To Endings and New Beginnings – There And Back Again

....and so it begins - yet again.

Prologue

Missing Endings, the full story.

USA - The End
So, my story stopped short last I was in the US, back in 2006. We were just about to finish up a 3 month stint in New Jersey that had seen us work on a research project for Panasonic Princeton Research Labs. It was a great experience, both personally and professionally. Back in Denmark we had been allowed to fall behind classes by 1 month due to our trip, so we had some catching up to do.

Studies - Wrapping Up
University, friends, partying, spare time interests, computers especially, took up most of my time for the next 9 months until we graduated. During this time I also managed to break my big toe while dancing with my best friend, as some cow stepped on it with her high heels and I was wearing sandals (let that be a lesson to me!). 2 days later I passed my second last exam, and the day after that I went to my second interview, on crutches, at the company which I currently work for, Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR), as a software engineer.

Work - The Beginning of a New Journey
My time with CSR has been quite the ride. I started in one group and after 8 months I changed to another, another 3 months on - yet another group, this time customer support. This was at the end of 2008. I worked on an exciting project that (fortunately for me) was starting a rewrite of much of their host software. This gave me a unique chance to put my mark on the project, and I had many good experiences with it. At the start of 2009, I was asked to join a customer project - the customer was Sharp, and it might hold a trip to Japan for me.

Around the World - Firefighting on the Frontlines
Excited about those prospects, and at the chances of learning some more Bluetooth, I said yes. 4 horrific months (of painful debugging and analyzing code) later, I was on a plane to Tokyo, now with a twisted angle I had injured just 2 weeks prior to the trip.

Long story short: Japan was another world. The work itself was brutal, loooong work-days, a non-relenting customer with unreasonable demands and poor me caught in the middle. Good spirits and awesome co-workers made it a success, however, and I left Japan after 5 intense weeks with many new experiences in my back-pack, and learned a great deal about my own limits (also that I was not good at saying no - I have never been that stressed before in my life. Instead of having the time to relax when I came back home, I had signed up for 11 days of intensive drinking and hard labour, so not the best of circumstances to recover under. I had signed up before going to Japan, so I had little choice). Out of my stupor I slowly got back into the normal habituals of every day life.

Since then, I have worked on a number of new projects, new technologies, and I still like my job a lot. I am, however, beginning to get a bit fed up with all the travelling - as my 2010 was one long trip. I all started December 2009 with a 2-week business trip to Shanghai, China. Got back, and on a last minute chance I joined a 1-week skiing trip to Sweden. It was awesome, as was the temperature, with a negative index, that is. We drove there and back, but upon arriving, the thermometer said -26 degrees!! Brutal! Back from that, I left for Shanghai again 3 days later, this time for 2½ week. I were back from that for a full week before going to Cuba for 3 weeks. That was an awesome experience. I left with a good friend, who is also a co-worker, and who was with me for the first two weeks in Hiroshima, and one of his good buddies. Much rum, bumping around on the potholed roads of Cuba, dancing, diving, partying etc, later, we were back from one of the best vacations I have had in a really long time. By early March, I had been away more than I had been at home. Next followed a 1 month break before I left for Shanghai once again. This time I was away for 3½ weeks, bringing my total of Shanghai visiting to 8 weeks in the duration of 5 months!
My return trip was almost foiled by an evil vulcano - but alas, I had promised my grandmother to be back for her 90th birthday, and it was thus!

Taiwain - Love at First Sight?
Next followed about 3 months of working in Denmark, was a nice change :) However, next up was a project in Taiwan that we needed a lot of staffing on, so the longer I could stay on, the better. I was originally scheduled to stay for 5 weeks, but ended up staying just over 8 weeks, coupled with a vacation to Hong Kong to play Gaelic football, a pastime I had picked up while in Taipei. It was a great trip, and it had really spurred my desire to try out a secondment, so things were put into motion! Back from Taiwan/Hong Kong, I kept at it, and after a longer than hoped for settling of all the legalese, a contract was signed and I was good to go to Taiwan for 2011! Exciting indeed!

