ten glorious years

Today it’s ten years since I arrived in these United States (specifically, this particular one – the Great State of Minnesota (whenever politicians refer to a state, it’s always a “great state”)).

I can’t quite believe I’ve been here this long, but I’m pretty happy about it. When I got on the plane in 1999 I had never been to America before, and to be honest I’m not sure what I was thinking apart from that it would be something of an adventure, and it would be good for me to see if I could do it – live in a different country. It was quite a culture shock when I arrived – much more than I expected. I had visited a couple of friends shortly before I moved here, one in Berlin and one in Tokyo, and while they found the culture differences quite challenging I think that they expected it more than I did. My take was that people speak English here, so how hard could it be? Well some things weren’t too bad, but as most people know there are a lot of differences between American and British English, but actually more than you would expect. Apart from the words themselves, there are a lot of subtleties, word ordering in sentences, idioms, turns of phrase and even body language. Also I had never really lived in a suburb before – certainly not one without obvious public transport. It took quite a while to make friends beyond my initial circle of expat buddies (and thank goodness for them!) and sometimes I would go a whole weekend without really speaking to anyone. But you know, that was actually OK, and it was probably good for me to have that time.

Anyway, still here, and at a quick reckoning here’s what I’ve done in the last ten years:

Lived in a couple of different apartments
Bought a house in a great neighborhood
Joined a great choir, of which I am a section leader and also choir president
Made some wonderful friends
Built up some decent retirement savings (even with recent stock market disasters)
Learned to barbecue a fantastic steak
Traveled to several states in the US, plus Canada
Traveled to India a few times, and to Bermuda
Got married
Got my green card, and now my US citizenship
Progressed in my career in a way I really wanted to, got a bunch of great opportunities, and have learned a ton
Put on a few pounds, but not as much as I deserve to
Gained tons of confidence by doing pretty much all of the above through a combination of good fortune and hard work
Had two wonderful kids

Speaking of those kids, I also just put up some new pics here – hope you enjoy them

2 Responses to “ten glorious years”

  1. Emma says:

    So would I count as a combination of good fortune and hard work? Actually, don’t answer that, I’m not sure I want to know.

  2. Robin (bro) says:

    Better than being considered a combination of good work and hard fortune…

    And what’s wrong with no speaking to anyone for a whole weekend? I do it all the time! Oh, right…

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