Sunday, August 15, 2010

I'm coming home...

When I got the offer for the internship to work within Siemens Healthcare in the US last year, I was really happy and excited. Being glad that university was over, I was ready to get the taste of working life.
When I arrived here, I was so surprised to have so many interns around. Finding this intern community established, was the last thing I expected. Of course, it helps you a lot to get settled and find people to spend your leisure time with. But as every intern start at a different time, there is a steady change of people. This also means that you have to accept that you will spent time with them and share memories. But you also have to accept that you will lose contact after they (or you) go home at some point in time. By saying that I am even more happy that I found a real true friend in that time, Mona. We had such a great time together and it made the time even more valuable.
I have to admit that I never exptected to travel so much and see so much of the country in that year. But with that intern community, you get pulled into that lifestyle and it is just great to explore cities together and share the memories. Of course, working full time and travelling at the weekends all the time makes you feel tired and you also realize at the end of the year that this was a great time but that you are now ready to go home and take some time on your own.
I am really glad I had the opportunity to experience all this, as this was one of the most exciting years of my life.

And I try to come back!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The last days in the US...

My internship ended last week but with the visa we have, we are allowed to stay in the US 30 days after the end of your internship. A few months before I took the decision to apply for jobs within Siemens in the US because I really liked working here, speaking English at work and discover the country in my leisure time. As I was in the middle of my application process, I was happy about the possibility to stay longer. In that time, I went to see Tyra for a weekend before she left for vacation to Germany. The 2 weeks after I stayed with Mona. We went for final shopping for me, were hanging out the pool and had BBQ's.

One of my wishes was to go to the beach one more time before I would leave. So Svenja, Anni, Katharina and I chose the Saturday to go down to Avalon in New Jersey. We had beautiful beach weather, only the way down there was a bit annoying with all the traffic. Nevertheless we made it and we had a great day at the beach.

After that weekend, I had to say goodbye to Mona which was the hardest of all the farewells. On Monday afternoon, my former landlady Betty was so nice and offered me to give me a lift to the bus station in Philly. I took the bus down to Washington to spend my last days with Tyra. While she was working, I prepared my paperwork and enjoying the summer time at her pool because I didn't know what to expect from the summer in Germany. Also, I met with Ryan for dinner for the last time and we agreed that we just stay friends.
On Thursday, 2 days before my departure, I also had an interview in Delaware for a position within Siemens Diagnostics. Good timing...
On Friday, I finally packed all my suitcases and sorted some stuff that would stay with Tyra and she would bring it with her in the container when she moved later that year from the US back to Germany.

Saturday morning was time to go home. After 4 weeks living out of the suitcase and not knowing where I belong made me looking forward to go home finally. Tyra brought me to the bus station. My flight was departing from JFK Airport in New York, so I had to take the bus from Washington. Even Tyra and I knew we would see each other in Germany, it was also hard to say good bye for that moment. But all the good things come to an end, right?

Here are some pics from the last days:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Las Vegas - The Sin City

One major responsibility during my internship was managing registration, contracting and logistics for tradeshows. As the intern only prepares for the shows but never attend, it became tradition in the CT department that the Marketing/Communications intern is allowed to attend one of the biggest cardiovascular meetings for Computed Tomography to actually see the outcomes of our work.
Last year, my predecessor Carolin went to the annual meeting of the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography (SCCT) in Orlando, Florida. So I was hoping that the annual meeting of the SCCT in 2010 would be in a great location as well. When I actually found out that it takes place in Las Vegas, I couldn't believe it. I was allowed to attend SCCT 2010, one of the most important trade shows for CT in Las Vegas!

Due to the fact that I was attending the show as well, I was involved even more in the preparations beforehand, developing and managing the major part of the external communications. This responsibility made the show even more important to me and I was so excited to go.

Guillaume, our product manager and I left Philly the day before the show started. We arrived in the afternoon and had enough time to check our booth and make final arrangements.
In the evening, Guillaume had to attend a dinner with customers, so I had the chance to explore the city with 2 other team members.
Even if I try to describe Las Vegas and its atmosphere, it won't give you the whole picture. You have to see and experience it on your own. First of all, it was unbeliavable hot! It was middle of July and during the day we had more than 40° C. Even at night, when you went out, the ground was still hot from the heat of the sun. Along the strip, they had little water hoses with nozzles that sprayed water in the air to cool the pedestriants. Very refreshing!!
When you walk down the strip and into all the casinos with their different architecture and special topics, it is really overwhelming but also impressing. With all the casino bars and restaurants, everyone will find a place that they will like. The 'Treasure Island' Casino hotel had an open air pirate show going on during the night and as we stayed at the Bellagio for the show, I got to see a lot of the fantastic and impressing water fountain shows.

