USA, 1: Initial Thoughts

I’m staying in the United States of America for the first 6 months of 2017 for both work and leisure. In case you’d need to contact me during that time, that’s doable by normal means (Twitter/email). Just the timeframe’s a tad different due to my location being 8 hours from Finland (-6 UTC time zone). This blog post kind of sets the initial mood and expectations for the trip.

Excuse me – who’s doing what?

So – we are going to United States. But why?

Well, that’s a valid question. I mean, who in their right mind would want to stay in the USA any more than they have to, now that Trump is going to be the president? I don’t think at least many Finns would like to do that (my guess is that around 80% of Finns would vote for a democrat, no matter who it was), but we are going to do that anyway.

This is actually the last convenient time for me and my wife to travel to another country for a longer period of time without hurting any other activities in our life too much. My wife got, very fittingly, a chance to attend a student exchange program right at the end of her studies (she’ll be graduating next summer, although her studies are largely finished already), so it was a great time to go. My wife actually primarily applied for a place in a university located at Barbados, but someone making the decisions decided to send us to Wisconsin instead. As luck would have it, that also suited us really well (although working and studying at Barbados would’ve been pretty sweet…) as a couple of our American friends turned out to be living nearby. In a way, we didn’t have to start from zero.

What’s to come?

So, what we’ll be doing for the next 6 months, will include a lot of studying for my wife, a lot of working remotely for my Finnish employer for me, and at least some leisurely travel around the USA for us both. I’m expecting for the next 6 months to be quite busy – I’ll be working largely as I’d work in Finland, but additionally we’ll be spending time with the locals, other international folks at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, I’ll be probably attending a few conferences and of course we have a lot of practical things to take care of. Should be interesting!

Afterwards, we’ll be returning home to Finland – hopefully with our expectations fulfilled, our biases and stereotypes of American shattered, and happy to be located in a country with a reasonably sane (albeit a bit dull) president.

And why this blog post?

I’ll be using this blog to publish some updates on the revelations we’ve encountered, in addition to the usual tech rambling. I plan on actually trying to reflect on the cultural similarities and differences between two Western nations, and of course post a lot of pictures of what we are eating and all that.

Perhaps, afterwards, I’ll get to realize some changes in my thinking, and at the very least this trip should give me a chance to reflect on my prejudices of Americans.

Stay tuned.


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Antti K. Koskela

Solutions Architect / Escalations Engineer at Koskila / Norppandalotti Software / Valo Solutions
Antti Koskela is a proud digital native nomadic millenial full stack developer (is that enough funny buzzwords? That's definitely enough funny buzzwords!), who works as a Solutions Architect for Valo Intranet, the product that will make you fall in love with your intranet. Working with the global partner network, he's responsible for the success of Valo deployments happening all around the world. He's been a developer from 2004 (starting with PHP and Java), and he's been bending and twisting SharePoint into different shapes since MOSS. Nowadays he's not only working on SharePoint, but also on .NET projects, Azure, Office 365 and a lot of other stuff. This is his personal professional (e.g. professional, but definitely personal) blog.

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