Monday, 4 April 2011

Peeing behind a pile of snow

When the flight took off from the landing strip on Greenland I was sooo happy. I don’t think I have ever been so ready for take off as I was after eight days on Greenland. Eight days with my new colleagues, eight days off teambuilding, God I know these people well now, an effective speed dating! Looking back it was a unique experience and something I will remember forever….and that is not the case for all business trips I can assure you!

I don’t think I had ever envisage me literally living on a landing strip before, in a shelter they called hotel when it actually was an old military base, in a room you just could not stand to be in. To give you a flavour of the things we did to keep us occupied in the middle of nowhere we LISTENED, yes you read right, we listened to a football game on radio. All 10 of us sitting in one room listening to radio, bizarre, but more entertaining than I think you think! After a couple of hours the guide told us we could go to a bowling hall and we all got very, nearly too, excited about this opportunity…after another hour she informed us the bowling hall was closed, they waited for spare parts….which they had done for the last six months! 

Another little experience was to go on a bus trip for a full day without any opportunity to go to the ladies, what do you do when you are travelling with work, with your new leadership team and new company? You simple have to live with the fact that you have to ask the gentlemen to move away and try to hide….on the top of a glacier….behind a little snow pile…it is just not I!

On the other hand I must say that this trip really made me get to know this team and God we have laughed, so what more can you ask for or what else can you do when you are stuck on a military base on Greenland? Sit and cry, no thank you, just waste of time, so just had to go with the flow!

Tomorrow time for Düsseldorf!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Stuck on Greenland!

Do you cry, laugh, get frustrated, happy or angry when you realise that you are stuck on Greenland and Monday is the earliest you can leave?

A few probably thinks, yeah nice then you can explore the surroundings even further….my comment would be I have done the exploring part and I feel completed that stage….so have not come to the phase yet, maybe I will and then I let you know. You have to remember I’m here with work colleagues I have not even known for a month and have spent day and night with them since Monday morning….all very very nice and pleasant to both work and be with and the week has been more than terrific but I need some me space and some family time now.

A few would be frustrated and angry….and yes I have gone through that stage today….but left it behind as I realised there is nothing I can do about it and it will just be even more boring if I spend my energy being frustrated. I mean I would of course been able to land the plane if I was the pilot but now I have to live with the fact the pilot was not as confident in landing in the fog in Ilulissat as I would have been.

A few would cry, and yes I nearly started to cry today when I realised not getting on the plane today meant not only stuck until tomorrow but until Monday…at least!!! But crying in front of the new team did not feel as an option. I pulled myself together!

A few would laugh, and yes I have gone through that stage as well today but not because it was funny more out of craziness I guess. Do you know that the highest level of suicides are committed in Greenland, and I must say I understand them….this length would probably be my limit with the cold, the isolation and the nothing to do part once you’ve gone thru the sledging, sailing and helicopter ride as well as the food experience of eating whale meat and whale fat…no I did not eat the fat part but we were served it. It is very sad to tell you that the hospital here in the village has drop-in every Thursday for all girls who need to do an abortion…have nothing else to do than have unprotected sex apparently! Being me you do not have to worry I won’t commit suicide nor will I have protected or unprotected sex!

So what’s up now? I have finally got a room at the hotel after sitting in the lobby since 8 am and I’m happy to let you know Queen Tessi has been upgraded once again to a suite and will at least be able to get a bit of me space before it’s time for another joint night with the team.

For good and for bad this experience has helped me to get quickly into the team and to get to know them both professionally and privately.

Cross fingers we get confirmation we have seats on Monday!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Marveallous helicopter ride!!!

Just landed after a totally marveallous and spectacular helicopter ride. Felt like walking on the moon, it is indescribable in all ways. The views, the look, the cold, the helicopter ride over the icebergs and the arctic, it was a unique experience!!

Right now life is fair and I am jealous of myself!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011


After a 4.5 hours flight from Copenhagen we landed on Greenland, did a short transfer and then time for a little propeller plane to take us to Illulissat (Jakobshavn). Everywhere you look it was just snow, snow, ice, ice and a bit of water, nothing and I really mean nothing else was there to see….and the look of it was cold!!!

Arrived to Hotel Arctic, just the name can help you start imaging how cold it is here, it is really Arctic. A quick change of clothes and shoes and then time for a two hours walk to see this little tiny place. Thermometer shows – 25 C, sun was shining and I thought if we just keep a good pace it will be alright. I can tell you I was very wrong! As soon as we stopped to listen to the tour guide it felt like the cold was totally freezing your blood to ice and after a while it felt like my hands should fall off. My fingers got numb and yet I wanted to take a few picture of a landscape that is so different from everything else I have seen and it is marvellous. It is very very beautiful and it is fantastic to have got the opportunity to come here. The sunlight over these icebergs that are 3000 meters high is indescribable and difficult to capture of photos.

