2nd May 2014
Salamat, Paalam, Mabuhay!
Salamat, paalam, mabuhay. It is with these three Filipino words that I would like to conclude our two-week trip around the world (even if we only stayed in two countries, we actually circumnavigated the world by plane!).
It is an expression of gratitude, of thanks. As we end our trip around the world, Alyssa and I would like to thank Schneider Electric for giving us this once-in-a-lifetime experience of having an all-expense-paid and worry-free trip to two countries of our choice: USA and Denmark. From helping us with our Visa application, accommodating emergency changes in schedule, paying for all our food, accommodation, and travel expenses, planning our activities and making sure we had great company, promptly responding to our needs and concerns, to the last-minute rebooking of our flight back to the Philippines and the extra night we had to spend in the hotel in Denmark – we had nothing to worry about. All were well taken care of, and we thank Schneider Electric for that – especially the people who made all these possible. Our special thanks go particularly to Melissa Golden and Anshika Tandon of SE Global Talent Acquisition; Andrea Franco, Liz Henderson, and Line Orloff of SE Human Resources in Boston, Rhode Island, and Denmark, respectively; and Trixie Magalit and Gerilyn Baltan of SE Philippines – for spending their precious time, bearing all the stress, and exerting all their efforts to make sure that we have a stress-free, enjoyable, unforgettable, and meaningful trip abroad. To them, to our newfound friends who spent some good times with us in the two countries, and all the people behind our trip, our heartfelt gratitude for everything! Our warmest salamat!
In English, it is often roughly translated as farewell or goodbye, although it does not really capture the word’s essence. Paalam means letting the other party know you are about to do something with the intention of seeking the blessing of the other. And in farewell scenarios, it is used to let the other know that you are about to leave, hoping that the other will wish you the grace of having a safe trip wherever you go. Although it does not guarantee a return, it does not have the finality of a goodbye. After the one-day delay of our stay in Denmark, yesterday we finally said paalam.
It means “long live!” but is often expressed to welcome people to one’s place. It is also said as an expression of strong admiration and wishing of goodwill. Now that we’re back to the Philippines, I feel a strong sense of coming home, an end to a feeling of longing for a place where nowhere else will feel like, an atmosphere of a community welcoming me back, saying Mabuhay. Now that we conclude the two weeks of unforgettable experiences, we look back to Schneider Electric and the people of the United States and Denmark, saying Mabuhay!
Our journey with Schneider Electric does not end here. Alyssa and I are about to join the company in May and October. We look forward to being part of a global company, a family that has always taken great care of us since we joined the Go Green in the City Competition in 2013. We look forward to take part in the company’s commitment for a sustainable environment by “making the most of your energy”.
1st May 2014
A Morning in the National Museum of Denmark
Tick Tock! The time is ticking and we are about to leave Copenhagen. We finished packing our things and checked out from the hotel. But there were some stops we wanted to drop by before Line will meet us at the hotel and take us to the airport.
Line recommended that we visit the National Museum of Denmark before we leave. It was not that far from the hotel. I think it was a 15-minute walk from the hotel. On the way to the museum we got to pass by Christiansborg Palace. They offer tours to the palace reception areas and stable. But we didn’t avail of the tour because we didn’t have enough time anymore. But we did get to check the area that was open to the public.
We finally got to the museum. They have different exhibits on display such as The Danish Prehistory, The Danish Middle Ages and Renaissance, Stories of Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Ethnographic Collections. They also have a temporary exhibit entitled “Girl with parasol” which is an exhibit of photographs that represent a sublime snapshot of Exotic Japan.
What I found fascinating was the different interior design they have for different periods and different classes. The details of the carvings were just exquisite and you could see how lavish and luxurious the lifestyle of the rich during those eras was. Another thing caught our attention was the massive collection they have of religious articles – treasures from the sacristies, carvings from ivory, paintings and images of saints, Mary and Jesus. We were able to go around the entire museum but I think a little more time would have helped to allow us to absorb more information about Denmark and its history. Oh yeah! They also had an exhibit about the mighty Vikings.
Around half past twelve, we headed back to the hotel. Line drove us to the airport and we said the inevitable farewells thinking that it was our last day in Denmark. But there was an issue about our transit we were not able to get on the flight we were supposed to be in. The issue was resolved thanks to the efforts of people from SE Philippines (Ms. Gerilyn Baltan and Ms. Trixie Magalit) and SE Global Talent Acquisition (Melissa Golden and Anshika Tandon). We had to stay one more night in Copenhagen.
Still in Copenhagen,
We heard about how people make money by returning plastic bottles and soda cans. I think this is a very good way to engage consumers to be involved in the process of recycling these containers. When you buy a bottled drink, you are actually charged an amount. This amount is returned to you when you bring back the bottle. I had a couple of bottles with me and returned it to the 7-eleven in the airport. For the few hours we stayed there a couple of tourists must have not known about it and left the bottles lying around. We picked them up and got enough Kroners to purchase something. It was a good way to let time pass while we were in the airport. I think it is also a good way to show how the system they have in Denmark is really environment friendly.
30th April 2014
More of Copenhagen
Before our flight back to the Philippines tomorrow, we found time to do some souvenir shopping at Strøget, the main shopping area in Copenhagen. Dedicated only to shoppers, cars are not allowed to pass by the area. It has a wide variety of shops ranging from souvenir stores to boutiques of famous brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, and Tommy Hilfiger, among others. For the young-at-heart, it would be hard to miss the Lego (for those who don’t know, Lego started and is based in Denmark!) and Disney stores also in that area. To add to the experience, we were in the right place at the right time when the Royal Guards had some sort of a military parade and passed by the shopping area! On our way to Nyhavn, where we were to meet Line, we passed by Kongens Nytorv (“The King’s New Square”) where there was a flea market of various collector’s items, antiques, souvenir items, and other collectibles. It was tempting to purchase some items, but we did not.
Since Line wanted us to have a somehow complete Danish experience, she treated us at a restaurant named Skipperkroen for a Danish lunch along Nyhavn! For the six days we have been in Denmark, it was quite noticeable that Danish cuisine is far different from the typical Filipino/Asian food. While rice is a common sight in Asian plates, a typical Danish meal would have rugbrød (rye bread). Lunch is usually cold, which typically begins with fish (usually pickled herring), followed by other meat (e.g. pork, chicken), and ends with cheese and some fruits. Traditional lunch would be smørrebrød, an open rye-bread sandwich, where slices of cold meat, fish, spreads, and some vegetables are laid on the bread.
