As My Fake Tales of San Francisco Echo Through the Room

(Note this post was composed over a day ago, but only just uploaded now…)

Our 17 days in San Francisco ended yesterday (21-Jan) as we boarded Air New Zealand for a 13 hour flight leading us closer to our new home.  The last two and a half weeks have been nothing like I imagined – largely because they have been filled with a feeling of limbo, of nowhere, of a two and half week layover before our final destination.  The unbalanced mixture of a new job, living out of suitcases, and cold weather in a bad neighborhood kept both Lisa and I a little off balance.  After spending 15 of the last 16 years in Austin, this delay at the weigh station by the bay was a mixed bag.

A 2.5 week layover

The original reason for living in San Francisco before moving to Sydney was the unknown of the Australian 457 visa process.  It’s possible that our visas might not have been finalized until February, and Atlassian wanted me to start as soon as possible, which I did as well.  Since San Francisco is the sales and marketing office for Sydney, whatever time we had to spend in San Francisco would be a great chance to get to know my colleagues in the U.S. and to understand more of the market facing side of the business.

The City By the Bay (in the Apartment by the Crack Park)

After a two week drive from Austin to Virginia with four other stops along the way, and then returning to Austin for New Year’s Eve with our closest friends, we arrived in San Francisco worn out, and with Lisa quite a bit under the weather.  Maybe she threw one too many snowballs at her brother?  Regardless, San Francisco welcomed us with cold, damp weather.  Thanks again to Atlassian’s generosity we were staying in one of two corporate apartments.  Both are within half a block of what is essentially a drug bazaar.  So while I took Bus 22 off to a new, challenging role in an exciting company, Lisa was left behind, sick and surrounded by elements much worse than nature.   Bus 22 did refresh my Spanish comprehension skills: on my first bus ride, I listened to an impassioned argument between two gentlemen about who liked to smoke pot more.  I believe the winner edged out his opponent by actually having a police record due to his love affair with the new scent that now defines San Francisco (the whole city smells a bit like weed now).  The weekend trip North to Dad’s side of the family in Downieville provided the mental and environmental escape that we both needed.  But the 8 hour round trip on highway 80 didn’t exactly recharge our batteries.

Our second week things improved greatly – not only had my usual first-week-on-the-job neurosis settled, but Lisa was feeling much better, ventured out to see the previously unexplored San Francisco, and we had the chance to see several different friends in the Bay Area over the course of the week.  There’s no question that while I have both extreme extroverted and introverted tendencies which can never share but only trade dominance, I get a much psychic boost from seeing the people I care out.  Though in the last year my biggest challenge has been following the advice of the 60s, “Be Here Now”.  My mind could not leave the prospect and project of our move to Sydney.  Which in the end is a good thing.

Happy New Gig

The time at Atlassian was simply great – I felt incredibly welcomed, and the quality of the people, both in terms of talent and heart, is amazing.  The developer-centric culture, even in marketing, is an amazing feat.  For people who know me, the fact that my wardrobe qualifies as shockingly overdressed should tease out a smile or two.  I’m incredibly excited about meeting the rest of the company in Sydney.

In the end, I’m excited that I’ll be returning to San Francisco 4-6 times this year as a part of my job.  While culturally I am a fish out of water in the Bay Area, there are enough people that I care about there that it means a great deal to me.  I am not a hipster.  I don’t care enough about nice restaurants.  I am just not that cool. I don’t have the ethical or moral fiber – or perhaps interest – to care about the causes that drive the city (I have my causes, they are just different ones).   But my new colleagues are awesome, and my friends are still the most important things in the world to me (after my wife, my health, my family, and my collection of collar stays).

The brilliant side of our 2.5 weeks is that we are incredibly excited about arriving in Sydney.  I’m staring out at the tarmac in Auckland, New Zealand.  In just a few hours we’ll take our first steps on Aussie soil.  One small step for Bryan, one giant step for Rollins-kind.

The title of this post is adapted from a line from an Arctic Monkeys song.