Hello San Francisco

What a ride .... we're forever extending our organizational capabilities and making good use of "the webbernet" to keep the logistics in check. At the end of January, Zoe & I spent a couple of weeks in a hotel by the bay with a rental car (the mighty chevy malibu) as I bounced back & forth between house hunting in San Francisco & colour math in Vancouver before hitting the jackpot with an apartment coup & settling down in Berkeley for the long term.
After bidding Canada farewell 3 weeks into the new year the adventure started & I joined Zoe in northern California (Nor-Cal as they like to call it here) where she'd been working since early January in a town north of San Francisco called Nicasio.
We (grudgingly at first) migrated from the car-less existence we enjoyed in Toronto to accept our new four-wheeled, battery-powered friend in the form of a Toyota Prius which Zoe coaxes up & down the rolling hills of Marin county on her way to & from work, 50 minutes each direction across the San Rafael Bay Bridge & back down to Berkeley every eve**. My own daily commute is of similar duration, though much shorter mileage south to Emeryville each morning (wow, it finally makes sense to say mileage ... God bless America :P). Weather permitting the 5 mile bicycle ride is a great start to the morning but when mother nature turns on the rain I'm easily convinced that the mental exercise afforded by a couple of hours reading during the bus commute is equally as healthy.
**Incidentally, the Prius appears to be the second "device" which (loosely) meets my criteria for ultra convenience. It's waterproof, wireless (bluetooth+GPS) and rechargeable (hybrid electric engine) .... ahh thanks 21st century ... where have you been all my life?
Our home town of Berkeley is wonderful. It exhibits a strong student influence courtesy of the campus of the University of California which our apartment overlooks, nestled at the base of the beautiful Berkeley hills. We've found a cute 2nd floor apartment, south facing in a building of 1920's heritage. Hardwood floors and lots of natural light, recently renovated & endowed with a few simple luxuries vis. gas cooking, and great central heating. The apartment is slightly larger than our Toronto condo, though quite bare of conveniences so we've already made numerous mercy raids to IKEA followed by frustrating hours of nailing & screwing swedish wannabe items to all exposed surfaces. We're well now endowed with candles and laundry baskets, lightbulbs, dish racks, bookshelves, bar stools and fluffy woolen rugs ... but it won't truly feel like home until we can locate a nursery to provide some happy green plants. As it happens washer/dryer conveniences are "unnaturally" scarce in rental accommodation here so we've consoled ourselves to let someone else wash & fold in exchange for an extra 3 hours to ourselves every weekend.
Our new professional responsibilities (& prime conduits for the move to the Bay Area) are proving to be a source of mental inspiration & challenge. I'm surrounded by brilliant minds comprising the best & brightest of those who've set the pace and standard of the entire industry over the past two decades, which implies sometime in the near future I'll find myself achieving something either cognitively significant or spectacularly embarrassing. At times I have to pinch myself, it's almost surreal to trade conversations with the idols whose mathematical theorems I first learned during school with (at the time) nary a thought that the names behind the equations belonged first to real people, who I'm now so privileged to call colleagues.
The other graduation worthy of note is that of our very first earthquake, by no means expected to be our last here thanks to the San Andreas fault. One afternoon last week at work, the building's isolators were modestly tested by a ~4.0 quake that originated about 5 miles below Berkely. I suspect our 20's home abode wouldn't fare as well if the richter scale escalated a few clicks but it's one part of living in San Francisco that I think we're willing to accommodate in return for the diverse cultural & professional rewards we've already begun to enjoy.
Come visit when you can, the guest "room" is almost ready and our list of "must-eats" is growing every weekend. Vintage Berkeley hasn't let us down yet with any of their great bottles under $30 and the cheeseboard is within walking distance.