IS it just me or is blaming anyone in the US for 9-11 kinda like blaming a woman for being raped? posted by Grayden at 11:57 PM
Yes, we are still alive. Hopefully we will begin to blog again after many months off. posted by Grayden at 11:48 PM
Thursday, August 07, 2003
The husband and I are about to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. We've got 24hrs to go...will we make it? Right now I dunno.
See, I think he's being mean, totally unappreciative and inconsiderate at the moment, what happened was, last night I was sitting watching t.v, him on the puter...when he say's to me - oh look it's a lil baby mouse on the floor, come see - my response was, after I had put my eye's back in - get it out!!!! Take it away, dont want to see it, dont want it near me. You've probably guessed I have a deep fear and loathing for the thing. Dont care how cute it looks, how small it is, how young it is - GET THE F****** THING OUT AND AWAY FROM ME !!! Did the husband immediately do what I had asked? NO. He spoke to it, eventually cajoled it into a box, then tried to tell me one of his 'mouse stories' by which time I had raced upstairs and was cowering under the duvet. Then I think he took it outside.
So now we're not really speaking, and Im sitting here in front of the puter with a long handled broom beside me, just incase.
Watch this space folks..........
Traffic Lights - Stop Signs - Turn on Red - Driving
Driving here is for the most part a nice experience, I love the size of cars here, and how quiet and gentle they sound when I need to accelerate, the highways and by-ways, and the road conditions etc....(excluding road-works).
One thing that is taking me a little while to get used to is - stop signs. Stop signs out here in surburbia have a habit of jumping out at me, it's not that I dislike them or anything, but I have been almost caught out a few times, just driving along and before I know it Im 3ft away from one !! I brake - hard, and just about manage to stop, regain my composure and drive on massaging a mild case of whip-lash. I just find them a tad 'unusual'.
The turn on red thing too....That to me is new and makes me a lil bit nervous, dont get me wrong Im in favour of it, but again - its a little unusual for me.
I enjoy shopping here, there's so much choice, sometimes I find myself just wandering along the aisle's gazing at the vast array of foods, clothing - well everything really. Also, opening hours - its so good to be able to shop in the evenings. Most shops in N.Ireland close at 5:30pm Mon thru Sat, the exception would be on a Thursday night when there's late-night shopping till 9pm, opening hours on Sundays are a joke - 12 til 6pm.
On a few occasions recently I have been in social settings which I have heard funny things said, done a double-take, chuckled to myself, and over all been greatly amused....see what ya think yerself.
While at the gym I was being shown how to work the machines, nothing funny or out of the ordinary there I know, but much to my amusement the female instructor began describing which particular muscle group this machine would work, and then she said it - the 'F' word (fanny), I almost fell of the machine I was on. Why? Well it's my understanding that 'fanny' here in the U.S. means butt / bum / bottom etc, however the meaning of fanny in the UK is used to describe a female's front bits - now not everyone will call it fanny, it has also been known to go by the following names - vagina / cooter / front-bottom?!?!
Nappy - Diaper
Chips - French fries
Crisps - Chips.
Biscuits - Cookies
Husband - Dishwasher
Shops - Stores
Postman - Mailman
Juice - Soda
Aluminium - Aluminum
I also particularly enjoy how everyone here that Ive met is so, polite, curtious and well-mannered, even in shops/stores - basically everywhere I go.
Does everyone here in the U.S. have to take classes in being well-mannered? Or do schools / college's and employers provide training in customer service?
You are all so good at it - Im seriously impressed.
Comparing customer service in the U.K. (which is awful) to the U.S.(which is wonderful) important lessons need to be learned.
Note to U.K. retailers & employee's - Please, thankyou, and a smile go A LONG WAY !!!
I was invited by Mapchic to go to Wisconsin this past week to visit with her sister - what a SCREAM that was.
We left around 11am Wednesday morning and arrived in Wisconsin at approximately 3pm, oh what an event-filled trip it was.
It all began with tolls, Mapchic likes to pay with pennies - all pennies. She had a ziploc bag of pennies !! I think she explained to me why, but my memory is terrible, and so now I forget.
So we're off on our travels, catching up with what's been going on in each other's lives etc, and then I get that hungry feeling, one which quickly develops into a head-ache, so we leave the interstate in search of a drive-thru or something, and you know what, there were NO FAST-FOOD OUTLETS ?!?!?!
Not a single one, so then we tried to get back on the interstate and discovered there was no on-ramp, thanks to Mapchic's know how and sense of direction, we quickly found our way back onto the interstate to the next exit, got ourselves some food and moved on.
For those of you who are familiar with the UK, you'll know we drive on the left-hand side of the road, well Im still in the mindset that Im sitting in the car on the same side as I would if I were driving in the UK with a steering wheel, and being able to see through the rear-view mirror, plus my 2 wing-mirrors, so everytime we change lanes etc Im imagining that Im still driving - what I mean is Im thinking ' I need to check my mirrors, signal and then manouver... and this is still kinda freaking me out because someone else is doing this, being in control, and I cant see the traffic properly....But Im trying to do it in such a way that Mapchic doesnt notice, and thinks Im a loon....Too late she's noticed, and laughing out loud at me calling 'the side mirrors - wing mirrors'.
