After 9 months of waiting for my US visa, it finally came and we boarded the plane last week headed for Portland, Oregon. We’re grateful that the flight was uneventful, and that the immigration procedure went well! I now have a stamp in my passport which acts as a temporary green card (for US residency) and should get the permanent card within the next few months.
We’re living with Laura’s family in Keizer at the moment, which is good, and we’re enjoying spending time with them after being away for so long. So far we’ve really enjoyed meals together, especially yesterday when we had lunch outside in the 24C/75F warmth… apparently something that’s not normal for November…!
This last week we’ve mainly been getting over jetlag and settling in to life in the US. While Laura is from California, she has never lived in Oregon, so this is a big adjustment for both of us, especially having spent the whole of our married life in England up until now.
We’re now in the middle of getting all the things that we need as we set up our life here… a bank account, drivers licenses, a social security number for me, a phone etc… We’re grateful to have the use of a car at the moment, so that’s one less thing to worry about, especially now that it has a working battery thanks to Walmart…!
In addition to the practical adjustments we’ll be adapting culturally to living in the US. From Laura’s experience when we moved to the UK it can often be the small and subtle things that are the hardest to adapt to, because you, and others, may not even think about the differences. I have only ever visited the US for a few weeks at a time, so it will be interesting to see what challenges there are in living in a very different culture to what I have been used to.
I think the things you tend to notice first are the obvious ones, like driving differently, more choice in the stores, people speaking funny… but as you live in a place longer you start to appreciate some of the underlying hidden differences in our values, expectations and the way we think about life, which are often the most difficult things to take into account and adapt to.
But for now we’re happy to be here, and enjoying spending time with Laura’s family and settling in to the beautiful state of Oregon!