We have a “relocation consultant” assigned to us when we land here. Their job is to just generally help us settle in. Part of their responsibilities include:
- An initial ‘meeting’ with us to provide a heap of useful reference documents and tell us about the local area – from a local’s perspective.
- A tour of the surrounding area
- Escort us to get our social security number
- Assist us in getting our Californian drivers licence
I had my initial meeting with my consultant, Joan, on Saturday. It was a lot more interesting and useful than I thought it’d be! Joan has a wealth of information on the area stored in her head.
Did you know that the reason the bay area has such limited public transport is that taxpayers voted against paying for it many years ago? Now they’re trying to retrofit a system and it’s going to cost many times more…
There’s a trash dump directly opposite Yahoo.
The whole Santa Clara Valley area used to be the home of a big fruit tree plantation (five million fruit trees).
I liked this one. By Californian law you must get your drivers licence within ten days if you wish to drive. To get your licence you must have a social security number. However, under federal law, you can only apply for your SSN after you’ve been in the country for ten (working) days! [The problem arose because it used to be that SSN’s could be applied for, and given, over the phone as soon as you landed.]
Anyway, I found it interesting. She also handed over a heap of reasonably useful reference material (emergency contact information, banking, local attractions, postal information etc), a totally useless (though funny!) book titled “Hello USA!“, a few local newspapers, the California Drivers Handbook and – most importantly – some maps.
Even if a lot of this wasn’t strictly necessary I found it valuable, and a great introduction to living in a foreign location.
I apply for my SSN next Thursday and we’ve tentatively scheduled the tour for next Sunday. I’ll keep you posted.