Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Journey

Well, it has been almost exactly seven years since we first moved to the U.S. It's been great journey and adventure. Not much savings made even though I worked for more than four years in Michigan. I think it's because the mindset has always been "vacation", i.e. we always know that we will never end up and retire in the U.S., thus we must make the most of our time -- to travel and eat out.

Firstly arrived in San Francisco in June 1998, we spent the first five years in Michigan. What a state it is. It's geographically flat; no hill, no valley. It's one of the main victim of lake-effect snow. And it's about two hours flying to the East Coast (NYC) and six hours flying to the West Coast (LA). Four-five hours driving to Chicago, although it's only one hour away from Windsor, Canada. But what's in Windsor anyway, except a casino?

The first year, we lived in Ann Arbor, in a one bedroom economy on-campus apartment, where the only two rooms were bedroom and everything else, and a small bathroom, of course. Not a great impression of what America is. The second year we moved to a more decent two bedroom, two bathroom apartment in Ypsilanti. Great location, right in the middle between University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University, and right across from Washtenaw Community College. We moved to West Bloomfield on the fourth year for the next two. A two bedroom apartment with a garage. Great place in a well-established area. I got closer to work. I picked up a lot of football in Michigan, but missed a lot of soccer. Both kids were born in the University of Michigan hospital with the same Obgyn.

We moved to Durham, NC, in June 2003 as I would start my MBA at Duke. We moved to even a better place. Three bedroom (3.5 bath), three-stories apartment with garage. The rent was higher too. Both kids went to school and made some friends.

Durham is pretty strategically located. It's about three hours driving to the beach and four hours to the mountain (where there is snow in the winter). Less than five hours driving to Washington, D.C., and about six-hour drive to Atlanta. Charlotte is only about two hours driving away, but there's nothing much but a huge mall.