Midweek beers and midweek cheers.

 

I never made it to the gym this morning, as I had planned, but one needs to be ok with the fact that things do not always work out the way that you want it to. It is like my old college Cedric always said:

“The secret to life is that you should really want something, have an intense burning desire for it, but if you don’t get it, you should be happy with that too.”

This is great advice and it stretches way beyond missing a gym session or not getting retweeted by Beyonce.

The universe has a way of working both with you and against you. It is a lot about what you put out there and then in contrast what you internalise.

Lets use a metaphor:

Good grapes make good wine, good soil make good grapes, good nutrients make good soil… And one can go on and on but I am sure that you get the drift.

Lets get to the title of this post. In all honesty, I have absolutely no creativity when it comes to the titles, it is really the first thing that comes to mind, so in this case, it is Wednesday, which means it is midweek and I am drinking beers. Therefore, Midweek beers and midweek cheers.

Normally I would not be drinking beers on a Wednesday but a college of mine had a motorbike breakdown, so I hung around with him waiting for the tow truck and once he and his bike was loaded, I returned to the office to finish some work and do this blog post.

With that said, its about time I head home!

 

 

 

Monday the long day

I am one of many expats at my company. Out of the 38 employees, I would guess that around 15 are not Dutch, which makes sense as we are an international company, operating across several different countries.

We currently have online stores in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, the UK and Germany with plans to expand to several more European countries in the near future, we may even take on the Asian and American markets one day.

With that said, the company has been kind enough to have gotten us a Dutch tutor to teach us the Dutch language. The only condition is that we pass the entry level Dutch language proficiency exam or else we pay for the lessons ourselves.

The lessons start at 17:45 and end at 20:15, hence the reason that Monday is so long, especially if you arrived at work around 08:15 AM, then you clock in a solid 12 hours. But I guess it is relative as I have had many jobs where working a 16 hour day was the norm.

My day was not quite 12 hours as I arrived a little late this morning. The reason I was late was due to a gross miscalculation of distance on my part. Instead of checking the distance between two locations on Google maps, I just did an estimate based on how far they looked from each other on the map, which was a huge mistake and I realised this as soon as I arrived at the first location which I estimated to be no more than two kilometres from the second location but it ended up being a bit more than twelve.

See here in Amsterdam, you take your bicycle everywhere and with everywhere, I mean really everywhere… Clubbing? I will cycle. Job interview? Let me get my bike. Dinner with the in laws? Let me just hop onto my bike. Emergency and need to go to hospital? Let me just find my bike keys… Moving homes…

You get the point…

Unfortunately my bike was stolen last week, so this morning I wanted to go to the gym before work so I borrowed my girlfriends bike, which was not at her house or at mine but at a bus stop which I assumed was close to the gym (location one), this was the first mistake, as the bus stop was eight kilometres away from the gym. The second location is my work, which was twelve kilometres away from the gym.

This would have been ok if the bike was any good but the bike of my girlfriend was salvaged from the pre European Union era and not much has gone in the way of care and maintenance, causing the bike to creak and crack with each peddle and as soon as one settles into any kind of rhythm, the chain slips off the gears, leaving you with no way to stop as the bikes only way of breaking is peddling backwards.

Needless to say, the careful biking and stopping to replace the chain, turned what Google maps promised to be a thirty minute journey into a fifty five minute slog.

I arrived at work sweaty and my hands covered in oil from replacing the chain.

When I explained to my colleges, they were happy that I made it to work in the first place, as the area where my bike constantly “broke down” was apparently not the best neighbourhood to be stopping with a laptop on your back. Luckily all was well and I was only about twenty minutes late.

So what did I learn? Plan better, read maps better, double lock your bike to protect theft and several Dutch words and phrases.

It is now 20:37 and I have ran out of time for today as I literally have eight items on my to do list. As per yesterdays post, on quieter days I will back peddle and write about the past but whenever something slightly significant happens it shall take president.

P.S. The photo is of my old bike, the one that was stolen last week.

Amsterdam Month Four

Tomorrow will mark my 10th week in Amsterdam. It genuinely feels like it was yesterday, when I was waiting for my passport in my tiny bedroom in Hong Kong, all packed and ready to go.

It makes sense that time flew, it normally does when one is very busy and I really hit the ground running, in less than a week after my arrival in the Netherlands, I had already started at my new job, not leaving me with much time to settle in, especially considering that I had caught a horrible flu just before leaving for Amsterdam which ultimately caused me to spend the better part of my the first week, bed ridden.

So far so good.

I nervously walked into the office on my first day of work, it was a semi industrial looking open plan space, walls lined from the floor to the roof with beers from all over the world and the area buzzing with mostly twenty something year olds, all busy with some Tweet or some task.

Luckily the first person with whom I had made eye contact with, was exactly the person that I was looking for, namely Roel, my new manager. At this point we had spent no more time getting to know each other than a twenty minute Skype interview, so to say that I was not sure what to expect, is a glorious understatement.

After some small chit chat, Roel showed me my desk and introduced me to the team, thereafter, we had a one on one where he talked me through the ins and outs of the business and what exactly where I fit in.

I was burning to get started. Some people say that South Africans have a great work ethic which I can definitely related to, regarding my own standards.

I mean I just wanted to get going and be productive, no matter for who I work or who the client is.

I was (still am) hired as a Senior Frontend Developer which pretty much means, I build the front part of the website, which is http://www.beerwulf.com and after about an hour or two at the new job, I was already poking and prodding around the website trying to get a feel of how things were done.

So the thing with Front End website development and any software development for that matter is that there are literally thousands of ways to get the job done. Actually tens of thousands of ways, the reason for this is that there are so many software frameworks and libraries and languages out there, which can be used individually,  separately or even integrated to do the same job, so even someone with several years of experience may walk into a job and would still need to spend a few weeks getting a feel for the project.

Luckily for me with this job, I was familiar with most of the technologies used and got orientated within the first day at the job. At this stage there was not really that much for me to do yet but I spent most of my time filling in some technological gaps and helping out my colleges where I could.

Sometimes at a new work, you feel kind of useless the first couple of weeks as you are onboarded and getting the hang of things, here it was not the case and actually at my previous work neither. I was pretty much productive after a day or two but I still believe that the onboarding process at most companies are not complete and there can be a better of doing it than sitting employees down and giving them a brochure or Word document to read but that is a story for another day.

So I always commit to trying to blog more and I am going to try for a post a day, eventually catching up to the present day, then I want to go back in time a bit and write more about Hong Kong, then maybe even go back a bit more and write about isolated incidents in my life but who knows, writing one post a day might deliver some awesome content. Till tomorrow.