I’m elated to be now living in Europe – in idyllic, semi-rural Germany. The cars are smaller, the houses and buildings are almost universally beautiful. Paris is a two-hour bullet train ride from here. Numerous other countries of Europe are easily accessible. The kids are already naturally practicing German. I have yet to see the bland, plain grids of sidewalks and cheap row houses of suburban America. I wonder if cinder blocks and concrete are even legal in this part of the world. It’s like 1960’s architecture tried to gain a foothold here and was told, “Danka, but we’re all full of ugly…try Littleton.”
I do have some serious trepidation about the job, however. Everyone I’ve talked to says it’s really tough. The burn-out rate is very high. No one has survived it past 2 years…and I’m supposed to be here or at least 3. Some of what I was told about days off and CME funding is not true. And the system here is unendingly bureaucratic, which can really weigh me down after awhile.
For example, my wife has informed me that I am not allowed to constantly make note of every inefficiency I encounter in the world of The Army. I’ve already found it tough to avoid observations of bemusement, befuddlement and even real irritation at the level of bueraucratic overhead required to simply do a job in this system.
For example, even though I spent days (literally) getting a special military ID and system access card while on the Army base in Washington…I have to go through the same process here. I’ve signed up to get the card, but the database hasn’t been “consumated” (the word used by the German HR guy helping me through this process), so I can’t get the card. Without the card, I can’t open a bank account, can’t get my mail, can’t rent a house, can’t get a cell phone, can’t do lots of other housekeeping stuff.
So, I’m not sure who consumates with a database (or how it’s done, exactly), but I sure hope s/he gets their freak on soon. We’re cooped up in perfectly nice hotel, but it’s small and we can’t really go anywhere. The kids have been great, but I can’t blame them for getting bored. So…how ’bout a little champagne and strawberries for the database? Maybe someone can light a few scented candles and play Enigma tunes in the room that houses the server blade stacks.
Whatever it takes, people…we’re gettin’ stir crazy here.
So, for now, I live in a hotel. In Europe. In pastoral Germany. I spend my days admiring the sloping, tiled roofs and church steeples off in the distance of my little village. I ponder the meaning of database consumation, and wonder if my job will have me snorting Visteril within a year.
My, how life can change in a week!