All posts filed under: Trying life in America

Daring to embrace New Horizons

My partner Jason and I have lived a peripatetic, nomadic life, straddling the far western coast of California and the West Coast of Great Britain. Growing the roots of our relationship in an ever changing plant pot. Our 8 year anniversary is coming up very soon. It will make exactly 8 years since our first kiss, under the grand finale of Venetian fireworks at the foot of one of the two famous columns on the even more famous St Marco Square. We could have no idea that from this one, unbelievably romantic moment so much happiness and struggle would emerge. Neither of us had any plans of spending 8 years in regular intercontinental movement, not spending one whole year in any one place. We only once managed to spend a completely uninterrupted 13 months together, for a seemingly endless number of years we survived long geographical breaks, the longest lasting 5 months, twice! (But then again, we also know of course we only had 8 total, so it can’t have been THAT many years.) We …

So very soon I will return to America!

I can’t quite believe just HOW soon I will return to living in America! HOW did this happen? Remember back in the years before I met Jason? Back then I had just absolutely no interest in the Americas. And then whoosh, I got swept off my feet and piece by piece of me got slowly reeled in like a fish on a tasty worm-laden hook… I am also completely hooked on the books by Isabelle Allende, many of which taking place in the early days of discovering and establishing life in South & North America. So many stories of immigrants, so many courageous women in the pages of her books! And now, now I have a green card, now I am preparing to envision my life in America! I am still bewildered by it all. I know it’s been a slow and gradual process and maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised, but I thought I’d just go visit, stay a little while, go back to Europe and that would be it. Little did I realise that …

The incredible firemen & women of San Francisco !

It feels like it is already such a long time ago in the past that this tragic car accident happened right in the same neighbourhood where Jason and I stayed in San Francisco. But actually I took these photographs only 3 months ago. I moved around respectfully not obstructing the paths for the firemen and this one smiled at me as he came closer and passed me. I congratulated him on his incredible work and dedication to keeping San Francisco safe from fire as best as possible. • It seemed amazing to me just how incredibly fast these men and women arrived at the scene, how smooth the operations were carried out and how they saved the neighbourhood from the extended damage it could have sustained from a fire had it been allowed to spread. What happened? The last I heard was that an elderly man lost control of his car. There had been many rumours spread across the web at first, with many spiteful, mean comments saying a person driving so recklessly deserved this …

Photographing in San Francisco

  I’ve gone out photographing in San Francisco and especially China Town last weekend, when I was able to escape to the city! Hopefully it will now be a weekly opportunity to spend some time in this beautiful place, with the dirtiest streets and saddest stories that I have ever seen. So much neglect, so much wealth, such a strange city. So harsh and so addictive. Opportunity is always only inches away but if one grasps and doesn’t reach it, then one could fall far, as there are no security nets. I purposely avoided photographing the people and their fates whom I am referring to. A lot of tragedy is present. But in these photographs San Francisco shines. Below I enter China Town Early morning exploring of the neighbourhood in China Town, before the tourists got out of bed, still seeing sleepy locals out for their morning walks, hearing buddhist chanting faintly waft through the air from a nearby Temple on a second story of a building, hidden somewhat from passing strangers. It seemed that nobody …

Driving around the neighbourhood:

Just sharing a couple of neighbourhood pictures with you so you can get an idea of what it looks like in this part of California. Depending on the neighbourhood the streets are really as wide as you would imagine them, and in some places a saturday afternoon traffic looks like these 2 images. But it really does depend which direction and area you visit. Only a few miles from this spot it is nearly impossible to find a parking spot. These 2 photographs are taken in Richmond, California. A relatively industrial and often low income area. Some parts of Richmond are very high in crime, while other parts (including where we are currently staying) are pleasant, green and very liveable.    

From trying out life in America: Finally found a dentist .. What a relief!

report: Reasonably positive experience. Good welcome by reception, the dentist is definitely friendly and gentle (! yay!) and I’d be very happy to share coffee some time. bonus points: she likes popcorn, too.   I’m on the fence about: 1) the office set-up – there was no spitting sink with running water: only a suction device in my mouth.. 2) the follow up: I should have received an email with my x-rays.. I haven’t yet.   Would I go back?: YES if I had an urgent issue, but if I could I would prefer my UK dentist, simply because of cost and 18-20 years of trust.   Recommended?: I don’t know how other dentists in the area are, so if you need one then I would say YES. If you can have other options in Europe with your usual dentist or you need a lot of work done then I’d say: wait and go in Europe. The total cost for entire procedure required (I only took the emergency portion and will complete in the UK): …

another chapter of trying to figure out how life in California works.. today I tried buying a bagel…

“Hello. Can I have a sesame bagel with jam please” “$4.22” “gosh!” (but I pay anyway) …. waits 20 minutes…. “here’s your bagel” “hang on, there is no jam, I didn’t want butter” “it’s not butter” “well, I would like jam” “it is cream cheese” “no thanks, can I have jam please as requested when I arrived and paid?” “we are out of jam” “there is no jam” “no, absolutely no jam” “oh…” other member of staff intervenes: “we have jam” 6 minutes later: “here’s your bagel” “thanks” …. spreading the miraculously appeared jam on the bagel.. hmmm… it smells strange for a sesame bagel.. hang on … Oh I give up!  … “excuse me, I would like a refund, this is an onion bagel with jam, not a sesame bagel with jam…”  … get’s refund, leaves the cafe still exceptionally hungry and wondering why a bagel that can never be the actual bagel one asked for costs $4.22 when service clearly is sleepwalking with reluctance..

Trying out life in California / USA :

After having been invited to a job 3 days a week with healthcare before I even arrived in the US (yay) the job turned into just weekends and no healthcare, then the company couldn’t actually hire staff until further notice and now they are excited to hire me for 8 hours (naturally without healthcare). This process took 3 months so far.. (not that I am waiting only for them, I have other projects I am busy with but I find this a curious example of how to handle not yet employees.. what does this promise for the future working relationship?) Anyhow this has turned into a zero hour contract job and then as I am trying to fill in my details (on a 3rd party site! OBJECTION!) I find that I can not really proceed until I sign the below document release form… As a part-time photographer I am familiar with model release forms and this one is on a whole new level. I would never ask anybody to sign such a dreadful thing. Who …