Print Story My time in a former communist country
By yankeehack (Sat Nov 03, 2018 at 11:19:50 AM EST) (all tags)
This will be a quick one, but I need some help from Bay Area infidels.

First things first, my search for a place in the Mid-penninsula Bay area is going slow (Palo Alto/Menlo Park). In fact, all of my coworkers who had a personal move this year moved to the South Bay or Santa Cruz. I had been hearing hints over the past few months that they might be moving the office to the South Bay and this week my manager confirmed it.

"Hey I know your search is going slow, and we just started talking about closing this office and moving south and making everyone technically "remote." We'd like to move you out here (if still interested) but I don't want to move you only to be mostly remote again."

Me: "No I want to move."

So here's my question to the Bay area people...Since I am going to be mostly remote anyway, should I rent a house in like Sunnyvale (which is in my price range) or look at being up penninsula like San Mateo but near Caltrain and closer to SF and a social life?


My work trip to a former European communist country went very, very well. It is a beautiful country, lovely sights, most people were nice enough (and could speak English - I honestly thought a few people I ran into lived in the US at some point) and seemed to be ok with USians around. Unemployment is still high and several of the young people spoke of leaving for better opportunities.

The women in the city were very tall and beautiful. The men were tall and...not my type at all.

As for the food, I think I'm done with parma ham and cheese for a very long while. I had some of the local beers and they were okay. Also, I'm not a monkfish type of gal.

I did not worry about crime at all and groups of my coworkers and I roamed the city the nights we were there. As one local put it, "We really don't care here." There was so much public smoking. Now I get the European complaints about how USian bathrooms are not private enough and not clean. I was very impressed with the fact that every bathroom I went in was super clean and had a toilet brush.

The only not clean parts of the trip were the chain hotel we stayed in the last night (my room was disgusting, but it wasn't worth complaining as we needed a cheap but somewhat accessible place). Then there was this crazypants off-highway rest stop with a sad "petting zoo" featuring a few rescued animals. Apparently the backstory about the restaurants and the animals is something else.


As a kid of the 90's it was kind of odd to be driving out of the city, only to look back and realize I saw the same view on TV back in the 90s when the war was going on.


I had some travel-misadventures going back and forth to Europe. (Travel hack: Wear a blazer while traveling, everyone treats you better.) I wish I could fly Lufthansa everywhere in the world, even if that one German flight attendant was very insistent I have pasta for dinner and then coffee.

I did the "leave your phone in your pocket at security" jig at my departure airport. I may have taught the security guy the phrase, "I'm so sorry I'm such a dipshit." Even better was the fact I was traveling with a small group of coworkers who got to watch me do this.

However, I'm not so eager to ever run into one security guy at terminal Z in Frankfurt. My puddle jumper to Frankfurt was delayed and I was very, very late to my gate for my connection (we deplaned on the tarmac, then the passengers had to get bused to terminal A, then I had to run to terminal Z, go thru security, etc.) Let's just say the security guy and I could not understand each other. Him: "Take out all of your wires from your handbag!" Me: "What? My handbag is on the tray!" I was the last person to board the 777 back to the US and I totally did the "Yep I just ran through the airport" dance as I walked back to the economy section. I was security screened 3x on my way back to the States.


After this trip, I do want to return to Europe very soon. If not for work, then maybe this next summer. Some of my coworkers stayed an extra day or two, but I didn't even think of it when planning.


On the trip, I found out that a few more of my older coworkers who are devs or dev ops were on K5 back in the day. I could only find one of their nicks on trolltrack but they aren't here.


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My time in a former communist country | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden)
Unpossible by Merekat (4.00 / 1) #1 Sun Nov 04, 2018 at 08:59:49 AM EST
There’s no such thing as too much air dried ham and cheese, esp. if island sheep cheese.

Non-aligned, not communist. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #2 Sun Nov 04, 2018 at 11:50:00 AM EST
Yep, the west Balkans are really beautiful. And incredibly meaty.

I’d have said by Merekat (2.00 / 0) #4 Sun Nov 04, 2018 at 01:41:36 PM EST
Communist but not soviet.

[ Parent ]
Former communist countries by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #3 Sun Nov 04, 2018 at 12:17:29 PM EST
I work with a lot of people from Ukraine and Russia, and most of them seem to have little desire at all to go back.   My boss (from Ukraine) is very blunt about it.  No interest in even visiting.

As far as the Bay Area goes...all I can say is that for anything on the peninsula, you'll underestimate the cost.  Also bear in mind the Caltrain schedule.  "San Francisco nightlife" is going to mean either driving or an expensive Uber/Lyft trip.

East Bay is lots cheaper, and I think the current "cheapish" place everyone is going is the Hayward/Fremont area.  I know people who commute to the city from that area by BART, but that doesn't help with "nightlift" unless you want to experience BART at 11 pm, which I don't recommend.  Driving to the city is...well, you've got two differentness above water parking lots between you and SF, but it's maybe not so bad after 7 pm.   I believe commuting from Fremont to San Jose is not so bad.

In general, SF Social Life seems to be "just a buncha damn kids drinking hispster cocktails while staring at their iPhones".  YMMV.

[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

Former communist countries by ks1178 (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Nov 05, 2018 at 08:19:04 PM EST
I've lived in Poland now for almost 10 years. I can't speak for the others (and only my anecdotal experience of people in Poland)

From what I've seen/heard it depends a lot on how well people are doing now vs. before.

I would say in general most would not like to go back, and I don't think any would like to go back to exactly the way it was. But there are a decent number of people that have rose tinted glass memories of how it was. And particularly for people that are no better off, or in some cases worst off, they would like to see some things go back the way it was. While things were pretty much not great for any except a select few, for all the others it was about the same level of good/bad. Now there's a lot more diversification of people that are well off vs. those that are not.

IT people in general are very much in the have and well off now, so not necessarily a good representative of the general people (and quite possibly why they would not want to go back to even visit or live today).

[ Parent ]
I believe in blazers, especially going to Europe by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #5 Mon Nov 05, 2018 at 06:30:56 PM EST
and I wear shoes, not sneakers. I think it helps me blend in, and look a little more aware than most Americans.

Right now I'm in Canadia, blending in by saying "aboot" and "eh".

do not live in santa cruz by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #7 Sun Nov 11, 2018 at 04:39:59 AM EST
if you are expecting to work on the peninsula. that commute is long in the best of times, and in the rainy season it gets (a) hairy and dangerous and (b) unreliable due to accident-caused road closures.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
San Mateo vs Sunnyvale by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue Nov 13, 2018 at 11:46:44 PM EST
makes little difference in terms of making it up to the city on schoolnights. When I first moved out there I was in Menlo Park, and even there schoolnights were a pain, but still doable. If you're ok with leaving at 7pm and getting there at 8, it won't be too awful. Earlier than that starts to get way worse with traffic, and while Caltrain is nice, the 10pm slow boat back to the south bay gets old fast. In other words, saving 15 minutes on a drive to the city is probably not worth $1k a month. My feeling is that if you want a SF social life, you have to suck it up and live there.

"Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, there are no libertarians in financial crises." -Krugman

My time in a former communist country | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden)