Posts Tagged “Seattle”
Posted by: Lydia in Academia, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Choosing our new home, England, Family, Moldova, Public Health, Seattle, USA, Ukraine, USA, tags: accomplishments, future, past, pride, Seattle
We welcomed in 2008 on a flight back to Seattle, unaware that it would be our last year in the USA. We both worked very hard during out post-docs in medical science, and we both made novel discoveries and uncovered some of the mysteries of the development and function of white blood cells. Adrian had his work published in some excellent journals, and I learned that the paper from my post-doc “may be suitable for publication, pending revisions” in a great journal. Adrian has been offered a professorship, and I am investigating some interesting jobs in clinical trials. We experienced the freezing winters of the North that will never make me consider Canberra to be a cold city ever again.
I attended MacWorld and witnessed Steve Jobs give his last keynote and unveil the Macbook Air to the world. We explored more of the USA in dribs and drabs – Arizona, Nevada, California, and Hawaii – as well as exploring the Ukraine and Moldova.
The biggest issue that we faced in 2008 was the decision about where we would live in 2009. At first, it was between Maynooth (Ireland), London (UK), Montreal (Canada), and Brussels (Belgium). We visited all four places, and it came down to a battle between the two bilingual cities, Montreal and Brussels, and then Brussels won due to employment and travel opportunities. We celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary in the country that was to become our new home, and Adrian will starting his own lab at the University of Leuven from February 2009.
We finished up our post-docs in Seattle in November, made huge progress towards completing our Masters of Public Health degrees, and finished up the year visiting extended family in Australia that ranged from Brisbane to Adelaide. After nearly two years outside of Australia, we are able to see our birth country with new eyes, and appreciate its charms as well as its challenges. It is a country of relative compassion and opportunity, but is also isolated and monolingual. The weather is nearly always warm with blue skies and extraordinary wild-life, but the water crisis is hitting hard and many of the main rivers no longer reach the sea.
In a few weeks we fly off to Brussels, to begin our new home in Belgium. My goals for 2009 are:
- To find a short-term furnished apartment
- To get a residency permit
- To find a job
- To start learning Flemish
- To get a work permit
- To start my job
- To start learning French
- To buy a house
I think that’s enough to keep me busy for twelve months or so. It is a bit overwhelming to be faced with so many changes, but I realise how lucky that we are to have this opportunity, so the main emotion I feel is excitement. We had a great time in North America over the past two years, and while I think we are better suited to Europe, I am very thankful for all the happy memories that we have of the United States of America.
To celebrate the end of my career as an immunologist, I elected to have all four wisdom teeth wrenched from my jaw under local aesthetic the following day. At first, Adrian was in the waiting room while I had my x-rays and Novocain injections. These didn’t go so well, as I was very nervous and my gag reflex was at full strength. So they called Adrian in, and he held both of my hands through the rest of the procedure. The dentist said that I was so calm after Adrian came in that the actual extraction procedure took only 15 minutes rather than 60. I was so numb during this time, and I knew that I had Adrian by my side, that it really wasn’t that bad. The dentist was so proud of his procedure that he kept on making poor Adrian look inside my mouth to admire how small the incisions were.
The bad part came a couple of hours later after the Novocain wore off. I was in a lot of pain and very irritable. Even two days later I am still counting down the 4-6 hours between Vicodin tablets. Sometimes I make it to six hours, usually only to four hours, but the pain and the swelling are quite severe. All I can eat is pudding and Jell-O. I am glad that I had two and a half days to sleep and rest, but I cannot wait until I am all healed. I am also thankful that it is generally a once-in-a-lifetime procedure.
Still, San Francisco and Hawaii soon, and then off to sunny Australia.
1 Comment »
Wednesday, November 5 was my last day as a senior post-doctoral fellow at the University of Washington. We went out to Lydia’s Last Lunch at Serafina with current and past lab members. I had some delcious trout, and they gave me a lovely card:
“thank-you for all your help and for answering all my questions… thank you for teaching me awesome Australian words: arvo! I will miss you! You’ve always had a smile and a kind word to share. You know how to distract me when I’m nervous (i.e. you let me rattle on about my cats)… we’ll miss you.. We are sad to see you go!… I have enjoyed and learned a lot from our many conversations… Thanks for all your support to me, especially when things have not been going the best. Your positive attitude and kindness have been very helpful so many times.”
I may never again walk through the university library, watch the squirrels hide and recover acorns, see the mountain behind the fountain, celebrate a birthday with cake, or a paper with sparkling apple juice. We have made so many wonderful friends here in Seattle. Now I am leaving my career at the bench behind, and looking forward to a rewarding future in clinical trials.
What an extraordinary night. We headed down to the Northwest Film Forum on Capital Hill to watch the election results come in on the big screen. It was full of people drinking beer and wearing Obama t-shirts. Once Ohio was called as blue, we cheered, because we knew that was what was needed for the Democrats to win. The lobby was dominated with a giant map of the USA, and every time a state was called, it was lit up in red or blue lights. We watched as the blue steadily grew from east to west. As soon as the polls closed in California, CNN stated that, with a projection of over 270 electoral votes, Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States! The audience went wild, the music came on, and the dancing began.
We watched McCain give his concession speech, and then Obama stepped up to address hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Chicago. And he said:
For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime — two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.
The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there.
I promise you, we as a people will get there.
I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it’s been done in America for 221 years — block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.
And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.
And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.
America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves — if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?
This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.
This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.
We walked from Capital Hill towards downtown. The streets were full of people cheering and laughing, and the cars were honking exuberantly. Obama signs and badges and t-shirts were everywhere, and the mood was so positive and optimistic. A large spontaneous crown had gathered outside Pike Place Markets. Adrian hoisted me onto his shoulders. We raised our hands into the air, and shouted:
Yes we can!
Photos from barackobama.com and elijuicyjones.