Moving is supposed to be one of the most stressful experiences of your life which is probably why I passed out at work and found myself whisked in an ambulance to hospital. The ambulance ride was quite exciting and the route involved going close to Waitrose (UK supermarket which is somewhat Wholefoods-esque where people who are too posh for Sainsburys go) and I was wondering if the driver might stop to allow me to pick up some groceries. At the hospital there was some mutual incomprehension between myself and my real Punjabi doctor when he tried to talk to me in our native tongue but did not bargain for someone that spoke Punjabi with a Scottish accent.
We’ve found a house to rent for $4000 a month (plus local taxes) and for this we get a bit of a dump that this not large enough for our furniture so we have been living with sofas stacked on top of each other and we have lots of boxes we can’t unpack because there is nowhere to put the stuff. A friend who lives around the corner recently had his Audi stolen and torched so I expect our Audi will be next. Given the grief we’ve had trying to convert it for driving in the UK I would welcome the bonfire and use the insurance payment to buy a car that is built for the UK market. I can now bore anyone to death about UK regulations for car lights, their colours, their positions, the beam direction, etc. Summary: don’t even think about importing an electronics-heavy car to the UK from the USA. Although our house is pretty crap we do have wonderful direct neighbors (we share a wireless internet connection) and we’re lucky to have several other good friends in the hood. One of my friend’s daughter observed that I am a “good man but a bad boy” which I thought was uncannily observant for an eleven year old. I have been altered that we are likely to make a bad impressions on our neighbors for being decadent enough to own two cars (and consume precious parking real estate). I filled up our car with petrol (gas) and it cost $170. I suddenly felt the need to annex more countries in the Middle East. Shame I voted Democrat in the mid-term elections.
The kids are coping reasonably well with the move considering what we have subjected them too. Susan told me that Kiran refused to eat her dinner today because she wanted to eat it in the Seattle house and not in the Cambridge house which was rather heart-wrenching. Our Seattle house (which I visited yesterday) is still on the market and I think we are going to give up trying to sell it and rent it out instead. We have applied for Kiran to go to a state primary (elementary) school and she will start next September. Next month I will take Kiran to London to see a stage production of the Gruffalo and I suspect I am more excited about this adventure than she is. Susan has moved her HP job from Palo Alto in California to HP in Bristol and her maternity leave ends in mid-January. Our new mission is to find a house to buy. The sad state of the property market in the US and the dollar / pound exchange rate seem to be conspiring against us.
I’m suffering significant reverse culture shock. I’ve been away for about a decade and quite a few things have changed. There seems to be a programming error that has caused all of the music that should be on Radio 1 (state radio station with music for young people) to be broadcast by mistake on Radio 2 (state radio station catering for those who no longer young). For some inexplicable reason half the population is wearing North Face branded clothes (I stupidly bought some North Face clothes in the USA before moving back thinking no-one would have heard of this US brand). I’ve now learned to stop making direct eye contact with passers by and saying “hi” to strangers because my civility was flatly ignored. And I had forgotten how terrible it is to travel on Britian’s road system and I suddenly reacquainted myself with the term “contra-flow”. Cambridge is fiendishly constructed to make sure that no mater where you are actually going you will somehow end up on the A14 (the local Road to Hell) which I am convinced is some kind of punishment devised for motorists by militant cyclists.
On the plus side our local pub is very nice and if you are in the hood I will happily buy you a pint. However, if you bring kids the pint will have to be consumed before 7PM because kids are not allowed in the pub after seven (??!??!?).
Right now I am in Seattle (en route to California) where I’ve been stranded on Mercer Island due to snowfall and Microsoft has shut down its campus for the day and told everyone to stay home. I got a lot of work done in Erik Meijer’s kitchen!