The show started Thursday afternoon and went on through Saturday afternoon. Friday and Saturday were long days, starting from 7am to 7pm. On Friday night, the whole team went to the German 'Hofbräuhaus' to have dinner. We had such a funny time there! Especially getting up on Saturday morning was hard, as we went out the night before after the Brauhaus.

After the end of the show on Saturday, Guilaume invited me to have dinner at the restaurant on 'Eiffel Tower' to thank me for the effort before the show during his sickness. It was an expensive restaurant and we had to dress nicely. Arriving there, I found out that he managed to get a table at the window. So we were able to watch the fountain show of the Bellagio at night every 30min. It was wonderful!
After dinner, I went with another team member to the old Las Vegas strip. This is the original strip with all the old casinos which still operate. With all the lights, older banners and old fashioned interior you can tell that this is the older part but still as crowded as the casinos on the new strip. They build a movie screen roof above the pedestrian zone between the buildings and show music videos and short movies with music every hour.

On Sunday, I could sleep in while Guillaume needed to attend a customer breakfast. After breakfast, I rode the rollercoaster with one of my co-workers at the 'New York, New York' hotel and the rest of the day I walked down the strip to take more pictures. Doing that I realized that New York and Paris are not that far from each other. You can get the statue of liberty and the Eiffel Tower in one picture:

My flight back home was at 10pm, with arrival 6am the next morning. It also called the 'red-eye-flight', as this is a short over night flight and you might look a little bit tired and worn out the next morning.
My former roomie Svenja picked me up from the airport. I went to Mona's apartment, had a shower and went to work. This was my last day at work but I already finished and completed all my tasks the week before I left for the show. I was mainly going there to talk to all the people I got know and worked with during the past year and say goodbye to my team. I also had the chance to meet my successor. Totally tired, I went back home in the afternoon and slept for 18 hours until the next morning. It was a very unique experience for me attending this show. I learned a lot about what happens at trade shows and I had a great team around me which made the evenings even more entertaining in Las Vegas:-)

Here are the pics from my Las Vegas adventure:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

World Cup Party - My farewell party

Unbelievable how incredibly fast time went by. I arrived in the USA almost one year ago. After uncounted farewell parties for the other interns and some sad farewell moments, it was my term now to say goodbye to the intern community. As you can imagine preparing your farewell party also let you realize that your internship is about to end. So you expect it with some sadness on one hand but also with some excitement on the other hand as this the moment you can celebrate the good times and memories and thank all the interns for the fantastic time we had here.
Jill, one of our American interns, was also finishing her internship and so we decided to host it together. With all the farewell parties having a theme, we needed to come up with one as well. Due to the soccer fever amongst the interns, we chose to have a "Soccer World Cup Party".
Everyone dressed up in either their national teams jersey or in sports cloths.

One of the best things that night was having Tyra, Ryan and Rayl coming up from Washington. I was so happy to have them with me sharing my party. At some point in time the "emotional moment" comes. Time for the flag and farewell slide ceremony. Being my closest friend here, Mona was holding my speech and I was so nervous when I got the flag and the slides that I completely forgot what I wanted so say in my speech. In the end ,I recommend to everyone to make the most out of the time being here, travelling, connecting with people, getting to know the American culture and people.
It was a wonderful party and it will always be a great memory.

Unfortunately, Tyra had to go back home to Washington the next morning. While I was cleaning the intern house in West Chester with Jill, I send Ryan and Rayl to Philadelphia to do some sightseeing. We all connected in the evening back at my house in Wayne where Betty and Bill were holding my farewell BBQ. I invited a few other interns to have BBQ with us and hanging out together the whole night.

Ryan and Rayl left the next day after breakfast and I started to pack my stuff. This was the day of moving out of Wayne. I would stay the next 2 weeks with Mona to enjoy time with her. Tim was on vacation in Germany that time. It was the day of the Soccer World Cup final match but I didn't pay much attention to it as the packing process took much longer than I thought. Packing all my clothes together, made me even more realizing the time here in the USA came to an end and I became really sad. I had a very emotional afternoon, as it became clear to me how much I enjoyed living with Betty and Bill in Wayne and how bounded I felt to that house. But with all that sadness to leave it also helped to appreciate and value the time and the opportunity I had to experience all that and to live here. And still, I had 4 more weeks to stay in the USA after the end of my internship.

So, back to the fun part, here are more pictures from Jill and my farewell party:

Sunday, June 27, 2010

World Cup 2010 - Rock the German brewhouse!

Another match for the German team was on schedule and of course we had to support them! We all knew of the existence of a German 'Brauhaus' in Philly, even though not many of us have ever been there. But for us this an option to check it out while watching the soccer game. During the week, we heard that a lot of Germans who live in and around Philly are going to be there for the game. So I got up at 6 in the morning that Sunday, as I was in Chestertown again and the game started about 9.30 in the morning our time. We met the other interns about 1 hour before the brewhouse opened and we were not even the first in line! There were already a lot of people who had the same idea.

Even though we were about 20 people we got a great table in front of a huge TV screen and some interns started the day with a white sausage breakfast. I have to admit that somehow even the beer tasted very well that morning. I was in heaven when I found out that they even served Kölsch, the beer from my area!!!

While the German team was continuing their successful performance and scored 4 times, a real party got started and with each additional goal, the atmosphere turned more and more into hysteria. I think the images tell more than 1000 words!

Be part of our soccer party and watch the images here:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Summer activities...

This weekend was a weekend at home which doesn't mean that I stayed in the house all day. One of my co-workers just got married 4 weeks ago in Italy. As she only had her closest family with her in Italy, they decided to have a garden party at home with all co-workers and friends here in the US. Mona and I offered our help that she could really enjoy the party and didn't need to worry about all the little things that happen when you are the host. It was a sunny summer day and we all had a wonderful time.

Since a long time, I wanted to take a bike and riding the Schuylkill River trail. My landlords Betty and Bill had offered me to use the bikes several times before. As we had this beautiful weather going on, my roomie Svenja and I decided to take action and try it out. Unfortunately, to reach the trail, we had to drive on the street first which is really frightening with the Americans driving in their cars. They are not used to have cyclists around, so this was quite an experience, I can tell you. To finally reach the trail, we had to cross the Schuylkill river on a very narrow bridge.

Svenja and I were scared to death when we crossed it as the ground of the bridge was made of wooden blankets which didn’t look very promising…but we made it. Once we reached the trail were riding our bikes, it felt so good! The trail has a lot of green surroundings and sometimes it looked so familiar to home that we thought we are back in Germany.

The trail is going all the way to Philadelphia but we turned around after a while as it was too late to go all the way to Philly and back.

Mona and Tim live on our way back home, so we stopped by and stayed for BBQ. There is no better ending for a weekend like this as sitting together with some really great friends and enjoy your BBQ!

Here are more pictures from our adventure:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Soccer World Cup 2010: Bring it on!

The last weekends, I spent my days in Washington with Tyra hanging out with her at her pool and went to a Mexican Party with Ryan. The other weekend was also beachtime but this time in Chestertown, MD. But the most important event was the soccer game of the German national team on Sunday. We played our first game against Australia. Believe me, if we wouldn’t have so many Germans around and having our bets going on, we would have probably missed it. There are almost no commercials about it, they don’t play the soccer songs in the radio, not even the official song. In addition, the entire excitement and atmosphere about it is missing, as this just not so popular here. But among the interns, we were enough people who wanted to watch the games and get a little bit of that feeling. We were able to rent a clubhouse for that afternoon and could watch it on the projector. Everyone tried to show up with a German jersey or at least a German flag or some threads in our colors. So at least we got a taste of the great soccer world cup feeling. And having the German team winning made it even better!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Roadtrip to the 'Windy City' - Chicago

Another public holiday in the US!!! Memorial Day on May 31st! This meant another travel weekend for the interns!!

During my internship, I got so many recommendations about the Chicago, not only from the interns who have been there already, also from my co-workers. So another spot on my “Wanna-see-and-have-to-do-list” was a trip to the “windy city” as Chicago is also called.

3 other interns wanted to join me: Alvaro, the crazy Spanish man who also went to New Orleans with me a few months ago, then Benny, my CT co-intern and Dan, one of our American interns who wanted to discover another part of his home country. As I really liked the road trip to New Orleans, I suggested taking the car to Chicago instead of flying. The boys agreed and so we started with a bit delay on Friday evening after work. The estimated length of travelling was 12 hours. We decided to change drivers every few hours. Dan was volunteering as the first driver. We took the highway through Pennsylvania and it was very relaxed to drive with empty roads ahead. After 1,5 hours of driving, we suddenly saw the party lights of a police car behind us. We all knew the meaning and Dan confirmed it: We are going to get a ticket for speedingL The police officer was friendly enough only to charge fees but no points to Dan’s drivers record. Of course, this situation calmed us down for a while.

