Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Bernd Martini

Hi Jeff!

I happened to come across the NGHS86 site purely by chance. I wasn’t even trying to look up anything NGHS, Walnut Creek , etc, related, yet some how I ended up there. I have to say it’s been a blast reading all the posts from everyone. Thanks for the memories!

Just a quick summary of my life the past 22 years.

After high school, I also ended up at UC Berkeley (along with 40 or so other people from our class, none of which, ok there were 3 or 4 exceptions, I ever ran into during my time there). In 1991 I graduated with a BA in Political Science. About a year after graduating from Berkeley , I ended up working in a town just north of Venice, Italy. My dad knew the managing director of a company that manufactured fractional horsepower motors (the kind that operate washing machines, dishwashers, etc) and he suggested that I write to him to see if I could spend a year working there. Well, I ended up working for the financial controller looking through ream after ream of printouts trying to pick out anomalies in the data.

At the time I thought I’d just spend a year in Italy and then go back to the Bay Area but as my year in Italy drew to a close, I decided to go teach English and German in Central Europe. Having studied Political Science, and since it was the early 90’s, Central Europe was too hard for me to resist. So, I ended up in Budapest teaching English and German at a technical high school. At the time most schools in Central Europe were transitioning from mandatory Russian lessons to English or German. It wasn’t that the school I worked for was looking for qualified teachers to teach English but rather that they wanted somebody that the Russian teachers, who were being retrained to become English and German teachers, could practice with. Although I did have a full class load, I can’t say that I was a very effective teacher for the kids. Couple the fact that I was not a qualified teacher (and didn’t speak much Hungarian at the beginning) with the fact that during this transition period, the grades the kids earned in English or German didn’t get calculated into their GPA’s (ie, most, not all, didn’t really care about whether they learned something or not)…..well, you get the idea.

Again, I thought that I would spend a year in Budapest and then go back to California , but as the year drew to a close I decided to pursue an MBA in Hungary. I ended up studying at the Budapest University of Economic Sciences (formerly known as the Karl Marx University of Economics) for 2 years and had the time of my life. I met an exchange student from the Netherlands while in Budapest and after my time at the university was over, I ended up moving to the Netherlands to be with her.

So, I lived in Amsterdam for about 11 years. While in Amsterdam I worked for a company called Trane where I did inventory management and ended up traveling throughout Europe . This lasted for about 6 years, the last year of which I spent shutting down about 13 warehouses and, surprise!, I worked my way out of a job! (Yes, I did see that coming!) I then ended up working for a San Jose based company called Novellus Systems where I also did the European inventory management. Both jobs were a blast and I learned a lot about logistics during that time.

After about 10 ½ years living in sin my girlfriend and I finally got married. Prior to getting married we were already contemplating our next step and finally, after considering many different places (yes, including the Bay Area) we finally decided that we would move to Australia . We have now been in Brisbane , Australia for a year this month and don’t regret coming here. …….and all I ever wanted to do was to go to Italy for a year!

I don’t see many people from high school and the ones I do, I don’t see very often nor have contact with very often, but contact we do have on occasion. When we do see each other it is like the years in between just melt away and that we haven’t been apart at all. They know who they are and should know that I miss them dearly.

Well, that’s part of my story. It’s been amazing to read all of yours and to read about where you have been and what you have done over the years. I see that at least 1 other person from our class is in Australia. Are there any others?

If you ever find yourself in Brisbane , Australia please drop me a line. I’d be happy to put you up for a few nights. Or just to meet up with old (class)mates and have a few stubbies one arvo!

Bernd Martini

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