in Zurich, and it’s totally for work!! Really!
But with all of the work comes a bit of free time, and with that free time I will be eating my way through the best the Netherlands and Switzerland have to offer. What better way to see a city than with my stomach? 😉
My first stop wasn’t in Europe though. I have a short layover in Calgary where I’m enjoying exotic Canadian food.
That’s right. A teen burger, poutine and A&W Root Beer with sugar. None of which is available south of the border.
So good! But also, two days worth of calories in under ten minutes. Let the food coma commence in 3…2…zzzz….
This happened pretty close to Canada Day; I thought it might be more appropriate to hold onto it a bit longer though.
Me: A Canadian guy I know was complaining that americans were making fun of him.
Guy: How do you make fun of a Canadian?
Me: You know, the accent, size of country, etc. The same way Aussies make fun of Kiwis, or the English make fun of the Scottish, Welsh and Irish.
Guy: Wait, so do you have sex with sheep too?
Other guy: They use a moose.
Related – here are a few Cartoons about making fun of Canadians.
I think when one starts creating Venn diagrams to describe life’s problems, they may have crossed some kind of mental breaking point. In any case, I’m back. Both physically (from an exploratory journey to NA) and mentally (from a brain imploding what-am-I-doing-with-my-life adventure).
The trip was really great. Not only did I get to spend the better part of a day with a couple of friends – mostly eating and playing with rubber balls – but I talked with 9 different people about possible job opportunities within my current company. I also got a few insightful opinions about opportunities in general.
Last year, after having been here about 8-10 months, I’d asked a few folks about opportunities within the company in other areas. They were super standoffish to the point of being rude. I guess there’s some unwritten rule about ‘thou shalt not so much as talk about changing jobs within thine first 12 months.’ Now that the barrier has been breached, the tone of conversation couldn’t be more different. Each of the people i talked with were super open to change, and were all really keen to talk about best fit from a team perspective.
It’s going to take me some time to sort out what makes the most sense for me – I think I need to carefully balance a few different factors: is the change a good career move? is taking an easy path a cop-out that I’ll later regret? Should I work on a project I don’t like because it has high exposure, or work on something I’m good at that will probably flop, or work on something that’s boring but looks good on a resume, or work with people who are super interesting. Blah. I think I feel another Venn diagram coming on. One thing that we did determine is that one of our geographical options – Seattle – is probably off the list.
Anyhow, does this mean that I’m moving to NA?
Well, not just yet. There are some opportunities here as well that I want to explore. Plus, we just signed a 6 month extension to our lease.
On thing that has been kind of surreal about the whole experience was the timing of the trip in relation to what our plans were last year. Originally I had asked for a sabbatical from my prior employer. They turned me down. Had they agreed, then I would have been taking the same flights through Vancouver, but without the return trip.
Its a long trip from Sydney to San Francisco – nearly 18 hours – fortunately we took a short coffee break on the way.
I’m in NA for about eight days for a conference. Which really feels too long. It’s harder to get excited about these business trips when you like where you were much more than where you are going.
Xavier (which my iPad corrects to Clavier) turned one yesterday and we had a pretty awesome time of things at the zoo. On the flight out, there were three other kids all about Xavier’s age. They cried, of course, but having lived with a baby for a year now I wasn’t so much cursing their cries as I was missing my kid. MY kid wouldn’t cry, I thought. Which I eventually conceded as untrue. But, if he did, then he would get over it quickly by playing a game of steal-daddy’s-glasses, or drop-soother.
So, I made faces at other people’s kids instead.
I remember helping out a “spirited” lady in Victoria who warned me that as you age, you start to lose your mind. A sure sign of which was when you started thinking that small dogs and babies were adorable, instead of kickable. I guess I’m old. That at least explains the hairline.
So, on Friday the government fell. This means we are up for an off-season election.
This means that in the next 18 months I’ll get to watch three pertinent federal elections: Canada, US, and France. I’m stoked! Politics are my reality TV.
Anyhow, one of the really interesting things that’s come out of the election so far is the Vote Compass. It’s an awesome tool from the CBC and some researchers over at UofT that helps give you an idea of the political party that is most aligned with your personal feelings on a fairly wide spectrum of topics. It covers everything from military budgets, to social programs, to the economy or the legalities of Marijuana.
If you’re an eligible voter, give it a shot and see if it lines up with your default choice.
If you’re not Canadian, it’s still worth trying out just to learn a little more about the Canadian political system, and how it fits into your world view.
I was browsing the ‘Top News Stories of 2009’ on the CBC, and found a picture of Harper in front of a Piano. How did I miss this news story?
OK, so it’s definitely a publicity stunt (“Look, I can play piano! How can I hate the arts if I can play piano?”), but it’s a good one. I hate to admit it but I like the guy a little more after watching this.
(There’s a worse version sans advertising over here.)