From the Bay of Islands to the Bay Area

Not only was yesterday the 4th of July, it also happened to be the end of the 4th week for me residing in California. Erica had arrived a couple weeks earlier and was set up for us at our friend’s house. The drive out over the hill past Alice’s is beautiful, winding, hilly; bicyclists, motor cyclists, and car enthusiasts love to converge there. This makes a routine commute incredibly annoying. After spending the weekend in the city to see Tortoise we booked in to a hotel. We found a place to live and after spending the next weekend in a nicer hotel in the city to see 77 million paintings, we decided to stick with that level of comfort while we waited for the place to be cleaned and prepped. Tomorrow the bed Erica rented arrives. Our stuff will be here, I’ve been told, around the middle of July and I think it might realistically be up to 3 more weeks.
We looked at a few places and some of them we couldn’t get out of fast enough. There was a long time spent outside Saratoga at the home of an old man. Still sharp and witty, this lean octogenarian was full of pep but the location was too remote out on his 100 acres of property. Another apartment looked at nearby was acceptable, especially given the location west of the highway above the smog where the hills begin. When we first dropped in to see the place we chose to live in, as soon as we saw it the deposit was forked over. Good thing we did. We were the first to see it and the tenant liked us. That gave us a recommendation to the landlord and put us ahead of all the other people who came looking that weekend also offering the deposit, some site unseen.
We adore the cottage we found for our new home, a little cottage next to the main house. The back yard of the main house is divided so that the back half is our front yard. We sit in the middle of back yards. It is such a comfortable place to hang out. All our amenities are covered, including w/d and dw. There’s a skylight over the kitchen and 8 windows on 5 walls. The place is draped in trees, including a redwood right outside our door.
Since Erica came earlier she was able to launch an attack on finding a good place to teach. The interviews followed a similar format. After a large pile of application material was submitted it would then be screened and if someone was intrigued would call and ask a few simple questions. This step seemed to be a check that the person could actually live up to what was purported on paper, essentially not some schmuck. Next was the invite to come chat with a group of principals who asked the same sort of questions following the same sort of format. Usually after this Erica would be invited to come back and teach a course while being observed. Once Erica made it clear she would not enjoy teaching at the school and another time the school offered her a job at the end of the group interview. Both of which were very entertaining and perhaps Erica will write more about them at some time. She also made it to one observed lesson at an elite school but was passed over for someone else.
Eventually the Palo Alto Unified School District and Erica found each other. It did take second effort. We were out visiting the family in the delta when she was first called in for interviews. We could not drive back fast enough to make it, especially given that we didn’t check voice mail the entire time we were visiting. Fortunately there was a need to fill another position. The screener later admitted she was glad to be able to call Erica back. Her interviews went well and the example lesson relaxed since the job search effort had real momentum and confidence emanated as she knew the result of this effort would be a great job which suited her. Within an hour of the interview she was called by one of the observers to tell her nothing was official until the assistant superintendent called, but they wanted her for the job. The assistant super called an hour after that.
From our home it is 4.2 miles to Erica’s new school. It is 6.5 miles to my work and only 2 miles to the Caltrain station where the shuttle picks me up. Neither one of us need to get on a highway for our commute. Erica doesn’t even cross one. The bus to the station passes right by our house making my entire transit public.
Large palm trees of all varieties loom around the established neighborhood. Chirping birds are the most prevalent noises. Large open space parks are accessible by bike from our home. The charming downtown area is only about 10 blocks north. There are plenty of yoga studios, farmer’s markets, and curious shops to keep us occupied. The whole area offers everything we want. Sure, it’s at the price of many people and some things we don’t want. We’ve found our balance and are more than just satisfied. We’re really excited!

This entry was posted in #agile explained and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.