Then we hit roadworks, Mapchic informs me that there's 2 seasons in Chicago - winter and roadworks!!
Anyway, we make it to Madison, we're just about to go in the house when we hear a hissing noise, yep the back tire is going down - fast! Quick as a flash Mapchic is in the car backing out the drive way, telling me to go into her sisters house and make myself comfortable, which is all very well and good, except Ive never been there before, never met her sister etc... But no-one was home except 'Spooky the cat'.
Then the phone thing happens - it rings. Im thinking to myself, the answer service is going to pick up soon....nope it does'nt. So, do I answer it? Nope - why? Well I quickly run through 2 scenario's in my head - 1. its Mapchic calling to let me know what's going on the the car etc...or 2. its either Mapchic's sister checking in with us and wondering why a stranger with a funny lil accent is answering her phone instead of her sister. Thankfully after ringing 45times it stops.
At this point Spooky the cat and I are getting along well and bonding, and the phone goes again!! My intuition is telling me its Mapchic and just go answer the phone, but seeing as Spooky is now demanding my attention, I cant answer the phone...eventually it stops. Mapchic returns after finding out there's 2 nails in her back tire. Thank-you mr.roadworks!!
So we have a great time hanging out by the pool, watching 'Say Anything' on tv, pigging out, being entertained by Mapchic's adorable lil nephew - so cute.
Thurday dawns and we have to return to Chicago by 6pm, (I gotta date with the husband) so we set off again wondering what adventures we're going to have with our return journey?!?!
Thankfully as it turns out none, althought Mapchic did attempt to 'slathom' the cones on the approach to the roadworks, thankfully my screaming worked, and she didnt do it.
For those of you who know Mapchic, you all know she can get a LIL TALKY !! Does'nt matter what the topic is, the girl LIKES to TALK !!
So in between her getting a lil talky, and saying ' so Sarah, I have a question...' we had a great trip, we laughed so hard, I pointed out things which I would'nt usually see just sitting there by the road back in N.Ireland, - like, oh ya know...a tank, a WW2 aeroplane, Mapchic quickly followed with an explanation.
There were too many more funny and interesting things which happened to and from Wisconsin, but I need a nap......
To describe what it feels like to go through the immigration process I would use the following words : emotional, painfully slow, frustrating and not cheap !!
I realise that each government has their own way of doing things, and I understand the reasons behind that, and I also do truly appreciate that in order to immigrate legally into the U.S., I along with many others have to do things by the book especially post 9/11 - but thats not what I have issues with. What I do have issues with is : the length of time it took just to get our paperwork into the 'immigration system', the length of time it took the INS office in New Hampshire to process the paper work, which by the way was all present and accounted for, coz I dunno what would have happened had we forgotten to summit something - Lordy-lordy I would have been old and grey !! No wait ! I AM alot older, and my hair is a hell of alot GRAYER !!!
Anyhow, the whole process took 18mths, kinda 2 steps forward and 10 back, and you'll love this - when Grayden was applying to come to the U.K his immigration process took 6HRS !!! (Ho-Hum)
Being separated from my husband for 6 and 8mths, was extremely lonely, hard and emotionally draining. Having to make big decisions on my own for the first time since 1997 which would affect both our lives was totally daunting. But I did, and I learned a few lessons along the way.
So any normal thinking person would look at our casework and think - well, they've been married 5yrs, have purchased 2 properties in Northern Ireland, both work full-time, pay taxes yada, yada, yada.... And so when everyone began finding out about our move to the U.S. their reaction was, "why do you have to fill in so much paperwork? Is'nt it automatic entry because Grayden is an American citizen?" etc etc... Well fellow bloggers NO it's not automatic entry, there's alot of groundwork to cover, alot of - hurry up to wait - and here's the fun part you get to pay for it every step of the way !! Oh and another thing, had Grayden and I not been married, and I applied to come in on a fiancee visa, the process would have been so much quicker - weird huh?
So looking at all the evidence, its all in order, lets just give Sarah her visa.
But oh no........there are more forms to be filled in, forms which ask me : why I want to reside in the U.S?, what's my relationship with my petitioner? where am I going to live? How am I going to support myself? What level of education have I received? How many times have I visited the U.S. with in the last 10yrs?
All very normal and sensible questions so far I think....
Then Grayden is asked to do the same from his perspective, and with slightly more detail, and then we wait, wait a lil more, in which time Sarah has put the house on the market, sold it, packed up our life and belongings which amounts to approximately 100 boxes, finish my A.D.C.E. (advanced diploma in childcare and education), prepare to send our lil furry-angel (Midge) on ahead of me to Chicago, oh and go to work as well.
Sounds like whining I hear you say - You bet your ass Im whining!! And I can scweam, an scweam til I make myself sick too !
So June 03 rolls round, I fly to London for my interview and medical, all very pleasant, but again absolutely nerve-wracking coz Im so close to getting my visa I dare'nt let myself feel confident, but everything goes swimmingly and by Friday the 27th 03 @ 2pm I have my visa in hand - WHOO-HOO !!
