Thursday, September 27, 2012

Autumn chill

DSC03351 Stitch

The leaves have begun to turn along the Maas and around the courtyards: bands of cold rain are sweeping in from the coast.  It’s soaking the streets and dampening my mood. 

My businesses are in a pretty intense phase where a lot needs to go right, and on schedule, to meet our commercialization targets.  I can handle the science and technology, the processes and budgets, but the people issues are increasingly acute.  With less planning and presenting, people seem happy falling into silly squabbles about appearances and control.   We’re spending too much time generally on the companies ’plumbing’ and not enough on their strategy and exits.  It leads me towards thinking that we need changes in people and organization, which is going to be painful.

I’m also feeling insecure about residency: bot the UK and the Dutch are getting more difficult with financial and cultural requirements for renewing permits.  The renewal letters are arriving with strict reporting requirements, time limits, and pages of threats about he consequences of not getting renewed.  I understand the larger politics of immigration, but the businesses brought a quarter-million euros into the country last year and we’re hiring local people and paying local taxes.

I’m working hard, on my own time and money, towards passing the language exam (A2, NT1 NT2?).  The stakes are rising because the Dutch are insisting that I take a pre-exam in November: refusal indicates that I am ‘unwilling’ to integrate, rather than ‘unable’ to speak.  Now I have to balance the risk of failing the exam against the risk of not taking it yet, not a pair of pleasant alternatives. 

I continue to work with my tutor, my workbooks, and my lessons daily: the college has restored my internet access to the on-line tutorials and videos (after six months of fruitless trying).

My 40th High School Reunion is this weekend.  I’ve ever been to any reunions, but this one was tempting and, for a while, I thought that I might back to Deerfield for it.  I’ve been in contact with several old friends, found that a few had passed away, scanned through pictures, squinting, to see who I still recognized.  I have to catch a train to Brussels, though pre-position in a discount hotel near Gare Midi for the Eurostar to London for early meetings on Friday.  

I’m feeling tired and discouraged.  The suitcase only changes over now, it doesn’t seem to ever get unpacked.  I know I’m just buried with a transient gaggle of issues, but I like to have a positive outlook as I get them addressed.  Otherwise, I’ll just fight the problems rather than solve them.

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