From biking bum to English Establishmentarian (or so Matthew put it). Yes, I have finally joined the "real world" of work, though whether anyone else in my beloved country would call the Foreign Office the real world is often up for debate.

I have drawn a line under the EU which, still prefering Swedes, Austrians and Finns to hard-working avidly pro-europeans Brits, has constantly refused me employment. Thus it was perfectly understandable that my first posting at the Foreign Office would be on the European Union (Internal) desk..... Every time you hear a cow mooooooo, gibber, dribble and then fall down think of me.

So to London to join the massed ranks. Biking through Toscana, Umbria, Veneto and the Cotswolds is now but a wistful memory. Although one story bears retelling, amply illustrating Winston Churchill's aphorism that the British and the Americans were a common people only divided by language. The scene: lunchtime at a gentle Cotswolds village pub basking in high English summer. The people: seven middle-aged, spreading Americans clad in glorious shades of lycra, one English guide and assorted rural sorts from the region.

As we sat outside, munching such delicious national fare as chicken-in-a-basket and fish'n'chips, there was a general calm amongst the English customers, a direct consequence (no doubt) of the loud biking clothes and their equally noisy owners. Well, for one young-forty-something (ex-cheer leader) from South Carolina this was not good enough - everyone should have been enjoying this wonderful God-given day as much as she. And in a voice that resonated around the limestone walls declared - "Oh, Gad, Jonathaaaaan, I jus' wish I could teach these kids to shag."

The immediate reply came from one ruddy-faced farmer (are there ever any other sort?), who in his best west-country burr, shouted back "Over 'ere luv, I gart tyme for a quickie..." It was only when, in my role as translator, I pointed out to her that a shag in England was more of a horizontal dance, that she understood what our farmer was after. Going as red as her biking shorts, she enjoyed the rest of her lunch quietly. But at least her comment had had the desired effect - the local clientele's mood had brightened considerably.

And I can chalk the episode down to useful experience for the Foreign Office.

The WTO has enabled me a soft landing here in Geneva. They correctly figured that landing on banknotes would sweeten a 7 1/2 hour workday considerably. (Starting in the Winter season, that is October-June, it will be 8 hours) Even though they knew since mid-June that I would arrive in September, I only got a computer and an office after two weeks. In the meantime, they urged me to use my days to find an apartment, get settled and work myself through the Swiss bureaucracy.

The latter takes up some time indeed, even the bicycles have to have a licence-plate, and you have to insure yourself against yourself if you want to rent a flat. Anyway, nobody seems to mind when I dropped in at 9.30 just to block the fax machine for 30 minutes to send faxes to all regional car dealers in my search to secure the best "diplomat-discount" fo me. I finally settled for a (small) Alfa Romeo.

I work, well, will work in the Market Access Division. We deal with topics as interesting as Rules of Origin, Pre-shipment Inspection, Import-licensing, and tariff harmonization. Except a Korean fellow (Mr. Kim, needless to say) who seems very nice if I only understood any of his English, all other 9 persons in the division are female, most of them are beyond 55, though, and they already started to express motherly feelings for me. They provide me with ample amounts of tea and cookies, and one of them keeps fixing my hair when I arrive in the office without having myself combed in the morning. I can foresee the day when she will lick her finger and remove a piece of Croissant from my upper lip...

Geneva's nightlife is a joke apart from a few Irish Pubs. But who can spend his evenings in Irish Pubs all the time? The lake area and the nearby mountains are stunningly pretty. Italy is one hour and if the weather is good, I can see the Montblanc from my office-window.

Serra is still in Istanbul and will join me in early October. My e-mail address is Markus.Jelitto@WTO.org. My work-phone is 41-22-739-5885. I don't have a private phone yet.

As Stefan said, the Summer is officially over in the United States and so are my days with Goldman Sachs & Co. Today, Friday the 13th is my official last day, although I resigned on Wednesday. It's been an interesting year and one half in Economic research but I have decided to move to the banking side of the business with another multinational financial institution to begin October 15th. [So don't use her gs.com email address anymore: she's gone from there--Stefan]

Before then however, I will be travelling for some time, mostly to see our beloved friends in London and Paris. If anyone has any packages or letters or goodies for anyone on the other side, they haven't sent because of lack of money or will, please drop them off and I will, for a small fee, risk life and limb on British Airways to carry them to their destination.

Just a brief note:

1) I have changed my mind and will not be going over to the State Dept., rather I will be staying with the Senator and will continue to look for a new job from here. After long and deep thought I decided that I was not ready to consign myself to stamping passports in Kinshasa for the next two years.

2) Manami, Gioia, Sebastian Reyn, and Carrie Cullen Hitt will all be gracing the Nation's capital with their presence this coming week.

Hey gang,

I am going to Milan October 1-6 for business. Are there any Milanese Saisers still in residence? As our consulting business is only breaking even this year, and there is little money for bonuses, my boss decided the only way to keep me happy was to send me back to the home country via business class. I have to say, I swallowed hook line and sinker. So at any rate, I will be in Italy for a couple of days. Although of course I have to do some work, I would love to hang out with any Bologna '94 people in the area.

On another note, I finally cut the umbilical cord and moved into the city (Boston, that is). I'm living at Inman Square in Cambridge near all the good restaurants. If anyone is in the area and wants to sample the local (Portuguese, Brazilian, Chinese, Indian, fusion) fare, please feel free to drop in.

Summer is apparently officially over in the United States, so in the spirit of new beginnings voila the new revamped website for the SAIS class of 95. It's time everybody contributes once again, as summer must have offered plenty of opportunities for new experiences I'm sure we all want to hear about. (In my case, my experience was work.) New York is proving a trove of distractions, and it doesn't help to be living on the street that is the social nerve center of the East Village. Friendly drug dealers sit at my doorstep and wave me by as I'm way too paranoid to partake in actions that would have me deported in a wink (or so I imagine). Speaking of which, I'm probably an illegal alien already as my visa application is proceeding at the pace of a visa application.

My apartment is just big enough to squeeze 40 odd people in very tightly. I know this because I tried it last Friday when I had my "It's-been-a-while-since-the-last" party. No lewdness to report, but not for want of trying on the part of several SAISers. Two of my work colleagues were much impressed with Hylke Faber; she thought Hylke was cute--and he thought Hylke was definitely gay. I was the good host, so I didn't disabuse either of them of their impressions.

Other SAISer news: Tom Atkins is in Germany playing at a German Newspaper for another month because of a grant he netted thanks to big government. Uta Hanischfeger is there too right now, but will stay longer as AP/Dow Jones has sent her there to better exploit her languages. Liz Jacobs has moved to her very own apartment, a move delayed only by the serious and lengthy debate she held with herself (and all her friends) as to what size bed she should buy. I think she settled for Queen, but it was a close call.