Some rather sheepish apologies are in order, as things have been embarrassingly quiet on this blog for the past few months. My life has become very busy indeed and it’s been hard to keep writing with all that’s been going on.
By way of explanation:
- In February, my wife (“Z.”) accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in English at New Jersey’s Rowan University in the Department of English. She was scheduled to start her new job on September 1st, 2010.
- In April, we flew out to look for a place to live. After looking at the house, we signed a rental contract more or less on the spot. We were simply thrilled at the idea of living in a house instead of an apartment.1
- More or less as soon as we returned from New Jersey, I handed in my notice to Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (SULAIR). I would spend the next two months trying to tie up loose ends at work. The last thing that I wanted was to have the people who took over my positions (Classics Bibliographer and Art Library Operations Manager) cursing my name after I’d gone.2
- We packed all our worldly possessions into four ReloCubes® and had a professional moving company transport them across country. This left us free to drive across almost all the USA in a car rather than a massive truck. I say, “Almost,” as our new home is about forty miles west of the New Jersey coast. We saw a great deal of the country that we might never otherwise have seen. It was, at times, quite simply spectacular.
- It was also quite rushed. We made the trip in five-and-a-half days. The Midwest was kind of a blur.
- On arrival in New Jersey, I had two days in which to help select a colour scheme for the new house and begin re-decorating, before jetting off for Durham (UK) so that I could join the Binchester Roman Town excavation.3
- After the excavation, I dashed down south for a wedding in Shrewsbury. On the way, I stopped in Manchester to collect Z. (who had flown out) and my parents.
- Z. and I then flew from Manchester back to New Jersey, where we would spend the next two weeks finishing decorating the house.4
- We finished decorating in mid-August. Since then, my wife has finished prepping for and started teaching her classes; I have begun a full blown job search.
The decision to quit my two jobs and move across the country to an uncertain professional future was both a difficult and an easy one for me to make. SULAIR has been a tremendously supportive environment over the last four-and-a-half years. I was all too aware that I would miss the many friends that I’ve made there immensely. I had both feet planted firmly on a career ladder. All of these things and they made the decision to leave California difficult.
On the other hand, neither my wife nor I were particularly thrilled by the idea of having a transcontinental relationship for the foreseeable future. This made the decision for me to move with her easy.
As if it that weren’t enough in itself,5 there are actually a number of advantages in my moving to the Greater Philadelphia area too. Rents and house prices are much lower than in the San Francisco Bay Area. Philadelphia is only 15-25 minutes away, by public transport. By way of contrast, my drive to Stanford from San Francisco to Stanford was 45 minutes (by public transport, it could take three hours on a bad day). Further, Pennsylvania and New Jersey are both rich in cultural heritage and the cultural heritage industry. In terms of possible career development, there are few places in the USA where I could be better located. So far, I’ve been scouring the small ads for positions in libraries, museums, or CRM (cultural resource management) companies.
I’ve only started the process of finding a new job, but I’m actually very optimistic about the future. And, after something of a hectic summer, I think that things are beginning to calm down a little.
With luck, this should mean that I’ll be able to resume blogging more frequently …
1 We are still thrilled about this. We are also delighted to be paying less in rent for the house (and garden) than our old San Francisco apartment.
2 It’s possible that they did anyway but I did as much as I could to make sure that this wasn’t the case.
3 The timing of the excavation was less than optimal. As things were, I joined the excavation two weeks late and was only able to stay for ten days. But in going to the dig when I did, I was leaving Z. to unpack the ‘cubes (which arrived after I had left) and continue decorating by herself. This decision does not reflect as well on me as I would like. Please send you hate mail to the usual address.
4 For the record, redecorating a whole house in one go is not something that either of us ever wants to face again. We felt that it would be better to get the job out of the way before we’d settled in properly. In hindsight, this was the case. However, time pressures of the oncoming school year meant that it was officially not much fun and extremely stressful.
5 And the reader should note that there are those who might question my dedication to my career at this point. Oh yes, there are.