July 05, 2013

Living in the Bay Are -- 2 (On cliches and more)

I don't really have any earth shaking observations about life here except that the cliches we hear about the bay area are mostly true!

Buying house here is crazy! A million is not sufficient to buy a simple 3 Bedroom/2 Bath house in a good school district in Santa Clara county (Palo Alto, Los Altos, Mountain View). This translates to a house that is about 200k - 300k in Alpharetta or even lower in Lexington. A recent townhome with a bedroom and a bath on each of the 3 levels sold for 1.275 million in cash. Stop and think about that for a second. IN CASH! So yeah, the cliche about housing in the bay area is true.

The house care/nanny situation also is pretty terrible. We had a baby sitter who was great in Lexington for $7/hr -- a high school student who made Rads toe the line but while doing fun stuff with her. Here, for $14/hr, you might get a baby sitter/house keeper who will last a full two months if you are really lucky.

Everyone talks about how finding a Carnatic music teacher or a dance teacher here would be simple given the desi population here. Well, that's one cliche that's not true. I have seen 3 teachers already and each did not work out for various reasons. I also thought none of them matched the quality/price of the teacher Radhika had in Alpharetta. The search continues.

The tech scene here is really that awesome. Perks are excellent and sometimes, you really wake wondering if it is all a dream.

The weather is great but I'll wait till winter to confirm that :)

More people time. Be it family, friends that live here locally or visit the bay area, there is never a dearth of hanging out with folks. The loneliness that I experienced in Alpharetta does not exist here.

Definitely more things to do. There are so many days when I have googled and found nothing to do with kids on a given day without driving an hour out in both Lex and Alpharetta. That is definitely not the case here. Plenty of child friendly outdoor and indoor things to do and I don't have to drive to SFO to find them!

I feel like there is much less down time in the bay area but can't place my finger on whether the perception is due to a lack of sleep, 2 kids or something else. Stay tuned for life in the bay area updates!

April 27, 2013

Living in the Bay Area -- 1.

We lived for more than a decade in Lexington, KY and we lived for a little more than a year in Alpharetta, GA. Compared to the pace of living in the suburbs in these cities, living in the Bay Area is like switching gait from a leisurely stroll to a 100-metre sprint. I don't know if the change in pace is also  because we are trying to juggle everything with 2 kids instead of 1. Perhaps, a little bit but I think the reason k & I feel kind of knocked out of breath here is just a reaction to moving to Silicon Valley.

The Bay Area is everything I had imagined it to be. Pleasant (weather wise; I was losing it in the East Coast -- I self-diagnosed myself with SAD years back), exciting (career wise -- oh boy!), familiar (it just feels better knowing friends and family are nearby; we might not hang out every weekend but the knowledge is sufficient to make a place feel like home) and fun (Places to eat, things to do!)...but, it is also more restless, less friendlier and kind of relentless. Let me explain.

Restless because everyone seems to be in a rush. Sort of like:

The context doesn't apply but you know what I mean :p

Friendliness: This sort of relates to everyone feeling rushed. It rubs on everyone they interact with and it feels like I live in a web of constantly buzzing busy bees that have little time to...smell the flowers and take a break. A typical family has the mom and dad working full day picking up their kids after work and then all they seem to have time for is a rushed, distracted evening and night routine. Play outside -- check, dinner -- check, bath -- check, story-time -- check, off you go to bed! Everyone is a little bit on the edge all the time, talk a little bit faster and the next->next->next loop wears you out at the end of the day. k and I have tried our best to maintain the fabled work-life balance. We shall see how long we last with our outdated philosophies here on the west coast! But, I digress. I miss the southern courtesy and the drawl and the relaxed pace of life. For the first time since I migrated to the US, I have switched back to speaking fast (the way I used to when I had just come to the US and my students -- I taught Math as a teaching assistant -- asked me to slow down!)

Relentless: k says I don't always have to try to make things more efficient and carry out process or self improvements all the time. But, am afraid that is part of who I am :/ I love my dose of books and movies but I question everything I do in my 'free time'. Typically, if it is not parenting/work/writing, I question it and see if I really need to be doing it. I take this to great extremes -- I try to delegate every other routine matter in the house to a software (preferably) or to someone who would gladly get paid to do it (House keeping, laundry, cleaning, dishes). But, I digress again (then again, what's the point of a personal blog if you can't ramble on?). Here, more than anywhere else I have lived, I get the feeling that I have to constantly improve myself and strive to be better at what I am already good at in order to succeed (at work) and keep pace with all the other smart folks around me.

But, there is no denying it. It is an exciting time to live in Silicon Valley and am afraid I wouldn't be able to leave even if I wished to at some point in the future.

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