I haven’t posted in a while. Yes, I know. I’ve missed this blog and connecting with my readers and the world through my written word.
There is a good reason I haven’t written. A lot has been happening, but I haven’t been able to discuss the details. I never blog about work on this blog, so I’ll hit you with a few headlines.
1) I’ve found work. I signed the contract on Monday. I start next Tuesday.
2) I am still living with Ernst and Petals. They are fine. I am working towards bridging the cat/human divide. I’ve been working hard to get on friendly terms with these two. It’s paying off.
3) I’ve found an apartment. The catch is that it won’t be available until August. Also I must past a credit check. See #4.
4) My identity was stolen and I have a hard freeze on my US credit. This is totally jacking everything up and I may lose the apartment due to this credit snafu. Will learn more tomorrow.
5) I’m fine.
I’ve come to realize that I haven’t worked full time for the better part of 9 months. I’ve always worked as a consultant or contractor and had large swarths of time to myself or to pursue my own interests. I am a little nervous about saying, “yes, I will be at X location from 9-6pm every single day.” I haven’t said that in close to a year.
I am spending this time completing a project out of London and saying goodbye to part-time employed life. Today I went out for brunch at one of the busiest places in San Francisco, but since it was mid-day on a Wednesday, there was no wait. As I stuffed my face with two dinner plate sized pancakes and a “yogurt Sundae” – which they billed as healthy, but I think the candied walnuts on top kinda took away from that I said my good byes to part time employed life. Perhaps someday I will voluntarily be back. For the time being, it’s full time employment for me!
I went home and crashed into a Maple syrup induced stupor and Petals the cat tried to perch herself on my head as I napped on the sofa. I don’t like cats sitting on me. I moved her off of me and deposited her on the floor. I see it as a good sign that she trusts me enough to sleep on my head. She slept next to me on the rug instead.
I woke up two hours later – they ought to outlaw stuffing yourself and sleeping afterwards. I felt like I had been hit by a car. I scanned some paperwork to do battle with the forces of evil tomorrow (i.e. the US credit reporting agencies) tomorrow to secure my apartment and I am preparing for a networking event in Palo Alto (I probably should start by putting on pants and doing my makeup.)
All is well for me – slowly coming together. I am prepared for some pivots and I am going with the flow.
Its been a little under one month since I’ve arrived back in the Bay Area. It’s hard to believe that the time has passed so quickly. One month is so little time. But then again it’s so much time.
We’re used to everything happening instantaneously. Emails and text messages make us believe that all requests, needs, and challenges should be answered within one minute or less. While our technology has improved greatly over the past 20 years, the universe will not be rushed. Destiny moves at its own pace.
How do I spend my days in my sunny San Francisco home? I am an early riser. I feed the cats (I have to watch them eat. Ernst, the boy cat will sometimes steal the girl cat’s food) and then go for an hour walk/run in a large park up the street.
I return home. Shower. I either spend the afternoon looking for my next opportunity or out and about in San Francisco meeting with local entrepreneurs to get the latest scoop on what’s happening in Silicon Valley and where there may be opportunities.
I come back, reply to emails, spend some time with the cats, feed them again, then I am off to my evening networking event. Every day – Monday through Friday I attend a professional networking event. When looking for an opportunity, there is only so much that can be done from a laptop. One must get from behind the computer and meet people face to face to find the real opportunity.
This weekend has been slow as usual, but yesterday I had an amazing day. I met up with a friend and we spent a full day together. I picked him up in Pacifica and we headed north across the Golden Gate bridge to Muir Woods to visit the Redwood Trees. We then went to Stinson Beach.
Stinson Beach is one of my favorite California beaches. It’s dramatic and wind-swept and covered with fog for most of the day. It’s far too cold to swim and the current is too strong anyway. It’s the start of the Pacific Ocean and looking out over it’s dramatic cliffs and sandy windy cold beaches is like looking out over forever.
