Filling the days in NJC

Aug 10 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

When I graduated from college--after, of course, I traipsed around Europe for a few weeks on the money I'd scraped together from tending bar junior and senior year--I moved to California by myself. I literally stepped off the plane with a backpack, a duffle, and my goldfish, Mack the Knife, whom I'd insisted on bringing and who survived the journey but died several days later, I imagine due to mineral content differences between east and west coast tap water.

What do you do when you're alone in a new city, with no job, no friends, nothing to ground you or give you a routine? The days kind of float around without meaning, and while I waited for my application at Starbucks to be processed, I rode my bike (a Huffy! LOL/sob) all over, sometimes went to the movies or bars by myself, and handed out my phone number to pretty much everyone I met.

Even though I've now relocated twice since then--once to grad school town and once to NYC for my post-doc--the move to NJC has me thinking more about those early days in the Bay Area than it does the more recent transitions, and I'm not sure why (though the memories are certainly entertaining). Because I DO have friends in NJC, quite a few, it turns out! Amazing what happens when you announce on the facebook that you're moving to NJC--suddenly, people you haven't spoken to since high school are all, "I live in NJC, too! Let's hang out!"

But of course, easier said than done, amirite? We're not 22 anymore; people have lives. Many people have children. So it's not like my social calendar is booked solid, you know? So, what have I been doing, now that the apartment is pretty much set, J is back in New York, and when I don't officially start work until the end of the month?

1. Visiting NJU. I've been a couple of times now for various meetings, and it's been great. Both the chair of the department and the head of my subdivision have been incredibly helpful and nice, and seem genuinely interested in doing whatever they can to make my transition go smoothly. Sub-head even helped me start my cultch pile--yesterday we looted the lab of someone who just left, and he gave me space in his own lab to store it while mine is still under construction. Speaking of.... here's a sneak peek!!

It's obviously just a gutted space right now, but the light is amazing, and I cannot get over the exposed brick. It's going to be the industrial loft I wish I were living in!

2.  Making a scene in Home Depot. J was here this weekend, and we took a Zipcar to Home Depot in anticipation of a little DIY home improvement. Waiting to check out, I remembered one last  thing we needed, and I hopped out of line to run and grab it. Picture of grace that I am, I tripped on the corner of a magazine rack, stubbing my pinky toe, and immediately uttered a string of colorful expletives before composing myself and going to get the thing. A few minutes later, I looked down and noticed that there was an impressive-looking pool of blood accumulating in my flip-flop. "OH MY GOD I'M BLEEEEDING!!" I shrieked, and seriously? It wouldn't stop! I had no idea a pinky toe could have so much blood in it. So much blood that was now not in my pinky toe, but on the floor of Home Depot. The cashier gave me a paper towel, but it was no match. A nice man who'd been waiting in a nearby line and apparently heard the ruckus came over and handed me a band-aid. Well played, sir! Anyway, I'm OK now, if you were worried.

3. Getting to know TiVo. My cable company apparently has a partnership with TiVo, which, for the uninitiated, is supposed to be like, Your Friend the DVR. Not only does it make all these "cute" beep-boop-boop sounds when you click around, but it records stuff that you didn't ask it to, because it thinks you will like it. Now, I don't know what I did to taint TiVo's impression of me, but so far it's recorded nothing but the trashiest of trashy reality TV: Pawn Stars, COPS (!!), Top Shot (I had to google this, apparently it is a show about guns!), Bridezillas, Judge Judy, and the show about the exterminator. WTF, TiVo?? We have a long way to go in this relationship.

4. Cultivating a chocolate addiction. On a total impulse buy in Trader Joe's, I bought this, 70% cacao chocolate bar with caramel and black sea salt and it is ROCKING MY WORLD.

The chocolate is bitter, the caramel sweet and buttery, and the salt is...salty, and....ahhhhhh. It is the best. And at $1.99, I am in deep, deep trouble.

5. Paperwork. For hiring a tech, getting protocols approved, etc. But that is boring to talk about.

12 responses so far

  • anon says:

    Exposed brick in the lab is nice - but whatsgoinon with the window unit AC? Is there not central AC? I've worked in a couple of labs with the AC-in-the-window AC and it wasn't pretty trying to redefine "room temperature".

    Otherwise, moving to a new place is always challenging. Give yourself time - everything doesn't need to progress all at once, including a social life, but it will progress with time.

  • The window unit was just there to keep the workers cool.

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You've never been in an old building with feebly renovated physical plant, have you?

    The chocolate is bitter, the caramel sweet and buttery, and the salt is...salty, and....ahhhhhh.

  • Dr Becca says:

    Oh. Mah. Gawd. That place is a block away from one of my favorite bars--formulating an itinerary for my next NYC visit...

  • Caroline says:

    I love your lab space. It looks HUGE!! The chocolate looks really good, and I haven't heard of Cops in years! I had no idea that they still have that show around! LOL

    Good luck in NJC! It sounds like you are off to a good start!

    • Dr Becca says:

      Thanks, Caroline! I wouldn't say the lab is huge, but maybe medium-size. That's the longest wall, and then the rest of the space is a little funky-shaped. I think, too, that once the benches and cabinetry are put in, it will feel smaller. But it will still be gorgeous!

  • Dr. Cynicism says:

    "What do you do when you're alone in a new city, with no job, no friends, nothing to ground you or give you a routine?"
    1) Find the best dive bar.
    2) Find a bar with superb happy hour specials.
    3) Find a nice outdoorsy spot to find some peace, and to do future work outside.
    4) Realize you'll probably never have this kind of free time again 🙂

    • Dr Becca says:

      Surprisingly, I haven't found many dive bars in my neighborhood, despite the average age here being about 25. There are a couple of nice regular bars, though, that will tide me over for now.

      And re: #4, yes. Trying to revel in it.

  • Dr. Koshary says:

    WTF? You don't have articles to work on? 😉

    One bit of advice I will give you is to investigate the local restaurant scene *sparingly*. I've been glutting on restaurant meals in Ghosttown, and my credit card bill reflects that. As long as you're not having major home renovation done, don't let the desire to wander aimlessly lead you down my little path to Satan. Holing up at home with a $2 bar of fancy chocolate is far more cost-effective.

  • CE says:

    That chocolate! I love that chocolate, and I actually don't like dark chocolate, so I've concluded that it must be the salt. Particularly because the first time I had it, I was all like, "I don't taste any salt!" and husband was like "It is riddled with salt!" So, apparently what I've been needing is salt in my dark chocolate.

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