Monday, January 29, 2007

It seems like every other person on the boat is sick these days! Fortunately I'm doing okay so far, which is very relieving -- I definitely wouldn't have wanted to miss San Francisco.

SF was... interesting. There wasn't nearly enough time for everyone I wanted to see and everything I wanted to do. Amber and I met up with Jesse Friedman for coffee before he had to head to work -- the last time I saw him, I was struck by the contrast between his obvious satisfaction and commitment with his day job at a big tech company, and my burgeoning freelancing. The contrast is even more marked when he has to cut short our breakfast to go run errands for his boss, but Amber and I, in our cruise-ship languor, spend another lazy hour taking in sunlight before meeting up with the others.

We did touristy things most of the day -- the last time I was in this city was as an optimistic, ill-traveled pre-teen; the hippie atmosphere appealed to me then, but it's a lot different to revisit it after a couple of boldly hedonistic college years. It still seems, like Amsterdam and California have always seemed, almost disturbingly pleasant -- I find myself deliberately looking (with some success) for an ugly side to the city. It's great sweater weather, while meanwhile back in Boston, they're having the coldest few days of the year.

For dinner I met up with Yitz, Joan, and Ryo, which was mixed. It was great to see them, but I'd expected to feel a little weird -- in Boston I'd felt vaguely nauseous every time someone mentioned San Francisco because I knew that had things been just a little different, I'd have been living somewhere where some of my favorite people from college were living and where there were way too many exciting professional and social opportunities for computer types to even think about -- rather than living somewhere where everyone I knew, I knew through my boyfriend, and even MIT didn't seem to produce that much in terms of tech companies that would be exciting to work for. Yitz, Joan, and Ryo all moved to SF specifically for job opportunities that were well-suited to them, and they're all doing things that at one time or another I've thought would be my ideal life. But on the other hand -- I'm on a freaking cruise ship, something I couldn't have done if I had a "real job" of any kind, no matter how awesome. As I've suspected, I'm much happier being a freelancer than in any kind of office job. I do wish that Boston had more of the San Francisco social scene -- both that a lot of my good friends are living there already, and that there's an extremely established network for tech people at different companies to meet for fun and profit. After dinner, Ryo headed home and Joan, Yitz, and I met up with JF and some of their friends from the tech scene at a bar with a dog in it. We all drunkenly exchanged little scraps of paper with our websites on them, and when it was time to return to the ship, it was the most reluctant (and intoxicated) I've been so far. Mostly, however, it strengthens my resolve to try and work harder to build social and professional networks in Boston -- as a freelancer, I don't have "work friends", but that's what internet meetup websites are for!


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