One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052, USA
We moved. For the most part. Sabine and I now live in a temporary housing location that Microsoft set us up in while we wait for practically everything we own except for the 5 suitcases that we brought along with us a week ago. One half of the rest are about 9 boxes that were sent as air-freight and sit at Seattle-Tacoma Airport and we’re expecting to clear customs and be shipped to our temporary apartment any day now. The other half is a 40-feet long sea container with our furniture and most everything else that we own that’s somewhere in the belly of a container freighter between Bremerhaven and California at this time. I write “in the belly” because I hope it’s not in one of the upper 3-4 layers above deck – which are actually supposed to go overboard when the ship gets into heavy seas …
So between the last few posts here just after our wedding and today, there was hardly any time to get much serious work done. Not that moving isn’t any work, but it’s not what I consider being productive in the job. Right after we came back from our honeymoon in beautiful Vietnam (it’s a great place with gorgeous landscapes, very friendly people and lethally dangerous street traffic) we started to wrap and pack our things. While the moving company wouldn’t let us pack anything in our apartment and even repacked the boxes from the last move that ended up in the basement, dealing with the immaterial things to wrap up proved to be a lot more time consuming than we both anticipated. Cancelling insurances and contracts like mobile phones and cable TV, negotiating with the service providers to avoid early cancellation fees, selling both of our cars, etctetc. And of course there was some sort of “farewell” party/dinner/drinks event with friends and family almost every evening in the last two weeks – with all the emotional stress that comes with that, especially for Sabine’s family. My family took it a little easier since they are used to me circling the globe and I’ve already done the move from Germany to America once before for a while.
However, by now all of that stress has mostly dissolved thanks to the excellent communication options at hand these days. We’ve got Webcams along with Messenger and Skype, friends and family are looking up the best phone rates for Germany-to-US calls from the website billiger-telefonieren.de (depending on time of day, there are providers offering calls for less than 1 (one) Euro Cent per minute) and Sabine sends lots of pictures around so everyone knows where we landed.
Microsoft. Ah, yes, Microsoft. The relocation benefits that the company offers for international hires are quite astonishing. Except for doing your personal paperwork to get rid of your contracts, selling your cars (forget about bringing foreign cars to the US unless they are collector’s items and more than 30 years old) and selling or renting out your house, everything else is taken care of. We got a temporary furnished apartment and a rental car and a lump sum expense payment so that we can, for instance, replace all those small appliances like coffee maker, toaster, and mixer that aren’t compatible between Europe and here. It goes so far that if you lose money on the sale of your house or car by having to sell it quickly and under fair market value (which is common when you sell a car to a dealer), you will get compensated for the difference (up to a certain cap). For the first couple of months we even have someone personally assigned to us who helps with setting up banking, getting our driver’s licenses, finding a new place to live, getting shopping advice, etcetc. It’s great.
While all of that was and is going on, our team is putting the finishing touches on our first release of the Windows Communication Foundation in the .NET Framework 3.0. And we’re doing very good. Between all the moving craziness I’ve been contributing a tiny little bit to the product by writing two of the SDK samples to help landing the SDK smoothly on the deadline for the RTM SDK code content. Besides that, there was no time for blogging and therefore I didn’t. Yes, I might have been able to, but I’m not Scoble ;-) Sorry for the long blog-silence. I’ll better myself. Have good start into your work week.