I'M GOING TO AMERICA, I'M GONNA SEE MY HUBBY - AND MY LIL MIDGE - HOOR-FRICKEN-RAY.
So there you have it, that's my story of the immigration process - very condensed. I now also have my 'GREEN-CARD' and I am awaiting my social-security number.
So now perhaps you can understand why I have NO SYMPATHY for the likes of TERRORIST'S like CIARAN FERRY and his cohorts, who cry foul and blubber "why won't you let me stay in America, even though HE knowingly entered U.S. soil with the intent of overstaying His visa etc..etc" - I'll tell ya why, because you're TERRORIST SCUM, the like of which America and the majority of us in NORTHERN IRELAND can do with out.
YOU made a choice back in Northern Ireland and now you have to deal with the CONSEQUENCES.
So, I hope you have plenty of time to sit and think in jail, of all the innocent people YOU AND YOUR FELLOW TERRORISTS plotted to kill, and also try to figure out how your are going to explain to your daughter how her daddy chose to join a terrorist orgainisation, which MURDERS innocent men and women who are just trying to do a day's work and get back home safely to their families. I HOPE YOU ROT IN HELL.
The Long A-Waited Immigration Process is FINALLY DONE !!!
Those of you who have been reading The Hard Press will be aware that Grayden and I have recently been re-united after a LONG separation.
This was because of me having to go through the immigration process in order to be allowed to have 'RESIDENT ALIEN' status in the U.S. What a fun process that was....NOT!!! I love that title by the way - 'RESIDENT ALIEN'.
Apologies for this entry being so short, but I got things to do, and people to see !! However my plans for this blog is to comment as a 'resident alien' on the funny, weird and interesting processes and differences etc between my life here and the old life back in Northern Ireland, among other things. Hope you all enjoy and feel free to comment and ask questions !! If you're interested that is.........
My Wife, Sarah, and I have decided that The Hard Press should become a 'couple's blog'. I'm not sure how much she intends to write, but I hope she gets into it. She will have to learn some HTML, but that's not difficult. She's got alot to say and is not at all shy about expressing opinions. Actually, at times, I am the reserved one.
On other matters, I do have some old hate mail that I still intend to respond to. So Mr. K. Scott - I haven't forgotten you, I just consider the length of your last email deserves a thorough response - something that I have not had time for. It is just that the last month has been very busy, as Sarah's immigration situation improved suddenly (well done, London Embassy!) and we had to ship our possessions, sort out the sale of our house and tie up all our loose ends in a short period of time. posted by Grayden at 10:10 PM
A few day ago saw the 63rd anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Britain. Everytime I hear the usual IRA supporting 'Plastic Paddies' bitch and moan about the British, I think back to what I have read about early July 1940. Everyone who draws a free breath today owes a certain level of gratitude to the British. For roughly a year, the British nation stood alone against Nazi Germany.
"Churchill and the British stood like King Leonidas and his Spartans in the pass at Thermophylae: they were the sole active opponents of overwhelming military might and of submission to slavery. The Soviet Union, until herself attacked in June 1941, was an ally of Hitler; the Government of the United States was as helpful as it could afford to be, but after the isolationist years, it was unprepared and disarmed. The European powers were either defeated or cowed into surrender. All this, I am sure you know well, but I think that heroic stories bear repetition. Churchill did, indeed, have behind him a united and determined people and a vast Empire, almost as woefully unprepared for war as the United States, but nevertheless embracing a quarter of the world’s population and nearly a third of its territory. What seemed less impressive than the far-flung empire and the fervent goodwill of the United States, but was in the short-term more effective than either of them, was that narrow strip of sea called the English Channel. All the same, a British Government could quite easily, by bungling and miscalculation, or by faint-heartedness, have lost the battle for democracy and condemned us to see Hitler’s 1000 year Reich fill the heads – and destroy the souls – of men and women in every continent for generations to come."
-Sir John R. Colville, C.B., C.V.O.
March 24, 1985
Yes, that's right - the British who held the line and saved future generations from Hitler. It was the much-maligned British who saw their nation bankrupted and nearly starved to stop one of the greatest evils the world has known. posted by Grayden at 10:15 PM
Apologies and News
Many apologies for being away from the blog for so long. The reason has been that my Wife Sarah arrived on the evening of the 3rd of July. For the uninitiated, Sarah had been awaiting a visa for a total of eighteen months. I'm sure that you will understand why I decided to spend some time with Sarah. I like blogging, but it is really not the sort of thing you can do and spend quality time with another person. posted by Grayden at 12:20 AM
Tuesday, July 01, 2003
First Day on the Somme - 87 Years on
Today is the 87th anniversary of the opening of the Battle of the Somme in the Great War. Sixty thousand men of the British Empire were either killed, wounded, missing in action or taken prisoner that day. An account of the experiences of the 36th (Ulster) Division, drawn largely from present day Northern Ireland, can be found here. posted by Grayden at 9:54 PM