Welcome To The USA – A Journey of Epic Proportions

4 10 2009

Congratulations on becoming a permanent resident of the United States of America. On behalf of the President of the United States and the American people, we welcome you and wish you every success in the United States.

The United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants from all over the world. America values the contributions of immigrants, who continue to enrich this country and preserve its legacy as a land of freedom and opportunity.”

Taken from Welcome to the United States, A Guide for New Immigrants (2007, Revised Edition)

 

I have a dream……..

1981 started on a Thursday.  Significant events included the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, the launch of the Space Shuttle , riots in Brixton (South London) and Toxteth (Liverpool), the marriage of Lady Diana and an inbred lunatic, the discovery of a rare form of pneumonia in 5 men in LA and the formation of Metallica. And a 12 year old boy deciding whilst on holiday in Florida, that he wanted to live in a country that worships the hamburger.

Fast forward to 2009.

I hold my passport tighter than usual as I wait in line at Boston’s Logan airport. For the first time in 25 visits to the USA, I have not filled out the green Visa Waiver Form (I 94) that has ascertained whether or not I intend to come to deal in drugs, kidnap children or my involvement in the Nazi genocides of 1939-45. Instead I have a file full of documentation, a sealed envelope that I have been instructed will become invalid should I decide to open it and X-Rays from a recently ordered medical. I am beckoned forward and, with a disarming smile, pass my passport to the Immigration officer.

 

It has taken me 28 years to get here. No longer the wide-eyed boy that fell in love with Disneyworld, American cuisine, American TV and Star Wars.

28 years during which I have listened to American rock music, read American literature, watched and “enjoyed/endured” Hollywood movies, worked for an American firm because they promised me a transfer (they kept their promise, they sent me to New Zealand), partied in New York, Miami and Las Vegas, stood in the Grand Canyon,  dated a lap dancer who lived in LA, and finally enrolled in the London campus of an American University so that I could get an American degree.

It would have been easier to fly to Mexico and get a lift in the back of a truck.

Thankfully common sense dictated that I should try and live in the USA through legal means. Now I am here, married to an American citizen, have a social security number and 400 cable channels. I have no idea about the rules of baseball or American Football. I wouldn’t recognize a member of the Senate unless they had some kind of flashing neon sign on their head but I know who the president is (he welcomed me in the Guide for New Immigrants).

Martin Luther King never got to see his dream become reality, never got to see the America he wanted or believed it could be. My dream has taken me some time to achieve but I always knew that one day I would live in the Land of the Free.

28 Years in the making, this North London boy is going to make the most of this opportunity

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3 responses

4 10 2009
Denise Vasquez

Wonderful blog! Wonderful story! Thank you for sharing!

PeAce LOvE aRt & sOuL
Denise Vasquez

5 10 2009
FTG

Yeah. But you’re still an immigrant. Still, Less is More…

6 10 2009
sis

Great blog – did you seriously fall in love with USA because of hamburgers? I would have thought that going on “its a small world” at disney while wearing a very dodgy mickey mouse jumper would have done it for you

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