Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Adjusting Back to Time

    Today marks the first full day back in Missouri for the Griswolds', and it was quite easy I would say. After the plane ride into KCI, we headed right for home. Soon as we got home, I went right for the kitchen looking to devour all food that I could reach. When finished eating, we all talked about the trip, and how this trip was life changing and surreal. After discussing the trip,I went out to give souvenires to my friends, so that I could beat jet lag and not fall asleep so early. I ended gift giving and hanging out with my friends about 8:30 pm lastnight. I was sleep for 12 hours, and woke to make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Sounds tasty doesn't it, and it was not our typical bacon and eggs breakfast. When breakafast was finished, I typed my six page reflection paper about this wonderful experience that is due July 3rd. After the paper was completed I went to a chinese buffet, and had lunch with my friends. The night was ended with a few movies, and this blog about adjusting back to time. Now that I am back in the past, as we were in the seven hour future in Europe, I will never forget this trip and will be remembered as the Griswolds' Family Vacation to Europe!


Monday, June 30, 2014

Traveling Home

Our study abroad experience is officially in the books.  Each city filled us with many memories and we are greatly appreciative for the lessons learned and friendships made.  As for the Griswold's we are currently sitting in the Minneapolis Airport waiting for our last flight back to KC.  Today has been a day full of travel.  It's safe to say our internal clocks are pretty messed up right now.  Audrey just left for New York without saying by to us so she will be grounded when she gets home.  Grant (cousin Eddie) had an interesting flight from Prague to Amsterdam.  The sitting next to him had a seizure and passed out.  Luckily the guy was okay and cousin Eddie actually handled the situation somewhat appropriately.  With that being said, this has been a great trip.  Myself, Ellen, and the kids have thoroughly enjoyed the Griswold Family Vacation 2k14 edition.

- Clark W. Griswold

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday, June 28th (Day 14)

Oh how the time as flown!!! Unfortunately today is our last full day in Prague and the trip as a whole for the Griswold's/Eurocats :(! What better way to end the trip though then on a high. We all began our day a little later than usually
catching up on some much needed shut eye following a night of many fun shenanigans. To begin the day (around noon) we all headed off in different directions to grab a bite to eat before our final visit to the Prague Castle. Around 1:15, all of the Eurocats reconvened to caught the tram up to the Castle to meet our fabulous guide Petr. Our tour was lead by Petr as he informed us all about the history of the Castle and Prague it's self. The views surrounding the Castle are breathtaking and you know we all took advantage of them for a couple great pics. 

Following our time at the Castle we made our way back to the hotel to beautify ourselves before our farewell dinner. Our dinner was at a more upscale restaurant this time where they served us three fabulous courses. Over dinner we all enjoyed sharing our favorite memories and cheering to such a great group of people. We ended the night with a final photoshoot forced by Allison, but to be honest I think it was my favorite one of all. We ended up the night by packing and trying our best to get a little bit of shut eye before our long day of flying. Till the next Griswold vacation peace out from your favorite daughter Audrey!

Saturday, June 28th (Day 13)

Today was the first day where we didn't have to travel to or from a city or go any business visits. Taylor and I went with a bunch of the boys so they could find souvenirs for their family members. We decided not to spend any money because we had done enough of that in the past couple of days in Prauge. After their shopping needs were satisfied Taylor and I made our way back to the John Lennon Peace Wall. Taylor had a pen along so we wrote our names on the wall along with date. We met up with some other EuroCats at the Peace Wall then made our way back across the Charles Bridge. There we found some really cool paintings of the Peace Wall to bring back with us!

The weather has been remarkable throughout our whole stay in Europe. It only rained one day and all the other days we've been able to wear shorts and a T-shirt. That's one thing I'm not looking forward to when we go back home!

We were sure to schedule a nap into our free day and after the nap several of the EuroCats hit the town of Prauge. Getting to the nightlife however was a bit of an issue. We didn't leave the hotel until a few minutes after midnight and were only able to ride the metro for one stop. At the second metro station we ran in a frantic in hopes of making the next metro. Someone, who shall remain nameless, even slide down the middle area of the massive escalator. Grant took over the the map navigating duties for the evening and did a wonderful job. We ended the night grooving to 80's disco music--something Europeans (as well as the Griswold's) seem to enjoy.


Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday June 27th Conclusion of the Griswold's Vacation

                 Today was the last day for events here in Prague for the Griswolds', but it was a great day like the rest of the days. The day started as always with a light breakfast provided by the hotel then it was off to our first stop of the day HP (Hewlett-Packard). Here, we was greeted by Talent Advisor Martha Blathin, and she is a recruiter for HP in the HR department. Ms. Blathin, presented us with the Graduate Program, and with this presentation we learned how graduates become employed by HP. This presentation was very interesting because HP has over 270 locations, has over 300 thousand plus employees, and had a 1.6 billion in revenues for 2013! Wow! I would love to work a profitable company like this one, but the most important piece of this presentation was the Graduate Program. With this program graduates our choosen by HP, then are put through a series of assessments that test their skills for what HP is looking for. Once a graduate is choosen based off their assessment, the graduate is now a new hire that is put through two weeks of training. After training the new hire is given a mentor,a nd the mentor teaches the new hire about the company; for example, like where they need to go if their computer needs to be fixed. With a mentor, the new hire is given real task to work on soon as they are hired because HP believes in perfecting everyone, and one is not going to learn if they do not make mistakes. After several months past the new hire qualifies for the Young Guns Program, and with this program they are able to choose to work in a different department for a selected amount of time. When that time is up, they can either continue to work in the choosen department, or in the department they were hired for. Once all of this is completed, the new hire presents what they have learned in their first year or year in a half then graduates from the graduate program to new career opportunities.