After we had our fill, we went off for a canal cruise to do sightseeing in Copenhagen. Initially constructed for trade and military purposes, the canal has become advantageous for tourism due to its strategic location. We saw from the boat much of Copenhagen’s best tourist spots accompanied by the bits of history from a tour guide. The feast for the eyes was then followed by another feast for the taste buds. We went back to Nyhavn to eat Copenhagen’s famous ice cream. I had cookies and cream, pistachio, cherry, and strawberry for my scoops! Such a sweet treat!
Sightseeing not done yet, for after the boat tour we were off to the Rundetaarn (Round Tower) to have a panoramic view of the city. It was somehow reminiscent of the experience we had at the Prudential Tower in Boston – but without the elevator and audio guide. It gave a different flavor to the experience in a way that evokes a historical feeling. We were able to see from a different and wider perspective the magnificent buildings and streets we used to pass by in the past days. On our way to the viewing deck (through a spiral ramp) were some exhibitions of Danish art and history. It used to be an astronomical observatory until the 19th century when the University of Copenhagen decided to transfer its observatory functions to Østervold Observatory. In 1928, it was re-commissioned to become a public observatory for amateur astronomers and general public.
After a sumptuous dinner at Royal Grill, we dropped by the Happy Wall at Kongens Nytorv to take some pictures with a colorful background where we spelled our names and some words.
With all that we saw and we experienced today, indeed it was a day of getting to know Copenhagen more. As we leave tomorrow, we can say that we were able to know and experience a lot about Copenhagen and Denmark in the few days that we have been here. However, despite such fact, we know there is a lot more to discover.
From the happiest place on Earth,
29th April 2014
Thank God It’s Friday!
Employees would normally look forward to the weekend and to get some time off from work. But before the week is done we got to visit another Schneider Electric site located in Birkerød, a town located a few miles to the north of Copenhagen. We got to experience activities they hold on Fridays, or at least the last Friday of each month. And also, we got to hang out with VIEs (Volontariat International en Entreprise), who are French nationals that are assigned for a year or two in Denmark.
To jumpstart the day, Christian Egeberg, an HR Business Partner in SE Denmark, accompanied us to the 7-Technologies which is now part of Schneider Electric. The company was acquired a few years back and is mainly focused on software development. They develop software to promote optimization of operations and minimize energy consumption in terms of operating networks of waterways. Their line of products includes Aquis, Termis and IGSS. Aquis is a hydraulic modeling tool that helps simulate the flow and pressure in the water distribution network while Termis simulates the flow, pressure and heating. The IGGS (interactive Graphical SCADA System) is used for monitoring and controlling industrial processes.
One thing unique about this SE facility that we got to visit is that it is has a very homey feel and it does not appear to be an office from the outside. They have this practice to eat breakfast together every Friday. So when we got there, we got to share a meal with them prior to the tour. We were a fairly international bunch of people seated for breakfast. Christian was from Denmark, Martin from France, Amin from Iran, John was from USA while Lorenz and I were from the Philippines. It was also interesting that when we got our food and went to our seats, we found shots of an “unknown drink.” Apparently it was Gammel Dansk (Old Danish), a drink that was traditionally drunk by Danes at certain festive occasions associated with breakfast.
After eating breakfast, Martin showed us around. First we visited the team in charge of software development. Then we headed to where the project and technical support team was working. For our last stop, we got to visit the Stuxureware Lab where are breakfast buddies were working. Mads explained to us how they are integrating SE products with the IGSS, Termis and Aquis to provide a general solution. We also got to meet Lars who is heading that team located in Birkerød.
For lunch, we headed to Ballerup where they were having barbeque. Christian mentioned to us that the chef in their cafeteria would normally have barbeque when the weather is good and today the sun was shining bright (and it is not humid like the weather we have in the Philippines). After lunch, we were introduced to Arthur, a VIE assigned in purchasing. He explained to us his work and the VIE program under the French government. There are a couple of VIEs assigned in Ballerup.
We just had a very relaxing afternoon enjoying the warmth of the sun over a cup of tea in the garden. At around 3 PM, we headed to the basement where Arthur showed us their gym. They also have this thing called “Friday Bar” where every last Friday of the month employees are invited to chill at the basement where they have a recreational space that has a pool table and where they could play table tennis. They serve beer, soda and other beverages during the Friday Bar. I think it is a good way to wind down after a long week and at the same time get to meet colleagues.
After the Friday Bar, we went back to Copenhagen. We stopped by Arthur’s place before heading to Christianhavn to see the Church of Our Lord Savior and other sites nearby. We were supposed to bike around the city but I was too short for the bike and I just don’t think it is smart for me to take the risk and meet an accident. So we rode a bus and took the metro instead.
After walking around Christianhavn, we met up with the other VIEs – Sylvie, Alice and Charlie – and a couple of their friends Sophie and Bastian. On our way there, we walked by the harbor and the place where we ate at was by the harbor which offered a really great view at dusk. We had dinner and drinks and called it a night.
Mildly sun-baked yet having a chill time,
28th April 2014
Farther and Further
One facility will not be enough to define the presence of Schneider Electric in Denmark. That is why we went all the way to the other end of the country and dropped by the company’s facilities in Ringsted and Kolding. The one in Ringsted is a manufacturing facility for products like switches, and electric and network sockets. The other facility in Kolding is dedicated for Research and Development (R&D) for the IT Business (ITB) of Schneider Electric.
Flemming of the Ringsted facility gave us an overview of the operations in the factory and toured us around it. We walked through the production line and observed the process of manufacturing switches and sockets from molding to assembly. It was fascinating to see the collective effort of machines, robots, and personnel to come up with quality products under the Schneider Electric brand. These products, often mounted on our walls, are usually undervalued despite their significance in our daily lives. Seeing how they are made and the hard work employees exert to deliver these products to us has made me appreciate these rather simple electrical equipment even more. Before leaving, Flemming handed out to us some LAN sockets as souvenirs.
