Strangely there is a lot of awesome action going on at this office versus the headquarters where I was previously stationed.
One of these events (which makes me think there is much action going on, despite the 200-300 employees who live here...which is quite small since only part of this is design, unlike how it was before), was a wine tasting event we had last Friday.
And what did we do there you might ask?
Well we drank and tasted wines. Many wines. Like 12 wines. And there was bread. But unfortunately no cheese (which I've come to think is sort of necessary if you're having wine...or at least a savory snack of some variety...bread by itself doesn't really cut it...but I shouldn't be complaining, it was free wine, after all).
Anyway, the wines were laid out, 6 per table in our upstairs restaurant. All for our tasting. Apparently it was just for our company (the other companies in the building were not invited, as it turned out) so we could drink in peace and mingle amongst ourselves.
There was also a very nice competition announced before we arrived. It asked how well we knew our wines and there was a chance to win a 100pound bottle of wine (as in value of the wine, not in weight).
Well I thought I was decently knowledgeable about wines, though I would try not to be loud about that fact so as not to embarrass myself should I end up being completely full of myself. Who knows, it'd been a long time since I'd drunk any considerable amount of wine because Finn had deprived me of anything good and readily available. This is what happens when you live in a country that doesn't produce any wine of its own except berry wine and the wine that it does produce it doesn't bother shipping around (i.e. you need to go to the source to try any of it). Harumph is all I have to say in hindsight.
Anyway, I went up at the appointed time with Dan, the ginger who sits next to me, and we tried some wines. I needed to bring him with me because he'd claimed, in a not so gentle fashion, that he believed all wines tasted like vinegar, and he'd prefer a pint of beer any day of the week. I told him he was totally wrong (because he is) and that it's likely he'd just never had any of the good stuff.
And I proved him how wrong he was. We set up camp at one of the tables and he tried two reds (one was a blend and the other was a merlot). He was heartily impressed and decided that yes, there were wines that didn't taste like vinegar. I said that perhaps he'd just had wines that had oxidized and had been let out for a little too long. In any case he was happy that he'd found wine enlightenment but still had work to do and was a little tipsy so cut off at his two glasses and went back downstairs to finish more work.
Plus he'd already gotten his drawing ticket (turns out the competition was just as easy as come to the tasting, get a ticket for the drawing and be sure to be back at 4pm when the drawing was to occur because you needed to be present to win the bottle of wine), so he was going to continue working then come back to possibly collect his winnings. Smart lad.
I decided to stay though. None of my team was around for the day (my boss was sick at home with the flu and my other teammate was back in Bristol, where she lives and works for the latter half of the week), and I wasn't inclined to do work anymore, having started drinking (I still have the American mentality of once you start drinking you shouldn't be allowed to go back to your desk to continue working, no matter how well you handle your drink), so, I stayed up there.
And did my duty wine tasting. And mingling. With people in our customer support department. Interestingly one of them was a Cuban who had fled to Florida in his childhood/growing up (there was a time in his life when he was a citizen of no country - apparently Cuba strips you of your citizenship if you leave...or did, and he wasn't a citizen of the States until he passed citizenship...so he was literally a citizen of nowhere for a significant portion of his life) and another was from Dubai. Fabulously interesting, talking to those two. They kept me company as I met with random others from their department and until it was 4pm and Dan returned for the grand drawing.
I didn't win the 100pound bottle of wine.
...I did win the second place bottle of wine!
Which is not bad, all things considered. I have no idea how much it's worth, but it's something less than 100quid. I'll take it!
Free wine from work? Yes please!
So all in all a good start to my working here. A hilarious man in payroll who I've been interacting with a lot tried to convince me that only employees who had been working at the site 6 months or more could claim prizes, but I knew he was joshing me. No way, good sir, this bottle of wine is coming home with me. :)
And so it did. It will be drunk in celebration when I (FINALLY) move into my new apartment.
Fingers crossed that it will happen next week. Fingers crossed!