Saturday morning 8:00AM – the class is over and I have the weekend to relax and play through but also to prepare through for next weeks. iTunes plays my favorite easy listening music – Dean Martin….some of you may have taken a double take and think “Ain’t that a kick in the head”. Hey, that’s how I roll, I am big nostalgic fan of the Rat Pack. But we are no going to discuss my taste in music today.
As I said, I took a CAD program class this week near Zurich. The class was very interesting and I think I learned a lot – enough to be dangerous and to cause the system administrator a few grey hairs. Unlike previous CAD systems this system is clearly aiming to meet all engineering needs fully!……no, I am not going to write a CAD program review either! The demon in today’s blog turns out to be the instructor of the class. We had two instructors. The first one e had until Tuesday was a German. He was very knowledgeable but ha a teaching style I was not used to – frontal teaching, watch me do it, rather than explorative. The instructor we had for the remaining three days of the week turned out to be …..SPECIAL. His instruction style was also more frontal, but with a boat load of expletives. I am not kidding, my jaw dropped when he first let loose of the first barrage. Fortunately not against the students, but against everything else: program features he was introducing, the example files used to teach the content, a fictional boss who needlessly demanded all kinds of changes to the models and so forth. To get a realistic picture imagine the Jeff Lebowski character in the Big Lebowski or the Walter Sobcek character teaching a class to professionals hey had never met before (but without the rug that tied the room together). I asked my co-workers about this person and they knew of him, too. Just based on this week’s experience the verdict is be: “Vast in-depth knowledge, however and that is unfortunate not suited for customer contact.” As if that were not enough he also showed a behavior that left no doubt, that the Swiss are a cut above the rest of the world, in particular the Germans. This was not normal heckling that you can experience with buddies or people you have known for a while, it was toeing that line from where you can see the ugly land of Racist-istan. Not a good experience, which I addressed without going into much detail. In my time in America, I have never experienced something like it – it’s not nice.
Anyway, it’s time for the introduction of the Angels. They came in the form of two girls in their mid twenties….(guys I am happily married, so get your mind out of the gutter, I can’t believe this)
I think I mentioned my first experience with Swiss customs a few weeks ago. Well, I still need them to play ball with me in order for me to get my car into the country. To speed things up a bit, I bought train tickets from Amsterdam on Tuesday for a Feb. 1st departure. How does this speed things up? Well the tickets are non-refundable and I the required documentation only partially. The prospect of being without my car and of flushing 90 Euros down the toilet encouraged me to approach the customs talk quickly. I walked in Wednesday afternoon and found a large office with six employees in t. Three just sat there turning on their office chairs and watching customers waiting. One female apprentice underwent an introduction to the computer system by her superior, which left one person to do customer work. This one person is the first angel I want to introduce. She listened to my immigrant story and my desire to be re-united with my car and within five minutes I as on my way. I had all the information and forms I needed and for the first time felt good about Swiss public services. I took off and went to a place similar to the DOT in the states. There I met the second angel. The customs angel told me to get transfer license plates from this department. So when I got there and had told my story. She, too, provided me with all the information and documentation I required to pick up the plates on Friday. Fast forward to Friday, I showed up again at the license plate department, presented my completed documentation and left about five minutes later with the plates, insurance and the biggest smile in weeks. This may not seem like much to you, but when you move abroad and you experience rejection rather than goodwill, events like the two Angels make your day and you find yourself writing about it in a blog. Thank you t the Customs and the DOT Angels or your guidance, information, help and overall attitude.
Take care and keep your fingers crossed for Transfer Monday, when our hero will encounter German customs followed by Swiss customs. This and much more in the next blog.
Yours Markus \m/