von Felix

Monday, I had to get up very early. My alarm clock woke me up at three o’clock. I wiped the sleep out of my tired eyes, took a shower, made tea, had a small breakfast and took the first Flybus to Dublin Airport. At quarter to four I was already on my way to work.

No, I did not accept a baggage handling job at RyanAir. I was invited to come to Germany for a week in order to work on a web project. My employer had booked Monday’s first AerLingus flight to Düsseldorf. During check-in I realized that I had to pay extra for my luggage as the low-cost ticket only allowed hand luggage. Well, under normal circumstances you would not need a large travelling suitcase for just a week, but I do not have another one over here.
After the check-in I was bored; all shops were closed. So I dozed a bit before I opened my laptop and started banging out code for a small side project. At half past six the plane took off. The flight was very comfortable compared to my flights with RyanAir and British Midlands. I fell asleep after some minutes after take-off and woke up during the approach for landing. AerLingus has probably the best price/performance ratio if you want to travel to or from Ireland.

After I had passed the passport inspection and picked up my suitcase at the baggage claim a man came to me and said „Good morning. German Customs, would you please follow me.“ Well, he actually spoke German. Anyway, I followed him into a small room and was confused.
Did not I come from another EU country? The man obviously was an officer, but unlike all the others he did not wear a uniform. Why me? Did I look suspicious? Did he take my lack of sleep for intoxication and wanted to find out whether I tried to smuggle drugs into good ol‘ Germany? He asked me for my ID card and my ticket. „Ticket?“ I asked. I did not have any ticket. I just had the boarding pass. More or less a lucky coincidence as I could have binned it before. When he saw that I came from Dublin (which I had told him before) he did not have any questions and allowed me to leave. What a warm welcome.
Don’t throw away your boarding passes before you left the airport, kids!

I took the S-Bahn, a kind of regional commuter train, right from below the airport and walked the last metres. At about eleven o’clock local time I finally arrived at the office where I met colleagues that I haven’t seen in months, colleagues that I just know from e-mails and some absolutely new ones.
A week of hard work waited for me, but it was fun. I did not only work on my web project, but helped a colleague configuring and extending the company’s new CRM: Salesforce. It was really great to gain some first-hand experience after having heard a lot about it a SaaS seminar in Bamberg.

Although I worked quite a lot (maybe eleven hours per day), there was quite some time for nice evenings full of interesting conversations about business, career and life before I fell into my comfortable hotel bed. I had a hearty meal in a rustic tavern with a colleague and my boss and was introduced to Thai food by my boss, who is a big fan. If you have the impression that that I was either working or eating, you are absolutely right. I just could miss this chance to enjoy the great food in Germany: Quark, bread rolls and a huge variety of cheese and salami for breakfast and a rich salad buffet in the canteen for lunch. I just do not get this kind of stuff here in Ireland.

Friday night, I went out with two colleagues and we had a great night in the Altstadt, Düsseldorf’s bar and restaurant district.
However, North-Rhine Westphalia is, compared to Ireland and even Bavaria, way behind: smoke everywhere. Although there is a law that bans smoking in restaurants and pubs, the people use all their energy to find loopholes. Unfortunately, they are rather successful. If you are not used to that anymore, it is seriously disgusting to wake up in the morning and smell all the cold smoke.

Saturday morning I had to wake up at seven o’clock in order to be on time at the airport. I could persuade my lazy bones that getting up is better than missing my flight, had a last German breakfast and went to the S-Bahn stop rather early. I had a very good impression of the public transport in Düsseldorf: every bus I took to or from work was on time.
Therefore, I was shocked when I heard that the S-Bahn that I wanted to take was cancelled due to some railcar problems. The next one would go thirty minutes later. Well, it would be tight, but realistic. After thirty minutes I heard that that one was delayed a few minutes. I was running short of time! When I arrived at the airport I jumped out of the train and sprinted to the check-in desk. Phew! I was there on time and as I was probably the last passenger to check in I did not have to wait. I took a deep breath, bought a variety of German magazines as well as some candy at a kiosk and went to the gate for boarding.

Again, a stressful return. When I arrived in Dublin I was not very suprised that I first had to wait for ages for the Flybus only to make a detour to some bus headquarters in order to change drivers. What a week!

Now, I’m back in Ireland, tomorrow the second semester begins and most of my friends are gone. The good news: Ismael moved in!