More than two hundred kilometers from Copenhagen is the ITB R&D facility in Kolding. Alyssa and I presented our project and Go Green in the City experiences to good number of employees. With Henrik as our guide, we visited a data center room and got to see a software that monitors data center performance and ambient conditions. We also visited the testing room for upcoming Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) models, courtesy of Henning. Before leaving, we likewise visited workstations of the intelligent bunch of people who do research and engineering work for the further development of Schneider Electric products. Gitte from HR also gave us some insights into HR management in an R&D facility such as the one they are in.
On our way to Kolding and back, we passed by the Storebæltsforbindelsen (Great Belt Fixed Link), which is also known as the “East Bridge”. It consists of the world’s third longest main span suspension bridge and a railway tunnel. We have also learned that along with this engineering feat is another one that connects Copenhagen to Sweden. But what amazed us is the fact that the bridge “disappears” midway, so that vehicles and trains pass through a tunnel under the sea to get to Sweden. Although we might not have the opportunity to pass by the latter, we can confidently say that Danes generally have the passion for efficiency. No wonder Schneider Electric has an overwhelming presence in such country.
Our trips today, no matter how far, have shown us how Schneider Electric never settles for less and always goes further, for the greater convenience and satisfaction of its clients – much like Denmark, for its people.
Going the distance,
27th April 2014
Spinning Upside Down
The day was almost over but we had one last thing on our itinerary. Mette was kind enough to accompany us on our visit to the Tivoli Gardens. The weather was not cooperating with us and it was drizzling but we still headed to Tivoli. We walked from our hotel since it was not that far from where we were staying. At the same time, it was an opportunity to get to see more of the nooks and crannies of Copenhagen.
You might be wondering why I had to make a separate entry about a garden. Well, it isn’t a typical garden. Upon entering we were greeted with a ballet performance that was being staged. Mette mentioned that most of the ballets staged in Tivoli are based on the works of Hans Christian Andersen. We then strolled around and saw how beautiful the landscape is inside. From the outside, all you could see are the rides that are insanely tall.
We were afraid that they would stop the operations of the different rides due to the inclement weather. But luckily most of the rides that Lorenz and I were planning to try were still open. Another good thing about our Tivoli visit was the short queues. Mette hooked us up with multiple ride tickets for the different attractions in Tivoli. There were single tickets being sold. But we decided to get the ride-all-you-can band so that we can try as many rides as we could or even ride a specific ride for a couple of times.
So we started off with The Roller Coaster. It was apparently built in 1914. I do have to say that the surge of speed you feel in this ride is a good warm up for the other rides like The Demon, The Golden Tower and Vertigo. We dubbed it as the baby rollercoaster in comparison with The Demon.
The Demon on the other hand had triple loops that would just allow you to feel the exhilaration due to the speed. With the different twists, turns and drops, this was one of the best rollercoaster I’ve been on. Lorenz tried not to scream but he eventually did because of the sudden drop and the loops while I was letting out my feelings by just laughing. I seriously like these crazy rides in amusement parks. Even prior to riding The Demon, I spotted where they are taking the pictures from so I managed to just smile at the camera (or at least look decent in the photo). We sort of rode The Demon thrice just to get more photos and make the most of the unlimited rides.
We then proceeded to The Golden Tower which I feel was the most intimidating ride. Tivoli officially describes the 63-meter tower as “the ultimate toughness test for both genders.” The ride up to the top of the tower gave us a great perspective of Copenhagen. The view from the top of the tower was just breathtaking but it was also nerve-wracking that at any moment we’ll be dropped. Funniest thing was that I really screamed when we experienced the drop. But the feeling didn’t actually match what I thought it would feel like. So I was just laughing and Mette said she could hear my laughter after our screams. I say that this ride was a mind game. You just have to calm down and not get psyched.
The final ride we tried was the Vertigo. For this ride, I suggest that you go to Youtube after you have read this entire blog, look up “Vertigo Tivoli” and watch videos of how the ride actually goes. This was my favorite ride. It makes a lot of people sick. But if you just know where to look and apply the concept of physics so as not to get motion sickness, then you’d be fine. Unfortunately, Lorenz didn’t feel quite well after disembarking the ride. But I did ride it a second time around. So I got to experience both the forward and the backward motion of the rotation. The coolest thing about this ride would have to be getting to see Copenhagen upside down. The most geeky thing I did after the ride was Google-ing how many Gs would a person actually experience while riding the Vertigo. They said you can feel up to 5.2 Gs while on this ride. And let’s just say that it was a good idea to have dinner after trying the different rides.
We left Tivoli to have dinner somewhere. Mette wanted to take us to The Standard for some Italian food. But since we had Italian food the day before, we found ourselves in Wokshop, which is a Thai restaurant, instead. The food was great and the oriental food made us feel a bit closer to home. And yes, we got some noodles, rice and loads of curry sauce.
After dinner we headed back to our hotel and called it a day.
Feeling hyped and exhilarated,
We passed by the Lego store along the main street and I can’t wait to visit that shop!
26th April 2014
What’s up, Ballerup?
We spent most of the day at Schneider Electric in Ballerup but we also got to do some very interesting things at the same time. We kicked off the day by having a short presentation about our project and our Go Green in the City experience. Only a bunch of people got to attend, since some of the people are still catching up with work or are still on vacation because of the Easter holidays. But it is always a pleasure to share our ideas and our experiences.
Afterwards, Line scheduled a meeting for us with Hanne in the same room where we presented. Hanne gave a presentation for us to get to know Schneider Electric Denmark and how they are strategizing to meet their goals. To add to that, Hanne also gave a brief introduction about Human Resources (HR) in Denmark and in the Nordic Region. I guess it would be a shame if I didn’t ask for HR strategies and related questions since I will be joining the HR team in the Philippines after this trip. To further enhance our knowledge on the HR operations, we were able to have another meeting with Morten who is working as the Manager for Shared Services. I also got to ask him questions that might be of help while pursuing a career in HR and at the same time making use of my technical background.
During the day, we were also able to visit Denmark Technical University (DTU). We were able to visit the workspace of the Solar Decathlon team representing Denmark for this year’s competition. Schneider Electric is sponsoring the team who are set to go to Paris and build the house. The competition is set to take place June – July. Interesting how there will be two global competitions that Schneider Electric is involved in for the month of June as the global finals for Go Green in the City 2014 is set to happen this June 17 – 20, 2014. Hurray for more energy efficiency efforts!
We also went to Tivoli Gardens with Mette but I’ll tell you about it in another blog because that experience is worth its own space in this blog series.
