Day 1: Welcome to America!

In which Ed runs around like a headless chicken

I had wanted to book a car service to whisk me from JFK to my hotel in Melville; the company was allowing me to expense my taxi fares so I figured doing it ahead of time would make sense. I also didn’t want my girlfriend, AJ, to come pick me up and risk waiting forever. I reached out to the folks on BritishExpats.com (http://britishexpats.com) to get some estimates for wait times at Immigration, with the expected wide variety of responses. The conclusion was ‘how long is a piece of string?’ and I decided to just wait and get transportation myself once I was through.

Immigration itself was actually a painless affair – just lots of queueing. It took about an hour from debarkation to baggage claim, which is really good considering I couldn’t join the usual ESTA queue. Ironically, considering the mantra ‘Everything is bigger in America’ (which I’ve found to be almost universally true), the baggage carts were smaller than the ones at London Heathrow, resulting in my luggage departing from the cart into the path of someone else. Thankfully it only happened once.

Once out, I joined the chaotic mess of travellers awaiting transportation, but managed to get myself an Uber after a few minutes of swearing at my phone’s inability to pick up a good enough data connection to pinpoint my location, and I was underway. Continue reading “Day 1: Welcome to America!”

The Long Goodbye

Saying goodbye to the old life, and hello to the new

As I write, there are but three days left until I get on the plane and bid farewell to my old life. The last few weeks have been a flurry of events that have left me with little time to reflect on the enormity of what’s happening – something that my friends aren’t shy at pointing out; “This is huge”, “I’d be shitting myself if I were you”, and so on.

In a way it’s a blessing. For months I’ve been pretty ambivalent and/or gung-ho about the whole thing. “I’m moving to New York” was delivered with the same weight as “I’m going to have chicken for dinner”. Perhaps it’s because the process has taken so long, or perhaps it’s just that, subconsciously, it was the best way for me to deal with it. I’m not really sure. What I am sure of, is that Shit Got Real about six weeks ago.

I now find myself embroiled in a cauldron of conflicting emotions. This is, no doubt, a huge change and a huge opportunity. NYC is widely touted as the best city in the world, and it’s a place that I’m very much enamoured with. Having survived London easily, I’m not phased by the idea of living and working within its American cousin. I’m finally going to be close to my girlfriend, who I’ve been with for nearly a year, stuck in the at-times frustrating ‘LDR’ scenario. On one hand, I’m still running and leaping for this opportunity with hands ready to grasp it.

On the other, however, I really don’t want to go. Continue reading “The Long Goodbye”

US vs UK: Sockets & Switches

Where Ed wonders why nobody is buying American if everybody is buying American.

There’s a lot of Nationalism floating around at the moment, in both America and the United Kingdom. I’ve stayed inoculated against the disease by avoiding the rightwing press and staying informed, but it’s a risky business.

One of the big topics that’s been beaten to death by both sides is how ‘imports’ are ruining our lives, how everything would be so much better if we just ‘bought American’ or ‘brought our skills back to England’. Now I’m not going to delve into the whole globalisation argument, but I did find that an odd thing for Trump to be banging on about, especially when everything in America is the same.

Okay, that’s a little hyperbolic, but hear me out.

Continue reading “US vs UK: Sockets & Switches”

Of Visas, Forms, and Ceiling Wax

OK, there’s no ceiling wax, cabbages, or kings in here.

A few weeks ago, I posted about my start date along with a caveat, right there in the title. It turns out that was a good idea! After chatting to my immigration lawyer, she said ‘There ain’t no way Jack’ (paraphrased) to the proposed start date of August 1st, this time via email.

My start date was thus altered to September 1st. As of this afternoon, I’m now the proud owner of a set of Visa Application Documents, some forms, and a shiny interview appointment at the US Consulate near Marble Arch. I thought I’d talk a little about what’s been required to get to this stage.

Continue reading “Of Visas, Forms, and Ceiling Wax”

It’s the Final Countdown … I think

Some unexpected good news suddenly throws things into a higher gear

This week I’ve been on a training course in the delightful city of Dublin, Ireland. (Like there’d be any other.) Just before I shut my laptop down for the weekend on Friday, I pinged my boss a quick email to ask if there had been any progress on my offer letter / contract / salary, because my girlfriend and I are keen to get on with working out what and where we can afford to live.

When I sat down on Sunday evening in my hotel to check my emails, I was a little surprised to find a message stating that things had indeed moved forward, and that the company was targeting a start date in NYC of August 1st.

Yikes!

Continue reading “It’s the Final Countdown … I think”

First time in New York

Ed takes his first bite of the Big Apple

You can see a full gallery of pictures from this trip here.

My first visit to New York City was in February of 2015. You might think that the depths of winter is not a great time to do any sort of sight-seeing and you would be right. My boss and I were in Burlington, MA., for several weeks of work and there’s not an awful lot to do on a weekend around there – save for going into Boston which each of us had already done.
We hatched a plan to drive down to NYC for the weekend, where I would get my first ‘bite’ of The Big Apple.

As it goes, the drive to New York City isn’t too bad from Burlington. We left a little after the rush hour, catching just the tail end of it, but after about three and a half hours we were parked in Queens, where we left the car and got an Uber into the city proper.

NYC was kind of a mythical place, for someone like me who had never been. I was a huge fan of Friends, not to mention having seen the place on countless films over the years. Driving towards the famous skyline was a real thrill, and I think I was like a little kid when we were in the Uber driving amongst the towering behemoths of high rises and sky scrapers.
Despite having visited the United States often enough for the trip to now be ‘normal’, going into NYC was like hitting the Reset button – everything was new and incredible again.

Continue reading “First time in New York”