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 We shall see how long we last with our outdated philosophies here on the west coast!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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