My 25-year old cousin recently took a job with a high-profile internet company in Silicon Valley and he moved to San Jose, CA from Calgary, Alberta this weekend. He was a little bummed because he's in a new city in a (somewhat) different country, doesn't know anyone, doesn't know the area at all, needs to find a permanent place to live in 28-days (and counting), and has never owned a car nor had a cellphone (which the company is getting him for 30 days use). The previous week had been a flurry of paperwork for him trying to get all the i's dotted and t's crossed for his Visa/Passport. Needless to say he's a little stressed.

I definitely feel for the guy, since I went through almost the same exact thing 6 years ago (minus the car and cellphone which I already had for a couple years) when I made the decision to move out to Chicago from Toronto in April 1999 not knowing a single soul down here. My first night was spent in my empty apartment, sleeping on the carpetting in a sleeping bag since all my furniture was in transit. My telephone and cable weren't hooked up yet, I only had a couple changes of clothes, a stale pizza in the fridge, a cellphone and a computer (no internet). I was about to enter a new job doing project management (something I had never done before). All my friends and family were miles away in a (somewhat) different country. It was a very jarring experience and I was so homesick that I called my Mom on my cellphone and talked with her for awhile and tried to keep back the tears. Moms have a way of smoothing things out...

Eventually things have a way of sorting themselves out. My furniture arrived the next day and I kept myself busy that day trying to get my apartment into some semblance of a home and worried about my new job. I managed to find my way to work the next day and started the job that ran my life for about 6 months working late nights and turning almost all my hair grey. I had some friends and family come visit on weekends (it's a 5+ hour drive from Windsor, Ontario) and eventually I settled into a routine. The city became less daunting, I got to know some of my co-workers and I began to feel like King Shit again.

A little more than a year after I had moved, I met my future wife and we started dating and the rest, as they say is history (well, present-day anyway).

I guess to my cousin I say (in my best Bill Clinton voice): "I feel your pain". But I can't feel too bad for the guy. He is in California after all, the Promised Land overflowing with silk and honeys and all that... Also, at the same time, I look back on those days with a certain sense of grande nostalgia because it was a time of adventure, a time of freedom and of boldness and one that I'm glad I went through. My only regret is that it caused me to move away from my family and friends.

What's interesting is that the only other time I have experienced that level of fear and excitement is the day my sons were born and that took things to an entirely different level because in that situation, the commitment is eternal and there is no turning back.

§35 · February 7, 2005 · Life · · [Print]

Leave a Comment to “Waxium Nostalgica”

  1. Rob says:

    The land of silk and honeys. I think there are a lot of people who would get that same sort of mixed love and fear feeling. Maybe that’s just me. Congrats to your cousin on the position and, moreover, on having the stone cold cojones to actually follow through.

  2. Jeff says:

    Yeah, you give him kudos for his cojones, but what about my cojones? Huh? WHAT. ABOUT. MY. COJONES?

  3. Rob says:

    You moved to Chicago, it just doesn’t rate like San Jose.

  4. Jeff says:

    Yeah like it takes balls to move to Cali. It takes balls NOT to move to Cali!

  5. Mauriat says:

    You guys need to change your WP skins or whatever. I’m having difficulty figuring out who is who.