Today we´ve been in the US for one year. It´s been an eventful year and a not very eventful year, both at the same time. Obviously, we´ve had the pandemic going across the the globe in waves, and we´ve had riots and the politically induced instability in the country ahead of the elections. But for regular people, every day for the past 8 months have been more or less like the day before. With connections mostly cut off and living and working in the homes, it´s difficult to say what really happened this year.
In terms of work I have done my best to do the work I can do while staying home. It´s not what I had expected to do when I came here last year, and yet I have managed to tick off most of the things I had aimed to do and learn here during these two years at Stanford. With a small group and some leeway for going back into the lab, I´ve managed to do more lab work than I thought since the pandemic started. And work is therefore progressing almost according to the initial plan I set up last year. It´s pretty amazing how such a large environmental disruption still doesn´t cause a lot of disruption in our every day work and lives.
But a year in the US has made me think about the future. This country is great for young and healthy people who want to work hard and earn a lot of money. But it´s not the most family-friendly country out there. And for a family with kids in the preschool and school-age I think that Europe is actually a better option. And in terms of coping with global pandemics Asia might be an even better option. Compared with how the western countries have handled the pandemic it seems most of Asia is pretty relaxed and still doing better in terms of both community spread and maintaining everyday life.
But we have another year to go. Who knows? By the time we are slated to go back home I might have changed my mind about this country. With a new president and new regulations, vaccines, and the general population going back to business as usual, I might find that my initial views of this society were not an accurate representation of the country. But at this point of time it´s clear that my future is not going to be here.