Buenos Aires, by Noelia Diaco. Photo is not visible, used only for sharing on social networks.

Back in the USA (and Ben's new job)

August 22, 2012
We're back in the U.S.!

We stopped for a few days in south Florida to visit my grandfather and cousins. Florida in the summer is HOT! Everyone goes from air-conditioned car to home to office to restaurant, so just when the kids are out of school, no one is actually outdoors. Our first impressions getting from the Miami airport to Delray Beach via the TriRail train (other than the poor signage) was that people there are really rude. No one smiled, people whose jobs entailed some kind of help offered it only grudgingly or mockingly, and when they were bothered people tended to go off on tirades at the world. (One fat guy with his Hawaiian shirt open [apparently that's sexy in S.Florida] got wrong directions from someone and went on a rant about it for fifteen minutes.)

Once we got to the Delray-Boca area, however, some of the people got friendlier. I tried to teach my cousins (ages 10 and 13) how to ride a bicycle, with mixed success (the younger one lost interest very quickly and the older one doesn't have a bike). We went to a nature preserve and a park for remote-control cars, boats, helicopters, and airplanes; it was a weekday so it was mostly empty, but we did see a model WW2 fighter plane make a few laps around the airfield. We went to a farmer's market called The Boys, with aisle after aisle of beautiful fresh produce. (In Argentina we had a verduleria next door, but the sheer variety in this country is mind-blowing. Mangoes, romaine lettuce, goat cheese, green beans, half-pound avocados, all cheap, delicious and under the same roof!)

And we ate Mexican food. Before the main courses were served, we had gone through 2 bowls of tortilla chips and salsa. Oh, how we missed good Mexican food in Argentina.

Now we're back in the Boston area, staying with Steph's family. The next big move is to San Francisco. We have a bunch of logistics to figure out for the move, which will probably be around September 5th. We're not sure yet if we want to drive our stuff west or pay a shipping company to do it.   (We've had our stuff from here in a storage unit all year.) We're also considering buying a car (I've been thinking about a Jeep Wrangler, but it's unfortunately not very practical for moving cross-country or the city), or maybe a motorcycle, but it probably makes more sense to wait til we're in CA to do that.

Also big news for me, I'll be starting a new job soon in San Francisco! Some background first: I've been freelancing since 2010 (under the company name New Leaf Digital), and had a very good run with that for a while. I worked on interesting projects, had the flexibility to set my own schedule, learn new technologies, go sailing in the middle of the day, and of course live in Argentina for a year (!), all while earning a pretty good living. But the technology I was specializing in for the first few years (Drupal) has gotten old and bloated and uninteresting, so I shifted my focus to a more promising up-and-coming technology (Node.js) last year. But the nature of that framework and its relative newness make freelancing with it not a viable option. I've also been a partner in a startup, Antiques Near Me, for the last few years, but that never gained traction and I finally decided to stop pouring time down a sinkhole.

So a few months ago, after much deliberation, I decided to put my freelance/entrepreneur hat aside and go back to a regular job, working with Node.js, with a great team in a promising company that made a genuinely useful product. I applied for a bunch of jobs in San Francisco that fit those criteria, and was invited to phone and video interviews (while still in Argentina). That process culminated in the new job I'll be starting on September 24th, as a software developer for DocuSign. They facilitate digital signing of documents: Instead of emailing a PDF, printing, signing, scanning, and emailing back (a very 20th-century workflow), you use DocuSign's products to handle everything digitally. It's the kind of product everyone will be using in a few more years (when old habits finally die), they're the market leader, the team is great, they're working with a great technology, in downtown San Francisco, and I'm really excited!

- Ben

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