Props to whom props are due….

30 09 2008

As you may know, my time here in the US is running out. I have exactly four days left until flight LH427 takes me back home – or at least to the place where I happen to live. For seven months, this was my home away from home. And that’s where all the people come into play who make it feel like home for me. Now if that wasn’t a great introduction 😉

First and foremost, I need to thank everyone who contributed to my awesome farewell lunch on Friday and the totally unexpected gift. That totally blew me away and I would once again like to thank everyone involved and especially whoever came up with the idea….(M?)

Which leads me to my personal props section, which I have promised to do for a long time but now finally get to do.

Let’s start with Kate, because she was actually the person enabling me to come here in the first place. Unfortunately, I did not have the pleasure working under her for the whole period of my internship. I thank you for giving me this possibility and for the knowledge I was able to gain, not only on the ‚regulatory professional‘ level 🙂 You always took the time to explain if something wasn’t clear (and I guess at the beginning that was quite a lot), and you always provided me with demanding tasks.

Probably, I was one of the few interns who had two managers over the course of his internship. Thanks Mike, I now have to walk to your office instead of just leaning over the cube wall if I need something;) No, seriously. Thanks for always patiently answering all my stupid questions, for letting me work on parts of the complaint process, for giving me the challenge of trying to figure out how to extract reliable information from the ‚random number generator‘ – and, of course, thanks for granting me the extra month over here!!! I guess we’ll just postpone the Kobe-steak dinner to some point when you’re over in Germany again.

Now to my favorite co-worker Meredith. Apart from making me get spoons, fill water bottles and pick up folders from the floor, you did so much more for me. Like waiting until one month before the official end of my internship to set me up for a date;) Also, I think most of our lunchbreaks would have been pretty lame without you (and your talent in choosing always the most appropriate conversational topics).

Then there’s Harald, aka Uncle Bad Touch. Thank you for always being able to lower the standard for any conversation, whatever the topic may be! Spaß beiseite, it was a pleasure working next to you and occasionally being able to switch to German. Some jokes just don’t translate into English (and vice versa)! Also, our consensus about the German ‚Spießbürgertum‘ is probably the best indicator that I should in fact move here.

Of course, I can’t go away without mentioning Joe, who introduced me to American specialties such as the meatloaf. Thank you for sharing some of your tremendous experience, both work related and private.

….and of course, thanks to all the other people I’ve had the pleasure meeting and working with!!!!!

Also, today we had a great farewell breakfast for Richie (another German – but not an intern – who will leave shortly) and me at the office, of which I’ve taken some photos. Thanks Mike for the very touching speech!

Pure awesomeness. I skipped lunch because I was so full.



17 09 2008

Yesterday, I drove past a batallion of FOX 29 TV vans on my way home from Malvern to West Chester. The center of town was blocked by police, fire trucks and ambulances and I rode right past a TV journalist, who was apparently at that point preparing for going on air for a live broadcast. After investigating, I found out that there had been findings of a „suspicious device“ in a parking garage on High Street (the one where we usually leave our cars when we go out in WC city and don’t want to drive home).

Now. What is going on in this little town? First, Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson come here to shoot parts of a movie and the whole town is blocked by film crews, then someone tries to blow up a parking garage….has the whole world gone crazy??

Here is the link. If you watch the footage, the pretty lady with the beige dress reporting live is the one I saw on my way home.

Writer’s block or another boring entry

15 09 2008

Just as novelists don’t know in advance whether their new publication is going to turn into a bestseller, I’m not sure whether this entry is going to be a bore. It might turn out to be really interesting and entertaining. But if it doesn’t: don’t complain, because I warned you in the headline….

