01 June 2006

Today, the self-pity must end

Umm... What to say? A few moments here for self-centered cathartic self-pity. Normal business will resume shortly.

It's been a few months since I felt inspired enough to write or cook anything. It's no big surprise that the last few months have been tough for me. While having P in LA makes my life better, it's been a pretty poor excuse for a life at all. (I know here that our lives are nowhere near as difficult as quite a lot of folk, but I mean relative to the life we had in Edinburgh.) Work, though stimulating at times, has become a drag. The excitement and challenge of working in a new lab was quickly replaced by the drudgery all things wrong with modern working life. The rose-tinted glasses came off long ago, but I had not personally worked in "difficult" work environments before.

[Mid-August, 2006. Self-censorship here. I've just realised that I've made one or two fatal errors and may not be able to keep colleagues past and present from coming across this blog. It's the considered opinion of some that blogs are the lowest form of expression on earth. So I may be safe. But I may have made things far too obvious in this paragraph to those in the know. And breached common decency. The things I said should probably have been reworded and said to face(s) of folk who make my life miserable. But something tells me that would make it difficult for me to continue working in my lab. Either way. I must break all unwritten blogging rules and remove my words.]

Even without the work-related miseries, life here hasn't been all that fun. We've been to the beach a grand total of 5 times since P arrived (OK, it's winter. Even so!). And every attempt to explore LA at the weekends has been thwarted by traffic, work, the buses, work, protests, inertia, work... If it's not P that has to work on weekends, it's me.

In short, we're not as happy here as we were in Edinburgh. Sure, Edinburgh had it's problems too, namely the weather. But there, we could get away. Work, while hard, was made bearable by our peers and colleagues. There we also had friends. Here in LA, without the social life of our respective labs and our kind neighbours, we'd be lost. In Edinburgh, there was the build-up of acquired friends from having a past in the city. Here, as newcomers, without some hobby or way to socialize, it's lonely. And while we have dinner with the neighbours and their friends, we still feel a little out of it as obscure scientists. Fellow scientists outside of the lab are hard to meet with the crazy work schedules everyone sets out for themselves.

The end result is a couple of very unhappy postdocs in LA. Even with the constant sunshine, I've had SAD all winter long. Even though I love my science and working in an environment where I have plenty of friendly and helpful collaborators, I've started job hunting again. Even though we've got a mini-garden growing on out north-facing patio, we're looking for new apartments in a quieter neighbourhood. All because I stupidly accepted a job without first vetting the lab and its location. (Not that it would have solved my current problems.)

But summer's here. My strawberry plants are bearing fruit again. Our families have been and will be visiting. We've seen the Grand Canyon and the touristy northern part of Arizona. And we have good wine on the rack.

Things are looking up. Expect more blogging.

1 comment:

Santos said...

oh no! i'm sorry for your woes; los angeles can be a tough town. but you know that, and it sounds like things will right themselves eventually.