-The Soapbox-

This page first posted 6 December 1998.

When in Rome

I recall, some years ago, commenting---to Donna I think---that when I found myself putting salsa on my scrambled eggs and smoked salmon I knew I was cut out to be American. Dave S gave me a Matchbox Merc for some occasion, saying that the price of cars in CA was "disgusting", and that I'd like the place. Dave, you were right on both counts. As a student, we thought HP was where engineers went if they died and got to go to heaven.

Life is peverse. I'm here now, and I get to work so early (by my standards) that I can't (often) face anything more than OJ and toast for breakfast. Our impending mortgage, of a size so previously beyond contemplation, will mean that I'll be driving beat-up cars instead of Porsches and Mercedes for the forseeable future. HP, much of American business, is in a financial low. Any moment now I'll be equipped with wife, house, family, the whole catastrophe. Bugger it!

Truth be known, I'm enjoying it. Can't comment yet on having a wife in labour or a baby in the house (neither appeals from this angle), but work is interesting and we are well supported even in this time of cost-concious planning, colleagues are both good company and able at their professions, Kay and I are learning where to buy all the good foodstuffs and clothes and toys, we are starting to meet and socialise with really nice people, it looks like we will have many of the `old' people we love as guests here, and Tony and I are planning `projects' to keep us amused in the long Winter evenings, from car work to solar-powered robot insects, as engineers should.

The good and the bad catalogued above, I am moved to ponder just what motivates and satisfies me, or you. Am I not as likely to be as happy doing what people do here, as in Sydney? I believe I am curiosity-driven, so happiness should come from finding, opening and understanding the clockwork of every new thing. (Led Zeppelin is playing Kashmir courtesy of MMM via internet in the background, appropriately serious.) What we really risked in coming here is not lifestyle, but things that have taken decades to build up: The pleasure of relationships with people it took time to find. With the help of the internet, we'll try to preserve that. Distance does not weaken our connection with Warwick, so we know it can be done. In the mean time, we revise the old adage: When in Rome, Illinois, do as the Americans do.

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