I was the last driver and thus the one who drove into the city. The weather was promising to be sunny and just beautiful. Our plan was to leave our luggage at the hotel and then park the car outside the city to avoid extreme parking fees. One of my co-workers lives in Chicago and he gave us information about some safe parking spots. We left the car in Irving Park and took the blue Metra line to the city centre. Our desire was to see the lake, so this was our first destination. Before we reached the waterfront, we turned right into Millenium Park to have a glance at the Buckingham fountain, for some better known as the fountain in the trailer of the TV show “Married…with Children”(“Eine schrecklich nette Familie). From there, we strolled along the boardwalk, enjoying the sun and our lifes. Chicago has huge pier with a lot of entertainment, restaurants, shops and boat trips. This was a perfect location to have lunch.

After that, we walked towards the city centre to get to the main shopping street ‘Michigan Avenue’, also called the magnificent mile. We were not really into shopping but at least a stop at the Apple Store was interesting enough for the boys. I was playing with the iPad and lost sight with them. After 10 min, the came running towards me, totally excited: The soccer player Ronaldinho and 3 other players of were in the shop as well and Alvaro got a picture with them. The shop was so crowded anyway, that’s why I didn’t pay attention to the bulk in the back of the shop.

We became tired from walking around and from that long drive during the night and headed to the hotel. After checking in, we took a nap as we wanted to go out that night. I got tickets for “Howl at the Moon”, a pretty entertaining live music bar. As we were all refreshed after the nap, we partied all night long.

The next day, we slept in and Alvaro and I wanted to go to the beach and catch some sun. Unfortunately, Dan and Ben got bad sunburn from the day before and were not able to stay in the sun.

We had a snack for breakfast and then Alvaro and I went to the beach while the others were working out in the hotels gym. Later that afternoon we wanted to check out one of Chicago’s specialties: Deep Dish Pizza. So we went to Gino’s which is supposed a good spot to eat that kind of pizza. Too bad that this was a tourist place and we had to wait for a while to get a table. I have to admit that this wasn’t my type of pizza. It was very rich and stuffed but I prefer traditional Italian pizza.

Our next stop at that night was “The Bean”. It is a public sculpture, made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together. Its highly polished exterior has no visible seams. The original name is “Cloud Gate” but because of its form, it is called “The Bean” in common.

As we needed to check out the next day, we decided to have the car around the corner and so we took the Metra line back to Irving Park to get it. Later that night we went to a few bars around the corner and also met with Alex, Benny’s former boss in Germany who started to live and work in Chicago a month ago.

Getting up the next morning was hard but we headed home with a lot of nice memories and impressions after a wonderful weekend.

To see get more impressions of our Chicago weekend, check out my photo album:

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wild, wild west - Farewell for Jackie and Lalo

Some of you who read my blog from time to time might have recognized that there was no farewell party for a long time. But unfortunately the end of the internship of my dear roomie Lalo was approaching. Another intern, Jackie who just moved into my house got a job offer from Siemens Germany and had to say goodbye as well. The party took place Saturday night. Along the tradition they also had a theme party at the intern party house. This time, we had to dress up in the Wild West style. This was a very funny party theme for all the Cowgirls and Cowboys, playing around with their colts and hats.

Check out more party pictures here:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lets have "Spätzle"!

Even though it is always interesting to explore other cultures and different food, it is still wonderful to have some traditional German food. Among the interns, we have a lot of people from Swabia who know how to prepare home made "Spätzle". Spätzle are a type of egg noodle of soft texture found in the cuisine of Germany and of Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Alsace and of Bolzano-Bozen.

Spätzle dough typically consists of few ingredients, principally eggs, flour, and salt. Often, water is added to produce a thinner dough.

Traditionally, Spätzle are made by scraping dough off a wooden chopping board ("Spätzlebrett") into boiling salt water where they cook until they rise to the surface. They are then skimmed and put aside.

Since this can be a cumbersome way to prepare spätzle, several devices were invented to facilitate cooking that resemble a strainer, (or colander), a potato ricer ("Spätzlespresse"), a food mill or coarse grater ("Spätzlehobel"). Like with scraped Spätzle, the dough drops into the boiling water.

Lucky enough, Mona has a special ricer for Spätzle and so we had a lot a fun to make them. Mona gave instructions and I was happy to press my first "Spätzle":-)

They tasted soooo delicious and we were all so happy having original, handmade German food:)

To see more pics from that funny evening, check my digital photoalbum: