I just got home from a 4-month contract - I was working in Iowa! I had never lived in the mid-west before, and only had two short work-related visits to Iowa before. While I am very happy to be home again, my time in Iowa was extremely interesting and pleasant. I know that a big part of that is that I had worked with and knew several people from California who had transferred to Iowa earlier. They had made the transition, and helped me do so as well. They recommended restaurants, car-repair shops, and entertainment. They talked about Iowa-specific concepts - or at least they were non-Californian concepts :-). More on those later - for the moment, I'll just say I am very grateful for their kindness.
My trip to Iowa started with a flight from Costa Rica to California - which I missed! I ended up going on a later flight to Miami, then to Los Angeles, where I stayed the night in the airport before collecting my luggage and catching an early morning flight to Sacramento. If at *all* possible, I heartily recommend *not* spending the night in the LA airport! It is specifically set up to discourage this occurrence! All the chairs have integrated arms, so no one can lie down, and the air conditioning is turned to frigid. And there is no food available. And they continually broadcast on the PA system. And if you leave the terminal, you can't get back in until it "opens" again in the morning.
Fortunately, the rest of my trip went fairly smoothly. My parents picked me up at the airport, and we went directly to the clinic where I had an appointment for my pre-employment drug test. If you aren't familiar with working in the USA, this is something nearly every employer requires. The procedures scream "We don't trust you! We know you will try to cheat! CERTAINLY you do drugs, and we're going to catch you!" But don't take it personally. It's the price of admission. :-S
I spent the next few days rearranging my packing, getting USA things out of storage, getting my car checked out for the trip, shopping, and visiting with friends and family.
Monday morning, I packed up the car, and headed nearly due East. Four days later, I was in Cedar Rapids, IOWA!
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