Alternative Perspective

A look at British culture from an outside perspective and a look at American culture from an outsider living within it's borders.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Greatest Thing I Ever Did

If people aren't to be defined by what they like, as I kind of hinted at yesterday, than they ought to be defined by what they do, and I don't mean their job. For some people their job is more than a job... people like Doctors who want to save lives would be a classic example. That's something they're driven to do. For some Doctors a job is just a job... there's no absolutes when it comes to this kind of thing.

So perhaps it's not what you do, but what drives you, that defines you. Horror films and the community around them are a big part of my life, so are game communities... that's not so much about sharing interests but about being able to talk and debate about various films and games with people who know what they're talking about, but more importantly, what you're talking about. I guess for me it's a game in and of itself. It's not about proving a point, or about scoring points along the way, it's just about looking at something from another persons point of view. Whenever I manage to see something that way, I feel like I'm becoming a better person. Trying to stay more open minded, trying to better yourself, seem like fairly honest goals.

So in trying to explain a bit more about myself, I thought I'd talk about the most monumental thing I ever did, and if it's not instantly apparent, why I did it, and why I'm so proud of it.

I've always heard that the three most stressful things that most people do are getting married, moving house and changing jobs. I'm not about to debate this, I'm sure raising a child is pretty damn stressful, as are many other things, but it's probably a list you're familiar with all the same. I was.

Imagine then, doing all three within a three week period... completely by choice.

There'd have to be something pretty major driving a move like that. You wouldn't exactly choose to do all of those three things at the same time, even if you wanted to do them all eventually. A more classical approach would be, to find a new job, initially commute, then use the extra income to find a place. Get settled in, and then get married.

Then there's the other thing that I did in that three week period. I emigrated from England and moved to America. It's probably becoming pretty clear already why all three stressful events came at the same time, but believe me, immigrating into America dwarfs anything else on that list. Most people don't experience it, but christ it's a stressful experience.

You see, for a good few years, Katy, now my wife, and I had been flying back and forth from one country to another, spending all our holiday time and most of our spare cash together.

It started off as an internet relationship thing. It turned into a real world long distance relationship thing, and as is probably evident, the amount of commitment required for a long distance relationship is pretty high. It's not that you couldn't just call it off, it's just that you wouldn't get into one if you didn't think it was leading somewhere more serious.

We did, and it was pretty evident after a few years of commuting half way around the world just to be with each other, that it certainly wasn't getting any less serious.

I was still temping... because in my mind I'd been doing my best not to get onto a career path until I was settled down with Katy. We got engaged and started the paper work. First Katy had to petition to bring me into America on a fiance visa. I had to send in lots of biographical information, Katy had to get proof she was American, and there was a fee for this process. Once that was achieved, I could then apply to the US embassy in England for the Visa itself. Of course, every step takes months. I had to get proof that I'd never been tried of any crime. I had to have numerous medicals and shots. There was reams of paperwork, numerous fees, a trip to the embassy, and no certain date to plan the wedding (which had to be within 3 months of me arriving in the states). Until we were married I couldn't work. Getting married would lead into a seperate application process for a temporary work permit while my case was pending to get a temporary green card. After having that for two years, I could then apply for a full green card.

I've skipped a number of things, and no doubt forgotten other things. This dwarfed planning a wedding, moving house and changing jobs.

But I'm not whining, and I didn't whine at the time. See, I knew it was going to take all this, and yet I did it willingly.

Because I knew that Katy was worth it.

I'm not religious, (agnostic if you care) and I'm not someone who knows much about faith, but I eventually said good bye to my friends, my colleagues, my family and my home, and moved to a completely different culture, all for the love of a woman.

If I can't be proud of that, then I don't think there's much anyone should be allowed to be proud of. Perhaps you think it's wreckless or foolish, for a 24 year old (at the time) to marry a 20 year old (at the time), but to do all that for love...

I still think it's the greatest thing I ever did.


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