USA 5: Working for Valo Intranet – and what’ve I been up to last few months

Valo Intranet team jump

I haven’t actually written that much about my daily work on this blog. I’m currently mostly involved with the Blue Meteorite’s North America team, and specialized in partner acquisition and support. Most of my time is spent either onboarding new partners, or supporting the old ones in their Valo Intranet deployments. And boy, is that not a lot of fun to do! Never before have I been able to work with so many talented people from so many different organizations, and that’s been both challenging and rewarding.

I actually wrote a few words about it on Valo Intranet’s wwebsite.. And thought I’d republish the post on this blog, as it’s related to a lot of posts here, too. Continue reading

USA, 4: You really, REALLY need a car to get around. Hence, Cadillac!

This is the fourth post depicting me and my wife’s excursion to the USA. We are in the country to study, travel, business and leisure. Short version of the post: we went and got a car, because we didn’t have any other options.

So, what’s up?

We’ve been in the country for a couple of weeks. If there’s one thing, that’s become painfully clear, it’s the fact that you really need a car to get anywhere in this country. The only stores in Whitewater are Walgreens and Walmart, the latter being the worst kind of supermarket, where everyone goes by car. Even then, going to a supermarket by car is one thing, but getting to a goodwill or energy company or anything more excotic than a coffee shop gets borderline impossible.

Americans seem super nice, though, and we have received rides from Mari’s student friends, awesome folks at the CRU and of course our American friends Ben and David & Ellen. Having to bother other people to take you to a goodwill is pretty awful, though, so we wanted to get a car to ourselves. We had actually tentatively planned already before our trip, but things just got a more tangible when we actually got here and got to suffer from not having a vehicle on our own.

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USA, 3: Epic and local IT industry excursions

Photo from Epic System's campus

This post is about our first excursion with the international student group to see Epic System’s HQ. During the first days I also walked around the town a bit in search of wall plug adapters, and accidentally made contact with the local IT industry.

Getting my weird EU tech working in the States

I took some tech with me to States – namely a laptop, its dock and a couple of mobile phones. I didn’t want to purchase transformers and charger for all my devices, so I took a couple of converters with me from Finland, and thought I’d buy a few more from the States.

Photo from Epic System's campus

Photo from Epic System’s campus. It’s funny to see guns explicitly forbidden for someone, who’s coming from a country where guns are always pretty much forbidden from being taken anywhere.

In search of converters (from European plug to American) I walked around the town a bit. Surprisingly, even though Whitewater is definitely a town with a lot of international students (because of the university), neither of the larger stores carried any suitable cables or converters that would enable me to use my european laptop charger and dock in here. Walmart had nothing (shame on them – Supercenter, they say?), and local Winchester Hardware had some converters but not for Europeans. Luckily, I found a smaller store when googling for related businesses, and decided to go see what they had to offer.

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USA, 2: Traveling to Chicago O’Hare for Business and Leisure

Plane was broken

This is the second post about me and my wife’s excursion to USA and all the traveling we did. We’ll be spending 6 months in the country, to study, attend conferences, travel and compare the culture to Finland. Hopefully we’ll learn something about ourselves and the world along the way!

Transatlantic flight

The trip from Kangasala to Whitewater was definitely not a fast one. Driving from Kangasala to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport in Finland took a few hours, we had to wait for the flight for a couple of hours, before a 4-hour flight to Keflavik (in Iceland). 

Leopard 2

You don’t see tanks that often in Finland, but this one we overtook while traveling to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. I’m guessing it was driving some 50 km/h, which was pretty impressive!

While waiting on Helsinki-Vantaa, we met a Finnish woman living in America with her husband, who was a descendant of Finnish immigrants from a century ago. She had been living in the USA for a couple of decades, and had apparently integrated really well – she was really open about politics, and extremely critical to Obama’s term as a president. She was also almost ecstatic about Trump’s presidency. If that’s not a succesful integration, I don’t know what is!

This experience was, I guess, our first firsthand contact with the American politics. Before the trip, all that was somewhat foreign and pretty distant – all that ranting and flaming on Twitter didn’t really concern us.

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USA, 1: Initial Thoughts

I’m staying in the United States of America for the first 6 months of 2017 for both work and leisure. In case you’d need to contact me during that time, that’s doable by normal means (Twitter/email). Just the timeframe’s a tad different due to my location being 8 hours from Finland (-6 UTC time zone). This blog post kind of sets the initial mood and expectations for the trip.

Excuse me – who’s doing what?

So – we are going to United States. But why?

Well, that’s a valid question. I mean, who in their right mind would want to stay in the USA any more than they have to, now that Trump is going to be the president? I don’t think at least many Finns would like to do that (my guess is that around 80% of Finns would vote for a democrat, no matter who it was), but we are going to do that anyway. Continue reading