Monday, February 21, 2011

On a personal note

When I started this particular blog, I quietly swore to myself I wouldn’t be writing about boring, everyday things that happen in my life. That’s exactly what I used to do with Livejournal, write up all the dull shit happening, as if anyone actually gave a damn. The trouble with this was that for the most part, my days are pretty repetitive; I go to work, I come home, I bugger about with the hobby du jour, I go to bed, prior to getting up and rinsing and repeating. This is probably true of most people, but that doesn’t make me Samuel Pepys. This becomes so repetitive to write about that suddenly I’m updating once every six months, and that’s only to say that nothing new or exciting is happening.

So here, I decided I’d at least try to be a little different, and write about things that people not in my immediate family might have a passing interest in. So far, that seems to be working. I can’t claim my posts are interesting to read, that’s the readers call, but at least they’re not boring to write.

For once, though, it’s worth touching on personal events. Last week we had an interview with Homeland Security, and my green card was renewed. For the first since perhaps 2002, one of the major stress factors in my life has just... stopped. Gone away. I don’t have to deal with the interminable paperwork or shockingly high fees for filing said paperwork for at least ten years, and even that would just be a renewal. I have to admit, it’s left me flailing a little to suddenly not have that looming in the background.

I can’t say the approval came as any surprise, given I’m from one of the few countries left in the world that still likes the US. I’m pleased that once you got past the stock forms and demands for financial records of nonexistent things, once you actually get to the face to face level, the immigrations staff have been extremely pleasant. This was true in London, and it’s true in St Louis. Indeed, it’s hard to be concerned about the outcome of the interview when halfway in the interviewer starts pulling up pictures of her cats on her iPhone and showing them to us.

Really though, the whole thing’s had a sense of anticlimax for some time. There’d have been a time when I first moved here when I would actually dream regularly that I’d been deported back to England. I wouldn’t call them nightmares, as they were pretty dull as dreams go, but clearly my subconscious wasn’t thrilled at the prospect. For the last year or so, though, it’s just been another minor stress to add to the pile, a tediously slow exchange of correspondence we wished would just be done.

And now it is. It feels somehow sudden that it’s all over, but unless I want to start the naturalization process in a few months, I don’t actually have to deal with Homeland Security until 2021. Citizenship isn’t anything I’ll be rushing into, incidentally, until I can find out what the long term effects are on both sides of the water. I hear that Neil Gaiman has always, somewhat superstitiously, clung to his British Citizenship like a drowning man clinging to a wooden plank, and I would love to know why.

Nine years of bureaucracy ended in a single day. If nothing else, I thought it would be worth noting here.

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