Today marks three years since I arrived in the States. I recored the first few weeks after my arrival with regular posts about my life, but after the first month, these posts dried up as I became more immersed in my life here. I decided this anniversary was a point to look back on the last three years, as
much has changed since I first arrived.
I'm a "Permenantly Landed Resident" of the United States - or, as most know it, I got a green card.
No, I'm not a citizen, but it's a huge milestone for any immigrant living in the United States. The Green Card process is typically the greatest hurdle immigrants face, and normally takes decades, not three years - so I'm incredibly lucky to have my permenant resident status.
The big benefits? No more stressful visa renewals every 3 years via Dublin, and my visa isn't linked to any employer.
I'm also eligible for citizenship in 2019, a great opportunity.
I met a girl. She's called Katharine. She's real nice.
I'm still living in the most amazing area of downtown Boston, and still loving it. In the summer, I swim every day in the harbor-side swimming pool. In winter, I occasionally ski, and focus on trying not to go postal in deep, dark Winter.
In other news, my previous employer, FeedHenry was aquired by RedHat to become their mobile platform. It's been interesting watching a startup integrate with a larger corporation, but the growing pains have been practically non-existant, so (red?)hats off to RedHat - they know how to handle an aquisition. Considering to the other suitors in the mix, we're lucky RedHat picked us up.
I've also moved professional roles, from working purely on building the product to working as part of a floating tiger-team (of one right now, so if interested reach out!) helping the sales team convert business. This means an opportunity to see some of the country, and build frequent flier miles.
Speaking of seeing the country, I've greatly expanded the list of states I've visited - which I will summarise now.
- Massachusetts - center of New England. Boston rocks, Cape Cod has beaches.
- New Hampshire - beautiful mountain scenery, good (icy) skiing
- Maine - beautiful coastal scenery, like West Cork meets Canada.
- Vermont - more beautiful mountain scenery, some of the best beer in the world.
- Rhode Island - the small state. Providence has cool River Fire show, Newport is posh.
- New York - more than just a city. Beautiful towns on Hudson River. Oh, and Manhattan.
- Connecticut - the long state on the road to New York.
- New Jersey - bad accents and shit beaches.
- Pennsylvania - flat farms, corn, midwest lite edition. Weird PA dutch. Apparently there are hills somewhere.
- Maryland - it lead me to DC. I drove through it. That is all.
- Virginia - contains DC. Also nice horse country, or so I'm told.
- District of Columbia - not really a state, but contains Washington. The city, not the sate. Confusing much? Swampy, beautiful but bureaucratic city. The home of Red Tape.
- North Carolina - the South, Lite Edition. Contains Raleigh - charming, tiny tree covered city with a great resteraunt and bar scene. RedHat HQ.
- Georgia - hot. Contains Atlanta. Big Airport. Much Traffic.
- Minnesota - contains Minneapolis. Is cold, many enclosed pedestrian bridges. First glance of the Mississippi-is wide.
- Texas - not just the pickup trucks 'n' guns stereotype. Austin a gem of the south, San Antonio not bad too. Oh, also contains pickup trucks 'n' guns.
- Illinois - contains O'Hare. Flown through many times - it counts, right?
- Washington - wet and grey year round. Like Ireland - Seattle is cool, pity about the climate.
- California - Leaving the best 'till last. Beautiful coastline and beaches, fantastic climate and great culture.
Of course, it's not all positive. There's a presidential election in 2016, the outcome of which I have no ability to influence. There's a worrying lean towards the far right, and seeing a candidate so comical as Trump gain traction is troubling.
"Europe" and "Socialism" feature in the Republican vernacular as dirty words, an amusing observation.
It's important to live in the US mindful of the fact that while I'll always live in very liberal hubs, there's a huge majority of the country who are venomously opposed to concepts such as socialised healthcare, free education and a living minimum wage.
Meanwhile, there is one candidate on the Democratic stage who seems to genuinely represent a change from the establishment, eschewing donations from large corporations in true grassroots fashion. I'm casting my metaphorical vote firmly in the Sanders camp for 2016.