I brought a rock with me. Three years ago, before leaving California, I went to Stinson beach and collected a few rocks. Through all my moves, twists and turns, I always kept the small rock with me. After three years, I took one of the rocks with me back to Stinson beach and threw it into the white and foaming Pacific ocean. This is my way of declaring that California is home.
I picked up three new rocks. These rocks will stay with me in San Francisco for the next leg of my journey. Goodness knows how long this phase will last, but I want to commit to being here for 3-5 years.
After Stinson beach, we went inland to Napa Valley.
Let me express my dismay at how pretentious Napa has become. Free wine tastings? Gone. I don’t have much of a problem with that – paying is fair. But what is disturbing is the new “private winery” places that are cropping up. You can only taste wines by reservation or private invite only. The winerys that are open to the public are like Disney Land. Too many party limos and tourists buses. We went to one winery and it felt like a zoo!
After figuring out that Napa thought it was too good to take our money to buy their wine, we returned to the East Bay, had dinner, and enjoyed the drive back to Pacifica.
I returned home to two angry and hungry cats. Ernst was a handful last night. He made strange meowing sounds and scratched at the front door. I think he wanted to go outside at 2am. I am a light sleeper, so I had to get up several times and move Ernst away from the door.
I am ready for Monday. I have a meeting and lunch at the Googleplex and a phone interview for a job at 5pm. Wish me luck on Monday!
I live with Ernst and Petals. I am temporarily living with their owners who are two friends of mine. Ernst and Petals are cats.
I’ve never lived with cats before so I am still getting used to their routines. I hear them bouncing about at night. Ernst becomes very excited and begins meowing at meal time. Ernst is an orangish colored tabby and Petals is a sleek black and grey color. They spend most of their day sleeping or hanging out in the home. Ernst used to go outdoors, but he ate some bad plants and nearly killed himself, so he just wistfully sits by the window on cool San Francisco nights and dreams of his days as an outdoor cat.
Petals usually spends her days on top of the refrigerator.
Then there is me. I am renting a room in a comfortable San Francisco home with friends. I am glad to be with friends – they’re going to Europe in May and I’ve agreed to cat/house sit for them while they are out of the country. I am kicking in on some of the rent and expenses and I spend my days looking for my next job opportunity.
It’s been two and a half weeks since I’ve returned to San Francisco and I have no regrets in coming back to California. Except…No. No regrets.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have moments where I wonder if I should have moved to Vienna, but if I were in Vienna, I’d be wondering if I should have gone to California. I’m looking for my next opportunity and I am seriously considering returning to a place I used to work when I lived in California before. I’m still trying to sort out how I feel about that.
San Francisco is expensive. I need to earn and earn well to live the life which I am accustomed – my own apartment, car, etc. I need benefits like health insurance. I know where I can get those things. At X. X pays well, treated me exceptionally well, and is a great place to work. Why would I be reluctant to go back to X?!?
Then again, why am I do desperate to re-create a life that never made me quite happy?
On Friday, I visited the East Bay. Struck by a deep need for a chicken and seafood clay pot, I knew the one good restaurant where I could get this. I went for lunch in the same area as company X.
What I noticed is how little things changed. The same people eating lunch there Friday were the same people who were there three years ago. Even the people walking in and out of company building were nearly the same people who were there three years ago! It was like being in a time-warp bubble. It was comforting in some ways, unusual in yet another. So little had changed – yet I have changed so much.
Could I go back knowing now what I know?
My two greatest fears in life are living a life in vein and living a life of banality. I already know that if I ran the traditional life of Americana (2.3 kids, a house in the suburbs, a husband, and a job) I’d be ready to hang myself after year two.
Living the regularly scheduled program of life is NOT my calling.
I have a strong need for stability, but on the other hand, a call for newness and adventure. People usually think that they are diametrically opposed and you have to chose one or another, but I must have a life of both.
Let me not live a life of banality. Let me not live a life in vein.