Checking in from Ballerup,
On our way back to Ballerup from DTU, we got to pass by the site where they are currently working to build an energy efficient office for Schneider Electric Denmark. Having heard the plans regarding the colocation that Jens presented to us yesterday, it is very interesting to actually get to see the site. Based on the plans, in terms of efficiency and aesthetics, I am excited for SE Denmark. I hope we could visit Denmark again and see the plans come to a reality.
25th April 2014
Now That’s Efficient
“Make the most of your energy,” so goes Schneider Electric’s battlecry. That perfectly encapsulates how our second day in Denmark went, which is the first day of planned activities. Being a hub for Research and Development (R&D) in Europe, Schneider Electric Denmark, through its acquired company Lauritz Knudsen, appears to be an interesting site for us to visit as engineering graduates. We were able to have an overview of the R&D products and operations in the facility as well as the plans for the soon-to-be the new Schneider Electric building in Denmark. We were also able to tour around a few places in Copenhagen during our break time.
We finally met Line, the one primarily in charge of accommodating us in this Scandinavian Kingdom. Knowing that we are engineering graduates, she said she tailored the Denmark experience to be in line with our educational background, interests, and future work in Schneider Electric. That would be in addition, of course, to the planned sight-seeing and tourist activities she has lined up for us!
She introduced us to her colleague, Christian (who will also be with us in the next few days), and to Jesper, an engineer working for Wiser smart home technology. Jesper toured us around the R&D building and showed us testing facilities, engineers’ work areas, and demo units. He gave particular attention to his field of expertise, the Wiser smart home technology. He demonstrated how energy consumption can properly be monitored through such technology in a very user-friendly manner, even using mobile electronic devices to monitor and control appliances! What also fascinated us was the fact that those advanced technologies had hardware, which looked very sleek and stylish. We were told that they do not only invest in the perfection of engineering behind such technologies but also in aesthetics, as a part of a complete presentable package. Indeed, it was a sci-fi movie technology that has now become a reality!
We then went to a stress test facility underground, where a young employee only a year older than us, Robert, toured us around. He has been assigned to monitor the stress testing every so often. After lunch, Jens, a specialist in energy efficiency and the project manager of the soon-to-be new Schneider Electric building, shared with us his and his team’s best practices in doing energy audits, proposing energy management strategies, and initiating actions to make their facility the best example of efficient energy management. He noted that a lot of energy efficiency plans are set to be implemented in the new Schneider Electric facility to be opened in February 2015.
Afterwards, we went back to the hotel for a while and took a walk to the nearby Rosenborg Castle, The Marble Church, and Amalienborg Castle. Such time was supposed to be spent for resting but we thought it would be more efficient to make use of the limited time to walk around the city. Too bad Rosenborg Castle was already closed at that time so we were not able to see the crown jewels. However, we were lucky enough to drop by Amalienborg Castle just in time for the ceremony of the changing of guards!
After the short castle sight-seeing, we had dinner with Line and Christian at an Italian Restaurant. With delectable pizzas on our table, I thought we were missing something: chili sauce. When we asked for chili sauce, we were warned by the waitress that it would be very spicy. Coming from a place in the Philippines known to love spicy food (Bicol), I took the waitress’ warning with a grain of salt, therefore pouring a lot of it on my pizza. But I was sorry for underestimating her warning. So far, it has been the spiciest chili sauce I have ever tasted. Even our Danish friends Line and Christian were surprised to find such sauce in an Italian restaurant in Denmark.
With all the people we met, the facilities we saw, the food we ate, and the castles we went to, it was indeed a day of learning and amazement. Despite the hectic schedule, it was a day well spent. Now that’s efficient!
Loving the efficiency,
24th April 2014
Velkommen til Danmark – The World’s Happiest Nation!
After a 3-hour flight from Kevflavik Airport (Iceland), we finally landed in Copenhagen (or as the Danes would refer to it as København). Line Orloff of Schneider Electric Denmark booked a cab for us. So the transfer from the airport to the hotel went smoothly. Monday was still a part of the Easter holiday in Denmark so Lorenz and I were both wondering where all the people have gone. We checked in at the hotel and left our things in our respective rooms, talked with our families back home and rested for a bit.
Our seats were not beside each other during the flights so I just found out that Lorenz didn’t get to eat while on the plane. So at around 4 in the afternoon we were starting to feel hungry and decided to explore the area nearby. We are staying at the Strand Hotel which is located by the harbor front. Just around the corner is Nyhavn Street. I suggest you Google how the name of the street is pronounced because we got it all wrong. Further down Nyhavn is where Nytorv Square is.
We walked up until we reached Nytorv Square and found the happy wall. It is street art that they put up and where you could form letters, words and shapes by revealing the colors on the black board. Coincidentally my mom’s name (Mia) was already up on the board so I just took a snap of it. Along the way, we were also able to check out the cafes and restaurants that are located along Nyhavn. Since it is a tourist destination, the food was a bit pricey. After checking out the different places in the area, we finally decided to eat at a pizzeria nearby. But seriously, the prices are really high here and I must have drunk the most expensive bottle of coke today.
After dinner, we headed back to the hotel. We are trying to adapt to the new time zone and jetlag is catching on. But the city, based on what we’ve seen so far, is really beautiful. The scenic view from the harbor outside the hotel is just lovely. But there are still a lot of things to explore in Denmark and perhaps we’ll find out during our stay why it is the happiest nation.
Feeling happy in Denmark,
I’d like to share a bit of my geeky side and my inclination to appreciate wordplay. We are currently staying in a hotel in the area of Nyhavn, which means “New Port” and during our stay in Rhode Island, we stayed in Newport. I just find the similarity quite amusing.
23rd April 2014
Ice Peak in Reykjavik
Good morning, Iceland! We landed in Iceland when it was freezing outside. It was approximately 1°C outside when we arrived. Now, you might be wondering why we are in Iceland when Lorenz mentioned that we’d be heading to Denmark. Our destination is Denmark but we had a stopover in Reykjavik. There are bits and pieces that made the 5-hour flight interesting. But I hope I don’t spoil it for anyone who is flying with Icelandair pretty soon. Also, I am writing this from my perspective because Lorenz hit the snooze button when the plane took off. As French would probably say, “Ces’t dommage (It’s such a shame)” because the flight offered so many bits and pieces of interesting things to know Iceland better.