What a Prologue!
So, here ends the the Ending of the first part of a long retelling of the past 4 year. And so, as with all Endings there is a New Beginning.

Interlude

So, while that accounts for my life up until circa the end of 2010, I still need to catch up to February 2011 :)

Winding Down One Aspect of My Life
So, with a signed contract for secondment in 2011, I suddenly had to wrap up much of my life as I knew it, and start anew in Taiwan. It would not be from scratch, I still have my family and friends back home, but a +7 hour time-difference and my experience from last year with all the travelling and being away from home showed me that distance matters.

I got started packing, made preparations to sublet my apartment, and prepared for a few months of goodbyes and winding down as Christmas approached. But it was not to be so. I was off to San Jose, as mentioned previously, and when I got back, I was assigned to a project that had "impending explosion" written on it a few days after.

This all meant that I was super stressed out as Christmas arrived, having barely made it with the packing down, getting the apartment cleaned, and still finding time to say goodbye to friends. I had accepted going to Beijing to work on the project just a few days after I would arrive in Taiwan. Due to an incredible ill-timed delay of my plane, inbound from Hong Kong, my departure was postponed, first for the following morning, until it coincided with an incoming blizzard, which left me grounded in Copenhagen airport for 5 hours.

....Winding Up Many Others
I touched down in Taiwan around noon on the 7th of January, did speed-runs of IKEA and the local hardware pushers, before flying out again on the 10th of January. At this point, I was cold, tired, over-worked, and just plain sick of things. I wanted to be back in Taiwan, and the project (which I at this point thought of as "Project please-go-die") could not have interested me much less. The below-zero temperatures in conjunction with the strong winds, which made it feel even colder, had me in a foul mood too. I was basically freezing me bum off from the point where I left the hotel in the morning until I returned much later during the evening.

Finally, I was relieved of duty, and I made a return to Taiwan, with little else in mind than relaxation and getting settled in. The project did not leave my table, however, so I am still at it. However, I got settled, got really drunk the same night as I returned as a "good" way of flushing away the bad emotions, and have been meeting lots of new people ever since.

Also, in other important news, I turned 30 on the 19th of February. I had asked a bunch of people to come to OnTap, a nice, modern, pub where they serve delicious burgers and buckets of beer! Much fun was had, especially with the tumbling towers, as have now seem to become a tradition when at OnTap :-D
Later in the night we went to Roxy99 to get our booty shaking, and shake them we did ;)

Wonderful night - and a nice, relaxed Sunday to top it off.

Settling In
I still have a few kinks to work out, my sleep habits are a bit messed up, I am quite tired a lot of the time, and I exercise less often than I would like - the last point is especially important as that is my way of removing stress.

I do, however, feel I am adjusting to all the new impressions, I am meeting new, and wonderful :), people - and I have seen a bit of Taiwan too. Too little so far, though.

My apartment is furnished, but it was quite spartan, so I feel much more at home now after having spent silly amounts of NTD at IKEA and adding a few imported souvenirs from back home. Makes a world of difference after a long day/week. Also, for the geek in me (and it is a rather big geek! :P) I got my setup sorted, buying a NAS, a media center, new 27" monitor, setting up my desktop computer, and almost finishing up with the recovery of data after a stupid "whoops, did I just delete that??" incident. Oh well, c'est la vie, right?

Epilogue

Each new door opened brings us new worlds of opportunities.

Who, Me?
So much about the past and some of the present. I think now would be a good time to introduce myself better, to those who are new and do not know of me very well yet :)

I was born in 1981, on the 19th of February. I studied Computer Science at Aalborg University for 5 years. I have one sister and ever-so-considerate, supporting and helpful parents.

Sports - The Natural Road to a Long Life and Good Health (and Fun and Removing Stress!)
My pastime interests are mainly sports, computers, photography, travelling, friends, dancing, and partying :) I have a personal ambition of finishing a triathlon very soon, my running skills are mostly where they need to be, just need more kilometres done every week to keep the shape, biking is decent, should be able to finish that part, but my swimming is terrible. And I find that part dull. I will hopefully make it, otherwise I have duathlons to keep me busy until then.

