The story so far…

So I’ve now long passed the 6 month mark in my new home country America and there have been a number of changes since my last post about obtaining my SSN and bank account and getting married.

Employment and things

First of all, I’m finally able to work legally in this country. It took almost 3 months to finally get the Employment Authorization Card(EAD) approved and in hand. I’ve been looking for a job since then as well as spending some time on personal projects to learn things and building my online resume to at least have something to show that I’ve built all by myself. About 3 months later(ie. November first) I had my first work day at Highforge as a front-end developer.

In the time that I’ve been working, I’ve already learnt quite a lot about WordPress and more specifically how to work with it properly. Additionally, I’m getting more acquainted with responsive design and building sites for mobile. I’ll eventually use my experiences to update my site and WordPress theme and make things more awesome.

Driving

With a social security number and newly acquired semi-status in the form of the EAD it becomes possible to obtain a driving licence or permit. And so I did, and the test to obtain the permit is really, really, really stupid. You’re in line longer than the actual test. Hell, you’re in line to pay longer than the actual test. It’s two 20 question tests, where one focuses on general rules and the other on signs. Most of the questions are the exact same as on the practice tests and so it was easy peasy. I got two rule questions wrong, one about how much you should slow down relative to the speed limit when passing an accident and ambulance and such and the other asked what the safe distance between two freight trucks is. I’m not really sure what that last one has to do with anything.

All in all, I got done with the test before the lady at the counter was done helping the next guy in line and while it was easy, there was still a guy struggling with it next to me. He was still there, doing the test, while I paid the fee and left.

Green Card

There’s absolutely no news on the green card situation. My case was transferred to the California Service Center forfast processing. This happened in back in June. Needless to say, it hasn’t gotten much faster. There is a positive side to this transfer and that is that I most likely don’t have to come in for an interview.

TLDR: Everything’s going fine. I have a job and soon will be able to drive. I do not have a green card yet, however.

America – Land of the free, home of the food commercials

A week has passed and I’m still alive and well in America and so far things are going pretty good. So far it hasn’t really gotten through to me that this is more than simply a vacation and that I’m here for life. I’m sure that’ll change once I’m going to be able to apply for jobs and drive around the place and everything.

This week started with my flight(s) over here. I had initially booked a flight with a 5 hour layover in New York. However, my connecting flight was changed and the layover was now 6 hours. All well and good, I thought, I had no idea how long it would take to get from one flight to the other with the immigration part. As it turns out, it didn’t take much longer than usual. The main difference is that I know had to fill out an I-94 form and wait for a little bit in the immigration office while my visa was further processed.

The first thing I noticed about this office reminded me of a bit about pharmacists that Jerry Seinfeld did:

The immigration officers, too, were sat at a desk higher than the rest of the folks. So after sitting there for about 5-10 minutes, my name was called and I could go up to the desk to get my passport back and be on my way for checking in my luggage for my connecting flight. The whole process, including waiting in line, took maybe 30 minutes or so. A lot less than what I expected. So I spent the rest of my time wandering around JFK airport, resisting the urge to go to Dunkin’ Donuts but giving in to the temptation of a large slice of pepperoni pizza and strawberry Shnapple.

Overall, the flight itself was quite alright. Beyond the annoying people in front of me giving my knees a hard time and the fact that we had shared screens during the long flight over the ocean it was pretty quiet. No turbulence, no crying babies, nothing. Also, it was the first flight I got a pizza-like meal at. That counts for something.

The day after I arrived we went to some tux store to look for a tux to rent. Found a nice and light(light as in, thin fabric) one, because, fuck the heat. Then at night we went to see the live edition of Jay and Silent Bob Get Old. As I write this, the episode we’re in isn’t up yet, but no doubt it will be next week or so.

I made some clips of the more physical bits called Let us fuck, but the quality isn’t all that. My phone decided that it needed to refocus every so often, so don’t mind that.



For video that’s up closer and at better quality, hit up the youtubes.

Rest of the week was mostly spent getting things in order for my stay here. We’ve gone to the courthouse to get our marriage license. It’s quite silly how this place still works with the honour system. I had to vow(right hand up and everything!) I had filled out everything correctly and truthfully and that’s that. Now, the silly part about getting the marriage license is that as far as we understood it, we’d have to wait for 3 days to get it. At first I had thought that you’d have to wait for 3 days before you’d receive the license so they have time to do research on you and actually check if you’re not married or whatever. However, we’ve already got the license and this 3 day waiting period is literally an arbitrary date written on the license itself. Speaking of which, today is the first day it’s actually valid and it’s time to use it too(the 4th and the 11th of april have come up for this).

