Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Day One at Schlumberger!

As most of you know, I am in Houston for orientation/training for my new job as a field engineer with Schlumberger, an oilfield services company (pronounced shlum-ber-zhay). Today was my first day! It was long, but I am really excited about the job. There are about 45 of us here for the training (10 females). Most everyone seems nice so far, and I've already started to get to know some people, especially people who will be working in my segment of the company, even though they won't necessarily be in my location. Today we got laptops and steel toe boots, and we got fitted for our two pairs of blue Schlumberger coveralls.

I'll write more later about what my job will be, but right now I am so tired and have to get some sleep for another long day tomorrow!

Blacksburg to Houston: Day Three

The morning of Day Three was fairly relaxed. I woke up earlyish again and spent some time filling out forms for work. Vincent and friends were enjoying the porch as I packed up my car.

The sun can be both a curse and a blessing when driving west. It made driving in the evening really frustrating at times, but it gave me a lot of opportunities for good pictures!

I finally made it to Houston after another long day. Driving in/around Houston was a little scary - I don't like big city driving! The picture below is of my stuffed cat named Peaches sitting on my hotel room (king size!) bed. We all get our own rooms, which is really nice. I took Peaches with me on my trips to Europe when I was younger, and for some reason we have pictures of me and Peaches at various places, mostly when waiting at a train station or something like that. So I decided to take a picture of her here too!

I stayed up way too late finishing things for my first day that ended up not even mattering, but that's okay. I got some sleep and got up on time in the morning!

So ends my trip from Blacksburg to Houston. But the traveling is not over yet!

Blacksburg to Houston: Day Two

On Day Two I got up early (for me), and had a wonderful breakfast with my hosts: bacon, eggs, toast with fig and ginger preserves, and chocolate bread that my mom and I made as a gift for them. Their daughter and her two little girls came over for a while, which was so nice because I had never met the granddaughters before.

It was sunny and warm as I got ready to leave their house in Birmingham:

I saw a billboard along the way for a cute-looking store called Wisteria Cottage, but I didn't see the exit number. I stopped to get gas a little while later, and lo and behold, there was Wisteria Cottage!

So I went inside. It was nice, and I actually bought a couple small things. The woman who helped me recommended going to the place next door too. She called it a candy store, but it is mainly a pecan place.

I got some honey glazed pecans, chocolate covered pecans, and pecan brittle (don't worry, I'll have help eating them!). Then I saw the ice cream and realized that I needed some because the south is hot!!

I saw some neat things while driving, including the bridge below. It's interesting how a lot of the highway has to be raised above the ground in Mississippi and Louisiana because of all the water/marsh. It makes for some cool long bridges.

Here's some nice sunset pictures from the end of Day Two. Almost to Biloxi!

I conveniently planned to stay with Vincent (a friend from middle/high school) in Biloxi. With the help of my GPS, I easily found his house. We went out for dinner then went to see a play that two of his friends were in. Day Two was much less driving than Day One, but I was still exhausted!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Blacksburg to Houston: Day One

Today was the first day of my eventually-cross-country move! My Honda Pilot is really coming in handy. I had to pack for the next six months. The car is pretty full because I'm bringing all my (warm weather) clothes, maybe a few too many pairs of shoes, and all the other random stuff I think I might need. My car is big enough, so why not?! I feel sorry for the people who are flying.

I started out from home this morning and drove to Birmingham, AL. It took longer than expected because I got stuck in traffic near Chattanooga for at least an hour and a half. I wish I were doing this trip over more days (and with a friend) so that I'd have more time to stop at random places. My one spontaneous stop of the day was in Tennessee where I saw a sign for "Cheese Farm and Store" or something like that. And I love cheese. So I had to stop. It was a cute little place, seemingly in the middle of no where (which I guess makes sense... that's where the cows are!). There were lots of free samples, and the two women working in the shop were really friendly. There were big windows in the store, looking into where the cheese-making actually occurs, but nothing was happening while I was there. I ended up getting three cheeses: sharp white cheddar, colby, and buttermilk. The buttermilk cheese was so good (yes of course I sampled it) - mild with a slightly creamier feel than cheddar, though not actually creamy.

I finally got to Birmingham around 8:30 pm (central time). I'm staying with some family friends. They were our neighbors in Blacksburg when I was growing up, and they have always been so good to me and my parents. They moved to Birmingham a few years ago to be closer to family, and we miss them a lot on our street. I'm glad they are conveniently right on my route! They served me a delicious dinner and have been wonderful hosts.

Tomorrow I will be driving to Biloxi, MS, and staying with a high school friend there. I love knowing people all over the place!

Things I learned about Tennessee today:
1. It is bigger than it looks
2. It has lots of pine trees
3. It has many towns whose names are normally associated with another state or country (Philadelphia, Athens, Charleston, Cleveland)
4. The Chattanooga area is really pretty!!

Here are some pictures from today!



View from the cheese shop

Pretty mountains, ugly traffic jam