                                                         "Rusty Future HP employee"

                   After the HP visit, we given some free time for lunch where pops and I went to KFC for a quick lunch, and a nap after. When we woke up from our nap, we went to our next visit, which was to Prague College. Here at this visit we were greeted by Mr Alex Head of Communications, and he gave us a breif description of Prague College that started 10 years ago. For such a young school, it is growing quickly, and has a great representation. Prague College is in the center of the industry network being located in the Czech Republic because it is a great location for transportation and logistics. Many representatives from Microsoft and Google come to Prague College and speak to students, and to work on real live projects from these companies. Students here are recieving British degrees which are recognized as a quality education. An interesting fact about Prague College is that it only cost roughly $6,900 a semester! After Alex gave the brief description of Prague College, we were next greeted by Tony Achmat who is an international life coach. He talked to us about how communication is key within any organization, and that face to face communication is always best. We also learned that we have an advantage in business, since we speak fluent english because english is business language on international scales. Mr. Achmat also talked to us about work ethic and creativity. He told us that companies are looking for young individuals that have great work ethic and creative. If you are not creative then companies will not want you. That stuck with us all, and was very glad to have Mr. Achmat as a presenter.

                 The Griswolds' finished the day off at a nice restaurant just a few blocks away from Prague College. We had a taste for a Czech cuisine since a few of us haven't had one while being here. I know that sounds bad, but we did it today, and I tried a cheesy pork pasta. Never had a pork pasta before, but it was good and I wish I could stay in Prague longer. This vacation will go down in the record books as one of the greatest, and more adventures to come.

Rusty (Brandon)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thursday (Day 12)

Today has been another great day.  We got to sleep in a little bit which was nice.  The breakfast was better today because they had scrambled eggs instead of hard boiled.  After breakfast, we headed into the conference room at the hotel where we listened to a presentation on Johnson & Johnson.  J&J is a multinational company that provides medical services, pharmaceutical, and consumer packaged goods.  They team up with many surgical suppliers and have a big stake in the global healthcare business.

After the presentation we got to have a couple hours of free time.  Some of us guys decided to go on a short run around the train station and found some stairs in the hotel to run up as well.  It's important to stay somewhat in shape during this period of heavy consumption of business practices as well as other things.  After a quick workout we walked down the street for a not so quick lunch.  I've noticed the restaurants in Central Europe are much more casual in the way they serve food when it comes to speed and timing.  For example, the last two days we have spent almost two hours at our lunch spots.  It seems permissive for people to take longer lunch breaks over here, and they also get five weeks of vacation time.  

Our second presentation of the day was at Cisco Systems.  We heard a little bit about the history of the company as well as new projects and trends that are coming in the near future.  There was some cool technological features at Cisco.  At one point, we switched up groups to initiate a conference call between the two groups.  One group was in another room and within seconds, we were able to connect with them by video and see/hear what they were saying.  Overall Cisco was a good experience.  

With that being said, we're less than one hour away from game time here in Prague.  The US will be taking on Germany for the final game of pool play.  Allison came in clutch and found a great place for all of us to go watch the game.  Beer taps at each table.  Lets get rowdy.  USA!


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June 25th (Day 11)

Well it's been another busy day for the Griswold family as we had two business visits to complete today! After rising a little earlier than usually this morning we all enjoyed a nice breakfast before beginning our morning at T-Mobile. During our time here we listened to two different speakers. The first Martina, Senior Head of Cooperate Communication, informed us of the many
great things that T-Mobile Czech Republic is doing. With over 5.9 million customers in the Czech Republic alone T-Mobile provides services for over ½ of the Czech Republic's population. Unlike in the United States, there is much more competition within the Czech Republic mobile companies. Martina said that there are the 3 major companies and an additional 50 others that the population of only a little more than 10 million have to choose from. A majority of her presentation included information on challenges T-Mobile Czech Republic is faces and also different statistics. The five main challenges that T-Mobile has faced in the past couple of years included: Declining prices, tough competition, regulations, recessions, and it's integration with GTS. Integration is nothing new to this company as it is the second in the pass year.
Following Martina, Milan Vasica spoke to us which was a very special thing because he just happens to also be their CEO. Milan's provided us with very
helpful hints about leadership and focused on the 9 following areas to being a successful leader.
  1. Listen & form an option
  2. Awake the urgency of change
  3. Provide a clear vision & strategy and take action
  4. increase power & involve others
  5. communication
  6. celebrate & boost confindence in successful
  7. change the corporate culture
  8. self development
  9. persist in the future

After our visit to T-Mobile we all got around a 2 hour break to do as we pleased. Within our family we went in two different directions. Jared and Brandon made their way back around the hotel to grab food well Hailey and I put our shopping pants on and when to town. After blowing way more money than I want to admit we all made our way back together just before a massive storm hit the downtown square. Our second stop of the day took us to AVAST a very popular anti-virus company. Here we meet Milos who knew many of us by name before we even said them. He had even gone as far as Facebook stocking us like any good computer user. Founded in 1988, AVAST
took off in 2004 when it reached 1 million users. Founded by Paval Baudis and Eduard Kucera it was just the 3rd ever anti-virus company to score a full 3x100% detection in the Virus Bulletin test. Mouth to mouth is how this company found it's success. Milos informed us that they use no marketing or advertising. They have users found in 234 different countries and 41 have over 1 million users.

Both of today's presentation were very educational and helpful. Personally, I ended the night with Allison and Teri wondering the beautiful streets of Prague. We even managed to find a movie set! Look for more tomorrow!

Have a great night!

The Griswold's