Freitag, 18. Mai 2012

My luck this week...

... I get treated to lunch 3 days in a row and on day 3, I split my tooth into pieces while eating cole slaw!!!!! WTH! Of all things people chew on and chip or break their tooth, who ever heard of somebody doing that on cole slaw (Krautsalat)!?

Well, I guess I can be even happier now to have some sort of health insurance and to have chosen the dental plan as well. Didn't even make it 18 days without having to use it. Let's see what this fun will cost me. My first US doctor's visit with health insurance lies ahead of me and I will let you know how this marvelous experience went! :)

The better news this week: On 16. May, I celebrated my first anniversary with the orange and black 4 letter German company as the first employee to be on the US payroll for 1 year! My boss 1 took me out to a nice place, Asia Bar on Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale, for lunch, where we were served by a German waiter. How fun! Food was delicious! As boss 2 was in Tucson and not there for my anniversary, he took me out to lunch the day after to an Italian restaurant. Then today when the tooth accident happened, I held my very first meeting with fleet managers from all of our locations (was the only girl! :) ). It went great, which made me happy, as it's been forever that I've had to hold a meeting with managers of similar level. During this, we went to lunch, you know the rest of the story...

What I want to tell you guys after one year in the rental car industry!?

1. Get the insurance (or "protection") if you are not 100% sure if your credit card or own insurance will cover the rental! The amount of major damages I review is incredible and it can happen to anybody. The usual stories: - looked at the GPS, changed lanes, got a panic attack and wanted to get off the highway, backed into something (oh, i didn't see that other car, that pole, that tree...)
I'd say it's currently 50/50 on who's fault it was - renter or 3rd party, but you don't want to be stranded in such mess uninsured. So far, fortunately, I'm happy to say we didn't have any human casualties yet (a deer in the Everglades was not that lucky). In a tourist destination like South Florida with lots of rental cars, that unfortunately occurs every now and then.

2. Are you the one booking an Economy car and showing up at the rental counter with 5 grown-ups and 10 bags, because you expected the free upgrade to a car 5 classes higher than what you have booked, in order to accomodate all of you!? Stop being so greedy! Geez!!!! Yes, free upgrades are nice. Yes, free upgrades happen frequently, but if you expect them to ALWAYS be given to you, you should possibly re-evaluate your expectations in life! The world does not revolve around you, unless you happen to be Carlos Slim Helú...

3. If you report your rental car stolen, only for the police to discover it three weeks later in the next street to where you said you had parked it, with no signs of forced entry and $400.- in parking violations raked up (as it sat there the whole time...), 2 things for you: 1. Party less!!! It might actually help your brain activity! and 2. You are on my list of people to meet in my life - only to slap you in the back of the head! Yes, kinda mean, but can you imagine that this really happened more than once already!? Only in SoFla.... ;)

Wise words of a Friday night! Happy weekend everybody, we made it trough another week and are very close to a 3 day weekend next week.

Cheers! :)

Mittwoch, 9. Mai 2012

Welcome to Dearborn, MI...

The World of Ford Motor Company!

That's where I've spend the past 2.5 days. The furthest North I've ever made it in the USA. Ford had their yearly new model introduction and mingling event (conference!) for their fleet customers and although I'm not in purchasing, I am in charge of the fleet once the cars are with us, so I need to be up to date and got to go :)

The new 2013 models for the American market where something new for the eye of US customers, not so surprising for a European though. The Ford Escape is losing it's edges (which I liked about it) and will now resemble what is sold as Ford Kuga in Europe. Best new feature: hands-free trunk access! With a kick of your foot underneath the rear bumper, the trunk will open. Where's the LIKE button!? ;)

The 2013 Ford Fusion is preeeeeettyyyyyy! It now looks like the Ford Mondeo. The Mustang GT as usual a vrooooom vrooom wanna have!

My highlights: I got to drive a drop dead gorgeous F-250 Platinum edition... Yes, I'm in love! And yes, I'm a truck girl. Also test drove the Police Interceptor Utility (wow, what a "heavy" car), the Mustang GT and the Escape. Saw Vaughn Gittin Jr drift and went to the Rouge Factory where I saw how the F-150's are assembled. My 1st ever car factory visit! Very exciting! I love robots and automation technology. Of course, we also went to the Henry Ford Museum, where some of my most favorite cars were parked.

Detroit itself is like they say, sadly not very impressive. Lots of empty, old, tall, unoccupied buildings. Lots of grey. Also, to my surprise, I saw what I've only seen in American movies so far... Northerners forgive me, I now know it's very common: Steam coming out of  manholes!!! Gave the grey an even worse impression.

I must say though, the are around the Ford Field (football stadium for the Detroit lions) looked nice and from just being there for such a short time, I'm sure Detroit also has some other nice areas that I missed out on. I threw and kicked some football there btw... :)

Overall a great and exciting business trip!

 The new 2013 Ford Escape's lining up for a match the time drive

Police Interceptor Utility. Ballistic doors included and I got to turn the lights on :)

MY LOVE!!!!!!! F-250 Platinum

 Vaughn Gittin Jr in his Mustang

 My most favorite shot of the whole event.

 In my next life I want to be born in the 1930's so I can be an early Twen riding around in this Beauty!

 The history of the automobile displayed at Henry Ford Museum

Samstag, 5. Mai 2012


If you haven't heard or noticed yet, tonight is Supermoon night. The moon passes closer to the earth than usual, making it look bigger. I just stepped outside to show you all what that looks like in Dania, FL. I have a pretty cheap camera that I bought from my internship money 2006. Still love it very much! Takes pretty good pictures for not being a DSLR and no special equipment.

Here's the moon :) Happy weekend everyone! Don't go crazy and sleep well.