We were on a flight that left Boston just a few hours before Easter ended. So, apart from the food that they served from the menu, they gave Easter eggs for everyone. The chocolate shell housed a little piece of paper that had an Icelandic saying. I’d compare it to getting a fortune cookie, but getting chocolate and a bit more trivia. And let’s face it, who does not love chocolate (that has endorphins that make people happy)?
Apart from Icelandic food, they did offer Easter beer which the name suggests is only served during Easter. I did quite find the gastronomic experience to be fairly fascinating but perhaps getting to try Icelandic food in local restaurants would offer a different experience. What I did do while enjoying my food and beverage was listen to some music. The inflight entertainment offered a great selection of music. But I thought why not complete the Icelandic experience with an Icelandic Artists mix that they had already prepared. There are some really cool beats and tunes and I am definitely trying to look for the songs I heard while I was on board.
Also Iceland was recently featured in a film entitled The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. So, I think to walk on Iceland ground was definitely cool. But what was amazing was to see the ice capped mountains and volcanoes and flying over them. For someone who comes from a tropical country and doesn’t get to experience having snow, seeing that sight was just magnificent. Maybe it was from afar but it was just lovely to behold such wonder.
Freezing in Iceland,
P.S. Prior to deplaning, I asked Lorenz to wait for me so that we could take a selfie or a bunch of photos prior to entering the building. But some miscommunication happened. He was waiting inside the building when I deplaned so please excuse my selfie.
22nd April 2014
Easter, Freedom, and Leaving
It is Easter Sunday and as Catholics, it was but right to start our day by attending Mass at the Shrine of St. Anthony, the nearest church to our hotel. As Easter is supposed to be a day of great jubilation in the Christian community, we cannot afford to waste time to enjoy our remaining hours in the United States. We went back to the Copley Square to take some photos of the Boston Marathon Finish Line and nearby historical buildings (i.e. Trinity Church, Boston Public Library, Old South Church) in daylight and set out to the Boston Commons to walk along the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile long path that leads to 16 significant historic sites from the Boston Commons to the USS Constitution in Charlestown.
To facilitate and substantiate our Freedom Trail walk, we decided to join a guided tour. With lots of humor in store, the tour guide shared interesting stories in Boston history and historical sites. For instance, he pointed out that the place where the playground in Boston Commons now stands used to be where public executions were held. He also revealed to us that the dome of the Massachusetts State House is actually covered by 23-karat gold foil! We then passed by the Park Street church, where the hymn “America” was first sung on July 4, 1831 and where William Lloyd Garrison gave the first anti-slavery speech. Just a short walk nearby was the Old Granary Burial Ground where Boston’s revolutionary figures such as Paul Revere, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Peter Fanueil and James Otis are buried. We also passed by the site of the first public school in the United States, the Boston Latin School. We again walked by the Old South Meeting House, which we also visited on our first day in Boston. Still along the Freedom Trail is the Old State House which used to be the seat of the British Parliament and the colonial government. It stood witness to the Boston Massacre which took place in 1770. It is also the place where John Hancock first read the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The tour concluded at the Fanueil Hall, which is also known as the “Cradle of Liberty”. It was recently mentioned by Dailymail UK as the 7th most visited tourist attraction in the world. Just outside the Fanueil Hall, we watched an entertaining street theater presentation. There are many shops in the area, including the Quincy Marketplace, where we bought some souvenirs.
The Freedom Trail actually goes beyond the Fanueil Hall with five other spots until Charlestown. Since the guided tour concluded at the Fanueil Hall, maybe we can finish the other five the next time we again set our feet in Boston.
Now we are about to leave the land of the people who affirmed the Filipinos’ love of freedom, of democracy. Now we are about to leave behind the place of friendly folks of Boston and Rhode Island. Now we are about to leave behind the delectable seafood cuisine of New England, the awe-inspiring structures of Boston, and the relaxing environment in Rhode Island – but we will surely carry with us the experiences and the happy memories of our week-long stay in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”.
‘Til we meet again, America! Denmark, here we come!
Thankful and hopeful,
21st April 2014
A Day of Art and Random Adventures
After a half-day in Cambridge, now we’re back to Boston. We have been touring around on our own since yesterday with a map from the hotel, a train route map, tips we got from Jen (of SE in Rhode Island), directions we got from the internet, and a good amount of gut feel when we didn’t know whether to go straight ahead, turn left, right, or back. Today we were up for some stroll at the eastern and southern parts of the city.
So as not to waste time, we immediately started our city tour after breakfast. Walking to the Seaport District, we dropped by the Boston Tea Party Museum, which was still closed at that time; took some photos along the riverside near the Boston Children’s Museum; and spent the rest of the morning till past noon at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA). As a bit of history (which I got from the internet), the Boston Tea Party Museum commemorates the events that led to the protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston in 1773 against the Tea Act. The Tea Party, which decries their taxation by the British government without representation, was a crucial part in the escalation of the American Revolution. As a sign of indignation, the protesters threw the shipment of tea into the Boston Harbor. We also didn’t go inside the Boston Children’s Museum, but according to its website, it “exhibits focus on early childhood development and the three themes: arts, culture, and science”.
In ICA, we were able to see exhibits by Nick Cave (“Soundsuits”), William Kentridge (“The Refusal of Time”), Eleanor Antin (“Selves”), and Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg (“A World of Glass”). Among all the exhibitions, it was William Kentridge’s work that fascinated me most. The installation showed a subversion of a linear and standardized perception of time by revealing that time is personal and varies per individual, which also resonates with Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity. In a write up by Davida Fernandez-Barkan, the “refusal of time” is in large part a refusal of imperialism (cf. Britain’s standardization of time by establishing the Greenwich Mean Time as the global standard). After going around the museum, we created our own souvenir, i.e. mixed media artwork based from Nick Cave’s Soundsuits.
We then went to the Fenway District where the famous Boston Museum of Fine Arts and Fenway Park are. We got to the museum fifteen minutes before closing time allowing us to get museum tickets for free. With no time to waste, we went to the Ancient Art, American Art, and European Art sections. The Ancient Art section featured relics of the ancient world, mostly of Egyptian origin. The European Art section had the expected display of European grandeur, mostly in furniture, figurines, and religious art. The American Art section had paintings of historical figures in American history and other artworks that apparently emanate English influence. With many sections left yet unexplored, the Museum of Fine Arts is surely a place we’ll have to go back to in our next visit to Boston some time we don’t know when.
