I’ve planned a post or two about or life being here at the end ow the world. I’ve been postponing that for some time, but this rainy Sunday morning seems to be ideal for that we won’t go on trip today.
The First two Weeks
The hardest part being here was the first two-three weeks. I should have done it in the following order.
- Scoop good bunch of money, both in your home currency and in USD as well. EPAM helps in several ways in your relocations, but lot of charges are reimbursable only and that will take a while.
I’ve made a mistake to concentrate too much on my USD funds and there were several occasions where I could not pay with my USD based debit card and I had to use my credit card.
- Bring/buy a dual SIM phone or an additional phone with you and buy a prepaid SIM card. The carrier is almost non-important. All the big carriers has no-contract offers. If you have time before you leave to discover, check the carrier coverage around your target region. If it is possible arrange your phone the same day after arrival, if you are with your family you need at least two SIM-s.
I’ve waited one and a half week with that. A lot thing would have went a lot smoother if I had an US phone number. Most US forms, registration requires a phone number and no one in the US is prepared to handle international phone numbers. Also having mobile data available abroad is really handy.
- Do not underestimate the jet-lag. I’ve been in the US in a few times. East coast recently. It was 5-6 hours away depending on the daylight saving time. That is manageable. The tiredness kicks in around 8-9 PM when you are supposed to be in a hotel. West coast is 9 hours away form Hungary, which means 5-6 PM, the transit time. If it is possible do not drive after 4 PM.
Our kids just laid down and instantly fell asleep around 5 PM for a few says after our arrival. It was a kind of torture for me to drive home from work on the first day around 6.
- Open a bank account. All you need is your I-94, an US address and a phone number. You might instantly get a temporary debit card
- Apply for an SSN. In order to be able to order services (Electricity, Water, Gas, Internet, etc.) on your name you need 3 things. An US address a phone number and usually an SSN.
The Next two Weeks
- Find school for your kids and then rent home nearby.
We were lucky to be able to arrange that from home.
- If you are in Portland, it is a good idea to commute by bike.
- When you have the SSN, you can move your phone account to a post paid plan, which usually offers some advantage.
- Buy a car. It’s not that easy, finding a decent car ad a good dealer. Most of the dealers like real ticks Especially if you want to buy something budget around $10.000. If you have $15.000 it is much easier to buy a good car.
Living in Portland, Oregon
The first thing we’ve experienced was a clear sunny weather in the middle of February. It only lasted for two days. Then a whole week of rain. Then two more months of rain again. Well we were lucky that it at least stopped raining for a few weekends, but it still rains. When it rains it can rain in many different unusual way. The pattern changed about two weeks ago. We’ve just seen some sunny periods which lasted more than two days.
I’m not a foody. I don’t really like to try out new tastes, so the first months were not easy for me. I stick to a handful of dishes. My wife tries to create something resembling like home, but it is hard to find the suitable ingredients. My deepest pain are the sausage and salami offering. Food is not cheap here especially if you do not want to eat garbage. Still you can find things to eat, but stay away from pastries in small shops.
Portland is famous for have the largest number of breweries in town. So there is an ample of choice having a beer. I have developed my taste of beer in Belgium so I’m not fond of IPA-s and you cannot replace quality and tradition by quantity and experiments. I’ve turned to cider now.
People are nice here. Speak and talk with strangers more often. They say a few words on the color of the carpet, the pattern of a shirt in the shop, appreciate my wife efforts to collect the order for the family in a restaurant. Or just like your choice of car, because they have the same type. Short few sentence positive conversations.
It is no secret now that I’m working on the backend infrastructure of adidas All Day app. We are in closed beta phase. The team is fantastic. I’m really happy that I can work with them. Back at home, I used to say “I was responsible for negative energies”. Well with 15 year experience in the industry I could judge fairly well the effects and the effectiveness of a delivery model/process. Quite often we had to work along with the poor choices someone made years ago without the real ability to change. People here are more open to discussion and change and when I get critics, I get constructive ones. (However I’ve heard it is the part of the US culture, but I have first hand experience now.)