In the beginning of the year my job required me to move to San Francisco (we live in New York) so that I could teach Metis' data science bootcamp. I took my 15 month old daughter with me and we rented a place in Telegraph Hill. My husband joined us for most of our time there and we had an amazing time. My husband said he hadn't seen me that happy in a long time. I think the combination of teaching and thinking about mathematical concepts every day reminded me how much my brain needs these activities to feel well. The past few years I had been mostly managing a team so it was nice to get back to teaching. In SF, my commute to work was my favorite thing: in the mornings I would just walk down the hill on Montgomery St all the way to SOMA and arrive at our offices at 149 New Montgomery St. The nice breeze and the gorgeous view energized me for the day.
It was no surprise then, that when my husband was invited to be a researcher in physics at Maynooth University in Ireland, we followed him along. I must say, it was one of my childhood dreams to live a nomadic life and it feels great to move around and experience different places/cultures as a family. We spent one month in Dublin and while my husband worked in Maynooth, I stayed in Dublin, took care of our daughter and continued my job as Chief Data Scientist at Metis remotely. I'm really grateful to Kaplan and Metis for allowing me to continue my work while away from my New York office. The good news is that I was able to meet with some local companies and people with whom we may work in the future. Data science is indeed a global business. So all in all it was a win-win. The weather was actually super nice most of the time (about 20 degrees C with relatively little rain) contrary to most people's expectations. We visited Galway and Connemara on the west coast and we also went to the local farm Airfield Estate Farm which was a blast!
In the beginning, adapting to Dublin was not easy. The city is lovely but understanding the local accent was a bit difficult. The most challenging aspect was finding a local child minder (nanny) to take care of our daughter while I worked US hours. For two weeks I tried to work with different minders but she would just cry the whole time. And it was immensely hard for me to trust someone I hardly knew with my baby. This aspect of the nomadic life we are living is the hardest and I'd love to know how other traveling working moms do it. Half way through our trip, I met with Paddy Cosgrave and his wife Faye who were really generous and allowed us to share their child minder Fabiana. She was a game changer for us! And our last two weeks in Dublin were amazing because we had her help. I knew Paddy because I had been invited to speak at his conference, the Dublin Web Summit, 7 years ago. I'm proud to say that his conference has continued to grow and is still the largest tech conference in Europe. Collision has now moved to Portugal and other countries.
During one of the weekends we flew as a family to London so that I could film more episodes for season 10 of the TV show I co-host Outrageous Acts of Science. I can hardly believe it's been 7 years since we started this show and it now feels like we are all part of a large family. I love doing science TV. Having the opportunity to inspire people while explaining complex scientific concepts in easy ways has been an incredible adventure! While we were in London we filmed in a studio in Greenwich which gave us the opportunity to visit the world's Prime Meridian. And to make it even more special, we were join by my co-host physicist, presenter and geeky songstress Helen Arney. We had a blast! After that, my daughter and I stayed for a few days in London at the Marylebone Hotel and we went out to dinner to Sketch to celebrate Mother's Day. It was so much fun to have ladies time alone.
Back in Dublin we continued our daily routine. My husband would leave in the mornings for Maynooth and I stayed in Dublin while I took care of our daughter in the mornings and then worked US hours in the afternoon. We rented an apartment in the area of Grand Canal Dock, where many of the tech companies are located (Google, Facebook, etc...). It was very close to the Liffey river so we went for nice walks along the water. It was a bit too far from the city center for my taste, but we made it work. In the mornings I managed to organize a few activities with my daughter. We had a great day painting at Giddy Studios in Dundrum. We went to the Panda Play cafe in Ballsbridge (she loved it!) and we even managed to join the Handiclap classes in the city. My favorite thing was going to the playground at St Stephens Green park—what a gorgeous park!
In one of our last evenings, we took my husband's colleague, the head of the chemistry department and a kickass woman in science Jennifer McManus out for dinner. While at the excellent restaurant Mulberry Gardens, I discovered the brand Field Day when I went to the ladies room. It smelled wonderfully! It was the Rose aroma so I made a point to buy it and in turn try a few of the soaps as well. I haven't been disappointed! I particularly love the Sea smell and it reminds me of the Ireland coast. I hope to be back someday, and enjoy an pint of Guinness and walk along the Liffey one more time. For now, we are off to Cambridge in the UK. See you soon!