Cantabrigian

Well, it has been an eventful three months, by which I mean: dear lord, moving is a lot of work.

First things first: I did not win the WMF board election, but I could not be more pleased with the people who did: I am sure that Dariusz, Denny and James  will be outstanding members, and they bring a wide range of skills and a deep familiarity with the Wikimedia movement to the Board. Congratulations! And to my fellow former trustees, Sam and Maria: it was a pleasure to work with you. I will miss working with everyone on the board a lot; it’s an excellent group of extraordinary people. (Which is not to say I don’t have plenty of Wikimedia projects up my sleeve for the future! But they will be informal, and focused: libraries, outreach, quality and future-planning are the topics I want to work on.)

Secondly, I am moved! (Mostly, anyway, see below.) I came here a few weeks ago after a long cross-country road trip with my ever-game Aunt, but then promptly left to go to a lovely Wikimania in Mexico City, where we had excellent sessions and also excellent parties, and I ate a lot of delicious tacos and wandered around the city a bit.

Both trips are worth another post. I’m still thinking about the road trip, and the experience of seeing the entire country intimately in two weeks: from Manzanar to Walden Pond, and the highways, small towns, and cities (Las Vegas, Santa Fe, St. Louis, Buffalo) and a few parks (Death Valley, Niagara Falls) in between; a sort of best- and worst- greatest hits experience. As for Mexico City, it’s an infinite, anonymizing city, full of taxis and hidden corners, skyscrapers where everyone who works in them eats tacos off little carts on the street, and the people who make the tacos live in crumbling buildings tucked under roads. The smog is better than it used to be, they say, but still very noticeable; a kind of grit at the back of the throat. Coming from the airport, late at night, we turned a corner past an autobody shop, and there was a park with a Mayan ruin. And, people take their food very seriously; I’ll be thinking about a couple of the dishes I had for a long time.

Now, after that series of somewhat surreal experiences, here I am back in Cambridge (Somerville, properly), staying in the lovely apartment of some extremely excellent and generous friends who are loaning me a room for a while, and starting work in a couple days. And I think (cross your fingers!) I have a lead on a fine apartment I can move into next month (the lease is supposed to show up tonight). So, here we are. Nearly done.

So: after all that list-making and time-tabling and (this past week especially, ugh) apartment-hunting, and after the general uncertainty and leap-of-faithiness of this summer, I feel like I might finally be getting somewhere on getting re-settled.

I’ve made one cross-country move before (though to be fair it was only two-thirds of the country), and I’ve made a few interstate moves since, and I remember the general anxiety before and, for a long time, after. But for most of those moves I was also much younger, with few possessions, and I was with someone else to share the work, and I don’t remember the logistics being awful. (As opposed to, afterwards, dealing with being in a new town and making friends, which was a huge drag and something I struggled with everywhere I moved).

This time things are different. The logistics were a pain; coast to coast is nothing to sneeze at, and getting everything to line up took some doing. But I have a gently cushioned landing: I have wonderful friends here who have taken good care of me. I’ve already been to a good party, made family dinners, had a movie night. And I have a job with excellent colleagues, which I’m anxious to start (though truth be told I’m nervous too; even though I know what I’m doing, the first day of school in a new place will never stop being nervewracking). All in all though I feel good about the whole situation. Once I relaxed enough to notice where I was, I found myself walking around Cambridge on a summer evening this weekend, past a park and the old and stately houses, thinking: this is good.

It was hard for me to leave Davis. I had half-a-dozen goodbye get-togethers, with various configurations of people. I cried during at least half of them. Saying goodbye to my closest coworkers was impossible, and it’s only OK because we are in the same profession and will see each other at conferences. I was reluctant to leave my house, which I dearly loved. I thought a lot about only having a few more chances to do things, but then when I did things for the last time (driving to San Francisco; going to my favorite stores; eating one last shwarma at the best place; etc.) I barely noticed.

But then (and my Aunt, bless her, helped tremendously) — then there was one final party, and the movers loaded everything onto the truck and my house was empty and a little grim, and suddenly it wasn’t mine anymore: just a generic apartment, with nothing special about it at all. And we were off.

The first thing I’ve signed up for here as a new resident is my rewards card for frequent buyers at the neighborhood bookstore. I think, all in all, things are turning out just fine.

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