Moving is not an easy thing to do, apparently after death, divorce and being arrested it is the most stressful thing you can experience – you uproot your entire life and typically forget something, e.g. cancel the milk. However, given the opportunity to move for a six month period is a different topic all together, at least you know when you get back, you will have enough milk.
So, when I was given the opportunity to move to Silicon Valley to work on a project, I jumped at the chance. Sure there are downsides – the paperwork, leaving friends and family, taking a place one quarter the size of my current abode, for four times the price, but the parking spaces are huge, movies are in English and the shops are open 24×7 – so on balance it was a go.
The first hurdle was the paperwork. Reams and reams of it. The lawyers did most of the work, creating a case file as big as a telephone directory, which I then had to take to the US consulate. The consulate is a fascinating microcosm of the hodgepodge that is America. All walks of life are represented there: the 60 year olds with shiny new 20-something year old Pilipino wives, the dumpy German girls with young, freshly snared GI husbands accompanied by disregarded, screaming kids, the college youths on an academic break and then the odd business man, but my visa was approved on the spot – for a bargain $650 and a 2 hour wait.
So the preparations began.. cleaning my car (first time in 5 years) to return it, disinfecting the apartment to ensure some intelligent life-forms do not evolve while I am a way and deciding what to take. It is amazing how much stuff one collects over the years, after packing 2 suitcases (a normal sized one and my BFS, the larger suitcase) my wardrobe hardly looked as if anything had been taken out (mental note: clean out the crap when I get back).
So I was in a positive frame of mind (all be it with a bit of trepidation), as drove up to the airport to board the 11 hour flight to San Francisco (with a free upgrade!). Arriving, my first task was to pick up the rather “compact” rental car for the next six months – a Toyota, with no remote, but a nice shade of red. Still it made me look forward to the shiny, blue, new car I have just ordered to be picked up on my return in December.
From there it was off the apartment and to unpack. This was a rather distressing time. The jetlag, the size of the apartment, the used car, the loss of the friends and the isolation all contributed to a rather emotionally charged 4th July weekend. Still, I made an effort and got out and about, up to Pier 39 in San Francisco, about 30 miles away, to watch the holiday fireworks.
As it was really hot in Mountain View, I thought nothing of wearing a t-shirt and shorts – but the weather variations in this part of the country are huge. The water-front in San Francisco was literally about 15°c colder and it was freezing. So despite meeting up with a really good old friend, I wimped out due to cold and tiredness and fought through the thousands of people and came home before the fireworks began.
But I managed to get through the weekend, and Monday came as a bit of a relief I could move in to my very own cubicle. Dilbert heaven. But my work colleagues turned out to be really delightful, both personally and professionally and things started to look up.