Saturday, 30 June 2012

An Official Welcome

I just received a letter from USCIS. This is what it says:
It means that my Green Card is hopefully on its way!

But wait a minute, what? No, I don't have a Green Card.

I'm currently in the USA on a one year immigrant visa. When my Green Card arrives I can stay until 2014. By then, I will have to go through the process of removing conditions on my immigration status, and then I will receive a 10 year Green Card. 

And what are those conditions?

As we have only been married for a year, my immigration status is conditional on living "in marital union" with my husband, so in two years we will have to submit evidence of this (as well as more money, I might add). 

The letter came from Texas, and it also stated that my well-travelled life package, the one we submitted a year ago and that I brought over in the mystery brown envelope to be surrendered at the airport, had been send to the Texas Service Center. I swear these bits of paper are more worldly than me now.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Walk in the Park

Our first priority since my arriving here has just been to spend time together, to make up for time apart. Nothing exciting, just time to hang out and be.

Monday, 25 June 2012

The Dog

Meet Penndexter, she's a rude dawg!*

She's Mark's dog. But she loves me more!

*Incidentally, I showed this to Mark and he questioned why it was based in LA but Rude Dog is obviously a gangster from NY. As a young kid I clearly hadn't noticed this. Also, we discovered that as kids neither of us paid attention to whether a show or cartoon was from the UK or the USA. Except the Rug Rats, which I thought was an accurate depiction of childhood in the US.

If you're interested, apparently the amazing Dream Stone was actually British and Mark had never heard of it. He'd also never heard of Geordie Racer. I'd never heard of Reading Rainbow (and he, Rainbow). I'd also never heard of The Halloween Tree or the dubious Liberty's Kids, which I noticed actually came out in 2002. Mark says it's still "an awesome show."

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Coming to America: my point of entry

It'd been a series of weeks that were rich with emotion.

I'd been in London (again) to work on another TV show, and during that time I had a pricey medical, gotten approved for my visa, been told by folks in TV that if I wasn't leaving they'd go out of their way to get me into the industry proper, said goodbye to my grandparents, said goodbye my dad and his family, packed up my things, sent boxes for shipping, visited many friends, been in a movie, and almost thought my cat was going to die (it turned out she had a blade of grass stuck up her nose for a week. No, really. I had to pull it out).

Then I had to say goodbye to my mum and get on a plane.

And not only that, but when I got to the departure gate I realized I was dressed like a hipster. That's probably not a surprise to most of my friends, but I swear it's not deliberate. Do accidental hipsters exist?

To make things worse, those tights are actually blue.
I was feeling pretty emotional for the whole seven hours of the flight: Good, bad, nostalgic, excited, petrified, eager to see my husband, sad to leave the Old World, desperately sad about saying goodbye to my mum.

When we landed, I headed to the US citizen/Permanent Resident queue for the first time. They escorted me and my mystery brown envelope (MBE) to a windowless room where I could listen to other people talking in 'interrogation rooms'. 

They took my passport and the MBE and I sat and waited.

It was a fairly casual and open set-up. A Lithuanian guy was told off for not previously declaring that he'd been arrested for committing a crime of moral turpitude. A German soapstar was queried about her travel intentions, and an older lady came to collect her passport (I think she'd left it in a bar). I thought I heard the staff refer to me as 'the immigrant lady'.

And I waited.

After an hour or so, someone at the front desk called my name, took a fingerprint and asked for my signature. I said "is that it?"

"Yes, that's it ma'am!"

And that was it. I was free to find my baggage and my husband (and that too, was rich with emotion).

I'm just an Old World girl about to hit the New World…
That's a Met Office T-shirt, by the way.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Olympic Torch

You can't go anywhere in the UK right now without seeing the Union flag. It's everywhere.

A chicken, a bag, a t-shirt and flags.

Yep, 2012 is the year of the Union Jack. And every time I see it my eyes are drawn to it.  I've really had to stop myself stocking up on Jubilee, Jack and Olympic themed junk (secretly I want it all). I've got a limited excess baggage allowance and I'm only shipping a few boxes to the USA.

This week the Olympic torch came by us.
Yes, that's a crochet torch - my mum was jealous because she didn't think to make one!

It's been nice to feel a dose of patriotism every time I step out. It is so much more common to see patriotism in the USA, where people fly the Stars n Stripes on their house/car/business far more readily.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Du bon, aye.

Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee was my penultimate weekend in the UK, and the perfect opportunity to catch up with friends in Edinburgh and Glasgow before I head off.
Friday Pimm's and midnight baking!
First off was a couple of days with my domestic goddessses, which included late-night impromptu baking. These girls are amazing and can pull off a perfect Victoria sponge at a moment's notice. They have expert cupcake, sewing and even wool-spinning skills. Honestly, it's like a young WI whenever I see them. That's all fine by me, of course, as I'm very good at eating cake…

…and we all did extremely well at that on a trip to Loopy Lorna's for traditional afternoon tea. It's perfectly quirky with mismatched tea-sets, home-knitted tea cosies, and super-tasty dainty cakes. The tea selection is pretty good too, try the Honey Bunny tea.

All-in-all, a wonderfully appropriate way to wave goodbye to my favourite ladies in all Old Blighty.

Next stop was my old stomping ground, Glasgow, for Mexican food and a ubiquitous drink of which the dear old Queen would probably approve:

Gin and Fentiman's Tonic!

Fact: The Queen drinks a gin and Dubonnet every lunchtime, a glorious habit she picked up from her mother.

Another Fact: Dubonnet tastes a bit like another fortified wine which has gained a cult notoriety in the West of Scotland. This amuses me greatly, though I'm not sure I'd want to try such a re-mix of the Queen's drink. Anyone want to give it try and let me know how it goes?

I can't thank all of my brilliant friends enough for their support, and some great memories to boot. I'm almost done with my UK farewell tour, but I'd like to think these are more "see you laters" than real goodbyes. So many folks have promised/threatened to come and stay with me in the New World!