Afterwards, we took a walk to the lair of the Red Sox, the Fenway Park. Too bad we arrived just around 30 minutes after their winning game against the Baltimore Orioles. It was only in this trip that I got a bit oriented with the baseball frenzy in the United States, and the side trip to the Fenway Park made me feel that Americans’ patronage of their favorite baseball teams even transcends generations!
From the Fenway Park, we had a long walk to the Back Bay District where the Hynes Convention Center, Prudential Tower, and Copley Square are. A historic area intertwined with an active business environment, one can find Massachusetts’ tallest buildings located almost side by side with some of the most historically significant neighborhoods. At Hynes Convention Center, we checked out a bazaar with sports-related booths in time for the upcoming Boston Marathon. At the Prudential Tower, we went to the 50th floor to have a panoramic view of the city. With an electronic audio guide, viewing became more informative!
At night, I had to go back early to the hotel because I was expecting a phone call. After which, I went back to the Back Bay area and had a relaxing stroll along Massachusetts Ave. and went straight to Copley Square. At around the same time, Alyssa had an enjoyable night at the Improv Asylum, an improv and comedy theater in Boston’s North End District.
Ending a day worthy of our tired feet,
20th April 2014
The Average at Cambridge
Lorenz and I arrived in Boston just a few minutes past noon. It is the Easter Holidays and the Boston Marathon would be on Monday, people are starting to pack the city. After checking in at the hotel, we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon at Cambridge.
We took the train from Downtown Crossing to Kendall station to visit the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Considered as one of the top engineering schools, it is very fascinating to actually get to visit the place. We managed to walk along the stretch by the Charles River. To be honest, we really didn’t know where the main building was. We just got directions to get to the campus but when we were there, we just wandered and observed the facades of the buildings. We did manage to find ourselves along Mass. Ave where the main building is located. One could not possibly miss the massive structure with columns. We went inside the main building for a bit and took some photos. A very touristy thing to do, I must say. But how often do you get to visit MIT (assuming you don’t attend any program there)?
Right after, we took the train to Harvard, “Hahvahd” as Bostonians would say. We found ourselves in Harvard Square. We walked towards the main gate of Harvard University, Ivy League school. We walked past Harvard hall towards where a group of tourists were crowded around the statue of John Harvard. We then walked around the Harvard Yard. There were a few specific buildings I wanted to see in Harvard so we asked a police officer where to find a couple of buildings and where we could perhaps buy some souvenir items as well.
Based on the given directions by the police officer, we found ourselves in front of the library, the science center. We were also able to visit the memorial hall. But to cap our tour in the campus, prior to walking to the souvenir shop, we headed to the Harvard Law School. We went inside Austin Hall, and a part of me really wanted to inquire about the program at Harvard. On a personal note, like others I also dreamt of getting into Harvard. I used to read up on Harvard over the internet back when I was still in high school, even before the craze about Mike Ross and Harvey Specter. (Forgive me for the Suits reference if you do not know the show.)
We then walked through the Old Yard to get to the souvenir shop. We were just in time and had a few minutes to grab a couple of shirts and other merchandise before the shop closed. To end our trip to Harvard, we went further down Dunster St. to go to a place called Kirkland House. It was a good thing that I remembered the name of the place mentioned in the Social Network. Kirkland House was where Mark Zuckerberg used to stay when he attended Harvard and that was where Facebook started. Facebook would eventually be one of the things that would consume most of people’s time, including mine and probably yours too! Hahaha!
We were considering going to Tufts University after but it was getting late and had to get some rest. So that was it for an afternoon at Cambridge. I do hope you guys could also visit the place. J
The average at Cambridge,
19th April 2014
The Road from Rhode Island
Just as we were feeling comfortable away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Lorenz and I had to head back to Boston earlier today. Liz picked us up from the hotel in Newport. Since the train ride wasn’t till around 10:00 AM, we passed by the University of Rhode Island and grabbed some breakfast at Bagelz. As the name of the place must have given away, we had some bagels, coffee and tea.
We then headed to the train station. It was where Liz picked us up a couple of days ago. Now here we are a couple of days later, no longer strangers. But this time around, we are getting dropped off at the same place to head out of town.
It was such a great experience to have visited the APC by Schneider Electric facility in Rhode Island. Thanks again for having us!
Credits go to Liz and the rest of the amazing team from HR who made us feel welcome! We just had to take this selfie just before leaving town. It was sad that we had to leave after spending two days, driving around the state with Liz, Ashley and Jen.
18th April 2014
Stuffed in Providence
Today, we got to learn more bits and pieces about Rhode Island, the smallest state in the USA, and explore Providence which is the capital of the state. Rhode Island apparently has the longest official name, which is “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.” But prior to getting to Providence, loads of interesting things happened along the way.
To jumpstart the day we had breakfast at The People’s Café at Newport. It had an artsy interior with paintings up on the wall. We then headed to Wickford where we picked up some souvenirs from The World Store.
Lorenz and I presented to a group of people in the Schneider Electric facility our project, our experiences and how we ended up in Rhode Island. J. The presentation was over lunch and Liz ordered pizza and salad for everyone. Although, it was only after the presentation when we were able to munch on the pizza. Over lunch (and soda) we had met with Jean Pelletier from Human Resources. The conversation was really open and free flowing. For me, it was an exchange of ideas, perspectives and just a fun filled chat that dealt with realities that are part of Schneider Electric being a global company.
After, Lorenz and I had a chance to call shadow again and this time there were calls from customers coming in from the line. What amazes me is the ability of people in the customer care services to multitask, think quickly and respond to the customer immediately with the best course of action or answers to the queries. I was paired with Allison and something interesting is that Allison was so tall! She is 6’4’’ which made even Lorenz feel short for his height Hahaha!
After call shadowing, we headed out of the office with Liz and Ashley for a trip to Providence. Same as the day before, we just knew where we were headed but we didn’t know what we’ll actually do. We drove all the way to Providence but passed by Narragansett Beach for a while. Liz and Ashley just wanted us to see the beautiful view of the sea, the towers and the sea wall. What’s fascinating was it was the first time that I actually felt the need of a thick jacket while on the beach. In the Philippines, we normally bask in the sun when we are at the beach.