During our walk we also did a bit of business went in the few stores here in Illulissat to do “store checking” and to see the number of “touch points”, two new expressions that did not exist in my vocabulary a couple of weeks ago but now feels completely natural. “Store checking” is was it sounds like, check the store out to see which of our products they have, how they are displaced in the store, if they have any discounts etc etc. “Touch points” is the number of times you can find the same product in a store. I really enjoy this closeness to the market and the ability to have an impact on the sale figures.

Today it has been business all day, my first leadership team meeting…as well as mentally preparing our self for the adventure day tomorrow, starting with a helicopter ride in the morning and following on with a three hour dog sledging ride. Will be an experience to write about, a very cold one! We are apparently suppose to get a seal skin on top of us when on the sledge….a seal should be able to keep themselves warm shouldn’t they....and keep me warm?

What an experience, what a lovely landscape….and what a cold!!!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Chief of logistics

Every now and then I think maybe I should change my HR career to be chief in logistics instead. God it is a skill to get the day-to-day puzzle to work out, and you can plan ever so much but have to be ready for the unexpected. One thing that not falls out according to plan could shrew it all up. 

This week Mr J has been in South America all week and I have been fully in charge of the household and the schema for who should pick the kids up when and where was done and delivered on Sunday night.  A schema totally dependent on parents and parents in law.

Wednesday night when I got home I felt immediately Vera had a high fever, shit, I was about to fly to Norway the day after. Brain working in high speed and weighing being a good mum or being a good employer back and forth, go or no go? Had already worked out with my dad to arrive 5 am (poor dad) to allow me to catch a flight at 7….could I ask him to take care of Vera for the full day? Hmmm! Ended up outsourcing Vera both Thursday and Friday to my parents and once again being a good employer won…..but maybe a half good mum as being with my parents is nearly as good J Thank God for parents and parents in law, without them it would not work!

Norway was very wintery, had a good day there, even if it was literally just in and out. When heading home I was standing at the train station waiting for the flight train, a train arrived while I was on the phone, I jumped on and realise after a while it was not the flight train……bummer…..  watching the Norwegian country side pass by, saw a moose and figured out by an exceptionally good looking guy the train would eventually end up at the airport but would just take longer. Happy it was heading in the right direction at least!

Now weekend, getting ready for a great adventure on Greenland next week, a trip containing helicopter ride, sailing in the ice fjord and dog sledging…how cool is that?

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Who told me to be humble?

Second TOTAL victory in a row on Singstar - who told me you should be a humble winner???

Right now I do not agree as I have had the best victories ever towards some males who probably thinks they are the best singers in the world....and when they lost a song they blamed it on the whiskey, either too much or too little....

I can only say the winner takes it all and I do not even try to be humble about it ....and this time the winner is me!!!!

Enjoy your late Saturday night!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Angry Birds, Belgian Blue and familiar Shanghai faces

Yesterday morning, early start to Brussels. Ipod in my ears, music on load as ever when I travel, it's my me time. Step on the train to CPH airport and did a big mistake and not notice I entered "the quite wagon". For those who know me know the match is not perfect. Tessi and being quite is not really compatible and it was not today either. Three people yelled (as much as you yell in a silent wagon) "TURN OF YOUR IPOD!! Wow, relax a bit...and no I did not turn it off, but down!

People looked really anrgy in general in that wagon so probably a reason why you choose a silent and non social one. Next person who enters just point fingers at my little red handbag, which occupies one of the 25 free seats, and he decided he should sit just next to me and look even more angry than the folks allergic to sounds. I nearly held my breath for the rest of the trip to avoid making noice upsetting these angry birds!

Landed in the land of Belgian Blue, actually for the first time ever, excited about another site visit and the opportunity to get 2 full days of induction by the new boss. Many flicharts, slide decks, dialouges and laugther later my head was total full and not able to take in more, so we went for a nice walk in the centre, had a good meal in a noisy restaurant, not the choice for the angry birds I met in the morning, but for me it was good. Had a difficulty getting to sleep in my big hotel bed, twisted around half awake and half in the land of dreams. Too few hours of sleep before another informative day but managed all the way thru. I even met one of our neighbourgs from Shanghai in the office, how strange is that and how small is the world?

Flight home was good, did some puking bags writing, which made the handsome steward very interested  and he offered a full bag of them to bring with me if I needed some more for my reflections. I said no....even though he was good looking...the thing is to do the reflecting and writing on the flight and on a puking bag!

Home again and can't wait until it's weekend!