Merry Christmas!

I hope you are enjoying the Holidays as much as I do ;-p

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Enjoying the fire place after relaxing in the sauna ;)



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Since early June this year I have been living in Aberdeen, Scotland. Still doing the same job, just from a new office. But let me tell you a little more about my move that started a little like a roller coaster ride.

Late May this year – I was offshore in Mozambique – I received a call from my new boss which basically went like this:

“Hey Bjoern. I am Andy, how are you?”
“Thanks, I am fine, how about you?”
“Good – well, I basically have no time to talk so I will get right to the point. How soon can you come to Aberdeen?”
No kidding, this is exactly how it went down.

First I was happy as I would be going home early and I could not wait to tell everybody. But that relief turned into frustration. I did not want my offshore hitch to be cut short – again. Seriously, I was disappointed, even mad when I had to go onshore.  Retrospectively I can say now I should not have been.

Just a few days after the phone call I had moved to Aberdeen. It changed a lot for me very quickly: Being in Aberdeen made my private life a whole lot easier. I am closer to home now than I have been for a long time, making it less challenging to stay in touch with friends and family. It brought me back in reach for people very close to me. To visit me and share quality time together. And I am hoping the shorter distance will make it possible for me to finally give what I have been promising to my family and friends.

But of course I could not help it but to keep traveling. This summer I spent a fair amount of weekends exploring Scotland. So over the next few blogposts, expect to see plenty of pictures of Scotland – hundreds!! Because it is so scenic, it deserves it…
Some of you might have witnessed me ranting about the Scottish weather, how terribly cold, rainy, and windy it is. Simply put, this is true, but do not be fooled: A Loch Ness covered in clouds still beats a sunny day in Port Gentil or at the beach… But you will see.

May I present to you my current home and its immediate surroundings – Aberdeen:

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Welcome to 日本国

What comes to your mind when thinking about Japan today? Probably Nintendo, teens playing video games, sushi, flashing street commercials and modern cities. Maybe you even remembered the recent tsunami. I honestly did not know much more about Japan either. But then suddenly the opportunity came up to visit and it took me five seconds – maybe less to decide to go.

I was too busy the weeks ahead of my trip to actually do some research about Japan. All I managed was to get myself the latest ‘Lonely Planet’, but only really started reading it on the way to Japan… So my surprise when arriving was huge to find a rather old, ugly and a little bit run down Tokyo airport. I had expected fancy architecture, TV screens everywhere and I don’t know what…

Yes, basically I did not know at all what to expect. But not this, especially not my luggage being lost. It was through this mishap though that I found what I had been expecting without really knowing it: The predominant politeness of people. I was met at the gate right after leaving the airplane and informed that my bag had not made it to Tokyo and whom to contact where. Directly after passing through immigration I was greeted again by an airline representative who helped me with all the formalities to have my luggage send to my hotel. She actually helped me pick up my rental cellphone as well as buying the correct train ticket. I was amazed. Even more when she called my hotel three times the same night to tell me where my luggage was and how to get it back. It goes without saying that my bag arrived the next morning and I was nevertheless fully reimbursed for the clothes and toiletries I had bought. This little example is just perfect to describe my experience of Japan. Everyone was friendly, helpful and very interested in me and my reasons to visit Japan. I especially like to remember the receptionist who upgraded me to a better room, just because it had a longer bed so my feet would not hang out.

But what are words when there are pictures. See for yourself:

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got to go, my chopper is arriving…

Most people have a daily routine when getting to work. For some it means driving, others bicycle, use public transportation or walk. I have used either way to get the office…

But some days are more fun, especially when “going to work” means flying offshore by helicopter. Instead of being 4 hours on a boat, it allows you to get to your rig in 15mins. Top Gun feeling during take off and landing included :)

Unfortunately not all days in Port Gentil are that exciting, but I have assembled a few pictures from my last hitch in March. Enjoy!

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hitting the slopes

I am barely back from the warm Houston winter, hardly at all adjusted to the freezing cold in Berlin, not to mention the jet lag. It is 3:10am and my alarm has just kicked my out of bed. I had expected to be grumpy this morning, cursing the cold and dark, and wishing to crawl back to bed. Quite the opposite is the case: I am excited, ready to drive 7 hours from Berlin to go skiing in the Austrian Alps. It will be my first skiing in two years and it has been even longer that I have been to the Alps in winter.

Germans might be very environmentally conscious, but they forget all about it when it comes to their Autobahn. Our “spaceship” (because it has tons of space and the size of a ship) allows for a comfortable cruising speed at 180-200 km/h (120 mph) and within no time we are in the Montafon valley. Barely 8 hours after leaving Berlin we hit the slopes.

Let the fun begin :)

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Unbelievable: Sunny Aberdeen

Some people call Aberdeen the “Silver City”. I personally think it’s the most euphemistic name for it possible. It should be called the dark grey hole instead. Or something similar expressing that this city is positively ugly.

But today I was shown otherwise: While approaching ABZ airport the sun was shining, the sea was calm and most of the fields around it were still covered in snow. The grey granite Aberdeen is built from was actually shining and sparkling. For the first time I saw Aberdeen as a very beautiful place. Too bad the sun had already set when I finally arrived downtown…

Sunny Aberdeen

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