I've been so busy, I haven't had time to blog. Rather than putting it off any longer, I'll just dump what I can remember.
Sticking with the whirlwind theme, the next day, we had a "building warming" party at work for the new building we'd moved into the week before Michael and I started. The next night we had the work Christmas party, which blew the socks off any work Christmas party I'd ever been to before, and then on Saturday night we went to a party in San Francisco that we'd been invited to.
On a life in general front, I'm still waiting for a Social Security number. The lack of one makes life a bit difficult for a lot of things. It also turns out that Sarah's work permit will take about 90 days to approve, so she's going to be a lady of leisure for the next few months.
I've finally been issued with a work mobile phone (or "cell phone" as they call them), and so can stop roaming and paying through the nose for the privilege.
We've found somewhere to live. We take possession of a 2 bedroom townhouse (split-level) in a complex in Mountain View that is 3 miles from work on the 18th. The rent is $1725 a month, which is a bit better than we were expecting. The complex we're renting in does have shared laundries, which we'd not too keen on before getting over here, but they're quite modern and secure, and there's a laundry block close to our townhouse, so hopefully it won't be too bad. The whole place had been renovated about 5 years ago, so it's all in good condition. We could have rented a 3 bedroom apartment (single level) in the same complex for about $125 a month more, but we're trying to actually make some money while we're over here...
Driving on the other side of the road becomes fairly "normal" after about a week of doing it regularly. Sarah's adapted fine. Lane placement is the hardest thing, because your body's used to being in a certain spot on the road, and it's all different sitting on the other side of the car.
We've managed to open a rudimentary bank account, even with my lack of Social Security number. Unfortunately I can't get paid until I have an SSN. Upside of that is that if it doesn't happen until next year, I presumably won't have to worry about income tax for this US financial year. Downside is kind of obvious...
By far one of the stranger things of everyday life here is the lighting situation in the average residence. Lamps are all the rage, to the point that light switches don't exist in some rooms (notably bedrooms). Take where we're currently living for example. There's a light switch at the bottom of the stairs, there's one at the top. There's a bank of four in the living room, two of which control lights in the kitchen, and one the hallway. The last one controls a lamp in the corner of the living room, which is connected to a power socket (or power point as we'd call it).
The bedroom with the attached bathroom (en suite) has two bedside lamps, and that is the sole source of light. The bathroom attached has light switches, and the walk-in robe has a light switch. It's so weird. So walking into a darkened bedroom involves walking all the way in, and fumbling around with a lamp. It's often easier to turn on the light in the wardrobe so you can see what you're doing first. I can't think of any reason for it, except tradition. It's not like they're avoiding wiring the walls or the ceiling, because it's done partially already. The bedroom has a ceiling fan, but where in Australia, there'd be a knob on the wall near the light switch to control it, it has a little chain you yank on. To add to the strangeness, there are two switches on the wall, one of which seems to allow you to turn off the ceiling fan if it's already been switched on by pulling the chain.
The townhouse we're renting has a similar lamp dependency, so we're going to be making a trip to Ikea for some lamps it would seem.
That's about everything I can recollect right now... Oh, I should point out that I'm really loving it over here.