Sunday, October 3, 2010

Daily Travels - I made it!

In September 1997, I was an 18 year old with a suitcase, a plane ticket and a thought of an adventure. I left my home in the tiny little village of Oxshott (Surrey, England) and started my new "adult" life in San Diego, CA. OK, so I didn't really become an adult until more recently, and sometimes still don't act like one, but I digress!

In the past thirteen years, it's amazing to think of all the things that I've done - graduated college, become accomplished in my career, created my own family of friends, married the love of my life, bought my first home....and there's so much more.

With my little brother, Warren, who also moved to CA.
The reason for now thinking back over the years since moving to California is because I finally made it. The light at the end of the tunnel just became a reality as my permanent green card, that beautiful little piece of plastic, finally arrived! I've been on a variety of different visas since I moved here, from my initial student visa to a work sponsored visa to the temporary green card that was issued when I was married. I've had my fair share of visa related issues - like the time when I took my (now) husband home to England for the first time and wasn't allowed to board the plane at Heathrow to return to the U.S. I ended up stuck in England for a month with nothing but ill-fitting high school clothes and my brother's soccer shorts to wear.

I'll say that staying here legally is hard work. Even after getting married, the immunizations that are required in order to file for the temporary green card seem crazy. I had to pay an INS approved doctor $500 to give me 6 shots, a TB test and draw blood. It's not hard to think of a million FUN things that $500 could be used for instead!

At the end of the day though, I'm finally done and can breathe that sigh of relief knowing that it was all worth it. I no longer have to worry about visa expirations, having to turn over my passport to the U.S. Embassy in a foreign country so they can stick bits of paper in it, worry about not being able to board a plane to re-enter the country... Life is good! The final step in my process will be applying for citizenship and while I will be doing that some time in the next couple of years, the pressure is off and I no longer have an immigration clock ticking over my head.

I've never been so grateful for all the support I've received from my family, close friends, and co-workers throughout this process. They've provided unconditional love and belief that I could do it, even when it just all seemed like too much. I'm a lucky girl indeed.


  1. Remember a few years ago when you were stressing about this while we stood on the sidewalk outside of Cat's apartment, and I told you that they could only take you over my dead body? Well, I'm very glad it didn't have to come to that. And I'm VERY VERY glad that you will stay here forever and ever! What would I do without my Nataleeeeeeeeeee?

  2. Congratulations! That is great news.

  3. Yes, I'm very happy to report there were no dead bodies involved in this process. :)

  4. UK's loss is the USA's gain, what a story, so glad you are settled and happy :) x