Well….where to start….first of all it’s been party non-stop during the past few weeks. There was a Red Bull soapbox race that took place in Manayunk two weeks ago. We went there (on a Saturday) still a little off from the night before. After an Advil-and-Beef Jerky breakfast in the car and a long drive, it started to pour. I mean it had been raining on and off all day, but the moment we got out of the car heaven’s floodgates opened. We were drenched instantly and I could have left my umbrella in the car, because it was totally futile to carry that thing around. We got wet from below, from the side and the water came through the fabric of the umbrella. Plus people almost took each others eyes out with the little pins sticking out from the corners of their umbrellas (umbrellae?). So we headed to the racetrack and didn’t really see anything until we climbed into the front yard of a house, where a colleague of another intern was standing and offered us beer. The place was totally packed and the house owners kindly asked us not to pee in their yard. By then, I was already soaked down to my undies. We ended up going to the colleague’s house and throwing our wet clothes in the dryer. Dressed in randomly picked shirts and shorts that we borrowed from the host, we started drinking beer and talking to a lot of interesting people. Too bad I had field duty on the gliderport the next day.

This weekend we had another great night out in West Chester city. This is starting to become an institution. Saturday night saw yet another farewell party and as usual, I was chosen to give a short farewell speech and hand over some memorabilia to one of our leavers. This is also becoming an institution. And anyone who has ever heard me talk in front of people knows how pathetic I am at giving speeches. Especially when I haven’t prepared anything and already had a few beers.

Also, we visited Princeton University on Saturday and took a guided tour around the campus. I wasn’t quite as impressed with the tour guide as with the one in Harvard, but the university as such seems to offer more arts and humanities than the other Ivy League colleges. I even had a look inside the premises of the German department and instantly felt at home. Luckily, Princeton’s admission requirements are way too high. So my dear parents need not worry. The tuition is 40.000 $ a year. But the individual support seems to be very unique and exceptional. Maybe I should apply just for fun.

What more is there to say? Time is running out once more, it’s only three more weeks. I’m having my very own farewell party this week on Friday, of course everyone’s invited. There are various things that still need taking care of. Among these are: 1) Send a postcard. 2) Buy various items. 3) Buy a suitcase. 3) Hope that I get my deposit back from my landlord. 4) Figure out what to do with that deposit. 4.1) Decide whether to spend all of it incrementally on many little things, or 4.2) Buy something big. (Dodge RAM trucks are cheap at the moment). 5) Find my house keys. There couldn’t possibly be anything more embarrassing than coming home and not getting in. It’s got to be here somewhere. Probably I put it in a drawer and just don’t remember which one. Well. Whatever.

On Wednesday I’m going to see Opeth at the Troc in Philly. There’s been quite a number of interesting releases in the last weeks. The Human Abstract put out a new record and I totally dig it. Really complex, demanding, artistic, exceptional music. Tomorrow, All That Remains‘ new record hits the shelves and it’s going to be killer as well, judging from the snippets on myspace.

I will keep you updated on my last weeks.

Peace, I’m out….

New York – again

27 08 2008

First and foremost: A great big honest SORRY to Sas. The Library was closed. Proof: This picture. Notice the closed doors in the background.

Other than that, we were at the Museum of Modern Art, which contains, well, a lot of modern works of art. Now, I’m not exactly a fan of modern art, especially the kind that I don’t understand. And that seems to be more than I’d thought, because I went through some of the expositions constantly shaking my head. There was however one exposition that really was worth it, which was the Dalí-exposition. The topic was Dalí and film and it showed some of Dalí’s film script autographs, some sketches for film scenes that he wrote and a few paintings that showed his affinity to the medium of film. Also, there were screenings of some film scenes from movies such as „Un chien andalou“. I know, I’ve never seen it myself, and it is quite wacked, but since that applies to almost all of Dalí’s work, that came as no surprise.

This time around, we also stayed overnight. All I knew up front was that we were staying in a hostel that just opened a few weeks ago. What I did NOT know, however, was that this hostel was in the middle of Harlem. What I also didn’t know is that Harlem is not a bad part of New York at all. As a European, the first thing that came to my mind were crime, gang violence and drug dealing. But it’s really not like that at all. Actually, apart from the occasional run-down parts that you have in almost every city, it was pretty nice. During the last few years, the city of NY invested a lot of money to bring Harlem back on track, and it seems like these incentives showed some results.

What else…concerning my arrival back home, it will be on the 4th of October at 12 noon. I am still looking for a victim to pick me and my seven bags of luggage up from the airport in Nuremberg….so, if anyone’s still interested…(Jon?) 🙂

That’s it for now, I guess I’ll be getting back to you later this week if there’s any more interesting stuff.


21 08 2008

It’s official, I’m stayin‘.

See you all in October!

I’ll change my flight tomorrow, it’ll probably be the 4th of October. So be ready, my parents won’t be there to pick me up, and someone’s gotta do it, right?

This is gonna be awesome…

It ain’t over til it’s over…

19 08 2008

It’s over. Almost. Not quite. This could have been one of my last entries. I could have written about my farewell party next weekend, about my last trip to New York, also next weekend, and I could have written the last time from the US just after I packed my suitcases and just before I drove to the airport on September 1st.

Instead, I’ve applied for an extension of my internship.

There are reasons, of course. One: My team needs me (for entertainment purposes, as well as workforce). Two: I won’t have anything to do in September. Initially, I had planned it exactly this way, so that I’d have September to ‚get home‘. But the more I think about it, the more I fear that I might regret not taking this chance. Now that I’m here anyway, I might as well stay as long as I possibly can. Three: I really love it here. I don’t want to go home now that I’m having such a great time.

The bad thing is: I won’t see me mates back on Olde Germany for another four weeks. I hope you’ll forgive me. It’s only four weeks. If I consider how fast the last four weeks went by, that’ll be absolutely nothing. But something tells me that this is a chance I should take.

I’ll keep you updated with details. As I said, nothing’s carved in stone yet, but there’s a good chance. Ah, and by the way, my new arrival date could be the 4th of October, 12 noon, Nürnberg International Airport;)

Planes, graves and dates…

10 08 2008

Sorry for not writing anything for so long, but I was busy. I know, bad excuse. Okay, let’s put it differently: I had better things to do than update my blog. I’ll refrain from losing myself in ramblings about how I don’t want to come back but stay here and give you some insight into what I’ve been up to instead.

Two weeks ago, I took a fellow intern up in a glider, which was something he’s been begging me to do for some time and so we took one of PGC’s 103s and went for a nice 47-minute ride over beautiful Pennsylvania;)

Staying with airplanes, yesterday we went to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. It’s a branch of the National Air and Space Museum that is located next to Dulles International airport. Since not all of the Smithsonian Institution’s exhibits fit into the Museum on the Mall, they had to relocate the „big things“ out there. Among the planes exhibited there are an SR 71 Blackbird, a Space Shuttle and the B-29 „Enola Gay“, which came to be known as the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945.

The most interesting of all – at least for me as a glider pilot – was this:

That’s right, an example of high-performance German engineering right there 😉 For those of you who might not know: This is a Grob 102 „Standard Astir“, which is today mainly used as a trainer for student pilots who transition from two-seaters to single-seaters. Hanging from the ceiling of a museum, however, the uninformed layman might think that this is the cutting edge in glider design or some kind of classic. Neither of which applies.

For aviation freaks, this is definitely the place to go. Imagine it like the „Flugwerft Schleissheim“, only twice as big and with waaay more interesting planes in it.

The next stop on our itinerary was Arlington Cemetery, known to many from countless movies such as….I don’t know, was it in Red October? I believe so….

Anyway. Lots of white marble gravestones, a very dignified atmosphere and a great view over Washington. We found out that there are around 250.000 gravesites there.

In the next few weeks, I’ll try to keep this site updated more frequently as some might be wondering how I spent the remainder of my stay here. But be assured: I won’t be wallowing in grief 😉

In two weeks, I’ll be going to NYC for the last time on Saturday and celebrating my farewell party on Friday, along with a few other people who’ll leave soon. Until then, as mentioned, I’ll try to write something every once in a while, even if it’s only pointless blaa blaa.

Peace, I’m out.