A year ago I got home in my temporary apartment in a city I had only visited a couple of times that was soon to be my permanent residence. Soon in the order of a few months, but still, quite permanent. The event was a small deja vu for me, which is a story for another time. Las year I had just completed my first day at Facebook and had only seen glimps of the rabbit hole I had just jumped into.
Skip a few months, and a second kid, later and here we are. Today's officially my first year at Facebook and let me tell you ... I've learned a ton and having a blast. Which is good because that was certainly one of the reasons for joining. That's not to say there's ups and downs. It can be a bit of a roller coaster at time. However, on a whole I'm really happy with my choice.
That's good because it makes the sacrifices worth it. Obviously there are some. Moving abroad, away from family and friends is not easy. For me free time is also an important one. A full job plus the commute means I don't get to see my family as much as I used to before, when I was working from home. Part-time. Obviously we knew this was going to be the case so it doesn't come as a surprise at all. That doesn't mean it's a bonus. It just is, and it's acceptable.
And what about London. Well. If you ask me it's quite meh. And that's not necessarily a detriment to London itself. It's more about me having a preference not to live in a big city. I'd prefer to be able to walk to any store in 30 minutes, rather than to have to take a tube to get anywhere at all and even the smallest distance taking 20 to 30 minutes. It's a big city, sure, but that also means you can't really get anywhere at all unless you have all day to get there.
Oh and public transportation. Let me tell you something. As a parent the London public transportation is pretty bad. Yes, sure, there are some stations that are accessible. But by far and large most are not. Absolutely not. I mean, some could have a ramp to get rid of like 10 steps. But they don't. New stations tend to be accessible, usually through an elevator or at least an escalator. But most stations are ancient and simply require you to take a certain number of steps. And if you're with a young kid or even a baby then a push chair or stroller will give you a horrible experience. It basically means you can only reliably get out at a select number of stations in the inner city and walk from there. Busses aren't that much better since they (obviously) don't have that much room and they'll not even stop for you if they see you've got a push chair while the bus is already carrying two. That was a pretty chilling experience the first time this happened because you're wondering how the hell you're ever going to get home. We did get home, of course, two busses later. So yeah, London public transportation, not a fan.
My daily commute is about 45 minutes of which 25 is by tube. It's not great but also definitely not the worst I've heard around here. Especially considering we're renting a complete house for that. The tube commute is acceptable. I travel on the Northern Line, which seems to be fairly reliable. I've got a Switch that pretty much reduces my tube time from 25 to 5 minutes. And both Finchley and Tottenham stations seem to be a sweet spot where you can still get a seat for all if not most of the trip. (A seat is kind of a prerequisite to be able to play something like a Switch without worry of tumbling down the tube...)
Beyond that. London is just another place to live. We realized that pretty quickly. Although we do explore a lot, definitely more than we did at home. I guess we visit lots of places around us because we feel slightly forced to now that we're here. Which is ironic because we definitely didn't really care about Amsterdam. The size of everything does put things in perspective, though. It takes us at least an hour to get anywhere at all with the kids which in Holland means you can get half way across the country in that time. That's not something we'd do very often. Over here you can barely get to the zoo in that time and we try to do that all the time.
As for the actual work, well I work on languages within the company. In particular I'm enabling new JS syntax features in our code base, a task you shouldn't underestimate. For example, we rolled out the "conditional chaining operator"
recently and while it's normally a simple case of enabling a babel syntax plugin and moving on, it now becomes a task of updating various tools we use and all the various third-party dependencies that they may depend on. There's just a lot of moving parts that need to know about these syntactical changes. These things inevitably take time and that can be frustrating when you know exactly what needs to happen and things can't move as fast as you want. But hey, it does happen eventually. And a lot of places got a bunch of improvements in the process so a lot of places get updated at the same time.
In whatever time I can spend on hobby's it's a split between gaming and coding. I'm still slowing working on ZeParser3
, my ES6+ parser. Progress is really slow though. I probably coded 80% before I joined and I feel like I'm still far from 99%. This weekend I reworked most of the destructuring parsing parts and arrows (this seems to be the new hell for JS parsers) with still some stuff to go. Besides that, my blog clearly isn't getting much love right now. Although I did switch everything over to pvdz.ee yesterday. So that finally happened.
For now I'm happy with the choices we've made. The drawbacks definitely outweigh the advantages. There's still a lot of fruit for me to pick while working at Facebook, so much more to learn, always more things to do. Sounds interesting? Let's talk.