My longest two weeks ever

Hey, It's been a while since my last blog post, I was somehow busy getting married, moving to another country, dealing with tons of paper work, however finally I had a weekend, and I am back to blogging, I have a lot to say, and I think it will be interesting enough for you to keep reading till the end

So basically this is what I am going to blog about today

  1. Last days in Cairo
  2. Moving to Canada & Vancouver City
  3. Microsoft Canada Development Center (MCDC)
    1. First Days
    2. MCDC Cares Day

Last days in Cairo

The past two weeks started with my wedding arrangement and God, this is very exhausting, lots of stuff to deal with, writing a guest list, however Thanks to Facebook I didn't have to call everybody, and the result I came out of the wedding experience is, my kids whatever their IQ will be, they will have one of two options in their career life, either being a wedding planner or a hair dresser and/or make up artist.

The wedding was nice, it was a very nice opportunity for me to see everybody before being relocated to Canada, I really thank everyone for showing up that night, I was really proud of my friends.

Moving to Canada & Vancouver City

Couple of days after my wedding I was in the plane with my wife heading to Vancouver, we had a 20 hours journey from Cairo, we had a connection in London, the flight went smooth and very nice, however my back hurts when I recall sitting for 10 hours from London to Vancouver.

Once we arrived to Vancouver, we took a cab to our temp house, the first thing I noticed the high-tech cabs, the cab has a GPS with maps for the city, and also a very interesting fare counter, the counter was moving like a stop watch, even when the cab wasn't moving, the counter continues to move, the ride from the Airport to the temp house, which took around 15 mins cost about 27 CAD.

The city is wonderful, the streets are clean, nice and easy to learn, people are extra friendly, both cars and people are moving according to traffic rules, this is quite interesting for anyone coming from a country like Egypt :)

The temp house is in a very nice area, Map, I am in the 29th floor, so I have an amazing view of the sea and the mountains.

My first couple of days were very hard, because of the electricity here in Vancouver, the problem that the voltage range here is 100~110, while Egypt is 200~220 so many devices I had didn't work, also I found the strange outlet in the wall, which is different from the Egyptian outlets, so all devices like Laptops, Mobiles ... etc went out of charge during the first couple of days, I had to find a store where I can buy some adapters, in these days I felt like stone age, no mobile phones, no computers, no Internet, how could we live 15 years before today, Once I got the adapters I could communicate with my friends who arrived in Vancouver city couple of days before me (Haytham, Mustafa and Abdullah)

Also a nice tip, when I was changing money from Egypt, CAD was cheaper than USD, in Vancouver, CAD is higher than USD, so I lost some money when I exchanged some USD to CAD here in Vancouver.

Live/Google maps works great in Vancouver, and all Canada area, providing great help for directions and finding addresses, Google Maps though has a nice feature to give direction in public transit, so you can see which busses you'll need to take and at what time.

Microsoft Canada Development Center

In the picture from left, Abdullah, Mostafa and Me

In the picture from left, Abdullah, Mustafa and Haytham 

Here comes the first day @ Microsoft, the first day started in a park nearby Microsoft, the day started with some introductory sessions about Microsoft Canada, and Microsoft future of Computing, and the future vision of MS.

After couple of hours we went to MCDC, we had a nice tour around the facility, the place is very amazing, simple and fun, some parts still under construction.

People there are from everywhere, it is like a small united nations, Egyptians are all over the place and we are increasing, in our batch there was 7 Egyptians out 31 new hires, this is quite nice number.

Then after the tour we had another session about the needed paperwork, lots of forms to fill, I had to write my name about 50 times later this night when filling in the forms, then we head to our offices.

My office is in Building 3, Office 1077B, I am sharing the same office room with Mostafa, every dev is using two machines, one for web surfing, email, IM, ... etc and the other for development, the machines are GREAT, I even found people working in triple machine setup according to their work needs.


In the first day my manager called me from Redmond, I IMed the other team mates, I found out that I am the only dev outside Redmond in my team.

During the first days, we were all busy finishing the paperwork, we didn't start working yet, however in the forth day we had a great experience.

MCDC Cares

Since our first day, we were asked to join this event, the event called MCDC Cares, is a community work program that Microsoft will help the Richmond city in building a 700ft long boardwalk in Richmond Park, the idea is that this part of the park is very muddy that no visitors can get inside, so Microsoft decided to help in building this boardwalk by providing manpower (150 computer geeks) for a whole day.

So early on May 15th, all Microsoft Canada Development Center gathered in the cafeteria where Parminder (Par) Singh, the Managing Director of MCDC gave a short speech to everybody

In the picture Parminder Singh

After this we all moved to the park, the park is quite big, it was my first time to actually feel being in the woods, were the trees are very high and land is either very green or very muddy.

In this picture the completed part of the boardwalk we were about to complete, the  boardwalk goes very deep into the woods.

So first things first, we had to move 1500 pieces of wood from the parking area outside the park to the working place deep into the woods, about 800m distance, this part of the job took around 4~5 hours.

After this phase we had a lunch break and during this break

Then phase 2 started, the phase 2 was to nail the 1500 pieces of wood we moved in phase 1 with 6 nails per piece, so in a period of 3 hours we had to hummer about 9000 nails manually.

Then we head back to MCDC, very exhausted but very happy with the work we've done, this boardwalk will be there for ages, and this was a very nice opportunity to do something useful.

In MCDC we had a BBQ party for everyone so the day ended pretty much after the BBQ, then I believe that everybody slept like a baby for more than 9 hours :)

Here you can find the TV coverage of MCDC Cares day

If you read this line so you survived the whole blog post, thank you for reading this, I will be blogging again & again, so keep in touch :)