My biggest hindrance to this has so far been excessive travelling, that besides breaking up good streaks of exercise patterns also has me eating too much food, and not-seldom-enough junk food.

Photography - Time and Models Wanted
Photography is something I fancy a lot, but which I am not yet very good at, or do I as much as I would like to. I have probably spent much more money on gear than what logic would dictate, but I can't help it, I am a gear freak :) I have invested a bit in portable studio gear and I hope to do some test portrait shoots as soon as I get around make the time and I find a willing victim ;)

To Travel is to Live
Travelling is something I love - and mostly I never get my hunger for experiencing other cultures and seeing new places sated. I like to know what the must-see places are, but I tend to only get it done half-way, and then I improvise the rest. I really like not being bound by anything, going with the flow is an important part of travelling to me.

Even so, I must say I got fed up with travelling last year, my private vacations were really good: skiing, Cuba, Hong Kong - and the first many business trips to Shanghai, Cambridge, and Taiwan I loved too. I even liked San Francisco a lot, but by that time I was a bit stressed, tired, and was not really in the mood. Felt like I had a ton of unfinished business back home, so my mood for that trip was quite different than it usually is.

I still have so much of the world I want to see, but I feel like cheating myself out on something beautiful if I do not try to see as much of Taiwan first as possible, before going elsewhere. I have joined some groups that do hiking trips, so I hope that will be a good way to meet people and get to see more of Taiwan. Sadly, I also have to spend vacation on a trip back to Denmark at the end of May/beginning of June, and also for Christmas, as those days are not part of the Taiwanese holidays, which I abide by now that I am seconded there.

The Dreaming
That's all folks(?)

My very loose plans for the next year and beyond involves doing everything what I like, while getting better at supporting the three pillars upon which I believe a healthy and good life rests: a good night's sleep, nutritional and healthy food, and lots of exercise. I have the exercise done pretty well, except when travels tends to get in my way and food ditto. As for the sleep, there is simply not hours enough in a day to do all that I want, so I have a hard time turning in before midnight. That is something I have to work harder at.
Professionally I would like for myself to get a better overview of where things are going, instead of just drifting into things, sometimes by pure coincidences, mostly because others suggests stuff and I just go with the flow. I do not mind this, and it suits my off-work life-style nicely, but I believe in more control when I work. It increases the visibility of my future work, removes surprises and I can better prepare for my tasks so that I may solve my assignments more efficiently.
I really want to be a part of the daily life in Taiwan, so I want to meet more local people instead of just embedding myself in a virtual walled garden of expats without ever really getting in touch with what it means to be a local. So I plan on taking Mandarin classes (learn Chinese) to pick up basic phrases and learn more about the culture. Seeing more of Taiwan is a must, provided I do not end up spending all my weekends during business trips in other places.
Getting a girlfriend is also a rather high priority, but as with so many things in life, such a thing cannot be forced. I would like someone to travel with and discuss the stuff that happens to us in life when we are not looking ;-)

For All Intents and Purposes
My ending note will be on the purpose of my blog. It has several goals:

  • Document my where-about to concerned friends and family (*waves* - Hi Mum and Dad!)
  • Provide a funny/interesting window into my thoughts and doings during snapshots of my life. I imagine this will be funny to read years later.
  • Let me put into words what I think about. Unfortunately I am not good at being succinct, but I shall try harder (what a great start, no? :-))

Thank you for tuning in! Leave comments and thoughts if you have anything to share.

3 Comments

  1. certainly like your website however you need to test the spelling on quite
    a few of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling
    issues and I to find it very troublesome to tell the reality however I’ll definitely come back again.

    • Hi eaten,
      Sorry – I really don’t understand the complaint. I am usually pretty hard on others who can’t spell, and I take pride in not having spelling mistakes. But should I have slipped, do apologize, and please let me know where I messed up so I can improve 🙂

      Cheers,
      Lasse

    • Aarrhh, I get it – it’s a joke – right? 😛
      The first few posts are in Danish – and would be incomprehensible to anyone not native (or from Scandinavia at least 😉

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