We then found our way to Providence. Liz took us to Brown University and showed us around the campus. Then we went to the convention center where the thing that Liz had in store for us would take place or at least start to take place. Liz booked for us a tour called “Experience Rhode Island” where we got to go around Providence in a tour bus and dine around the city. The tour had three specific spots where we would dine and have an appetizer, an entrée and then dessert respectively.
The first stop was at The Dorrance which is located in a building that used to be a bank. The place was very swanky. The interior had really detailed carvings and the vault was retained but is filled with a set of chairs that people can lounge in. The appetizers were really good. We all got different dishes so that we could taste a bit of everything. The next stop was Los Andes, which is a Peruvian restaurant. Oh boy, were we filled after our meal! Ashley had some chicken while Liz had fish. Lorenz and I each had paella. We were served with humungous lobsters on top of our paella. I think I need to get used to the portion size that they serve here in the US. Prior to heading to the last stop, we went to a spot overlooking the city of Providence and it was just gorgeous at night. For desert we were dropped off by the bus driver in Mill’s Tavern. Like we did in The Dorrance, we ordered different desserts. Liz had a cheesecake, Ashley had a warm cake, Lorenz had a white chocolate mousse and I had a dark chocolate cremeux.
By the end of the tour, we were all stuffed.
Stuffed with great providence,
17th April 2014
A Bird’s Eye View
Only an hour train ride away from Boston was our next destination: Rhode Island a.k.a. the Ocean State. And this time, the weather seemed to be cooperating with us. Despite the colder temperature due to snowfall at nighttime of Tuesday to early morning of Wednesday (we got to see some remnants of snow in the morning), it was sunny in both states. Neither I nor Alyssa knew what surprises were in store for us in the Ocean State with such desirable weather.
Liz picked us up from the station and brought us to the Corporate Headquarters of APC by Schneider Electric in West Kingston. She toured us around the facility and showed almost every nook and cranny of the building. We walked through data centers, the old manufacturing area (which as such until manufacturing operations were transferred to other locations such as in the Philippines), laboratories, product displays, conference rooms, and different department offices. We also got to meet a good number of friendly people behind the day-to-day operation of the facility.
After having a delectable lunch and light conversations with Liz, Jen, Will, and Rich at the nearby Celestial Café, we were given the chance to learn from customer care personnel through a one-on-one discussion. Alyssa and I were supposed to observe how Sean and Jordan, respectively, would handle customer care concerns. However, at the duration of our discussions, nobody called. Afterwards, we met with Jim, a very well-rounded, motivating, and humorous man, in charge of People Development in the company. We shared with him stories about our winning entry, and some experiences we had during the competition last year and the first leg of this tour. He gave us some insights about his job, how he handles various circumstances at work, and tips for a successful global career. Aside from being proficient in five languages, he knows a little Filipino and greeted us in our language! We really appreciated it.
But the surprise everyone tried to keep secret from us was just yet to come.
Nobody spilled the beans until we arrived at an airport in Middletown. We were to ride a helicopter to have an aerial view of the entire Rhode Island! When I saw a signboard a few blocks away from the airport, saying “Bird’s Eye View Helicopter”, I had a slight suspicion that we would ride in a chopper, but I thought it was too much so I dismissed the idea, until we parked by the airport itself and rode the helicopter. The 12-minute helicopter ride overlooking the state, with all its famous mansions and resorts, was priceless. I never thought I would be able to ride a helicopter this early in my life. I believe neither Alyssa did. It was one of the most unexpected and overwhelming surprises I ever got!
We then went to the Red Parrot restaurant in Newport for dinner with Liz, Jen, and Ashley. It was my first time to eat mako shark steak, which I particularly chose because I remember reading it from the book “Life of Pi” (by Yann Martel) as the fierce shark that humbled the mighty Richard Parker. Alyssa had “surf and turf”, which is grilled filet mignon topped with lobster scampi. We also had luscious desserts, flavorful drinks, and lots of laughter to complete the meal.
To cap the day, we went strolling at the wharf and watched the beautiful sunset. Despite the freezing cold, the company of our newfound friends was enough to keep us warm.
It was a day in the eyes of a bird, indeed. Touring the SE facility, we got to see how the company generally works. Riding a chopper, we were able to have a broad view of the land and seas of Rhode Island. And watching the sun set, we were like birds in retreat by the seaside, taking a break and thankful for the great day that was.
In awe at Rhode Island,
P.S. On our way to the wharf, I saw trash cans which were labeled “solar compactor”. It’s amazing how solar power technology, which is one of my fields of technical interest, is integrated even to the trash bins along the sidewalk!
16th April 2014
Let’s Get It On, Boston!
For someone who is from a tropical country and who might be currently experiencing the summer heat, the weather in Boston is quite the opposite. It was about 55°F outside when Lorenz and I decided to take a walk towards the Boston Aquarium where we would meet up with people from Schneider Electric, Andrea Franco and Dan DeLuca. We decided to walk along Washington St. and see what we would find there.
We saw that the theater district is quite near the hotel. Just at the intersection near the hotel, the Boston Opera House is located. I was personally fascinated by the architecture of the buildings in the vicinity. I am amazed at how old the structures must be but still there is beauty in it. There are even some restoration works ongoing.
We strolled further towards School St. where the Boston Irish Famine Memorial is located. Just across the street the Old South Meeting House, which is both a Museum and a Historic site, can be found. We were just passing by when we saw that admission today was for free. Since we still had time, we decided to enter the museum and learn some historical events that occurred there and in Boston in general. In memory of the bombing that occurred last year, the admission to the museum was for free, in the hope that people who would visit the site would use it as a reflective environment to think about the past events that took place in Boston.
After the stop at the museum, we passed by a shop called Cakeology. I was mainly attracted by the cute design of the store and the giant panda stuffed toy displayed inside. But we were also starving and decided to grab something to eat. Lorenz got a Pink Lemonade Cupcake while I got a Magic Bar, which is a bar of chocolates, caramel, desiccated coconut and peanuts.
We scurried towards State St. since it was already raining. The stroll in the park kind of walk just wouldn’t do. It was like in a snap of a finger, the weather changed. The winds were really strong and the rain kept pouring. Thank God I brought an umbrella with me! It was also a good thing that the guy from reception area of the hotel was kind enough to lend Lorenz an umbrella. But both of our umbrellas got beaten by the strong winds. If Lorenz and I were lighter in mass, we would have been carried by the wind with our umbrellas and fly like Mary Poppins.
