Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The first 2 months

I think we managed to settle down.

In retrospective, the first month was the most difficult one. We had a lot of paperwork, and the small apartment downtown was not too convenient with kids. We did not have a lot of toys, and the space was a bit too small for them. Luckily, Kriszta found that playground nearby.

After we got the new place, everything seemed to go smoothly. It took a week until we could assemble everything that we bought in Ikea. Okay, there are some things missing still, like curtains and some more furniture. But overall, it looks like a place to live :) In contrast to the downtown apartment, I have the feeling that I go "home" after work.

Our kids seem to love it a lot more too. They were sick a little bit, but except 1-1 day it did not influence their mood. Of course, now they have their own bed, own toys and everything. We left many of them at home, but the count of toys here started increasing at an unbelievable pace already :) Lola can express herself more and more. The cutest thing is that instead of the obligatory "no" she keeps shaking her head. "Wanna drink?" - headshaking, "Come here" - headshaking, etc. No answer usually means "yes" :) Noemi likes to go to the Hungarian daycare very much. I think she starts to find her own friends. They both like the playground in front of the new place, we cannot get Lola away from the swing :)

And about work? Last week I already had the feeling that I am working on something. Tasks coming after each other, sometimes 2-3 at once. When I changed something, it is often only the next day when it turned out if it worked or not. Any case, it feels like a real job - and I start to see how the puzzle pieces fit together. I already wrote a small program, about 100 lines of code that is a utility for others too. So I feel useful - at the beginning it seemed that this would need more time.

We start to find our rythm - if you happen to be in Z├╝rich, just visit us!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Moving in

During February, we lived in a furnished small flat rented by the company in central Zurich. It was ok and we got to know the city a little bit, but it was too small for our family and not very convenient on the top floor.

We could finally move in to our final apartment in Adliswil late February. We agreed to start at 9, they were looking after us already 8.30. They were really quick, and left right after noon. But all our stuff was there, furniture assembled - the only thing was we did not have a lot of storage space to unpack many boxes. When Lola saw her bed, she started laughing. Noemi climbed onto her bed immediately and started being sleepy.

To celebrate that everything went so quickly, we went to the local Ikea. Amazingly, the prices are lower than in Hungary in many cases (could be the Hungarian VAT?), the only problematic spot is to get everything home. We decided to rent a van - the kids really enjoyed sitting in the front row (hope that police does not read this). I had to move more than 500kg stuff myself, but I did it. The only thing left was to assemble everything - but that was the story of the week after that. Just one thing - we now have more than 10 of those tiny bent metal tools Ikea gave to drive the screws :)

Yet another amazing thing is that the next day after we moved in, we already got the package for the net and digital tv - 2 days after the move everything was working! I think this is amazing. We even have 1 Hungarian language channel.

Friday, March 9, 2007

3 weeks in Google-land

Back in end of February, my first 3 weeks passed. The first week was almost completely covered with listening to presentations - I needed to learn a lot of things to catch up. I still need to. But let's go back to the beginning.

First, the terminology. The company is Google, anyone who works here is a Googler. Clear so far. How about someone who just started like myself? Well, I am a Noogler. But regular Googlers live and work in Mountain View in the middle of Silicon Valley. We cannot call ourselves the same - here in Zurich we are Zooglers. So I am a Noogler-Zoogler. I didn't dare to think about Googlers in Krakow, though :)

Every Noogler has a starter project. This is usually quite short, but one has to know a lot to do the couple of lines needed. I had my one ready at the end of February - was about 20 lines of code in a top secret (Google-specific) language. It gave me the feeling that I accomplished something. And that I know some bits already.

So far everything looks nice. Workmates are friendly and help each other in lots of things outside work too. This is also aided by most of them being from outside Switzerland - just like I am. For a long time I have thought that my work here will have something to do with what I did before - well, this is not the case. No mobile, no phone, no operators, no Symbian (with a Mac, I would be in trouble developing to Symbian). Lots of server stuff, deep into it. I would not say it is particularly interesting, but it is challenging. But I like the Google approach. Everything that can be automated is actually automated. Ranging from handling the source code through code reviews to deployment. This is the biggest strength of Google - to solve "big" problems more efficiently than anyone else. Just a minor thing - I have more than 100 times the quota for company mail than what I used to have before.

I hope we will be good at it for a long time!

Trip to the Rigi

Our first weekend was a real Swiss one. People here are complaining a lot about the lack of real winter. It is like in Hungary - neither cold nor snow. This causes lots of economical damage to Switzerland - but you still do have a chance to find snow at the right place.

Our friends proposed going to the Rigi. The original plan was that moms with kids travel up to the top while family heads do a bit of hiking. As I did not really have hiking clothes, only jeans and street shoes, this was luckily cancelled, at least for me. All the way along to the top the weather was cold and foggy. The track was surrounded by big pieces of ice leaning down the rocks. We thought about poor other Peter.

At the top it suddenly all disappeared and we had a beautiful view with sunshine. We were above the clouds, only some mountains raising above cloud level. Luckily, we also found a bit of snow enough for Noemi and Dani to slide down - this lasted or a while, they never seemed to be tired enough to stop.

Downwards we had also had a bit of excitement - we had to catch the train, so poor other Peter changed to running upwards the hill. He got really exhausted. But he did it! Even watching him mad me tired. But we - and especially the kids - were all happy that we have found snow in this mild winter.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


To be more precise, it was around 1050. Could have been less, if we do not drive about 20km in the wrong direction on the Swiss motorway. As an excuse, signs were really bad. Otherwise, the journey was nice. We had lots of sunshine - at the break around Salzburg, the car's thermometer showed 16 Celsius; back in late January! The kids were really nice. We tried to stop at places where they can play a bit. In Zurich, I was quite nervous because the owner of the temporary place did not say in advance how we get the keys, but at the end everything was fine. We got a place in 2nd floor, not far from the city centre in Zurich. Parking is hell, unpacking was tiring but at the end everything was alright. We had a couple of days rest, and the work begun! But that is another story...

Preview & Moving

We made our first serious trip to Zurich mid-January - mostly to find a place to stay, and of course see how it all looks like. We decided to stay in Adliswil early on, because of our good friends (Hungarian) living there. Only 8km from the city centre, 30min from the office with public transport, laying on the shore of river Sihl - the place seemed ideal. Everything is clean, there is plenty of playgrounds, swimming pool - ideal for the kids. We have even found a place to stay - but first we had to apply and wait.

Meanwhile, we got back to Hungary. The movers were really professional - all we had to say what moves and what stays. I felt like having nothing to do ;) It was really strange to see most of the contents of our house in boxes (66 pcs). Luckily, we did not pack all the furniture - at least the house is not totally empty :)

How it all begun...

How did we end up in Switzerland? Well, before a couple of months I did not think this would happen... I enjoyed my previous work and enjoyed being a research engineer. Back in last September, the offer from Google came from the clear skies. After some steps, they invited me to Zurich. Right until the end, I thought this is not going to happen. Then, we started thinking about it: the interview went well, kids are still small and the offer was good: why not? It was no easy decision, but I quit Nokia and stayed with no work for a month, spent the time with the family and prepared for the move.

This was back in January - I hope I can catch up to latest events soon.

Starting in English

Our Hungarian language blog has proved to be very popular, so I decided to start an English one, fulfilling the international need... I do not promise to update it as frequently as the other one (which is several times a week), but I hope to keep it up to date.