Oct 23, 2010

Spartacus Helveticus

One week in Switzerland.  I came.  I saw.  I froze my little French behind off.  I conquered.

Here's what you missed.

Monday:  Wake up at stupid o'clock.  Squeeze into suit.  Remark that I was thinner back in my BM days.  Get driven to work by my new boss at CoolCo Sub.  Take possession of my office (shared) and my computer (with unmanageable Swiss keyboard).  At 9am, take coffee break with 8 of the 10 employees of CoolCo Sub (2 are on holiday).  Learn that 9am coffee break is a daily thing.  Feel happy.  After day spent in training, am told work finishes at 6pm.  Refuse to believe them.  At 6.15, am last person in office and get kicked out by cleaning lady.  Feel confused.  Treck across town by tram to visit apartment.  Am one of at least fifty applicants.  Panic and go back to hotel.  Get second agent rejection.  Miss home.  Feel sad.

Tuesday:  Wake up at stupid o'clock.  Still grey and freezing cold in Helvetica.  CoolCo Sub still cool.  After 9am coffee break, am introduced to one-hour lunch break in the kitchen.  People cook.  I'm impressed.  I microwave something.  Do some more training.  After work, go to town centre and join German conversation group in bar.  All hell breaks loose when I tell them (in German, natürlich) that I work for CoolCo Sub.  Think this is a cool party trick.  Can't wait for my business cards to come in.

Wednesday:  Don't go to work this morning.  Instead, go register as Swiss resident.  It takes fifteen minutes and Swiss civil servant lady is the nicest person I've ever met.  Am tempted to give her a hug.  Then open Swiss bank account.  Feel like rich and famous person until banker asks me if I want to put money on my account and I realize I don't have any.  Still, manage the whole morning in German so feel pretty pleased with myself.

Thursday:  Wake up at stupid o'clock.  Finally, sun is shining.  Sky is clear and I realize there are snowy Alps outside window.  Gives me ski cravings.  No training at work today, actually have to do work.  Suddenly dawns on me no one has had my job before so no one knows what my "work" is.  Make up some stuff.  It goes down well.  Feel relieved.  Have afterwork drinks at very bohemian, un-Swiss place. 

Friday:  Feel very tired after one whole week of waking up at stupid o'clock.  Wonder if I will ever get used to this waking up in the morning thing after a year of author's life.  Top it off with three-hour long meeting with finance-types.  Hold my own, though.  Go to bed at 9.30pm on a Friday night instead of joining colleague for a party.  Feel sheepish.

Saturday:  Have a lie-in, followed by gigantic hotel breakfast.  Treck across town to see another apartment that is really too expensive.  Buy water boiler so I can make tea at hotel.  Have nice cup of tea while blogging.  Feel pretty OK about first week.


paris (im)perfect said...

How are you able to make everything funny? Really, please tell me.

Congrats on conquering your first week. Knew you would.

Also, I can't believe you speak German. Also, can't believe Swiss administration takes only 15 minutes and they are nice. That is the first thing that has made me think, hmm, Switzerland...might not be so bad after all!

You'll get used to stupid o'clock, I'm sure. Meanwhile, I'm staying *up* til stupid o'clock (around 4:30 AM these days) trying to write.

And so it goes. Miss you, Isa!

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

Yay you! I'm with Sion: "How are you able to make everything funny? Really, please tell me."

And one of the coolest things about reading this humorously-written account of a week in the life of your new Swiss Miss existence is that now that I have heard your spoken voice, I can "hear" you say this stuff in my head. Love it.

Thank you for the update. :)

Carolyn said...

Loved this post, especially stupid o'clock. I don't envy your re-entry to the corporate world but have no doubt you're taking it by storm.

Good onya, and even more good onya for the agent full ms request. Outstanding!!

Cheers for now.