September 27th, 2005

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The Van and the Sofa (Part 1)

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We were offered a sofa bed by a friend of ours who is leaving Switzerland, and this was just too good an offer to pass up, especially since we’ve got my parents and sister staying over Christmas, and the new sofa bed could fit in our study and create a new ‘guest room’ :-)

So, how to pick up said sofa? I looked into paying a man with a van, but this is Switzerland and that was expensive. Mobility came to the rescue! This is the swiss car sharing scheme that I’ve been wanting to try for ages! It has 17500 vehicles in 1000 locations. We got a trial 4 month subscription for 70chf, and then booked our ‘transport’ van online. We picked it up from the Train Station car park, and amazingly the mobility credit card opened the gates for us and opened the van doors :-) I was a bit disconcerted that there wasn’t a handbrake, but then realised the van was automatic – thank goodness…. Part 2 to Follow!
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The Van and the Sofa (Part 2)

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I was pretty worried about driving here, what with being on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, not knowing how to navigate out of Wiedikon, across Zurich and towards Kilchberg, and lastly not being how sure how big the van was! The van was actually amazingly easy to drive and manoveure, and I managed to do some nifty three point turns and reversing into tight spots :-) It was great to have such an elavated view of the road.

Alan is a brilliant navigator. We have a deal (since he can’t drive) – he navigates and gives me all the directins, including which lane to be in. I don’t care if we get it wrong, as long as he makes the decisions! The sofa fitted into the van, we drove back, got a bit lost in the centre of Zurich, did a few laps of Bellevue and Bahnhofstrasse, but finally found our way home! Unloaded sofa and returned van, all within 2 hours. Our office now has a lovely sofa bed, new cushions and it now doubles as the “guest room”. As a bonus, our mate also donated his plant (no idea what it is :-) I’ve watered and pruned it, so our flat also now has greenery :-)

I was so worried about the whole plan, but I needn’t have been. I’m an advanced driver, and I should learn to trust my skills and believe in Alan’s confidence in me!
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First Agency Interview

I had my first 'interview' with an agency in Zurich today, luckily in english (to break me in gently!) I think it went as well as expected, even though I felt a bit down and uncertain at the end of it. I emphasized my skills and strengths and tried to account for my career narrative so far. On the positive side, the agent said that he'd by happy to introduce me to ay of their international companies, so therefore I must be of the right calibre, and he seemed happy to search for stuff for me and to take me on, so to speak. But on the down side he reckoned that I'd be quite hard to place, that I might have to stick with IT Training (and not move to coaching / management training) ... that it would be a challenge to find me something and that it wouldn't happen particuarly quickly. He also suggested contract work, and /or falling back on my call centre / helpdesk experience, which I'm not too sure about.

I knew the agent wasn't going to say "Great, we can place you immediately, I have the perfect job for you!" and I do realised that this job hunt is going to take a while. But all the same, I did feel pretty downhearted. They also said that it's easier to move job once you've got your foot in the door of a company, and that swiss companies can be quite rigid on their acceptance of people and qualifications. I guess all I can do is to keep plugging away, taking the next steps, and talking to and making as many contacts as possible. I didn't think I was particuarly nervous, but at one point looked down and realised that I was fiddling with the business card, I guess my tension was showing in my fidgeting!
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Media Star! (or my 30 seconds of fame...)

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The long awaited article on Bookcrossing in Zurich has appeared today in the Coopzeitung: Wenn Buecher laufen lernen!" It's a really good write-up (sorry, only in German) and features the wonderful Zurich bookcrossers katcolorado & sunneschii. The photos are great, and there's even a few from our Zurich Meetup in May - can you spot me? If you can't, you're not alone - My own Mother didn't recognise me! In my defence, my hair had been cut and blow-dryed that day, it's not usually that perfect looking :-) If you're interested, it's the fourth photo and I'm sat at a table and I'm either passing a piles of books to someone, or as is more likely, grabbing them for myself!

The second bit of media coverage for the day happened on the Annie Othen BBC Radio Coventry Show. Bookcrosser Netstation (aka Sir Steve) was in the studio talking about bookcrossing, and I was quick enough to email in whilst the segment was on air. My email was read out!

Hi Annie, I'm listening to you online, and I'm a mad keen bookcrosser in Zurich. I've been here 2 years, and bookcrossing has helped me to meet people, make some great friends, get more books to read, find new places in Zurich (as I release books) and generally helped my social life! We recently had an article in our local Coop newspaper! Best Wishes, Helen