Dienstag, 1. Mai 2012

Crazy under the Moon

And worth sharing! In my opinion this song by a great Fort Lauderdale band has waaaaay too little views.

Hope you enjoy. My local patriotism makes me just love this :)

Montag, 30. April 2012

Well Hi there.... :)

Long time no see!

Yes, I am still alive.
Yes, I still live in the USA.
Yes, I still have a home, a job and.... TARAAAAAAA, after 3 years and 2.5 months can finally announce that as of May 2012 I will finally have a halfway decent health insurance through my employer!

What's new!?

My daughter is 16 months old and 2 months ago I moved back into the first community I lived in when I came to the US. After 3 years I moved into my "own" place in February. 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom townhouse in Dania Beach, all for me and my beautiful girl. No more roommates! Amazing!!! :)

I still work for the rental car company from my homeland, but was moved to a position in HQ in October and handed over the FLL branch to a junior manager who finished their trainee program. I am now in charge of the US fleet, have much better working hours (you could almost call it a 9-5), a bit more money, an assistant and got to go on my first work trip in forever in March to Las Vegas. Next week I will be in Detroit at Ford's Business Conference where the new 2013 models will be introduced and can be test driven. My gypsy genes are happy!

And remember me winning a trip to Atlantis early last year!? I just got back yesterday and despite the weather being not sooo great - South Florida and the Bahamas are being soaked right now - it was very, very nice!

I am reflecting my immigration story a lot, wondering if I should've done anything differently, but always get to the same conclusion: No! The way I took was definitely not easy, but I feel this journey has shaped my personality in amazing ways and I'm grateful for each good and bad day and each good and bad person that has taken me here. As I work with two other German greencard winners who got the job right when they got to the US, I see how "easy" this journey could have also been, but what is an adventure without some hurdles?

As far as the future is concerned, there is still a big "?" in the air. I am still following my initial plan of 5 years in the US, but after that... who knows!? :)

For the curious ones, here some recent pics and off I go again, undercover ;)

 Elaine decorating the Christmas tree

 New Year's Eve at Cameo's in South Beach

Elaine a little over 1 year old

 Thanks for visiting and God bless!

Sonntag, 21. August 2011

Still Alive... :)

Yes hi there!

I just quickly stopped by to say hi and tell you all that I'm still alive and well. The new job is taking its tolls and in addition to single mommyhood, 60-70h work per week don't really leave time for anything else. The branch has been open for over 2 months now and it's going really well. I actually took a very well deserved 2-day weekend this weekend to spend with Elaine, who is almost 8 months now, crawls around like mad and will start to walk soon. She is still the best baby ever! :)

Last night I celebrated into my "hump year day". 21. August 2011 means, I've been here for exactly 2,5 years now - halfway through to my goal of 5 years and citizenship... It's been an interesting ride and I'm sure it will stay that way. With the new company being a Start-Up in the USA, there are lots of possibilities and at this point, I have no clue if next month I will not suddenly be asked to move.... Anything is possible.

By the way, we also have a tropical storm named Irene out there in the Atlantic right now, whose predicted paths bring it very likely to us. Something to keep my eye on... I did not manage to get hurricane prepared this year, so if it comes, I'll be on the road up North!

Hope all of you are doing great as well! I'll get some back-up for the next couple of weeks in regards to lil E, so maybe I'll be able to post a little more again. Right now, the computer sees me about every 2-3 weeks. All else is done over the phone and for some reason, I haven't found a good blogger app yet... If anybody knows of one, let me know!

Sunny greetings from SoFla! - Jen

Mittwoch, 15. Juni 2011

A month later...

... and I officially opened MY branch today. Without a big bang, but still very exciting when the booking channels open up and people can actually rent cars in Fort Lauderdale with our company now.

So how did the last month go? Well, although this company is well known and big in Europe, over here it is a start-up business and things are being handled accordingly = sink or swim! I started with 3 days of training in the computer systems and some general knowledge, rented some cars and one week after I signed my contract, I was brought to the property in Fort Lauderdale, got a walk through which looked like -> Boss: "This needs to be done, and this, and this and this and this, and here we need this and you need to check for this and get me this and need need need..." and Jenny: "!" (writing as fast as possible to get everything that was being said).

From there on I was basically left TO DO! With a building from the 40's which interior did not look anything like someone could move a business in soon and a time frame of 3 weeks until opening, I decided to swim although I must say the length of To Do List and time frame to get things done looked veeeery crazy in comparison!

Well, 3 weeks later, I opened the branch today and it looks very nice. In 3 weeks I met more people than in the past 2.5 years I've been here since I had to talk to a million and one contractors. I was basically the construction site supervisor and while not having a clue about what I was doing in the beginning, it was very interesting and fun and I've learned a lot. I worked loooong hours, but I'm able to get Elaine in the evening hours and bring her to work, so that is great.

I'm amazed that I was hired and just thrown into the job that I had no clue off. Tomorrow my bosses leave on a 3-day trip and leave me on my own which tells me I must have done something right as they trust me to be able to run the show without them. One great thing: My employees have been trained very well, as they started, when I started and got all their training in the Miami branch. That makes things a lot easier.

I now can't wait to start my "real" job and to get into the analytical and management things instead of organizing a granite floor to be laid 2 days before opening after everything else was done and boss decided to change his plans... Telling the flooring guys to remove their dirty fingerprints of my freshly painted walls was definitely fun though. The wagon was way ahead of the horses when plans all of a sudden changed. Luckily that was not my fault as I said from the beginning to put a new floor in.....

In Deutsch mal kurz: Nachdem ich nun vor 4 Wochen angestellt wurde, Schwimmen lernte und mich als Baustellenleiter vergnuegte, habe ich heute MEINE Station eroeffne!

Wer haette das vor nem Monat wohl gedacht...