Local customs

metz_breakwallI’m getting used to some of the French work customs slowly. I had not realised that when you arrive for work you should visit the office of everyone already there, shake hands and greet them. I’ve shaken more hands in the last couple of days than in the last year in Australia. I guess the handshake is kinda dying out in Australia, mostly being used for formal occasions now.

It’s the little things

notqwertyIt should be obvious, but it isn’t. If future exchange happens, think about how you will handle non-qwerty keyboards. I nearly touch type. I can’t tell you how much pain I’m in right now. At least I’ve managed to get the default locale to not be in French (try working out what compiler error messages are….)

They have no qwerty keyboards in the office, so my choices were learn the French layout, or switch to a qwerty layout. Using a French layout presents some problems, I mostly touch type, so I was reduced to hunt-n-peck typing speeds, also I have my laptop here, so switching between the two was problematic. Of course if you switch, then you _have_ to touch type. Now the key labels don’t match what you type. I guess I’ll be a better touch typist from this adventure. I sympathise with overseas students in our labs so much more now. Of course I might give in and put stickers over the keys……

Made it in one piece

gare_de_lestLots of hanging around waiting for my train, but TGV is a great way to travel.

It really does leave on time within a second or two of schedule. It stayed slow through Paris, then it really opens it up outside. There is no sensation of speed since you travel through endless fields, everything is a fair way away. Mind you when you pass another TGV at speed going the other way it is quite a physical jolt. While sitting at the one stop we made before Metz, other TGV went past, THAT looked fast.

Sami and I had a miss communication about where to meet. He said “meet a the bank, and just stay there till we find one another”, OK. So looking on the platform for a Bank, no Bank, alright try in the station, nope, what about just outside, nope. OK go and wait at the lobby….That’s where we ran into each other. “Why didn’t you stay at the bank” Um I was looking for a Bank. Bank=platform. Oh.

Off to France we go

fishThanks to everyone who came to lunch today. I’m off on my French adventure starting tomorrow. New contacts, opportunities and hopefully some good work. Not that I’m going to miss the STI rush season too much!

In any case, with the time differences, real time contact is going to be a little difficult while I’m away. But since we now have sharepoint available remotely, I’m going to try maintaining this blog as I go. (emphasis on try)

bye fish

I’m going to France to work for 6 weeks

Ok, for the benefit of my extended family, this is probably a bit of a surprise. Obviously a work trip takes time to organise and you are wondering why I didn’t tell anyone till now….

Well, this one took a while to get off the ground. A fair bit of back and forth firstly to get approval to make it happen then to get a final date to start. So up until about 3 weeks from leaving, dates were still up in the air (with the strong possibility to just delay by several months).

So with that explained (how ever badly) here is a summary of things so far…