Two years. Two Embassies. Two Visas. (Hopefully.)
When I moved to America, I decided that – to begin with – I would just use my corporate phone for everything. It seemed simpler and one less thing to have to buy and setup, plus it would let me wait for Apple’s announcements and see what those brought.
In November, I decided it was time to get myself a phone and split my personal stuff out from the company device, which always left me feeling a little uncertain.
You would think that, after having secured a bank account, a social security number, a place to live, and a house full of furniture that acquiring a phone would be easy.
You would be mistaken.
Anyone that has known me for longer than a few minutes and has had a meal with me – or discussed food – will know that I don’t like cheese. It smells and tastes like feet and is a great way to ruin food.
There are a few exceptions to the rule – basically if it’s very mild and / or doesn’t taste of cheese, then it’s fine. Mozzarella on pizza is a perfect example. Even then, if there’s too much of it, I don’t like it.
You would think that this would be a major problem for me if I had relocated to France. Now, we all know that Americans like their cheese but they are also the Czars of Customer Care (written alliteration counts). In a world where you can order a meal at a restaurant, painstakingly swap out every component for something else, and still have your order taken with a smile (as opposed to the punch in the face such an act truly deserves), you would think that getting a meal without cheese on it would be simple, right?
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.
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.
I had been working in IT for a software company for a little over two years and was, on the whole, loving life. I had spent a year living in London, occasionally enjoying all of the things it has to offer, with two lovely flatmates, and I loved what I did and who I did it for. I had travelled the world – well, some of it – with stints in Paris, Munich, East Germany, and the United States.
Colleagues had become friends who had become travel buddies, and along with the decent salary we had explored the snowy mountains of New Hampshire, the concrete canyons of New York City, the sun-kissed beaches of Miami and Key West, and were due a trip to Tuscany, Italy in the first part of the year and an even bigger trip back to the US in October.
On an even more personal note, I was readying myself to take that next step into adulthood – buying my own property. I had just bought (well, leased) myself my first properly new car – a BMW M135i – after a few years of vehicular strife (that’s another long story) and during that process had stumbled upon a property being sold by a friend’s uncle.
I packed up my things, left London for a short stay with my parents back in (much more rural) Wales and prepared myself for the Next Big Adventure.
Then, everything changed.