I have moved across several cities over the years in the hope for opportunities and as a function of circumstances.
Today I sat down and decided to pen short memories of my Day 1 in the cities I was fortunate to live and work in as I moved away from home.
Stockholm: The architecture was a mix of sharp modernity and old town charm. It was Autumn, the air was crisp, some trees were red, the sunlight was rare. I looked up my location on the world map, it was fairly up. The modernity was in advanced science, the old town charm was in a tradition of monarchy.
Toronto: I was almost in America! Yet the spellings were quite English. It was winter but not yet snowing. As someone joked, it was too cold to snow. As I ate Tim Hortons Timbits for breakfast, I watched CNN (US edition) for the first time and appreciated how distinctly American it was as compared to CNN’s international edition.
Orange: I was in America! In this small town in Connecticut called Orange. My uncle used to live in nearby Trumbull but he and family had moved abroad before I moved to Orange. I had arrived just before a forecasted snow storm. Snow was all around. Winter had it’s own charm. I found my neighbors were the headquarters of PEZ! I also knew I was very close to New York City, an amazing city of opportunities. I was looking forward to beginning work!
San Francisco: I moved here in December. I saw Palm trees all around. The energy was one of entrepreneurialism. I ordered an electric bike and a razor kick scooter to commute around. That’s what the tech folks use! I saw the map and noticed the suburbs housed the who’s who of tech — Menlo Park (Facebook), Cupertino (Apple), Mountain View (Google), Palo Alto and others. I meanwhile was to start an exciting yet short term stint at a Medical devices company in Foster City, next to clear blue waters. I had Peet’s coffee.
Seattle: Seattle is also known for mild, amazing summers and greenery. After working non stop in Silicon Valley, where time just flew by, I landed in Seattle on a summer evening. I took the light rail from SeaTac to my apartment. I sat observing the mild natural sunlight as I sensed time slow down a bit. I realized I was finally in the Pacific Northwest, a part of the world I had long wanted to move to. It was magical. I went to a Starbucks and had some coffee. The Starbucks on 7th and Pike would become my “home Starbucks” on weekends as I finished homework assignments for the part-time program I enrolled for.
Canberra: After a 17 hour flight across the pacific, I landed in Canberra, a small yet wonderful and intellectual city. The capital of Australia. It was late Autumn. The temperature was near 1C. The nature was amazing. As I walked along a tree-lined path, I could smell Eucalyptus. I searched for the nearest cafe on google and went there. It turned out to be in a Gov Department (this is the capital!). I noticed the usage of the word “mate”, which I gradually started using. Also driving on the left side. I visited a beautiful, artificial lake and amazing architectures.
(Briefly in Auckland then back to Canberra): I had always wanted to fly Air New Zealand. I instantly noticed how similar Auckland was to Seattle, though on the other side of the world! Sky Tower looks quite similar to the Space Needle. Downtown streets are sloping down to city center. Queen St is the Auckland equivalent of E Pine St. Mild sunlight and clear deep blue skies added to the similarity. Later in the day, it started raining!
Moving can be tough. Each city I moved to, I knew no one before I moved. A common question I get asked is “where are you from?”
Of course, I would prefer being in one city, breathe in clean air, eat good food and do amazing work. Maybe back to a city above.
Maybe a separate post someday on last days in some cities.