Saturday, 21 July 2007

Go West!

I've been job hunting for a number of months now and am pleased to say I have just received a formal offer from a private fusion research company based in Orange County, California. It seems pretty reasonable so we think we'll give it a go. I mean, it can't be any harder than shifting to Germany right? Don't worry though, we've put a bit more thought into it than the preceding sentences might allude to.

We still have to clear our entry/work visas and will have an interview middle of next month. Hopefully only a few days to process. We expect to be arriving around the 25-28th August, though that may delayed if something in the plan needs changing. The company has asked me to start early September.

We should have about a week between arriving and starting work and school and in that time hope to find a house, a car, schools, change drivers licences -- yes, another test :( -- take out insurances, cure cancer and solve global warming. Or as many as we can manage anyway.

Gaynor and I are both excited and the children also seem pretty happy about it. There are a number of advantages in moving to southern California not the least of which is the promise of continued income. There is a lot of work to do before then but I think we'll make it. We are planning to be relaxing on a camping holiday for most of August and so probably won't be making much internet contact during that time.

More to come from the other side of the pond!

Monday, 2 July 2007


25/6/07 - 29/6/07
Unfortunately, due to time pressures this will just be a short report on our recent trip to London. Though Gaynor and the children all hold British passports they have not spent a lot of time there and we hoped to correct that in the event that we will move shortly from Europe[1]. We decided that rather than try to see a number of places in England in the course of a week, we'd concentrate on just London. Still, plenty to see.

We drove first thing Monday morning to Calais where we missed the ferry we had booked. Only by 10 minutes mind you but they put us on the next one with no trouble. All I'll say is that the traffic through Europe during peak hours can be very hard to predict. The ferry was a nice break from driving and a new experience for the children. The next new experience was driving a left-hand drive vehicle on the left-hand side of the road. Not as bad as I thought it was going to be. It helped having driven on that side before. :)

We stayed in Barking, on a direct half-hour-or-so train (the Underground actually) ride from the city centre. The children enjoyed catching up on some all-English television, comparing some of their regular shows to the German versions (voice over-dubbed).

The next few days reads like a list of a museum crawl including the British Museum (extremely impressive; highlights including the Rosetta Stone and a whole pile of other stuff the Brits have 'collected' over the years), Natural History and Science Museums (we split up to do these simultaneously), Imperial War Museum (not nearly enough time here) and the Ragged School Museum (we learnt there are poorer school systems than German).

Other highlights included visiting Westminster, a stroll along the Thames, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London (from the outside), climbing The Monument, a walk and a play in Hyde Park, changing guards at Buckingham Palace and Evensong at St. Paul's Cathedral.

Sorry that there isn't more time to pontificate over the trip but you can find a number of photos on our photo page. (Note the permanent link to the photo page, "Selected Images", located on the left of every blog page).

The drive home was reasonably eventful with an extra two hours to get out of London due to a jack-knifed truck blocking access to the only highway with a river crossing for many kilometers. Of course we then missed our ferry home and, with the one we did get leaving an hour later than scheduled, it was the wee small hours of Saturday before we rolled into the driveway.

All over though, an enjoyable and thoroughly worthwhile excursion.

[1] Please don't ask yet about exactly where we are going. We don't know yet and we'll make a post as soon as we do. :)

Update, 22 Aug: Creative Elijah has made a short movie of our trip!