One year? It feels longer in both good ways and bad ways. But, before I even get into my reflection of the last year, I have to thank the editor of this blog, my wife. Without you, I wouldn’t have made it here, so thank you.
In truth, the bad was not really that bad. It was more of the unknown and our ignorance of what it would be like moving here. I remember when we first started talking about it seriously and in my mind I imagined an extended vacation or the study abroad experience. But that couldn’t have been further from the truth. We had to setup a real life here, and it 100% would have been easier to setup that life in the States. But easy doesn’t inspire growth and that’s what happened over the last year for both of us personally and professionally.
There have been many challenges in my new job here, but 3 stand out more than others because I wouldn’t have experienced anything similar in my previous role in Richmond, Va.
- Launching worldwide projects. I’ve launched large scale projects before but never outside the US. The first large project I worked on here was launched in China, Russia and Indonesia. Indonesia and Russia were fine, but launching in China takes a bit more planning, because of the great firewall they have.
- Building a team. I’ve never been solely responsible for putting together a team before. I was fortunate enough to know what I was looking for and found great people who’ve done amazing work.
- Starting a second team in a remote location, in this case Bangalore, India. I went down in January, interviewed several qualified candidates, and settled on hiring two people who start in early April. It will be interesting working with them day-to-day with not only time and geography differences, but large cultural differences as well.
Even though work is what made it possible for us to come over here, the choice was more personal. Before this move, I’ve never lived outside of Virginia and even though I had traveled a little bit, I certainly hadn’t seen the world. I was comfortable and happy in my life, but Anne Taite and I had just gotten married, so I knew I was entering a new phase of my life. All of these things added up to a decision that was never a choice for us. Yes, the first few months were tough, but it taught us to depend on each other more than ever. We learned to explore together and try new things. We learned to take adventures together, and it’s been amazing.
In the last 12 months, I’ve traveled more that I ever have before. I’ve been as west as San Francisco and as East as Bangalore India. As north as Stockholm, and as south as, well India again. I’ve woken up on a Saturday, walked 10 minutes and eaten food from around the world (plus a whoopie pie). I took a day trip to a Roman Bath and a circle of stones that have been around for centuries. I drank wine and ate cheeries on a balcony in Paris. I took a 45 minute flight to meet friends in Amsterdam. Of course I’ve paid taxes for having a tv, and had a wire transfer stuck in the air for almost 3 weeks, so nothing is perfect.
Overall, year 1 in London has been more than I’d hoped it be, but nothing like I expected. There are two things I’ve learned from being abroad for a year: 1. Great opportunities come with challenges. If you meet these challenges head on, happiness will find you. And these challenges are considerably less daunting if you have a partner who shares in the responsibility of your happiness and dreams. 2. I can totally chase down a purse snatcher on foot while wearing boots.