And so it begins….

As I write this I’m on a flight to New York for a week of orientation to my Harkness Fellowship Orientation at the Commonwealth Fund. Four days of introductions to the other Fellows, the US healthcare system, a number of leading experts, along with a bit of admin, history and socialising. It’s going to be an amazing week.

The vibe is quite different here. Admittedly I was commuting at rush-hour, but the number of angry “hey, I’m walking here” (or similar), and loud shouted cellphone conversations (mostly about money or relationships) is a stark contrast to the more laid back lifestyle of ‘the valley’.

New experiences

The week just gone saw my first day spent with the Social Intervention Research and Evaluation Network (SIREN) at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Another fantastic and passionate group of people committed to improving health and healthcare for the most disadvantaged. Some exciting project opportunities and synergies with the work at CERC.

On the family front

The Fall Family Picnic at Oak Knoll Elementary School

This week has included the Fall Family Picnic at school and some more weekend exploration — this time taking in the beauty of Pescadero and the Pacific coast including Pigeon Point Lighthouse and the Ano Neuvo State Park, complete with elephant seals. At the moment there are only a few molting seals so we’ll definitely head back in January during mating season.

A note about our neighbourhood

Houses open to the street
Low or no fences the norm.

One of the things I love about walking the neighbourhoods around where we’re living is how, by and large, properties have low fences or often no fences at all. This leads to a more open, welcoming community feel. This is a noticeable contrast to home where increasingly people seem to be building tall fences for reasons of privacy and security — all the more obvious in affluent areas.

Part of the enjoyment of walking suburban streets here is appreciating the obvious pride people take in their homes and gardens, while at the same time providing opportunities for random connections between people. This is one aspect of urban design I definitely think they’ve got right.