A vein life is one concerned only with myself. Maybe its a sign of advancing age, but I often wonder what my legacy to the world will be. If I left this Earth tomorrow, would it be a better place because of something I’ve done or contributed?
Before coming back to California, everything was so clear. I feel that being back has fuzzied some of my values. I truly have a blank slate – yet I am contemplating filling it with some of the same things I filled it with years before. Why? Is it out of fear (YES) or a desire for comfort (YES)? Can I create a new vision (YES)? Well why don’t I?(drawing a blank here)
I arrived back in San Francisco a week and a half ago.
I love it here. The weather has been warm and beautiful sunshine since I’ve arrived back. I’ve spent most of my time socializing and connecting with friends. I know I made the right decision in coming back and making a life in San Francisco. California is home.
I came back to interview for a job. Things didn’t work out. I can’t say too much (I don’t write about work on my blog) but it just wasn’t the right fit. I was living where I was interviewing for work, so once we decided that it wasn’t going to work out, I left that home.
I moved north into San Francisco. I am staying with two friends. They are going to Europe for the month of May, so I’ll cat sit and house sit. It’s a lovely home with a long-time friend and his girlfriend. There is a huge park (and part nature reserve) up the street, so I spend my mornings hiking the park and the rest of the day I spend out or looking for my next opportunity.
I am happy here – reconnecting with friends and enjoying the sunshine. Social person that I am (and since I am in job search mode) I make it a point each and every day to go out to a networking event. I rented a car for a month so I have access to transportation.
All in all, I am doing quite well here. More to come as I have more to write.
Winter has turned to spring in Tennessee.
The once bare branches of the trees and rolling brown hills have turned to blossoms and lush green rolling hills spotted by grazing cattle and sleepy farms that grow goodness-only-kn0ws-what. And with the arrival of spring comes my time to leave Tennessee.
The plan is this : I leave Tennessee on the morning of April 10th. I am flying to San Francisco. Renting a car. Spending a week at a place interviewing for a job. I am living and possibly working at this location. After the week, we’ll see. I can’t give more info - because I don’t know more info. I am leaving for San Francisco with two suitcases and a one way ticket – much as I left for Europe several years ago. Things have come full circle. Yes, indeed they have.
Instead of coming to the Bay Area with a fabulous job lined up with six weeks paid vacation, a good salary, and great benefits as I did 8 years ago, I am stepping out in San Francisco with my old friend - uncertainty. Uncertainty is my travel companion – like a fussy old aunt who constantly crowds your space and chaperons you constantly, it’s there. However, I’m on home turf.
I’m telling aunt uncertainty to back off.
One major advantage I have with San Francisco is that I have a network of friends who are there. I know the language, know the culture, know the layout, have access to a car, a little money saved, and contacts that may result in work. Hell, I am coming back to the Bay Area with 100 times more advantages than when I left California for Europe. I’m set up for success – I’m lining it all up!
But things have changed. I am no longer working in the healthcare industry. I am working with the startup industry now. The cost of living and cost of housing have gone through the roof. Some of my friends have moved, or have transitioned into another stage of life. They say you can never step in the same river twice – and they’re right.
This experience living and working in San Francisco will be brand new for me. I’ll take the experiences I had living in the Bay Area five years ago and my experiences living in Europe and shape something new and exciting.
Our SUV zipped down sleepy country roads with my mom behind the wheel. My mom tapped the steering wheel and sang along with gospel music that blasted on the car radio.
I was spending Friday morning with my mom.
She said that the music was her inspiration. She goes to the gym and works out two hours each week. The half-hour drive to the gym clears her mind.
I couldn’t be happier that my mother was on her way to the gym. I had already done an hour of yoga and a spin class that morning at another gym, but I wanted to come support my mother.
Like all adult children, I worry about my parents getting older. My parents are not in the best health, and a lot of their health issues are lifestyle related. My mother was placed in a special program to help elderly people exercise and she’s lost 15 pounds so far! I’ve also noticed an improvement in her balance and coordination and she’s walking faster. She is working with a nutritionist and making better food choices.
