Reading back through the writings of the past week, I’m uncomfortably aware that it’s been a bumpy transition. At the same time, it was never the purpose of these essays to dwell on the difficulties. And, as the local storefronts say, right, the economy is nobody’s friend just now.
So I resolve:
- No more whinging about lost corporate perks.
- No more laments for the expat contract.
- No more sunset pictures.
Actually, the week progressively improved after Monday. I traveled up to a technical university in Germany to talk with students about careers in biomedical engineering.
It’s always renewing to talk about how I chose this profession, about the projects we’ve done, to take apart a few of the products and answer questions about the way they work. It reminds me of how much fun the creative and customer aspects are, and of how many great projects remain to be done.
On Wednesday, I went up to Nieuwegein to the 6e Nationale Reanimatie Congres to give a talk. I expected a small regional gathering, but it turned out to be 1000 medical professionals interested in cardiac arrest. It was completely in Dutch, and gratifying to see how much I was able to follow by reading the slides and listening carefully to the speakers.
When my turn came, I did the first few sentences in Dutch, then asked their indulgence to let me finish the half-hour in English. I may be ready in a year, but not this week. The talk went really well and a bunch of friends were attending. I also came away with a couple of new business leads, local projects that could be interesting gateways to new collaborations.
Driving cross-country near Roermond on the way back, I was charmed by one display after another of Netherlands flags. They were advertising roadside fruit and vegetable stands, usually offering kersen, asperges, and aardbeien.
I was reminded of my recent comments regarding the implied ‘with us or not’ message in huge national flags elsewhere. I don’t have that feeling here, maybe it’s the smaller size of the flags, but I certainly feel the inconsistency in my own double standard.