America has been good to me

Si said to me when I saw him just after New Year that “America has been good to you.” He wasn’t wrong, it has. I’ve now been here quite a bit over a year and his comment got me thinking I should probably write a bit of as review of my time here so far. So here goes, organised by subject.

Well work has, on the whole, been better than I’d dared hoped. I like my work, get on well with my boss and are generally happy at KU. Yes things aren’t going great right now but hopefully it will not be a huge setback. I’ve also presented for the first time at a major conference, which went well, and have had the opportunity to meet several more people in my field which can only help my future career. Just got to hope I get some papers now.

I think I very much landed on my feet with Lawrence. I think that as a town it’s my favourite place I’ve lived so far. OK, it’s a shame it’s in the flatlands and a long way from climbing but I really like the town itself. I also landed on my feet when it comes to my apartment, especially given that I was looking for a place at an unusual time. I like the place and it’s pretty cheap and I really can’t complain about anything.

Think it’s definitely fair to say that I’m fitter than I’ve ever been – I still regularly amaze myself at just how fit I currently am. When I got out here I was very definitely not at my best and things went further downhill while I was settling in but since then I’ve put a fair bit of effort in and it’s really paying off. I’m also now the lightest I can ever remember being and since I’ve almost definitely got more muscle than ever before this is even more pleasing.

I’ve long wanted to improve my swimming technique but haven’t had the money the last few years. However since I started lessons late last year things have gone really well. I’d like to think my breast stroke is now quite acceptable and I’m making good progress on my front crawl. Definitely very pleased at the results so far.

Well after a slow start things picked up after I met Carol and since then I’ve been getting a lot of climbing in. As expected I haven’t climbed as much outdoors as when I lived in Glossop but I’ve climbed outside more than I was expecting when I moved out here and I’ve had the opportunity to climb in lots of new and exciting places. Since May I’ve even managed to get back into climbing outdoors at least once a month. I also think the enforced time at the wall/gym has paid off, as although it’s hard to know for sure due to the different grading systems and the different climbing styles, I’m pretty sure I’m climbing better than I ever have. Obviously there was the major downer of Mary Ashley breaking her leg but other than that things have gone really well after the slow start.

Well I obviously miss my friends and family back home but I’ve also made some good friends here. I’m sure it’s obvious that Carol has become a good friend, as she correctly stated today, my best friend in the US. That said I think Mary Ashley runs her a close second. I’ve also made several other friends while I’ve been here and it will certainly be a wrench to leave. Yes, it’s not all been perfect – it would be nice to have more friends in Lawrence for example – but on the whole things have gone better than I’d dared hoped.

On the whole I’m sure I made the right decision to come here as it seems to have done me a lot of favours and I’m enjoying yet. It’s gone better than I ever thought it would when I moved here. Yes there’s still stuff I want to change about my life but even there I’ve made progress since I’ve been here. Fingers crossed for the next six or eight months.

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