Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Moving into my 'permenant' apartment

After a month of living in Calgary I have left the comfy confines of the corporate apartments and moved into my also comfy own apartment...

Still getting used to living in a different place, felt like I was sleeping in someone elses apartment for the first couple of nights. However I have just moved all the furniture around and it's feeling more like 'home' already. My current issue is that there are so many cupboards and shelves... but I have nothing to put in/on them. Need more things!

Xmas decorations are my next plan...

As for what I've been up to, its been a pretty busy week so far. Met up with an old school friend from my West Buckland days who lives in this part of the world on Saturday which was great. Sunday was spent at Lake Louise ski resort, doing some relaxed skiing and watching the World Cup Super G, awesome! Monday was moving day and yesterday I went to my first Flames game (Ice Hockey), unfortunatly they lost, but it was still good fun!

Work wise I have taken on managing the current 'beach' project, for sure it will be challanging but I'm still optimistic! Check back in a couple of weeks on whether or not I've pulled out all my hair!

Thats it for now :-)
Type in Hindi

Monday, November 24, 2008

Not your average Sunday...

Thought I would entertain you all with this anecdote from my Sunday...

So, I'm having a nice lazy Sunday, I had just loaded my washing into the machine and was happily sat on the sofa watching Back to the Future. I look over towards my kitchen area and I literally see a wave of water pouring through my apartment....

I leap up, roll up my trousers and before I know it i'm ankle deep in water, hot water at that. My washing machine had decided to empty onto the floor rather than out the water outlet pipe. So there's me hopping about in the water, trying to grab everything off the floor, pulling all the electricals out of the wall, turning off the washing machine and desperatly trying to find the number for my landlord. Meanwhile the water is seeping through the floors and through the walls heading towards the bedroom and wardrobe. If only I could of seen myself at this point...

So, my horrified landlord appears, telling me that they had infact been doing something with the washing machine during the week but they had given her the ok to use everything... clearly they were wrong. A lot of mopping up and drying the floor with towels later, I grab my overnight things and head up to another apartment that is empty in the building.

So the next day, turns out all the floors had to be taken up and there are massive drier things in there, See below for the sad looking pictures of my former apartment. I spent this evening moving my things out of that apartment and into this new one!

I am just thankful that I didn't turn on the machine and then go out.... imagine the horror I would of returned to, ruined clothes, water pouring everywhere... HA

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The first Ski day of the season!

Yesterday was my first day back on the Ski Slopes for this season.... and damn do I ache today! Getting old!

A group of us ThoughtWorkers headed to Sunshine Village, Canada in the amazing Banff national park. A bizzare place, within minutes of entering the park on the way up to Sunshine, we had spotted 3 Elk and a Bald Eagle....

Sunshine village is about 2 hours max from Calgary, so like a child at xmas we left Calgary at 8am, super excited! By the time we got up to Sunshine, it certainly wasn't living up to its name, I think its all a marketing ploy, it was dumping... But we won't complain as its still early season and we need all the snow we can get!

Also took a bit of getting used to the cold, it was -10 degrees most of the day, and its going to get a lot colder, but still those chairlift rides were a little chilly! Sunshine village resort is pretty epic, much bigger than anything I have ever skied before, despite the fact that most of it wasn't even open yet.

Well it was great to get back onto the slopes (note to self must go to the gym more....), and heres to a great rest of the season :-)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Week 3 in Calgary

So, 3 weeks in eh (see the Canadian lingo coming in already!)

I'm still in my Corporate Apartment, I have actually found and signed the lease for another apartment, on the other side of Downtown Calgary, but don't move in until the 1st Dec. Looking forward to moving into my own place a lot. The final stages of settling in.

At the moment I'm up by the river, but the new place is 12 block further Downtown, closer to the supermarket and pubs and shops and stuff, so that will be good, and hopefully I'll be able to survive without a car. Its obviously smaller than the place I'm in now, but I'm confident that I will work out well, the furnishing are all pretty nice, as it used to be let as a corporate apartment. I will report back and send pics when I move in in a couple of weeks.

After struggling a bit over the first week, I'm settling in a lot better now. finding the apartment helped, so did setting myself a time to make decisions about my future here. I've set aside a year to settle in with both the country and with the work, and try not to worry about making any long term decisions until then. Also, whats been brilliant, is that there are quite a few 'travelers' at ThoughtWorks at the moment, be it over for a few months or a year, so they are normally up for going out and doing things at the weekend and in the evenings. There are also a few new starts so we're forming a bit of a crowd, which is really nice! Very ThoughtWorky spending all our days and nights together in a heap, but it makes it much easier to settle in.

