Sunday, January 27, 2008

Driving, Employee Party, Innsbruck

So much has happened since my last post! I got my USAREUR (US Army/Europe) Driver's License on the 16th and was driving a company vehicle (GOV) on the 17th. Mind you that almost all vehicles in Europe are manual - so I learned real fast and actually did pretty well. I had driven manual once before in a parking lot... My job in the IT department is going really well. It's overwhelming at times because there's so much to do and learn but I'm starting to get the hang of some things and will mostly be working the help desk - helping both customers and employees with all of their computer troubles.

On Sunday, 20th, I went to a SC Riessersee ice hockey game! They won! After every goal the crowd grabbed this big flag that went from one end of the bleachers to the other and passed it up into the crowd so by the time the top of the flag reached the top row of fans the SC Riessersee flag was spread out above our heads! At the end of the game the team came out and took a bow. Then, after they had gone into the locker room one of the fans began to lead cheers and next thing we knew the players came back out again and sat on the ice while we praised them. Then, they got on their hands and knees and formed a choo choo train and slid around on the ice. After this the coach came out and we praised him/sang to him. This went on for about 30 minutes! It was very entertaining.

Kari, Misty, Erin, and I at the game!

The flag being passed up into the crowd after a goal!

The players being praised!

Choo Choo Train Video

Me with a Garmisch Cow!

This past Monday, 21st, we had the annual employee appreciation party. There was great Bavarian food made by the cute chefs that work in the restaurant at the Hausberg (ski lodge). My coworker, Tyler, won Employee of the Year. This means he won a free trip for two to our sister resort in Disneyworld, $1000 spending money, an extended employee contract, and some other bonuses!

Roommate and I! She's amazing!

The IT Department! and the Employee of the Year!

On Friday, 25th, I took a half day at work and went to the Hausberg to learn how to snowboard! My roommate forgot she had an award's banquet for her ski-week class so another instructor and friend, Sabrina, taught myself and Darkel (a Deutch who works in the Garmisch House - restaurant at the top of the mountain) how to snowboard. After an hour I was turning, doing 360s, and having fun! It was a blast and I will definitely be taking some more free lessons!

Yesterday, Saturday 26th, I decided I needed to get out of Garmisch so I took a day trip down to Innsbruck, Austria. It was very relaxing to get away for the day and walk around a new town. I hiked up the town tower to see great views of the town from up above. I ate wienerschnitzel for the first time - I can't say I'm was ok but nothing fabulous! I had been talking to one of the locals and it was about lunch time and she told me that the Piano Bar had the best wienerschnitzel in town so I decided to give it a try. There's not much to the town so I just enjoyed the day walking around taking in the beautiful scenery.

Golden Roof

The town from up above

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

German Printer

Hey everyone!! Things are absolutely great here in Germany!! My job is going pretty well - I'm working in the IT department and today I managed to install a printer/scan/fax/copy machine in German by myself!! This included manually configuring the IP address and many other settings in German! One of my coworkers, Scott, and I looked at some of the German words and settings on the machine yesterday and then I worked from memory today by myself. It's a different experience than I had planned on - I was expecting to work 20 hours/week and be broke but also have lots of time to travel. Instead I am working 40 hours/week Monday - Friday and my pay includes an adjustment for COLA (Cost of Living Allowance). I think it'll work out because most full-time employees have a little more money so they just fly around Europe instead of taking the train, which allows for more time to spend at your final destination. The two guys I work with, Tyler and Scott, are great which also makes the day go by faster and they've been great about teaching me the ropes!

I went exploring this past weekend. On Saturday my roommate and I walked to the next town over, Partenkirchen, and did some shopping at the Euro store and just walked around for most of the day. Then, on Sunday, I hiked up the mountain behind our employee lodging - saw a war memorial, drank some gluehwein (warm, spiced wine), and saw great view of Garmisch!! I have lots of pictures so I'll post a few of my favs on here.

Take Care!! Hope everyone is doing well! :)

The beginning of the path! It was very icy in many spots!

War Memorial mid hike

Gorgeous View of Garmisch from up above

Gorgeous View along my hike!

Cute old couple walking along the path

Restaurant towards the end of my hike where I drank gluehwein

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I'm here!!

Well, I arrived safely in Munich Monday morning (the 7th) and have been having a blast so far! There are 461 employees at the Edelweiss - some are German contractors but most are Americans. About 180 employees live in the housing provided (called The Abrams). There are a lot of employees from the west (Montana, Colorado, Texas). So far I have only met one girl from VA - Fairfax.

There are eleven new employees in my orientation class. Over the past three days of orientation we've filled out a lot of paper work, taken a tour of the Resort, met the General Manager, received our ID cards, and shopped on base at the commissary and PX.

My roommate is amazing!!! Her name is Terri - she is from Montana, she's been here for about 6 months and she is a snowboard instructor. (Picture - my roommate and I my first night in Germany at Peaches, a local Italian restaurant - it was 3 euro pizza night and three were a lot of Edelweiss employees there for me to meet)

It's really cold here - especially compared to Newport News! There is snow and ice on the ground. Last night I bundled up in long underwear, jeans, thick socks, a long-sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, winter jacket, gloves, and a hat and was still a little chilly walking to/from dinner. There's a lot of black ice on the roads as well and we have to do a lot of walking to get anywhere (usually minimum of 15-20 minutes).

There's a lot more to do here than I was expecting. The city of Garmisch is adorable. It's about a 15 minute walk from the staff housing building to the heart of the city. There are a ton of restaurants and small shops. I haven't had as much time as I would have liked to explore but I am planning on finding my way around town this weekend.

I start my first day of work tomorrow - I will be working in the IT department providing support to all of the Resort's employees and guests. I will keep you updated on how the job goes.

Below are some pictures of my apartment , our balcony, and the view from our room!! Amazing, huh?!

Mine and Terri's Room
Our room again - my bed is the one on the right

Our balcony - I couldn't figure out how to flip the picture on here...

View from our balcony!!

View from the commisary