A Year in Provence Providence

The evening before Thanksgiving Day in 2009, dying for a pee, having got lost more than once navigating Exit 22 A-B-C of I95 in the dark while trying to remember to drive on the other side of the road and make sense of a satallite navigation system whose maps were out of date, I finally arrived at 255 Promenade Street, Providence, Rhode Island, USA. The flight from London Heathrow to Boston was less than seven hours, the drive from Boston to Providence just over an hour and a half in the heavy traffic, but it had taken me months to get here.

The invitation to join old colleague and friend, Jeff De Luca, on a major, global commercial insurance software project could not have come at a better time, and indeed, at any other time I would have probably declined it because it meant being apart from my family for six weeks at a time.

Borland where I had been working for the previous five years as a software development consultant had been slowly imploding through poor product development management for a couple of years and was at the point were it was being bought out. Add to this, being trapped for over six months in a client's process-improvement project that had seriously lost its way, I was more than ready for a change. Accepting the invitation was easy but getting a stamp in my passport enabling me to work in the USA was a long and, thanks to the US Embassy in London, unnecessarily stressful and distressing process. Anyway, that was all behind me and here I was at last in Providence, a place I had barely heard of until six months ago.

I had visited the USA plenty of times while working with Togethersoft at the turn of the century, but never stayed in one place for more than a week. Now I would be living and working in Providence for a full year.

Thanksgiving and Peanut Butter

I woke up on Thanksgiving day 2009, in the large, airy apartment I had been welcomed to on my arrival at The Promenade. The fridge was empty and I did not have a clue where anything was. Thankfully CVS/Pharmacy located on the bottom corner of Providence Place mall was open and armed with a loaf of overly-sweet, sliced brown bread, and a large jar of chunky peanut butter, I returned to the apartment for breakfast.

Down-town Providence is maybe not the most 'happening' place on the planet but walking around later, it was more like some scene out of a bad post-apocolyptic movie. Everything shut. No cars. No buses. No people. Nothing!

Everyone was home celebrating Thanksgiving.

Providence rivers

Sometimes, the best thing in life is a quiet stroll along a river ... even when you cannot pronounce its name; this is the Woonasquatucket River that joins the Moshassuck River in downtown Providence to form the Providence River.

More soon ...

Beavertail State Park
Probably my favourite place to go and chill out for a few hours during warm summer days. Open horizons, sun, cool breezes, and sea crashing on the rocks. Wonderful!

Goddard State Park
A nice big park near East Greenwich. A good variety of open grass areas, woodland trails, beach and shoreline.

Roger Williams Park
Another good place for a quiet walk. Lakes, trees, grass areas, Oriental-style garden, play park, and even a small zoo.

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