As for work, things are still quite quiet, theres not as much work as they thought there might be (seems the story of my life at the moment!), so there are quite a lot of us on 'the beach' waiting for work. We have a little project going on, which I was struggling to find my 'place' on, but we've just kicked off some more analysis work on it, and feel much more comfortable now. Keeps us out of trouble at least.

We had a gathering of "Girl Geeks" last week. Its something that ThoughtWorks have started in Calgary to get together female IT workers from around the city, to share ideas, thoughts and experiences. We went for Indian food, and it was actually quite fun. I thought it would be scary and too Oestragen fuelled but infact it wasn't, there were a bunch of really interesting IT women of all ages.

Its chilly here, about zero or under most of the time, had snow over the weekend, but not got to the really cold stuff yet! In general the weather is pretty good, mostly sunny and cold, but today there was really low cloud, so you couldn't see the top of the downtown Skyscrapers which I found a bit odd!
Skiing wise, the mountains opened last weekend, with a reasonable snow coverage. Didn't manage to get up there this weekend, but hopefully next weekend. I'm also vaguely looking into re-instating my Candian Ski Instructing qualifications and doing some training sessions, in an attempt to keep it up but also to meet some like minded snow people hopefully!

This week I hope to go and see Bond again, it's only just got to this side of the pond so the others havn't seen it yet. We have a monthly staff meeting on Wednesday which I'm told ends in the pub, and a few other bits a pieces, lots to keep me busy!

I will be back in the UK over Xmas, from the 19th to the 28th December, which will be really nice, looking forward to it, only a month away!

I've included some pics, of our trip to Elbow Falls, of the park by my apartment and of our attempt to bring Friday pub to Calgary!
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Monday, November 3, 2008

So I move to Calgary

I've made it to Canada!
After a rather leisurely time back in Devon I'm am back working and I'm living in Calgary.

I am of course pretty jet lagged after arriving a couple of days ago, so I'm struggling to write anything too inspired, but here are a few pics of the apartment that I'm staying in untill I find one of my own, Bye for now.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A different turn...

So, where to start?!

The return from India didn't quite go to the original plan. As we all know the London (and world) economy has taken a bashing. On "Meltdown Monday" as the papers have called it, Lehman Brothers workers were not the only ones packing up their desks.

But, after a turbulent few weeks all is not lost, and I'm staying with ThoughtWorks and transferring to their Calgary office. Canada here I come! Not sure when I'm leaving the UK yet but it won't be long. I'm really really excited I can't wait to get there and start my life out in Canada, and I think it's about time for me to stick around in the same city for a little while too.

So bring on the huskies, moose, snow, -30 degrees, ice hockey and poutine I say!

So while I have been waiting for all this to go through I have been back in Devon staying with the parentals. To be honest I have spent a lot of time in PJ's which has been nice! Leaving Val and Beccy behind in London though is not so fun. After spending so much time together and surviving India, it seems weird not to be around each other all the time.

So time to organise my life, do all those things that you never thought of doing before leaving the country....

Monday, October 6, 2008

An anthology of emotional first aid...

I found this poem under the section "Successfully Single".....

Go to Bed with a Cheese and Pickle Sandwich
Mandy Coe

Go to Bed with a Cheese and Pickle Sandwich
It is life enhancing
It doesn't chat you up
You have to make it.

A cheese and pickle sandwich
is never disappointing.
You don't lie there thinking
Am I too fat?
Too fertile?
Too insecure?

Your thoughts are clear,
your choices simple;
to cut in half,
or not to cut in half.
How thin to slice the cheese,
and where you should place the pickle.

From a cheese and pickle sandwich
you do not expect flowers,
poems, words of love and acts of adoration.
You expect what you get:
cheese... and pickle.

You want, you eat,
and afterwards - you have eaten.
No lying awake resentful,
listening to it snore.

Safe snacks.
It comes recommended.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Nearing the end of TWU....

So it's been a while eh?!

We've all been pretty busy with work, long days and lots of hardwork. Will all be worth it i'm sure...
I have just over a week left in Bangalore now, definitly on the home straight... now though I start worrying about finding somewhere to live in London. I have a week in a hotel once I get back to find somewhere in, but still pretty scary!

For the last week the classes have been split, so the developers have been getting deep into developement whilst the analysts do their analyst thing. My confidence in my coding ability has been growing very slowly but at least is growing. I often feel like i'm the only one for whom most of this stuff is completly new, and my brain is starting to hurt with such a fast ramp up! Tomorrow we will be doing a little mini project, where hopefully it will all start to make sense when i see how everything interacts in context, will also be following all Agile practices whilst onthe project so we shall have to see how well that turns out!

Then next week is the week long project simulation, where all 27 of us will be on one team attempting to create a Facebook type networking site..... yeh slightly worried about how that will all work out, as long as everyone is professional about it and puts in 110 % perhaps we'll be ok, but somehow I doubt that will happen! Will i be brave enough to volunteer to be a manager for a day????

I've also moved flats, I have a serious leaking ceiling problem in my original flat so now am happily living with Val (one of my wonderfull fellow London office buddies!). All going well apart from the fight I had with a mosquito one night and am still suffering from, stupid swollen foot!

Am hidingin my room this evening attempting to catch up with emails, sorting out london, car insurance... and Dads upcoming 60th birthday on sunday, which i'm sad not to be around for, but shall catch up soon.

As we start to think about returning to London, I hope to get onto a project as soon as I can so I can put all this new knowledge into practice, but with the current business situation it either means I won't be able to get onto a project for a while and will spend time teaching myslef new things or with a bit of luck i'll manage to get on a project in Canada over the winter so I can go skiing every weekend!! Stay posted!!

Oh yeh had a good night out the other night. For some bizarre reason two weeks before we arrived in Bangalore they decided to ban dancing in places where there is alchohol served, or music playing or something, any resulting in no dancing anywhere.. or so we thought. We'd heard a few horror stories about police raids and the such so hadn't braved going out up until now. But last saturday night we decided to treck to The Beach, which is a bar full of sand... and proceeded to dance the night away, made even more fun by how illegal we were being! Still wierd though everywhere shuts at 11.30pm, which feels particularly wierd when you stumble out of a bar feeling like its 3am and its totally not!

Anyways thats me for now, laters

Monday, August 18, 2008


Hee hee just thought I should write a quick note about my first proper monsoon quite hilarious moment....

Was out bowling with the other TWUers at Leela Palace (the place of wonder, theres proper meat and everything there!) and headed out to leave to realise that its now proper monsoon season and properly pouring outside.... like within minutes you are up to your shins in water... nothing for it but to walk home and just get soaked.... there's a point where you just can't get any wetter!

Thought it was all quite fun really, i guess the novelty will ware off pretty quick when i realise I have no dry clothes left, or I slip and brake my leg... or that the water i'm running though is infact and over flowing poo river...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

1 and a half weeks in....

It feels more like 1 month and a half... in good ways and bad...!

Good news is i'm much more settled now, to be honest we have so much work to get done that I don't have much time to worry anymore!

My daily routine at the moment:
Go to a nearby hotel for all day training
4 sessions of 1 1/2 hours on everything from consulting skills to programming concepts to agile bootcamps!
Eat dinner somewhere (trying to avoid the spicy indian food!)
Do homework (yes i know horrifying eh!)

Exciting stuff eh! having said that we did all get taken on a trip this weekend on Sunday, to a place called Mascal, an hour and half away just outside Bangalore. All 27 of us trooped onto the bus at 6.45am on sunday. We then did about a 1/2 hour treck through Indian jungle to a big rock which we climbed up and then absailed down, good effort for lots of people as they'd never done it before and were pretty scared, but most I think enjoyed in the end!

1/2 of us then left to start the treck to the spot we were having lunch in. Now we were told 1 km, it took at least 2 hours so not sure about that one! We trecked through various spiky bushes, up and down rocks and across plains to finally arrive at the opposite side of the lake to our lunch. We then took boats and kayaks across the lake to get our lunch. We were asked if we wanted to do team building games but the general consensus was a nice lazy afternoon hanging out under the giant umbrellas, and getting sunburnt for us white folk! I must also mention Fergal my goat, which I decided I wanted to take home, he was a particularly stupid goat who kept falling over his own feet while trying to walk and eat at the same time. Some may say he was the ugly one, but I like to think special...

After a considerably shorter walk back to the bus, we all slept on the way home. Was brilliant to get away from the noise and smells of bangalore and get in some fresh air!

Thats it for now!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Coming round to India...

So I think its time to admit that I've been really struggling to settle in.... my apartment is new and so barely finished but I think at long last everything is finally working... touch wood.

And at least I now have internet... not being able to contact home or friends at will is pretty un-settling, don't know what that says about society and our dependence on technology but hey!
I'm looking forward to the prospect of my first warm shower in my apartment in the morning...

Beccy and I have also already got sick.... which didn't help with the grumpiness levels, but we're both getting better and at least can eat again now, but to be honest spicy food for breakfast,lunch and dinner just isn't going to happen anymore if i'm to survive 6 weeks!

I was getting myself into such a state, as I felt so bad that I felt so bad about here... I am supposed to be one of the most travelled people here and yet I seem to be struggling to adjust the most.

The majority of the group of 27 are Indian, who come at life from a totally different angle than us 'westerners'. We've been asking lots of questions but its pretty hard to relate. For example the girls are age still have to ask permission from their parents (even though they have left home) to go to the cinema or to dinner with us, and wont' be allowed unless there is an 'adult' present. And they don't want to rebel because otherwise when it comes to finding a husband in a couple of years, they won't get picked unless they are well behaved, educated, quiet girls... I cant even begin to imagine.

Its also hard to make friends with them like you would normally, so for example you tend to become friends with someone by opening up and sharing experiences and details about you're life, creating a sort of trust I guess, with these guys they don't offer up anything and I think they would consider it entirely inappropriate to talk about personal things, so it makes it really hard to relate. We are also having how diversity is so important to a successful team, and they are right... but also how TWU is held in India so that westerners can experience Asia, but what about the other way around? We come over here and watch what we wear, and eat with the right hand, and lower our eyes when we walk past men and put up with staring.... but is there this tolerance the other way round??

I was starting to worry that I was unable to by myself for fear of offending anyone.. but then I realised that if I'm going to survive 6 weeks here that just can't happen, so i'm back to my sarcastic humorous self, and if then don't like it well.... I am trying for example I still watch what I wear, however the spicy food will stop!

This probably all sounds very cynical and maybe it is... but at the moment its about surviving! And this is how i feel.... Anyways its getting better now that our days are taken up with training, not much time to do anything else!

Anyways best be off and get some sleep, apologies if I have disgruntled anyone with this post....

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The first few days in Bangalore

This is going to be a long post ;-)

So we set off from London on Thursday morning and got driven to Heathrow terminal 5. Saw loads of the sights of London on the way, we were all so excitable! Even ran into the horses from the changing of the guards just by Buckingham Palace. Arrived at the shiny Terminal 5 and am pleased to say the place now runs like clockwork!

Heathrow Terminal 5 before flight2 (1)

The flight was hot and cramped... but I guess they always are right?! But on Mike's recommendation I watched Bucket List and he's right it is good, and then Over Her Dead Body, which was funny I guess, and Then 21, which was pretty good too. The three of us were desperately trying to sleep but it didn't happen! We arrived in Bangalore at 4.15am and waited a long time for ours bags.. literally the last ones off the plane... we joked that maybe they were using an Elephant a small cart to unload them one at a time.... turns out it was probably a goat...We were met by a driver with a ThoughtWorks sign (oh yeh that said Mr Rebecca.... that will stick with her I think!)

We then embarked on probably the scariest car journey of all time... There are no rules of the road in India.. imagine a 3 lane motorway with everything from rickshaws (little moped 3 wheel taxi things) to massive trucks, all going at various speeds, generally as fast a possible, winding in and out of the lanes at a whim, a lot of people straddling the lanes, beeping their horns when approaching another vehicle as they has bashed off all their wing mirrors... there isn't a single car without some kind of dent in it... scary. We also saw a pretty nasty accident as a result... it’s a wonder there are so many Indian people...

We arrived at the Diamond District at about 7.30am, which is the gated compound with the office and loads of apartment blocks. We were met and taken to our different apartments, I have since moved into a different one on my own... They're quite nice, quite basic, but have a kitchen, TV, Air con... Anyways after a quick shower it was off to the office for a day of induction stuff... which unsurprisingly Val, Beccy and myself literally slept through we were so exhausted, we even found a little room to go to sleep in at lunchtime! There are I think 30 something of us on ThoughtWorks University, about 24 from the Indian office, 3 of us from the London office, 1 from Chicago, 1 from Melbourne and then I think there is supposed to be a Canadian and some Chinese coming over the weekend. After a full day of Inductions (which actually could of been done in two hours.. but time keeping or a sense of urgency aren't exactly the Indian's strong point!), The group headed to a restaurant on the complex for a buffet style traditional Indian meal, for all of about 2 pounds.... genius, good for those of us on a western wage! And then a seriously needed sleep was had!
The Trainers from TWU (ThoughtWorks University) arranged for a tour of Bangalore for us today (Saturday). Feeling more optimistic and more energetic we were up for the adventure. We got taken round in a big bus, which made me certainly feel safer on the roads! We visited the Bull temple, and the surrounding gardens, where we discovered the largest bats hanging out in the trees that I have ever seen... gross.

Bull Temple Bangalore (1) Bull Temple Bangalore

Next we had lunch, apparently it was a very famous place that people love to go from around here, you get a big platter thing which is separated into loads of little sections and 1 big one, and they just kept arriving with more and more things to put into them.... they eat so much but stay so small.... they also traditionally eat with their right hand, some of the guys we are with do it this way some with a spoon, Val is getting pretty good at it.. It’s definitely an art!

There are so many traditions and right way of doing things that it’s had to keep up, let alone remember how to pronounce everyone's names properly. At the moment it’s still quite intense questioning for us from the Indian lot, and we are desperately trying to get to grips with all the different aspects. It also gets a lot of getting used to the fact that as white western girls we get stared at all the time and given dirty looks, despite the fact that we're all conservatively dressed and trying to blend in.... Whilst out and about in Bangalore today we having as many pics of us taken by the locals as we were taking of the sights...
After lunch we went on to the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, which are supposed to be modelled on the Kew gardens in London. It’s pretty big and is really nice actually, there’s a big lake at one end, with pelicans in, and there are Monkeys wondering about. We hung about there for a few hours watching the world go by. There are just getting the Gardens all ready with new plants in time for the Indian Independence Day in mid August when they have a big flower show there. While we were all sat on this big rock, there was a little police man whose only job was to keep people off a little patch of new grass, and he was furiously blowing his whistle at anyone who even went within 2 feet of it, quite funny watching from a distance!

Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, Bangalore (7)Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, Bangalore (11)Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, Bangalore (19)

I've now moved to my new apartment, which is nice, although the electricity supply is sporadic at best, must buy some candles tomorrow! Anyways that’s it for now.....

Friday, August 1, 2008

I've arrived...

I here... I'm alive... and I'm exhausted after a morning of work in London, straight to Heathrow, a 10 1/2 hour flight, 2 hours waiting for luggage, a scary ass drive to the apartment and then a ful days work here.... no sleep....

Will update when I have regained some sort of sense!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

First few days in London...

So, I arrived in London on Sunday night up from Devon on the train. Myself and the other two new graduates with ThoughtWorks, Val and Beccy, are all staying in a really plush hotel near Russell Square, about 5 mins down the road from work.

Work is just by Covent Garden so at lunch times we've been exploring there, great being so close. I have also discovered that it turns out you can actually walk places in London and they're not a million miles away from each other too... I thought you had to get the tube everywhere!

For the first few days at work we've just been sorting our selves out really and had a few induction type chats. Got our new laptops too, poor Val and Beccy were deseperate for Mac's and our recruiter Matt had said they were getting them and they got all excited and turns out that they didn't... they were gutted bless 'em!

Theres a wicked view out of the window at work, its in the pic below, I'm such a tourist, you can see the London Eye and Big Ben and parliment and everything!

Feels a bit wierd at work at the moment, we're in a kind of limbo as we can't really do anything untill we've been to India, so hence why I started this blog, plus we have a massive list of stuff to read before we start ThoughtWorks University (TWI) on Friday...

We leave for India tomorrow, arriving in Bangalore at 4.15am on Friday and then straight to the office for 9am!

Meeting up with some old friends tongiht, can't wait to see them, and then tomorrow the real adventure begins, lets just hope that ThoughtWorks have actually remembered to book out cars/flights/Apartments in India!!
The view out of the office....
My fellow Grads Val and Beccy

The first blog...

As I've just joined ThoughtWorks and they're really into blogging, I thought it was about time that I gave this blogging malarky a go...

I hope to have regular updates on where I am and what i'm doing as I embark on my new career and various adventures, including photos and wierd things that I come accross along the way.

Feel free to comment and come back regularly to see what Ive been up to.