Diary of an Expat, Part 17
Travel. Friggin' travel.
So. Now I'm back in Berlin, and this brings to mind something immediately to mind, which is that it is f**king cold here. Sunnyvale was in the 60s and 70s, and clear. Denver was in the 50s and 60s, and clear.

Berlin is in the 30s, and drizzling, and extremely windy. Combined with the "blink and you miss it" daylight cycle here, this makes the return a bit unpleasant. On the other hand, I acquired a scarf whilst back in the United States, and a hat that covers my ears, and so I can just button up against the cold and pretend like nothing's wrong.

What I have yet to see any of is snow. It snowed very briefly — on the order of a few minutes — the day I left Berlin, but I haven't seen any since. It didn't snow when I was in Denver, either, and this has me wondering whether or not I might make it through this winter without the stuff. I wouldn't exactly mind, although I've promised myself one good winter of enjoying snow. I bought a pair of boots back in the United States, and they're waterproof, so, we'll see.

I also bought some pants in the United States. So, that's one thing you should remember if you move to Germany, is that the clothing is cut differently than you might be used to, and rather than trying to figure it out I took the easy option of waiting until I went back to the States and buying it then.

Actually, as it happens, I kind of hinted that this post would be "things that I wish I had done whilst I was in the United States that I can't do now," but actually I haven't immediately found any of those yet beyond the clothes. So instead, before I crash, I'm going to talk about traveling.

Traveling from Germany to the United States is alright — if you leave in the morning, you wind up getting in in the early afternoon, or so, with enough time left to wind up getting tired, and then you crash. 8 or 9 PM Pacific time is 4 in the morning in Germany, by which point you ought to be pretty well dead, minus a few hours if you grabbed a kip on the plane.

Going the other way, people tell me, is much worse. When you want to go to bed (e.g. at 10 or 11 at night) it is time to wake up and start your day in Germany. Jetlag screws with your sleep schedule, sometimes for days at a time. I'm told. I flew back to Berlin by way of Minneapolis-St. Paul and Schiphol; the flight between the two is eight hours long, so I hatched the brilliant plan of staying up all night, sleeping straight across the Atlantic, and waking up again just before landing, more or less with my clock in order.

However! Delta 258 was hosting the annual "For how long can your child shriek at the top of their lungs?" pageant, and therefore I did not actually sleep at all. This does, however, permit me to introduce my new, patented beat-the-jetlag method, which goes like this:

1. Stay up all night for your 6AM flight leaving San Jose
2. Doze fitfully for a few minutes between San Jose and Minneapolis
3. Attempt to sleep from Minneapolis to Amsterdam, but allow yourself to be haunted by the unbroken, chthonic wails of tortured children until you go slightly mad
4. Disembark from the plane, go straight to the office. Arrive by 10:30
5. Work a 12 hour day
6. Drag your sorry ass a mile and a half back to your home in 50 mile an hour winds
7. Pass out.

Jetlag problem solved.

I should note that this does involve some careful planning on your part, but I assure you it's all quite worthwhile.

On the other hand, because the people at the Sunnyvale office have, rather ominously, asked me to return there, I suspect I'm going to have cause to test it in the upcoming months.

Travel is not as awesome as you sort of think it might be, at first.

But it's good to be back in Berlin!
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