London and the Great Job Search

LondonKEY
Author:  Pete
Location:  London, UK

Miranda and I left our pretty girl on a safe mooring in Auckland and flew literally to the other side of the earth to the Search Associates job fair in London.  No kidding, New Zealand and the UK are pretty much antipodes, diametrically opposed through the center of the globe.  Two years of anticipation boiling down to one weekend of interview mayhem made it pretty much impossible to sleep on the airplane.  Instead we watched a lot of junky movies in the thirty-six hours on the move through Melbourne and Dubai.

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Had a couple pre-fair interviews with schools in Dubai, London, and Beijing.  It was a good warm-up, getting our brains back on track after the decay and rot that comes with watching Mission Impossible III through VII back to back on the plane.  Ugh… That evening we had dinner with my siblings along with friends Sinziana and Robert who live in London. 

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Got back to the hotel in time to get some sleep, but our fancy built-in body clocks hadn’t synced to other-side-of-the-world-time yet, and woke Miranda and I up promptly at 3am.  We didn’t fight it, and jumped into planning our educational attack.  After a great English breakfast (what’s up with the tomato and beans?!) alongside other jittery teachers, we marched onto the conference center battleground, armor-clad in suits and shining shoes.  It was novel to be wearing a suit not made of neoprene and any shoes at all!  The horde of a few hundred teachers besieged the school administrators hunkered behind conference hall tables like well-tailored barbarians.  Miranda and I signed up to interview with several schools, being declined by only one, and ourselves declining several schools’ invitations, like from the Intertribal School of Mogadishu, and the Very Excellent Democratically Elected Peoples’ Republican Academy of Pyongyang.  Pass!

We interviewed with schools in Germany, Mongolia, and Switzerland, along with second interviews from Dubai, London, and Beijing.  At the end of the day we had job offers from many of them, but not our top pick!  We still had a second interview with Switzerland that we were holding out for.  Job offers stand for about twenty-four hours, so one can’t wait too long to accept, but it gives you a chance to juggle some of the options in your head.  Actually, juggling helps with focus and eases stress.  Plus it fills out your resume!

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My body clock realized it blew the previous night’s wake-up call, helpfully tried a different hour, and woke me up at 1am.  Fabulous.  I read in bed for an hour, savoring the comfort of a real mattress, then eventually got restless and took to the darkened streets of London to walk off my jittery insomnia.  In three hours of ambling, I found the river Thames and watched the current rip under the bridge, soaking up the calm before the storm.  Water seems to have a certain magnetism for me.  I always feel drawn to it.  Not sure if I’d spearfish in the Thames though.

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With a handful of good job offers already in our pockets we cleared our schedule for the following day to focus on the second interview with the International School of Zug and Luzern.  We met with the administration team and spoke with them for over an hour about pedagogy, educational philosophy, and work history, before they offered us the two math positions we were coveting.  It’s customary for schools to give you time to think over an offer, so we thanked them and walked cooly out, turned the corner, and did a good deal of silent fist-pumping and jumping around excitedly.  We signed contracts with them an hour later.

That evening we went out with the crew to celebrate.  Our friends Robin and Erwin (and their beautiful girlfriends) were in from Belgium and joined in the evening’s reveling.  Sunday, we all spent the day wandering through the British Museum and traipsing about London.  As is commonly known, no other method of perambulation is as British as traipsing.

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The variety of transportation to get us back to Tayrona was laughable.  We dragged our bags through the London streets to the ‘tube’ which took us to an overground train bound for Heathrow, before catching airplanes to Dubai, Melbourne, then Auckland, where we hopped a bus to the main city docks and caught a ferry boat out to the bay where Tayrona was moored.  Then after forty hours of travel I swam out to the boat and got the dinghy to pick up Miranda!  Planes, Trains, and Automobiles?  That’s all you got, John Candy?  Phooey and pshaw! 

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The International School of Zug and Luzern is an excellent school in Lucerne, Switzerland, just south of Zurich.  The middle school and high school where Miranda and I will be teaching respectively are on separate campuses, a few kilometers apart.  After two years of never being more than thirty-eight feet from each other, the distance might be a good thing for our marriage.  This isn’t our shot, but it gives you the idea of what Lucerne looks like.

Lucerne, Switzerland

We are so excited about teaching in Switzerland!  At the moment, I think we’re too tired for it to really sink in.  For now, we’ll sink into our berths to recover from this ridiculous horse race.

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“And there’s the gun! The schools come charging out the gates, London and Dubai making a early break; Ulaanbaatar puts on the speed but then falters as Beijing surges past on the straightaway.  Beijing overtaking Germany, now fighting for position on the inside, neck and neck; WHAT’S THIS!?  Round the final bend, Switzerland comes out of nowhere!  Germany and Beijing trying to keep pace as Switzerland takes the lead!  Switzerland breaking from the pack!  Pulling away from Beijing and Germany!  Switzerland!  Opening the gap on the final straightaway!  It’s Switzerland!  Over the finish line!  SWITZERLAND!  IT’S SWITZERLAND!!  There you are, folks!  Switzerland takes the gold at the 2016 Pashouwer/Gorkiewicz London Fair Derby!