People have been asking on Facebook and email, where am I? Well I am currently in Tennessee chillin’ with mom and dad. It’s my plan to go out to California at the start of April.
I’m glad to be home. I have unpacked and hidden my suitcases (the FIRST time in two years) and I’ve slipped into the sleepy life of Spring Hill Tennessee. My days are filled with exercise, eating right (I’ve got to get myself California fine), and spending time with my mom and dad.
I’m happy to be here, but bored. Nashville is 30+ miles away and I am trying not to drive to far (saving gas). I end up spending a lot of time in the house.
So, what’s going on in California?
First, let me say I am SHOCKED by how expensive the Bay Area has become in the past three years. Since the housing market fell apart, new renters have been flooding the market. San Francisco is now on par with NYC for cost of living and the extraordinary costs extend to the entire Bay Area.
Now that I have registered my shock and dismay at the rising cost of living in the Bay Area, I am moving back – well, because I love San Francisco. I just LOVE it. It’s home for me. I’m looking at some opportunities. Can’t say exactly what just yet, but we will see how things shake out. Once I know, I’ll share on this blog – although I don’t write extensively about work on this blog.
I’ve been trying to decide what to do with this blog. Should I continue writing or shut it down because I am back in the USA. I feel that the story (at least for now) should continue and I should keep writing. If I re-evaluate at some point, then fine, but right now, it’s just important to keep sharing my experiences.
It’s my last day in Copenhagen. I was greeted by bright and sunny, but extremely cold weather today.
As I stood at the bus stop, the cold never used to bother me. I hopped around on one foot trying to keep warm and counting down the minutes until the next bus. Now I am so over this. I swear that I won’t stand in the freezing cold ever waiting for public transport again. I am ready to have my own car again.
I had a few errands to run and as I took the bus to the bank to take care of the business of closing out my bank accounts, I crossed the lake area of Copenhagen in Norrebro. I saw the sun and the sunshine sparkling on the beautiful water like God himself sprinkled a handful of glitter on the lakes. I watched the people pedal by on their bicycles. I thought, “How beautiful. Do I really want to leave Denmark?”
I was immediately transported to San Francisco. September 2009. I was going to the Norwegian Embassy in the middle of the day to submit my application for a Danish visa. It was a sunny and warm day in San Francisco and I looked up the street to see a San Francisco street car slowly snaking it’s way down the hill. I thought, “How beautiful. Do I really want to leave San Francisco.”
Back in Denmark on the bus. I guess it’s human nature that we never quite appreciate where we are.
I closed out my bank accounts, took a business Skype call, and went to a government office – it took all of three minutes to close my banking accounts. Very simple.
It is very cold today, so I came back to the apartment where I am staying ASAP. I am staying at the apartment of my friend Claude.
Claude is an American who has lived in Denmark for close to 40 years. He was married to a Danish woman and has three children. Copenhagen is his home.
Without hesitation my journey in Copenhagen could not have been possible without Claude. He helped me out more times than I can remember. He has been a friend, provided a place for me to stay, and advice and an ear to lean on when the frustrations of a life abroad became overwhelming.
It’s been hitting me over the last few days that in leaving Denmark, I am leaving Claude. That makes me very sad. But Claude has encouraged me to return to California. He says that there are probably better opportunities in California for me. I will still miss him so deeply and I am glad that God has placed such a wonderful angel in my life.
I ate lunch, then dozed off watching a movie on my phone. I woke up and had tea with Claude. I’m making us a dinner later on this evening.
I fly out tomorrow at noon closing down a three year journey. Part of me is sad to leave this stage of life behind. But I know that I must transition in order to reach the next stage of life. I must create a home for myself. I must root. And California is where I’m headed.
I’m dreaming of California. Warm weather. Sun. Opportunity. The woman I am destined to continue becoming. San Francisco, I’m coming…