So, so far so good. Still have a lot to do, like get my license and a phone plan where I don’t pay out the arse for abroad data usage, but one step at a time. In the mean time, I’ll just watch tv and amaze myself at the hilarious amount of food commercials. Surprisingly though, I’ve seen Arby’s, Quizno’s, Subway, Sonic various chocolates and crisps and cheese and beer commercials, but the big ol’ McDonald’s is nowhere to be found. Nor is Brighthouse, for that matter…

The more or less inevitable “Things I’m looking forward to” post

We’re now about three weeks away from my departure and I’ve promised that I’d post about the things I’m actually looking forward to(Crazy, I know!). I’ve not added the blatant “Getting married, starting a life etc.”, because, you know, that’s a given. So without further ado and in no particular order. The list!

  • Free refills!
    Almost good enough to replace the void of stroopwafels. Almost.
  • Netflix, Hulu and the like
    It’s such a simple concept, yet so brilliant.
  • Earlier access to other online services(Or at all, for that matter)
    Specifically of the Google variety, like Voice and Music, neither of which are fully available over here
  • Better release dates, usually
    It’s only a few days, usually, but I’ll take whatever victory I can!
  • Better weather, mostly
    No more snow, no hail, higher temperatures overall. Hurricane-season though. @.@
  • A new job!
    I’ve worked at the same place for almost 3 years, and they were great. A new job will certainly be an interesting change of pace.
  • Explore the US further
    It’s pretty friggin expensive to get to the US to begin with, but there’s plenty I’d like to see and now I’ve got a chance to!

And that’s it. Nothing too fancy. Ironically, some of the things on this list will be things that may inevitably kill me at some point. <3

The inevitable “Things I’ll miss” post

It’s just over a month before I leave behind this country for the United States. So I’ve decided to compile a list of stuff that I’ll probably end up missing eventually and tried not to name the obvious “Family & friends” malarky. That’s what Skype is for.

  • Stroopwafels
    Because. Friggin. Stroopwafels.
  • Liquorice
    Specifically the sweet honey kind. <3
  • Proper chocolate
    And don’t give me that “But…Hershey’s!”. No.
  • The often moderate weather
    I don’t like extremes in weather, the hot weather in Florida is going to kill me.
  • The metric system
    Because the imperial system is silly and shouldn’t exist.
  • Cycling lanes
    I do enjoy cycling, but from what I’ve seen, it’s a suicide mission to even attempt it.
  • Various other seasonal and not-so-seasonal snacks
    Including, but not limited to: Pepernoten, Speculaas, Hagelslag, Penniewafels, Negerzoenen, Suikerbrood and vla.
  • Beer
    American beer sucks. Plain and simple.

And that’s all I can think of for the time being. There will undoubtedly be more, but I’ll most likely won’t miss it till it’s gone. A lot of it is food related, but that’s mostly because there aren’t very many typically Dutch things I enjoy enough to miss that aren’t food. Like tulips. And windmills. I’ve also tried to steer clear of blatantly political issues. I’ve my views and they don’t really line up with how the US is doing things, so lets keep it at that <3.

I might also make a list of stuff that I’ll gain from moving over there, apart from the obvious. It’s not going to be all bad, it can’t be!

Oh god.

It has been a while since my last post and in the mean time the year of 2012 has come, and the year of 2011 has gone. So let me start off by wishing a late happy holidays. Now, with that out of the way…

In the past few months we’ve been starting to get things sorted out for my departure and wedding. As it stands, I’ll be leaving this country on March the 15th. I’m having a bit of a tough time deciding what to bring and what to leave behind, specifically book-wise. I’ve got a fair amount of books that I enjoy. I’ll probably bring two suitcases full of clothes and smaller possessions and maybe my bass guitar. Beyond that, everything else is set. I’ve got my ticket ready, my passport with visa and the documentation I need to enter the country.

A wedding, however, is a whole different beast. So far, the venue is booked for May the 23rd. Invites have been received and will be sent out sometime this week(Mine will be, at least) and we’ve got pretty solid leads for a dj, officiant and cake and a bunch of other stuff. Still have a fair amount of time to get it all sorted out, so I’m not worried just yet.

All in all, it’s pretty friggin’ scarily close.