It’s Sunday night and I’ve just finished watching “In Bruges” in my hotel room. Not quite the light ‘hit man’ comedy I was expecting. Tomorrow will be the start of my first full week at work, so an early night is in order. My first day went really well, though I was introduced to a large number of people who’s names and faces I will doubtless struggle to remember over the next few weeks at least. I now have an office in one of the many buildings at CERN, it even has my name on the door! Words are a little inadequate to express quite how happy, or ‘arrived’ (in every sense) this makes me feel.
Otherwise I’ve had some successes and some failures! So far I haven’t viewed a single property for rental, or even got any viewings scheduled. I do however now have a list of about 15 properties which I need to make enquiries about first thing tomorrow. Most of them aren’t available for another two weeks minimum, so it will be a while before I open my doors to visitors! The other major issue has been with my road bike, which I brought all the way from the UK, only to get a puncture which made me late on my first day. Yesterday I fixed the puncture, only for the bracket supporting the rear derailleur to snap off in the hotel car park. This will be the second time that particular bracket has snapped this year. Hopefully I’ll be able to borrow a chain-puller from someone at work next week and set it up with just one gear so I can cycle to a bike shop (all closed on Sunday..) for proper repairs.
The biggest success of my trip so far has been my wonderful amazon kindle. Since arriving on Thursday night, it has performed extremely well in providing web access and entertainment (in the form of books, pdf’s and mp3 playing). The 3G access, though not the fastest, or the most reliable (probably 5 crashes in 4 days), is amazing. It worked straight off the plane, enabling me to tweet freely (yes, at zero additional cost) whilst I was waiting for my bike to be delivered to the oversize bag area at Geneva airport. It also copes very well indeed with the html version of Gmail, the mobile version of Yahoo Mail, mobile twitter (I just have it set up that way… it’s faster than ‘full’ twitter) and even google maps, though it’s a bit slow on refreshing the pages. Best of the bunch is that it can run the Facebook chat application, and even copes with multiple conversations. If you’re thinking about getting one, go ahead – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it!
Enough sales pitch. Yesterday, in addition to breaking my bike, I met up with my friend Estel who’s at CERN doing her PhD. She showed me (and about 8 of her Italian friends, one of whom is a colleague, and one of her spanish friends, also a colleague) round the Botanical Gardens. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to go in the greenhouses, so will save that for a day when the weather is colder and more miserable outside. Since I arrived the weather has been superb, sunny and hot like a summers day! This is unlikely to last much longer. We all had delicious dinner together in a Ethiopian restaurant called ‘The Melting Pot’, will definitely have to go back there.
Major events planned for next week – remembering to re-arrange the ‘welcome/moving’ interview/meeting I have scheduled for 10AM tomorrow, followed by two and a half days of training on the work electrical network (in french!), followed by checking out of this hotel first thing tomorrow morning. I also need to call all the estate agents and housing services to sort out viewings. The only other item of note is that the working day here begins ‘early’ (early for me anyway..) i.e. before 8AM. Apparently the latest guy to arrive in the office gets there at 8.30, by which time he’s already missed the first coffee break of the day. So my target for tomorrow is to arrive by 7.45, it’s only about 25 minutes from the hotel, should be possible. Tips on how to transform myself into a ‘morning person’ welcome, so far I’m planning to start with an early night and regular cups of tea tomorrow after I get to the office. If this doesn’t go well I might even have to upgrade to coffee, which seems to work well for the rest of the world. Time to head across the road for some mexican food and free wifi to upload this.