Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Editor's Note

I'm preoccupied with other things these days, so I might as well be honest with myself (and you), and admit that I'm only going to try to update this section every other week, instead of every week. Other stuff will still be posted at random, as always...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

18 September 2007

Another post, another jetlagged recovery from a trip to the States. This time, it was an eleven-day, six flight, two wedding, two-state journey, with a job interview thrown in for good measure. I managed to pack everything into my carry-on for the first four flights (Zurich to Atlanta to Kansas City to Cincinnati to San Francisco), because I had awful visions of showing up at weddings and interviews in my grubby travel gear. On the way back, however, as is always the case, I was forced to check a bag, because I had picked up so many oh-so-essential items while in San Francisco, like Twizzlers, reasonably priced socks, and clogs.

We haven’t had a summer worth mentioning in Zurich this year, other than three weeks of warm weather and scattered sunny days here and there, and fall is now firmly entrenched, as evidenced by all of the wool sweaters and dripping umbrellas. I haven’t spent much time in Zurich over the past month, however, so I’ll talk about the traveling, instead.

Don’t ever fly Delta. I booked this trip in May, and had to re-book no fewer than four times in less than four months, because they kept canceling or rescheduling flights. Each time, I would get an email telling me to re-book, so I would call in and sit on hold, explain the situation to an inept customer service rep, get cut off, call back, hold, talk to another rep, explain that yes, the dates were important, because the weddings couldn’t be rescheduled, and no, I didn’t want to take more than six flights, because none of the fliths were direct to start with, and would it be possible to just rebook the one flight in question, so that I wouldn’t have to do seat selection for all six flights all over again? And after much to-do, they would still re-book all six flights. It was like the movie Groundhog Day, except that instead of Bill Murray, there was bad hold music.

On one of my flights, there was a kid two rows behind me who was screaming and gibbering demonically enough that I fully expected to turn around and see him ripping off his head and rolling it down the aisle. No one else in the entire plane seemed to be making any noise. On a nighttime flight, two kids were stampeding up and down the aisles, screaming and bumping into passengers, and their parents didn’t do anything, despite many grumbling neighbors (including me), and useless entreaties from the flight attendants.

While boarding the flight from Atlanta to Zurich, I noticed three babies and two dogs seated close by, and started preparing for a noisy, sleepless flight. I think all of them were dead, however, because none of them made a sound during the whole flight. Instead, the man in the seat next to me was slouching into my seat and hogging my legroom, and I spent most of the flight passive-aggressively pretending to be asleep, while furtively jamming my elbow and knee into him, trying to get him to move out of space I had paid for and re-booked four times.

The process to get a job and move to Switzerland seemed complicated to me at the time, since there were work visas and residence permits involved, but now I think it may be more complicated in reverse. American employers want you to start yesterday, and they don’t comprehend Swiss laws regarding giving two months’ notice at work, and three months’ notice on your apartment (which can only be done twice a year). Not to mention the logistics of de-registering from all the things that require registration. Now I understand why people often stay here for longer than they originally planned – it’s just too much trouble to leave!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Editor's Note

Just got back from a double-wedding tour of the US. A few pics are up, update still to come...