Thursday, August 02, 2007

Four More Years?

Today is the fourth anniversary of my touching down at Dulles Airport at the beginning of my United States Adventure. Four years! When you say it out loud it seems like a long time, though looking back it doesn't seem like it has been 48 months since I staggered into the lobby of the Oakwood Estates in Rosslyn, clutching only my carry-on baggage (my checked-in luggage had been lost somewhere in the Seventh Circle of Hell known as LAX).

Four years is the amount of time it took me to get my Bachelor's degree, which included an extra year to pursue my Honours. Four years is longer than the amount of time I have spent living in any one place, except for where I lived while attending University. This is a bit of a mirage; I have spent longer living in the little town where my parents live, though that was a two year chunk here, and a two year chunk there... and now I think about it, since I was six years old it would have only have been about four years or so that I actually spent there, once you add up the three separate chunks of time I spent co-habiting with my folks.

What I'm trying to say, in a roundabout way, is that four years is a bunch of time.

The time I've spent here has been fantastic, an experience I could not really have imagined way back when I was in Sydney and first turned down the offer to transfer me over here (after all, I had lived for a couple of years in Canada, had no urge to live in the US, and why the hell would I choose to live in DC?!). And though I have long maintained that there are other places in the US I would love to live (no. 1 is San Francisco, no. 2 is Chicago, and every so often New York flits into my mind) I am very happy in DC, and would need what I call a "Compelling Reason[tm]" to leave.

Having my company tell me they no longer need my services certainly qualifies as a Compelling Reason[tm], but that is more along the lines of "might have to move back to Australia" rather than "might be moving to a different city in the US". Even that Compelling Reason[tm] is up in the air these days; even as my current November 30th deadline approaches with a slow yet steady gait there appears more than a glimmer of hope that my terms of employment will be extended at least into the new year, while further machinations progress that may allow me to slide into other opportunities that will help shield me from premature expulsion. During all of this I sit and wait and watch my Green Card application process ooze forwards, ever hopeful that I can make it to the Promised Land before I am forced to leave these fair shores.

Four years. It's a long time. But not long enough.

__________________

This past weekend I managed to experience a series of "firsts", which at least let me feel like less of a stranger to this country. During the weekend I did the following:

  • Visited Buffalo
  • Ate cheese curds
  • Was an active participant in preparing a pig which was roasted on a spit
  • Prepared, and then consumed a "s'more"
  • Drove a car in the US
This last one in particular was quite the milestone. Though I am not quite ready to face the insane stylings of the DC Metro Area commuters, it was very cool to get behind the wheel and drive on the wrong side of the road. Many thanks to Saunter, who was quietly insistent that I not be a pansy and actually give it a shot, and many more thanks to the Gods of Driving who saw to it that I did not stall the car while taking off for the first time while being filmed by Saunter's sister.

Though it was my first time driving on the wrong side of the road, it had been 3.5 years since my last driving effort (and that only lasted 2 minutes). It had been just over 4 years since my last extended driving, when I drove around Ireland for a couple of weeks. And it had been over 8 years(!) since I had regularly driven at all.

Thankfully I had a manual to drive, as I have only ever driven an automatic on rare occasions (and usually find my foot searching for the clutch interminably). Having the stick on my right side as opposed to my left wasn't too bad; up-shifting wasn't a problem, but I discovered when approaching a corner my left hand would ram into the car door as it went looking for the gear stick that wasn't there, much to Saunter's amusement. I only switched on the windscreen wipers once instead of my turn signals, so that was a win. But do not worry, Drivers of America. You are safe.

For now.

4 Comments:

  • Hmmmmmm cheese curds.

    Now for REAL cheese curds, I suggest coming to Minnesota during the Minnesota State Fair.

    But, the trip many require running back to DC to burn off all the calories.

    By Blogger Drizztdj, at 12:37 PM  

  • Fresh cheese curds are reeeeel goooot.

    By Blogger Fuel55, at 3:41 PM  

  • seriously??? you've never had a smores before??

    By Blogger Heather, at 4:25 PM  

  • Yeah, it's probably best you stay off the beltway. They would destroy you. I'm surprised I'm still alive myself after living in the DC area for four years.

    By Blogger Matt Silverthorn, at 11:01 AM  

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