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|
|Less luxury then Kalimero... the height of the sleeping matching the beer canister was coincidence, we swear it!|
|Big Basin State Park|
|The fridge tree|
|our lion feet bath tub|
|buying used appliances|