Life in Germany

Where to start? It’s been a full couple of days here.  On Friday, at the SSB, I was introduced to Willy, a big strong guy with a strong Swabisch accent.  “Hasch du noch net schon mal geschweisen?” (Have you welded before?) and then, “mm, egal,” (doesn’t matter)  I was a little worried, but as I started welding flat plates and then moved on to right angles, with Willy’s guidance, I began to feel more confident.  By the end of the day, I was doing reinforced welds with an electric arc welder.  I’m not sure If I’ll ever weld again, but it was certainly an experience learning.  On Friday, we got on the TGV to Paris, an experience that I have looked forward to since childhood.  Unfortunately, it was dark already, but the train back was during the day.

For me, the most interesting part of Paris was its Metro.  The trains were always packed, and the buskers plentiful, and it was interesting to see such a cross-section of Paris life, far from the tourist islands of the Eiffel tower and Notre Dame.  The food in Paris was also amazing, it seems like there is a Bistro on every corner, some more touristy than others.

After spending the weekend in Paris, we returned to Stuttgart, where I learned that I would be reporting early at 8 am to the general repair area, where I helped rebuild on of the air-ride suspension systems on one of the streetcars.  Afterwords, there were some air conditioning  units to be installed.  Today, I was in yet another department, where the wheels and transmissions are assembled.  There wasn’t a ton of work to do, and most of it involved using large cranes to lift heavy objects, so there was a lot of awkward standing around, but it was still cool to see how real things are built.  Tomorrow, I’ll be in the testing and special vehicles area, where they set the newly rebuilt trains up to run in the system, and make sure everything works, as well as maintain service vehicles and non-streetcar trains – Should be interesting!


I finally got the photo posting to work, so the first to are from the SSB shop (which an enormous drill press) and Paris

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