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Boat Hunting in Florida: Day 4

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Author:  Pete

Location:  Fort Lauderdale, Florida
[26°8′N 80°9′W]

Thursday.  We were hoping to meet up with a broker we had already talked to when we were still in Chile, but he’s been down in the Carib selling a boat and we’ve been playing phone and email tag.  So, plan B.  In a quick perusal of Yachtworld and Sailboatlistings we found three boats of interest with the Multihull Company brokerage.  Gave Alexis de Baucaud, their senior broker, a buzz.  He too was down in the islands, but set us up to check out the boats on our own!  Armed with some addresses and key-codes we jumped into the car, again, for a treasure hunt.  There’s always a mast at the end of the rainbow.  All week we’ve been driving up to some unassuming house, not sure if there’s any water nearby, and lo and behold, a mast sticking up from behind the low, one story house.

Our first boat of the day, a 2001 Fortuna Island Spirit 37’ was an immediate hit.  Great size, nice and beamy.  Felt solid and stable.  Lovely open cockpit and excellent access to uncluttered decks, solid bimini and superstructure, well outfitted, and good vis from the helm.  Nice open salon and galley up.  She had a few knicks in her decks, but then again, so do I.  We scampered about happily, feeling a little sneaky for being there on our own.  Peered in cupboards, through hatches, and under mattresses.  It immediately went to the top of the list.

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Our next stop, luckily only a few minutes away was a Maxim Yachts, Voyage 380.  Again, snuck behind someone’s house, slipped through a fence on the side, and finagled our way into the boat via a lock box.  I think the James Bond music was playing the entire time.  The Admiral was stout and strong.  She would’ve been a favorite had we not seen the Island Spirit previously.  The salon layout was much more crunched and the overall space on the boat was inefficiently distributed compared to similar boats.  Would do the trick without a problem through, I’m sure.

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Our last stop of the day was to see a 2001 Lagoon 380.  Dariousz, a Polish-French gentleman was selling it right after seven years of cruising it from the Med with his wife and young daughter.  He took great care, pride, and records of his boat, all of which he showed us with eagerness.  The boat was immaculate, almost perfectly loaded, and at a great price.  The only problem is that the great price is still at the upper limit of our funds.

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We toured the boat with Dariousz, then sat and had a beer with him in the cockpit, chatting about the boat, international living, and futból.  He had Brazilian beer, Brahma, in honor of the World Cup that was playing in the salon.  He told us the boat was pretty much sold to someone in Boston who didn’t even come down to see it, but still wanted to haggle over the price.  He was adamant that he set the price fairly, and that anyone who came down to see her would agree and not insist on haggling per industry standard.

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Of course we loved the boat immediately.  He asked us if we had liquid capital, which we do, and he started discussing selling it to us instead.  I think he partially didn’t like the current buyers as much as us, and partially thought that we could move the boat faster.

Called Alexis when we left as a rumbling thunderstorm came in and started spattering the mango trees around the boat.  He gave us the scoop on how we could potentially throw a bid coup.  We took notes, sort of stunned that this might even be a possibility, our brains churning over the logistics and gravity of the situation at hand.  We went out for dinner and over an hour or so weighed the pros and cons of the deal.  Miranda was enamored with the boat’s immaculate condition and sturdy feel; I played devil’s advocate and discussed the price being higher than we had originally been planning to spend.  We hemmed and hawed.  We looked at our finances, and attacked the situation from all different angles.

Then we decided to go for it.  We made an offer.

 

 

Boat Hunting in Florida: Day 3

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Author:  Miranda

Location:  Fort Lauderdale, Florida
[26°8′N 80°9′W]

After a quick hotel breakfast (man, having real coffee everywhere is fabulous!  I love you Chile, but I will never, ever miss Nescafe), we headed out to meet up with Steve again from the Catamaran company.  Steve had three boats to show us, and he never disappoints in finding us a group of boats in which one as different from the next as possible in the world of catamarans.  It’s so nice to compare many different styles of boats.

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We started at a 4o foot Norseman.  Oh baby, this boat was ginormous!  I started daydreaming about all the storage and all the things we could fit in this cavernous honker, and I had to mentally slap myself in the face.  No!  Living simple and light… that’s the plan!  So, while being a very cool boat, this lady was just too large for us.

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Our second boat was the dark horse of the group.  We had no expectations or previous experience with Fortunas, and this little Island Spirit had a long list of positives.  We especially loved the spacious and open cockpit, as well as a comparatively wide beam for it’s length.  Being 35′ long and 22′ wide, this chunker is almost a square.  While maybe not “the boat,” this was our favorite of the day.  The only point that made us skittish about the boat was the unconventional aspect of having hybrid engines instead of diesels.  This boat is basically a Prius made for water.  Not sure how we’d fix these in remote places, but we would like to research this a little further before we check this as a positive or negative.

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Steve’s last boat was a Jeantot Marine Privilege 39.  She was a little older than we were looking for, when it was customary to have galley down.  We really are looking for a galley up model, though I did like the foredeck layout of the boat.  Felt like a solid craft though.

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Bloody hot.  Got in the car after our time with Steve to 101°F and almost sizzled on the leather seats of the car.  For all the griping we hear about the heat and humidity though, it doesn’t hold a candle to the Cartagena oppression.  We felt like spring chickens even in the sun here comparatively!

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Our last adventure of the day was a quick drive up  to Fort Pierce to see an Fountaine Pajot Athena 38.  She was on the hard, with an interesting superstructure davit built off the back of the boat.  Though the salon is a bit more snug than others, I really like the layout of the boat.  Good size, fairly well equipped, but a touch older than we’d like.

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Drove back to Fort Lauderdale.  Feels like we’ve been living in the car.  But it has A/C in south Florida summer, so that’s just fine!  Stopped at Whole Foods.  Holy crap!  Where has that been all my life!  It’s like we’ve been living on a different continent for seven years.  Seven years…. shit.

The search continues tomorrow.