Dienstag, 11. März 2014

Michi and Katha heading West w/o Kalimero

Hi guys, we are back! If you visited our facebook site you already know our new car, but we thought you might also be interested in other things happening around us. To cut it short, we moved to Palo Alto, California where Michi found a position as a postdoc with 2 years of funding and Katha will sooner or later find a job too. We received the news about the funding and the OK to move on while we were in Srinagar, remember the beautiful city in north India with its huge lake, the Oasis Guest House, the oasis of peace and soothing calmness in crazy India.
After packing Kalimero into his hibernation place, marrying and celebrating Christmas with our families we took off with two times 23kg into our new life.  Margaret, our first and best ever airbnb-host picked us up from the airport and made us feel comfortable and at home in her house for the next 6 weeks. She lent us bikes to get around and even her car she showed us where to buy European groceries, the next post office and the weekly farmers market. First, we bought SIM card, as always getting into a new country but this time we also opened bank accounts, confirmed our arrival, printed I-94 and Sevis forms, attended postdoc orientation and benefit sessions and Michi started to complete roughly a million lab safety, patient data safety, sexual harassment prevention, chemical safety, safety safety and safety trainings. As a J-1 exchange visitor, Michi could also apply for a social security number, which gives you the status of a human-being here. When we bought Priscilla – she will try her best to replace Kalimero for the time being we had to insure her as well and just to let you know if you ever plan on buying a car in the US, we had to pay almost 10% tax on the purchase price. The first thing Katha did the morning after arriving was to apply for an employment authorization document at the USCIS. As a J-2 exchange visitor dependent she was “eligible” to do so. All together it took 8 weeks to arrive and she was not allowed to work or volunteer during this waiting period. Besides all the paperwork we mention here to be of use for any other immigrant/expat, we had a really good time so far. I’m sorry to mention it to our German followers - the weather is amazing! But regarding recreational activities we really have a big problem here – we don’t know what to do first. There is one of the most inspiring and interesting cities about 30 miles from here, the next big state park, by the way the oldest in California, also 30 miles. The Pacific Ocean – 30miles! If we want to go further, Yosemite National Park – 200 miles, Lake Tahoe -200 miles…Stanford offers a recreational card to their affiliates and even a “courtesy card” for spouses of affiliates. This allows us to use the gyms, climbing walls, the swimming pools and to rent affordable outdoor gear. The Bechtel International Center is a center dedicated to the international exchange and visibility of Stanford and offers a rich program for exchange visitors and their families, like a hiking group, yoga classes, cooking culture and language classes and even career counseling for international spouses.
So how do we like it here and how do we feel? We love it, of course it is not so easy to live on only one income for the time being and there is a uncertainty if/when Katha will find a job here, with all the Stanford educated competitors and the limited work permit. But we are in America; we try hard and stay optimistic.
After 6 weeks at our first airbnb accommodation we moved to another one to give us time to find a place we want to settle. We had to decide whether to move into a private apartment, with amenities like a pool or gym or into a shared house with a big kitchen, living room and garden. Both have pros and cons but in the end the shared house won and we soon moved in with two amazingly nice roommates and an adorable dog.

The Bechtel Center
Biking to campus

Running up to the dish

View from the dish

Biking in the City

The Shrek-Model-Donkey - we moved right next to them

In the nut house we met our roommates for the first time

Priscilla in her old configuration in front of airbnb #1

Checking on the Cummins

Priscilla in camping configuration
work in progress... The oil stains are NOT from us! But generally, if it's an American car, it has to drip...we try to be environmentally friendly and teach our Diesel not to leave marks and not to "roll coal". Priscilla drinks about 11-14 l Diesel/100km, depending on the number of 4-way stops and hills.

Less luxury then Kalimero... the height of the sleeping matching the beer canister was coincidence, we swear it!

Airbnb #2


Big Basin State Park

The fridge tree

our house

 our lion feet bath tub

buying used appliances


  1. Welcome to northern California Katha and Michi!

    While I am disappointed that Kalimero could not make the journey, it is funny and almost shocking to find out, after following your great journey to such far away and exotic places, that you are now right down the road from me. I guess it is a small world!

    Should you ever be heading to Mill Valley (Marin), give me a shout - there is a local brewery here ...


  2. Hey Kalimero

    I found your blog on Wuestenschiff.de; there, you mentioned an Indian Agent who was incredibly helpful getting your cars from India back to Germany. And that is pretty much exactly what I will need in late September/early october (2017). We're driving to India from Germany, and have to ship the cars back to get them out of Indian customs... could you write me a mail with the contact of that Agent? kyrill.hirner (at) posteo.de... You'd do me a huge favor!