Starting again

I’m sure, if you read my blog, that you’ve noticed a conspicuous absence of posts lately.  There were two main reasons for the “gap”.

The first is that I haven’t been blogging about bioinformatics because I didn’t want to blur my work with my blog.  It’s a challenging line to walk, and maintaining it requires a lot of late evenings, which have lately been sucked up by my daughter.  Only in the past week has that time started to be available again. (Thank goodness my daughter is sleeping well, finally!)

The second is that my family has been making some big decisions.  The biggest of the bunch is that we’ll be returning to North America.  Denmark hasn’t worked out for us, and this is really the only logical decision we could make.  Our original timeline was for three years in Denmark, but we’ll be cutting it down to one year.

Yes, that does mean I’m officially looking for a new job for the start of 2013, either in Vancouver or San Francisco – the two places that my family would be happiest.  If anyone knows of a company looking to hire a bioinformatician with experience in Next-gen sequencing in either of those cities, please let me know!  As I’ve discussed with my employer, I’ll be working in Denmark until the end of the year, but will be available in January.

For the moment, I’m making arrangements to do a post-doc, but I’m not sure that’s really a step forward for my career.

As for why things haven’t worked out here, I think it’s a combination of a lot of factors, but most obvious is that Denmark is really a hard country to find your way in.  The language is challenging, and with a young child, we haven’t been able to dedicate the time to the intensive language classes that are available, and we also haven’t been able to really find a social network that comes close to replacing the ones we’d left behind in Canada.  With our closest family members being a minimum of 18 hours away by plane, this just isn’t working well for us given that we have a young child.

Of course, there are other factors, ranging from the trivial (and silly) to complex, which include (in no particular order):

  • Accessibility (it’s much harder to get around in Denmark with a young child, compared to North America, particularly since Canadians can not get a driver’s licence here)
  • Availability (We’re forced to order from UK or further away to buy many of the products we need/want for our child because they’re just not available in Denmark.)
  • Comfort issues (Denmark doesn’t believe in bathtubs, for instance, and I haven’t had a shower in Denmark that didn’t involve either frozen toes or scalding blasts of hot water since arriving),
  • Pets health (still haven’t found a replacement food for the cat after searching for half a year)
  • Community (Everything shuts down on Sundays, which is devastating when you’re living in a “small” town and only have a handful of friends.)

All in all, however, I think these are simply things we take for granted in North America, and  a year in Denmark has been an expensive education in recognizing how differently Europeans and North Americans see the world.

Thus, I’ll be returning to North America with a lot more life experience and hoping that someone out there will want to put it to good use.