After many months of proposals, preparation, visas, rallying parents, reassuring children, and wondering how elderly cats would handle it, I’m finally in England– in Cambridge, starting my three-month visit at Microsoft Research.
I started last night, on the evening flight out of San Francisco, and ended around dinnertime, when I got into the flat (technically a terrace house, I think) we’re subletting. About 18 hours all told, though none of it was really stressful: heavy yes, thanks to my having brought two suitcases (I am going to be here for three months, after all), but not really difficult. The bus even took me into downtown Cambridge, more or less, to the station on the edge of Parker’s Piece, rather than the car and park on the edge of town (damn you, National Express Web site– I could only buy a ticket as far as the Park and Ride on the edge of town, but the driver was fine about letting me go into city centre).
After I got things more or less sorted out I went out and wandered around the town a little. Naturally I headed for the town center, walking past St. John’s and Gonville and Caius, then up along the market.
Eventually I ended up at the Yippee Noodle Bar, a minimalist but hip Asian place that made some great Singaporean noodles.
After that it was across the street to the slightly terrifying Cambridge Clowns Cafe for a latte. I must say the coffee was outstanding, and the reviews of the food are quite positive, but there are a LOT of clown puppets there….
From there, I made my way back home, unpacked, tried to figure out the heat (I think it’s not designed to work, as furniture seems to be pushed up against all the radiators), and finally gave up and dug out some extra layers.
The next three months are going to be an interesting experiment in remote parenting: the very first thing I did when I got to the house was to figure out the wifi network, so I could talk to my family. We bought my son an iPod Touch partly so we could do Face Time and Skype (Face Time generally has higher picture quality) easily, and the two of us spent about half an hour talking. I caught up with the rest of the family a few hours later. We’ll see if we keep this up, and whether it’s a good thing or not.
Work starts tomorrow. Gotta get some rest.