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Didem Gurdur Broo

If we are connected somehow, I am sure you heard that I, my wonderful wife Johanna and our two cats (Ljusa and Lona) moved to Palo Alto just a few weeks ago. I was planing to write this post for some days but did not had time to do it. So today is the day!

You may remember from my earlier post When people get you or when the things are fair that I knew quite some time ago that we were moving to the US. But I was already employed by the University of Cambridge that time and I postponed this move to this year. Then COVID-19 happened and we had to move it a bit more.

Even though we started everything earlier than they needed to be, we were still not on time. The US embassies all around the world decreased their workload and stopped giving visas for year(s). We had to get national interest exception to be here. Everyone from Stanford University to European Commission to KTH, Royal Institute of Technology to the US Embassy in Stockholm tried their best to support us for this and we are really grateful. It took some time and a lot of energy to make it happen but we did it!

We took the cats, travelled more than 24 hours and finally arrived to our new place some time ago. Do I recommend travelling to the other side of the world with two cats? Yes. The travel itself and the next 2 days were surely stressful (mainly because Ljusa did not wanted to eat anything during this time) but the moment things were heading towards the “normal”, the first thing we thought was “it was the best decision that we moved all together”. If I came alone, I would have been miserable, if we moved without cats we would feel awful. It was a pain but only for a few days. They are very happy and quite playful too 🙂

We all had jet-lag. Lona was the cutest one. She wanted to be close to us. Second night came to the sofa and slept like this…

I remember one of that nights we pushed ourselves to be awake until 10pm and gave up at 6pm 😀 And another day I do not remember how I went to bed. Apparently Johanna carried me and I am not even sure if it was evening or afternoon 😀

Then we decided to walk around in our neighbourhood. Yeah! Two Europeans who reads everything, knows everything but still thinks that you can walk around in the US. You know, Palo Alto is not a huge city still you do not walk around. After 1 hour of a walk we reached to the downtown had a lunch and walked back. It was still a nice walk on University Avenue, but it was not like taking a stroll in Södermalm.

My e-scooter did not arrived. I am still angry to UPS. They have taken the package first send it to the wrong country (I don’t know where and I am not sure if I want to know it). Then they got it back and realised that it has a battery inside. I mean! Come on. I have written everywhere that it has battery. The heading is e-scooter! What were they expecting? Anyways, I had to buy a new one. We also got a bike for Johanna. I think she is so cute when she bikes but that is not a surprise! Sure, I think that!

We are having a great time cycling around the city. We visited the campus as the first thing surely.

Then for the first weekend we went to San Francisco. It is a great city! The sunset is really like all the San Francisco photos we have seen before. Yet, I was still surprised about the beauty of it. We went to The Golden Girls – Live drag show at Victoria Theatre. It was the first night and It was so much fun! Everyone was happy to be back at a theatre. We were certainly spoiled in Stockholm. Yes, we didn’t go out much and many places like theatres and cinemas were closed for some time. But they opened a bit earlier then here. Now we are experiencing the crowds excitement again with them. There are lots of self-driving cars in San Francisco. We rented a car for the thanks giving long weekend. I am an experienced driver who drove in Cyprus, Italy, Indonesia and Thailand as locals 😀 I do not know if it means I am a good or a bad driver. But yeah the highways in the US is something. I was thinking that you are only allowed to overtake from left. I wouldn’t put the autonomous driving mode on on the highways! But San Francisco city centre looks like a nice place for test drive.

We will continue to discover the area and there are a lot we want to see forests, parks, coastlines and so on. So I may exaggerate posting photos about our travels.

I feel myself so lucky to have this experience really. I already met with incredible people. Colleagues that invited us for the Stanford Dish Hike for the thanks giving day, for instance, was the highlight of our first weeks at The Farm. Now that we are settled and I am in the office every day, I am very excited to learn more about the courses, education programs, research projects and all. I already started to work on my project and have some ideas that I want to discuss with people. It is truly an amazing experience to be here! Let’s see how the coming months will be 🙂

People! Take care of yourself and enjoy the life. We had some interesting COVID years!

It is finally time for relaxing and appreciating the world a bit. Yes, it is a crazy place but we wouldn’t prefer to be anywhere else, isn’t it? 🙂