California living: moving to California
For a while I was thinking about starting a blog about living & working in California (for those who don't know I landed, and recently started, a job at Google). The reasons why I haven't done so yet are two-fold: one, things were pretty intense the last few weeks and two, I could not come up with a proper name for the blog. If you think the latter is just a crappy excuse then head on to blogger.com and try to find an available and, reasonable blog name for this purpose. I failed.
In the end I decided to use friend's suggestions and just use my existing running blog for this purpose. The two topics are bound to overlap anyway, as a large part of my stay here will be about running. And I'll try to mark all non-running related posts with the california-living label, so those of you who absolutely cannot stand the idea of coming across running-related posts can try out this as a filter.
Ok, let's get started. One day I hope to write about the hiring process and a home finding trip I did few weeks previously, but since there's so much interesting, current stuff going on, let me start with that and possibly come back to the rest later on, when I run out of fresh meat.
So let me start with the move. It was very tricky as together with my better half we had a super stressful and very last-minute move in the Netherlands to do and just as we were finished with that I had to leave. So is life...
I first flew to New York to spend few days with Kaja & Strzelu. The trip was fairly uneventful. The only tricky part is that on the day of my arrival we went for an american football game (Houston Texans vs New York Jets). It was a somewhat interesting experience, although I'll venture a guess that it's probably more interesting when one knows the rules well and understand what's going on on the field ;). Still, the MetLife Stadium, with its 80.0000+ capacity, was pretty impressive. So was the amount of fast food around. Welcome to America, I guess :)
The following night we had a "Polish night" event which featured a scary amount of alcohol (if I were 18 I would have been proud of what we "achieved"), so it was quite a feat that the following day we went running in the Central Park. Then we went to see Grace on Broadway; a fairly interesting play... And then, sad as it was, it was time to say goodbye and continue my journey.
My flight to San Francisco again went quite smoothly. From there I decided to take a train to San Jose, where the temporary housing was waiting for me. On the way to the train I met Jorge, who was heading down to Monterey to give a series of lectures. We started chatting and it turned out that he also likes hiking so one of these days we're planning to hit the trails together.
I reached my apartment and it's pretty cool. I saw it before, but at that time it was empty and I have to say that the housing company did a great job as all the essentials are there, including a washing machine, a dryer, 2 TVs, a toaster and all kind of other things that one might need.
The following day I went to pick up my car, as living here without one is next to impossible. This went rather smoothly. I also did some shopping for the weekend. I have to say that shopping here has its ups and downs. What is certainly great is that the supermarkets are big and offer large selections of products, including high quality choices (my eyes are watering every time I see the fruits section). What is not so great (for me) is that shopping is a lengthy affair. You'd usually get the by car; even though the supermarket is just 200m away from my place, walking is not something people do here much ;). Then the shop itself is fairly big so locating few products that you need can take a bit (although that will surely improve over time). Bottom line is: in Amsterdam I was very used to shop little & often. I would sometimes come up with an idea of what I want to do for dinner and then go for those products and do this, say, 3 times per week. Here shopping in bulk is much more efficient and that requires more planning.
Another thing is that certain products I'm very used to I could not find. For instance: chorizo-like sausages (they have a lot of sausages, but I could not find smoked ones), leek and seafood mix (sure, shrimps, crab, you name it, but not a nice mix). Those are not just some random products but three crucial ingredients of three dishes that I like and used to do very often :). But I guess I just need to learn better where to get my groceries.
So then on the weekend I was slowly settling down and also managed to go for my first trail run. And on Monday it was time for the first day at my work. But that deserves another post. Until then!