Saturday, March 1, 2008

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jig

I'm in Massachusetts tonight packing up to return to Germany tomorrow. This has been a whirlwind visit. I had fun in NYC...I got a personalized tour of the Google east coast headquarters in Manhattan last Friday night. The pic to the left is of Kate, Sanjiv (colleague of mine at UMass), me, Kai (Google engineer), and Natasha (former UMass grad student).
The Google workplace was amazing. It's so big that employees ride scooters around the floors of the skyscraper Google occupies in lower Manhattan. There are playrooms containing foosball (yippie!), ping-pong, bouncy balls, pool, darts, drum sets, pianos, and other toys. Google has a rule about employees never being a certain # of feet away from a food source, so there are kitchen stations everywhere stocked with froo-froo water and juices, candy, nuts, snacks, fruit, you name it. The Google cafeteria hosts Manhattan chefs who come in to cook meals for employees. Work-wise, they have a system where employees devote 80% of there time (M-Th) to assigned projects, then on Fridays, they get to spend the final 20% of their time on special projects of their own choosing. It's truly a dot-com atmosphere with a highly creative and dynamic work place geared to pamper software engineers who rarely leave the building.

Peter and I went to Harlem and heard the best jazz of our lives at a club called Lennox Lounge last Saturday night. My days were spent at the conference in NYC, but since Sunday I've been in Massachusetts meeting with graduate students, chairing defenses, speaking with colleagues, and playing with my friends and my dogs (in that order). It's cold and snowy here, I can't wait to return to Rostock to warm up again. But I'm also glad that the next time I return home it's for good...five months from now on July 27th. It's painful to just visit and leave and go through the homesickness period repeatedly!

I shall write again from the other side of the pond....

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