Saturday, November 6, 2010

My relocation - both physically and virtually


I relocated to Russia - and my blog to a new website.

Physically, I followed my wife to the wonderful little town of Sochi in Russia's south. I've been here before in the summer of 2008, but now I am going to spend almost an entire academic year here.

As you can see, Sochi lies on the east shore of the Black Sea and just north of Georgia.
Most of the following is courtesy my wife: Sochi is the most beloved domestic vacation destination among Russian (as it was among Eastern Europeans during Soviet times). The small strip among the coast line boasts the most northern subtropical climate in the world. This is why Stalin himself decided to develop this town as the "Russian Rivera"; he had his own dacha here as well. The town become a "Kurort", a spa town, with many sanatoria and resorts. If you drive into the nearby Caucasian mountains, however, it quickly becomes chilly. They do grow tea there since it's very sunny (again, the most Northern spot). The legend goes that you can swim in the sea and ski in the mountains on the same day.
Sochi won the bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics which will take place not far from here and at least some people are very excited about this. There is lots of construction going on and, sadly, there is a lot of traffic. Fortunately, we live near a river, on a very leafy street. In fact, the entire city is very green.
Of course, Russia is very different in many ways from Western countries. Here are just a few things: Our hosts are incredibly nice. On the other hand, people on the street are rather reserved and sometimes even mean. It seems that once you know someone, it's a completely different story. The tea and the food are wonderful. The bureaucracy is terrible. To exchange something in a store can take hours, if it is possible at all.
My wife is doing research here while I am "telecommuting" to my research collaborations via Skype and the like.
In short, it is very interesting to be here!

A resort in Sochi, Russia, ca. 1909 (from Wikipedia)

My blog "Value Strategies" relocated to a new address, www.hcval.com. Actually, I slightly changed the title to "Health Care Value Strategies". I moved on from Google Sites and Blogger to a hosted Wordpress installation on an Amazon EC2 instance, as per Sean's suggestion. I hope this little guy can handle the little traffic I had on the previous sites so far,  about 4,200 page views from  roughly 430 absolute unique visitors. The installation was relatively painless although I am certainly not very familiar (yet) with many of the components, Unix, MySQL, PHP and what not.

I hope you bookmark or subscribe to the RSS feed. If you click on the link, you'll get to a feedburner page where you can chose your reader (for example, I use Google Reader). If you were on the feedburner feed previously, you don't have to change anything. If you're on the blospot.com feed, please switch. The safest thing is to visit the RSS feed and subscribe again.
You can also chose email notifications there if you prefer that.
If you have any feedback for me, some hints how to make the website and blog better (either the site or the content), or a tip what I could cover, I would love to hear from you. For example, I am still looking for a good theme. Send me an email or comment on each of the posts.

Now that I've relocated, I am going to start posting more frequently.

Best regards Sochi, Russia and www.hcval.com!

Ben

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