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|   .    v        |:/   jeremy@   |                                           |
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+--| Coming to America |------------------------------------------------------+
|                                                                             |
| As when we moved to Malaysia, I'll likely be posting a few entries about    |
| our transition to life in the United States over the coming weeks. I am     |
| the advance guard, with my family following behind me in about a month's    |
| time, after things are more settled.                                        |
|                                                                             |
| I had hoped to be able to move straight into our lovely big new home in     |
| Oakland, but shortly before I arrived it was invaded by squatters, who      |
| have removed the gate to the driveway and barricaded the front door.  The   |
| seller has called the police to intervene, and I'm waiting for more news.   |
|                                                                             |
| So in the meantime, I am couchsurfing and then will be moving into a        |
| residential block in central Oakland that is almost as old (or you could    |
| say "historical") as it is cheap. This will at least give me a humble home  |
| base until settlement ("closing" in American) of our new house.             |
|                                                                             |
| I didn't know quite what to expect of Oakland, with its reputation of       |
| being a dangerous ghetto (and the squatter invasion didn't help!), but      |
| I've been pleasantly surprised.  Most of the neighbourhoods that I've       |
| visited in Oakland seem very livable, interesting and diverse, and I have   |
| felt safer here than in San Francisco, with its drunks and panhandlers.     |
|                                                                             |
| Our neighbourhood of Jingletown is a slowly-gentrifying working class       |
| neighourhood, but remains ethnically diverse with a predominantly Latino    |
| population. It has become a small arts centre, containing the Institute of  |
| Mosaic Art, and a recording studio owned by Green Day! I expect we will be  |
| eating a lot more Mexican food from now on (no complaints here).            |
|                                                                             |
| San Francisco is about 20 minutes away on the BART (train), and it is big   |
| enough that I haven't been able to scratch the surface yet (nor do I        |
| remember much of it from my previous visits).  So far I have just taken     |
| the 15-minute walk from the BART station to EFF's office, which took me     |
| through a midweek farmer's market, past the very grand City Hall, and       |
| through a neighbourhood of elegant old buildings (and the aforementioned    |
| drunks).                                                                    |
|                                                                             |
| The weather here has been hot, about mid-30s (90s in American).  But        |
| apparently that's about as hot as it ever gets here, and not too often.     |
| Since we won't be able to afford a car for a while, I'm thinking of buying  |
| myself a bike to get around, and otherwise relying on the public transport  |
| network (which is pretty good by American standards).                       |
|                                                                             |
+---------------------| posted 1252 days ago via news | reply (1 comments) |--+
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