December 13, 2008 - Posted by Erin in Travels in Europe, Trips to the US

Wow it’s been an exhausting couple of weeks. Two weeks ago I headed off to Bucharest again to visit eRepublik’s other office. I was there for three busy and productive days. I then headed back to Madrid to finish off my preparations for a big event in Paris.

For the last couple of months I’ve been doing tons of planning for this show called LeWeb in Paris. It’s Europe’s biggest Internet event and eRepublik was to have a booth there. As a result, all of the planning was in my hands. Events are not unfamiliar territory for me – big Internet events on the other hand are.

I headed off to Paris last Monday nervous as h, e, double hockey sticks. My first stop in Paris was the event location to make sure that our booth vendors had indeed shown up to build our booth. Sure enough two very friendly Germans were there and ready to go, telling me to return in five hours. With that taken care of I decided to go to my hotel (which is a story I won’t go into detail about – let’s just say I slept in my daytime clothes and switched hotels the second night). My hotel room wasn’t ready though and was in the middle of no where, so I decided to take a quick jaunt downtown to find a Starbucks (and get some Internet connection) and enjoy the city. On my trip I was able to make a quick stop at the Notre Dame. To my surprise, it was free to enter, so I figured why not! For some reason, I don’t think I had gone inside the last time I was in Paris, so it was a special treat to do so this time.

Later that day I returned to the event location to discover our beautiful booth nearly complete and ready to go. After that, another team member of mine and I decided to head to the Champs-Elysees to pick up something for the booth, but also to enjoy more of the city. My goodness is Paris beautiful during Christmas time! The Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Elysees were lit up like nothing I’ve ever seen before – it was stunning. The Tower was all blue, and the trees of the Champs-Elysees were covered in lights. A yummy dinner, and a crepe with nutella later, and I was one happy camper (until I returned to my hotel, but again, not worth discussing…I am such a hotel-phobe).

The next day was the big day. I headed to the event, managed to get the computers set up (two to register people and three to run on the screens with video), and set out all of the necessary handouts. We were ready to go. Over the course of the next two days we received so many compliments regarding how our booth was the very best at the conference and also how clever our little giveaways were (eRepublik passports with LeWeb visas in them). We had a packed booth pretty much the entire time. The event truly couldn’t have gone better. Everything just turned out perfectly. I even did a couple of interviews for different bloggers. It was all very fun and exciting. But SOOO exhausting. I returned to Madrid late Wednesday night and have pretty much been in a coma since.

Now it’s time to travel to my third country for the third Monday in a row – but this will be the best trip of all! I am so excited to go home to the US and celebrate Christmas American-style! I hope to see everyone while I am home!

October 5, 2008 - Posted by Erin in Travels in Europe

Yes, folks, it’s been a big week! First of all, Romania – Bucharest, Romania to be exact. I’ve clearly taken my travels to new level, huh? This past week I traveled to Bucharest for work to visit our larger office where the majority of our team resides. I had no idea what to expect. What is tragic, is that I really didn’t get to see much at all of the city, mostly just the inside of our office, and then the J.W. Marriott. The small picture above of the landscape is the view from my hotel room, and sadly the only picture that I took on the trip.

Our team in Bucharest is fantastic though – a young, passionate team and so friendly. One of the days I was there, a couple of them took me to lunch. We went on a scenic walk through the city and then ate some Romanian cuisine (I am still not exactly sure what it was, but I enjoyed it). It was the highlight of the trip to see their culture a bit more through their eyes. My main take away from the trip was that the Romanians are very kind and polite people – at least those on my team anyway. I hope I can get to know the country and culture better during future visits.

As for the new car, I decided to start the search for a car a couple of weeks ago. Since we live in the outskirts, not having a car and having to go to work each day has become a real challenge and burden. Last Monday I decided which car I wanted to go with, and then departed for Bucharest, leaving Jacob with the challenge of tying up the loose ends (the car will go under his name since I don’t yet have a resident driver’s license). Here, when you buy a car, you don’t take it right off the lot, you must wait a few days while the papers are finalized with the DMV (cars never leave the lot without a license plate like in the States). The expectation was that I wouldn’t have my car until this coming Monday…but when I got home on Friday, Jacob had already brought it home for me!

I’ve driven around my new (used) car the last couple of days and I must admit I feel a bit like I am cheating on my car at home. I love my new Smart car, but nothing will beat my Jetta – it’s cozy butt warmers, satellite radio, and at this point, spaciousness! In reality though, Madrid is not a car friendly place because parking is a pain, and cars get very beat up – not a good home for a nice, new car. So I am embracing the used Smart as a cute, fuel efficient, economical and environmentally friendly car. I miss my Jetta, but it just wouldn’t work here (plus the only Jettas here are literally the white taxis – I otherwise never see them). If anyone is in the market for a new car and is interested in my Jetta, let me know! As much as I’d like to have a car in each country, I just don’t think I can pull it off for much longer.

These next couple of weeks will be quite busy. At work, we’ll be launching our new site (more to come on that in a future blog) which means a lot of work to be done. Lots of birthday celebrations too – Jacob’s mom, sister-in-law, a good friend of ours and myself, all in one week! I am anxious for the holidays to get here so that I can come back to the States and visit with everyone….I’m getting homesick!

Until next week amigos…