Meet Edward, who learned to love the USA during a 2 week visit at his parents in North Carolina and read why some people think he’s from the south pole.
How long have you been living in the United States?
Permanently since 2008 but in and out since the early 90′s.
Why did you decide to move to the United States?
My father’s business was affected in the 9/11 attacks. Because of that he had to move across to the USA to rebuild the business; which was scheduled to be a two-year process. My mother moved over with him. My sister and I decided to stay in the UK and finish our education.
My father moved the company headquarters out of New York down to Charlotte, NC. Meanwhile I went to New Zealand to play Rugby. I was taking the long way back to the UK via Charlotte to visit them for a couple of weeks and just fell in love with the Carolinas. My parents have been here now 11 years and are US Citizens!
How did you get your visa/greencard?
Through my father’s company, in the wake of 9/11 everyone was very much on edge. Going through the process was quicker due to the amount of Americans my father employs and due to the situation that he had to immigrate to the USA. It took us just 2 weeks to receive our green cards after we had completed the screening. I’m currently in the process of getting my citizenship.
What was the most difficult part of your immigration?
The containers of belongings from the UK. My goodness. One forty footer and one twenty footer.
Because the way everything worked out, my father had to be in the USA with immediate effect. That pretty much left my mother to pack up the house in the UK. I was able to come down for a weekend to help but it was pretty much all her. She pretty much packed the house. Got on a plane and then unpacked an entire house on the other side.
You’ve been living here for a while. What do you like the most?
Honestly the lifestyle, the way I live here, I could never live like that in the UK. I love that I can be on the beach in the summer and skiing in the winter and it’s all in the same state. Honestly though it’s the cost of living that makes it such a great place to reside. It’s cheap; the people are so friendly and helpful. Everywhere you go people smile. Ask how your day is going. I love that.
Is there anything that you miss from home?
The first two years everything. I missed the food. I still haven’t found a place that does fish and chips like my local chippy back home! I missed watching live sports in the middle of the day instead of the middle of the night! I missed walking to my local pub and having a pint.
Over the years though I have managed to almost substitute or find a pretty close match to all of the food I miss. Now and again I have to call in a mail order to the family back in the UK for something special around Christmas.
But really, when you weigh it up, you look at what the USA can offer you, it’s worth missing the shrimp flavored potato chips, the branston pickle and a proper sized pint of beer for this!
Looking back at your migration to the US, would you have done anything differently?
There is not much that I would have done differently. But there is something that would have made a huge difference. A place of information that would show you where to get things to help the transition. Yes, I speak English as my first language, but in the south of the USA, people don’t speak English. I still get strange looks when I ask for something around the office or at a grocery store. I still get people talking to me for 10 minutes and only understanding the 10th–15th word.
Something that would tell me, that I can get a real duvet at ikea or that you can find Hot Cross Buns at this bakery in Charlotte. Something like that would have made the transition a thousand times easier.
What is one piece of advice that you would like to give other immigrants?
Research, when you come, make sure that you bring every last document that you have ever signed with you. One thing Americans love is paperwork, everything has a form for everything. Talk to the banks before you come to work out what you need to setup an account. How to move your credit score or to prove that you even have credit. Talk to the car dealerships before you come to find out what paperwork you need before you arrive. Look up your state Department of Motor Vehicle’s to work out what forms you need and what types of ID they need before you come.
Oh and lastly, every single time you open your mouth expect “oh my God where are you from?”. It’s fun the first ten to forty times but after that it becomes rather tedious. Brush it off, smile and have some fun with it. There’re quite a few grocery store clerks that think I’m from the south pole!
Were you able to move your credit history from the UK to USA? Was your driving history credited for by your new insurance provider?
No, I was not able to move it but I was able to get the banks to talk to each other. HSBC has banks in the UK and the USA. That was the easiest way of being approved over here.
I had to start my driving history from scratch. The test compared to the UK though was study for an hour the night before and took it the next day. In the UK I studied for 6 months.