Adventure Time

Lately there has been an uptick in life events. I thought I should keep a brief record of the said events here, in a “dear diary” fashion, before I forget nearly all of it.

The gist is this: we (Achu and I, not the royal “we”) are in the process of moving to Canada from the United States. In fact, I am in Canada as I write this.

I moved to United States about nine years back, under a confluence of circumstances, and not without some resistance. I was a graduate student at first, then took a stab at running a one-person company, and then was employed by a national lab.

Despite certain shortcomings, good old USA has been a nice place to live. Nearly all Americans we have met so far have been genuinely nice, kind, and considerate people. The country is incredibly beautiful, mind-blowingly vast, and its geography is astoundingly diverse. We have seen some of it, and we wish to see more of it.

However, because of the realities of immigration (namely: very long wait times for permanent residency in the US for people born in India), living in the United States long term is just not a viable proposition for us. Attempting to do so would mean sacrificing what’s left of our youth and freedom, and that is not a thing we are willing to do.

That is okay: those are the rules, we signed up for it fully cognizant of those rules, we played by those rules, and it is time to move on now.

That old house

We had a house in west Chicago suburbs. We bought the house three years back when I moved to the area for work, and we spent a lot of time and effort in improving it inside and outside. Friends came over often, and always had a lovely time there.

We sold that house in September. We also sold the bulk of our belongings, except some stuff we like to hold on to: books, tools, kitchen implements, camping gear, computers, and the such.

A riot of brown eyed susans

While it is true that getting rid of stuff is liberating, we will miss that house and neighborhood. The yard was nice. We loved our neighbors, both humans and non-humans. There were oaks, spruces, and magnolia trees. There were raccoons, possums, skunks, rabbits, robins, cardinals, woodpeckers, sparrows, mourning doves, blackbirds, grackels, nuthatches, and other many birds I could not identify. Milkweed plants sprang up by the front door. Honeybees and monarch butterflies made our garden their way point.

I should write about that house, yard, and monarch butterflies.

Prairie road trip

In early September, just a week before selling the house, we took a road trip across Wisconsin, Minnesota, South and North Dakotas, Wyoming, and Iowa. As usual, we stayed off the highway.

I had not seen a sky clear like that in years.

We saw a lot of the countryside. We visited Lake Itasca, headwaters of the mighty Mississippi river. We drove through Native American reservations. We saw the Bear’s Tipi. We camped in Badlands National Park, and gazed at stars under a clear sky.

I should write about that road trip.

That old job

I worked for Fermilab for a little under three years. My job was a three-year term position, due for renewal by January 2020. I quit the job in October, in preparation for leaving and in the interest of flexibility of schedule and location. After selling the house and before quitting my job, Ammu cat and I camped out at a friend’s living room for a month.

My esteemed former colleagues: Fermilab’s bison herd.

Fermilab is an interesting place, and I loved its 6,800-acre campus. A part of that land is set aside for prairie preservation. Humans and particle Physics experiment facilities share it with very many non-human occupants. It is lovely.

I can’t speak of particle Physics, but I should write about the wildlife I met at Fermilab.

Down south

After quitting my job, the three of us (Ammu cat, Achu, and I) drove down to Charleston, South Carolina, and there we lived in a hotel for about a month.

Seen in Charleston, South Carolina.

Achu has been visiting Charleston often for work over the past few years, and her work there got extended a little longer this time. Charleston is a great city, and we wish to keep going back there.

I should write about our stay there.

Toronto in between

I visited Toronto in late October. I exchanged my Illinois driver’s license (which was about to expire, along with my US work visa) for an Ontario one, set up a couple of bank accounts, and went back to Charleston.

Seen in Allan Gardens, Toronto.

When coming back from Toronto, I entered the US on a tourist visa, and faithfully performed some tourism.

Further down south

We went to south Florida on vacation. We found a lovely home-stay in the lovely Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, and visited Everglades and Biscayne national parks. We went snorkeling in Key Largo, and then drove further down to Key West, tasted the obligatory key lime pie, and came back.

“Southernmost point of continental United States!”

This was my first time in Florida, and I am happy to report that southern Florida’s tropical climate and flora and fauna reminded us of home.

I should write about our week as tourists in Florida.

Up north

We drove to Indiana, to our friend Bill’s house, via Georgia, South and North Carolinas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Ohio. We stayed a night with friends in Florida, and a weekend with friends in North Carolina.

Seen in Charleston, West Virginia.

We wondered at the transition from the tropical climate of south Florida, to late fall foliage of West Virginia, to early winter of northwest Indiana. When we found ourselves in Indiana, gloomy winter weather and an early snowfall greeted us.

Seen in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

We drove up to Chicago, stayed with friends for a couple of days, hung out a bit, picked up some of our stuff that was left with friends, and came back.

Back in Toronto

I am back in Toronto area again, as of Sunday the November 17th. I have found modest but entirely sufficient living arrangements in the suburbs, for the duration of a month. I will need to find another modest living arrangement for the next few months after that. What about after after-that? We will figure that out.

I have been, rather selectively, applying for jobs over the past few months. As with most job search stories, there has been some interest in my job applications, while they were mostly ignored or rejected.

I also applied to The Recurse Center again, but my application was rejected after the second round of interview.

I should write about 2019 edition of my job search.

The new job

Moving to Canada as a permanent resident has granted me more flexibility in work situation. I do not need to be tethered to an employer who would sponsor me a work visa, like I was in the US. That is nice, and I fully intend to make the best out of my new situation.

I have signed a contract with the non-profit Aspiration Tech, to work on porting Tahoe-LAFS from Python 2 to Python 3, while maintaining backward compatibility. This work should ideally be finished before Python 2 sunset date, but we know how it is with software project schedules.

For me the main thing is this: I have wanted to work on free software and get paid to do so for a very long time now. This time I am actually getting to do that!

I am very grateful for the opportunity, and very thankful to the kind and generous people that have made this possible, and overall very excited by the possibilities.

I should write about my work too.

(Posted on November 19, 2019.)