Friday, October 21, 2005

Silver linings

I am moving to Australia in just over a week. I am sad to be leaving Berkeley, as I've loved it here. But, the nature of a postdoc job is that it ends, and without that there is no visa and no particular reason to stay. And as much as I like it here, I don't like enough to, say, marry an American and get a job at Starbucks. I mean, it's still America, and there are plenty of other countries I'd be quite happy to live in, like, for example, Australia.

One of the things I am nervous about is that I'm moving to a small town. It's a university town, at least. It has a population of 70,000. Compare this to Ann Arbor, which according to Portuguesa Nova, and I can't be bothered looking for the post but this is the gist of it, is like choosing your favourite suburb in Chicago and then saying, that's it, you have only one suburb, there is nowhere else. Now, according to Wikipedia Ann Arbor boasts 114,024 inhabitants. That's almost twice the size of the town I'm moving to. Gulp. Yesterday I visited Santa Cruz, and decided that maybe small towns aren't so bad. Santa Cruz has a population of 54,593. But then again, it's by the ocean and close to major urban centres like San Jose.

The town I'm moving to is the biggest town for about 2 hours. That's when you hit Wagga Wagga, population 57,000. Arghhh!

For reference, here's a map from MapQuest.

I see in my near future many weekend trips to Melbourne.

Of course, there are silver linings. For a start, the secure, long-term lectureship position. Here's some things I am looking forward to about living in regional Australia:
  • Being able to afford to live in (and possibly buy!) a house with garden and off-street parking
  • Fish and chips
  • Having a cat again (I've been travelling too much for that to be practical for the last 5 years)
  • Tim Tams
  • Rush hour traffic only meaning I have to wait to cross the street on my walk home from work
  • Frequent trips to Melbourne and Sydney
  • Being closer to New Zealand and my family and friends there
  • Driving on the left
  • Having my birthday in summer again, as it should be

And despite the fact that there are many, many things I shall miss about Berkeley, there are some that I won't miss:

  • Driving and parking in Berkeley and San Francisco
  • Crazy people in downtown Berkeley (they're only entertaining for so long)
  • Stupid road rules
  • People laughing at my accent (although at least here they think it's adorable, in Australia they'll just laugh)
  • Crossing the Bay Bridge
  • Hideously expensive housing

I'm trying really hard to let these things bother me...