We hurriedly walked towards the Boston Aquarium and decided to eat at a restaurant located near the Aquarium. The place is called The Legal Seafood. Lorenz ordered for some gumbo while I got crab meat cake. After lunch, we were finally able to meet Andrea and Dan.
Andrea planned to take us on a Duck Tour around Boston. But due to the inclement weather, the tours were cancelled for the day. We decided to head to the Museum of Science and spent the afternoon there. The museum had a couple of exhibits like the Hall of Human Life, the displays about computer science and robotics, the theater of electricity, the optics display and many more.
After going around the museum we headed to the North End for dinner at an Italian restaurant. But prior to heading to the restaurant, we walked along Hanover to see the churches and gardens. We also walked around the block and passed by the Paul Revere house. One thing that can be noted also was how the road near the Paul revere house was still made of cobblestone. After going around the area, Andrea took us to a place called Pagliuca’s where we enjoyed some scrumptious food. Lorenz had his fill of clams and other seafood served in a broth with pasta. Dan had roasted veal with potatoes. Andrea had some pasta (ziti) with chicken. I ordered Lobster Fra Diavolo. It was taxing to eat the lobster since it was covered in red sauce and to add to that, it was so big and was served with pasta.
We shared stories and got to know each other a bit over dinner. We discussed with Andrea and Dan our project and also talked about specific contributions in the process of completing the project. We also shared our experiences in Paris.
Although the weather was not in favor to what was originally planned, it turned out to be a great day. We really appreciated the time Andrea and Dan took to accompany us in going about the city. Today was about being immersed in a beautiful city with rich history, having great company in getting around and sharing a great meal at the end of the day.
Smitten by the beauty of Boston,
15th April 2014
Across the Pacific Ocean
Lorenz and I were set to fly to Boston but we had a transit flight through San Francisco. It is interesting how flying all the way to the other side of the Pacific shows the interplay of time and space. After being aboard the plane for approximately 11 hours, we finally arrived in San Francisco. What is interesting though is that after travelling more than 6,000 miles it seemed that we have gone back in time. We left Manila on Tuesday night, April 14 and arrived in San Francisco at around 7 PM, Tuesday, April 14.
We would have loved to check out San Francisco but Boston was already beckoning us from East Coast of the United States. We took another plane ride to Boston (approximately 6 hours). What was cool about the plane ride to Boston was having a female pilot. It was my first time to see and experience riding an aircraft that had a woman as a captain. Coincidentally, it goes along pretty well with the vision of Go Green in the City regarding the participation and role of women in society nowadays.
Once we landed at the Logan International airport and got our luggage, we were picked up by a chauffeur. Schneider Electric prepared all the bookings for us including the car service from the airport to the hotel. It was a short ride from the airport to the hotel. But we managed to get a glimpse of Boston. We can’t wait to explore the city while we are here! Please join us in our adventures as we travel around USA and Denmark through this blog.
All the best,
P.S. On our way to the hotel, we passed by buildings with flags half-masted. It was the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing that happened last year. Our prayers go out to all who were victims of the bombing.
14th April 2014
Go Green in the City 2013 winners anticipate what surprises Schneider Electric has in store!
Today Alyssa Vintola and Lorenz Payonga, winners of the Go Green in the City 2013 challenge, embark on their journey around the world with Schneider Electric. Participation and victory in the competition has already opened many doors and secured professional opportunities for the winners, but today they continue their journey by visiting both the USA and Denmark.
As they were preparing to leave, we were able to catch up with Alyssa and Lorenz and find out more about their excitement and expectations for the trip. Read on to gain insight into their Go Green in the City story, find out why they chose their destinations and what they are most looking forward to on their trip!
How would you describe your Go Green in the City 2013 experience?
Alyssa: My Go Green in the City experience has been about expanding our views about energy efficiency, getting to know Schneider Electric through our mentor, meeting a lot of people and encouraging other students like us to participate in the competition.
Apart from winning, what was your best experience during the competition?
Lorenz: I became motivated to think innovatively. During Go Green in the City I was forced to think “outside-the-box”; it was unforgettable! And, of course, getting to know people from different cultures and different values, but with the common goal of promoting energy efficiency, was a great experience.
What did you learn from the competition?
Lorenz: One of the very important points that we learned from the competition is that it all boils down to how you can communicate your idea so that you can explain it both to the technically-minded and a person on the street.
What do you expect from your trip with Schneider Electric?
Alyssa: First we’ll be going to the USA and then we will head to Europe before coming back to the Philippines. So we will literally make a trip around the world! We think that USA and Denmark will offer us a rich cultural view, and a comprehensive overview of Schneider Electric as a company.
Lorenz: We are looking forward to seeing the Schneider Electric facilities and getting to know the people behind this very successful company. We are also excited to see all the surprises that Schneider Electric has in store for us.
Why did you choose Denmark and USA?
Alyssa: We checked the facility listings from the Schneider Electric website, and from their facilities in the USA and Denmark we can learn a lot, both in terms of how the company runs its business, and how they go about the manufacturing and technical aspects.
Lorenz: The trip to the USA and Denmark is also a big preparation for us, because when we come back to the Philippines we will start working for Schneider Electric, so it will also be an introduction trip. Regarding Denmark, I am particularly interested to find out why this country is branded as the happiest country in the world.
How will this trip contribute to your personal development?
Alyssa: Every chance that you get to travel to a different country is a chance for personal growth, because you get to adjust to customs in different countries, meet new people, and for us it is an opportunity to see how the things are run in more developed countries. And I think we can bring back to the Philippines practices from other countries that are more advanced.
Lorenz: Every culture presents a different perspective on how I can view life in general, and I think the experiences that are in store for us will change the way we view and assess our lives, and our future.
Alyssa and Lorenz are fresh graduates with degrees in Electronics and Communications Engineering from Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines.
Alyssa is passionate about getting to know different cultures by exploring local cuisines, cultural sites, and meeting new people. She also likes to read, that’s why she already has her e-books ready for the flights!
Lorenz is passionate about music, and plays piano and guitar. He is genuinely fascinated by renewable energy facilities and technologies. Lorenz also loves surprises, that’s why he isn’t asking any questions about the upcoming trip, but instead is looking forward to being surprised and fascinated.