Yesterday was Green Card Day. That is to say that after a year and a half since I began the process of immigrating to the USA I received my official permit to reside here. It had been left on the doorstep in a red, white and blue Special Delivery envelope. The postal workers are always in a rush around here, irrespective it seems of the kind of mail they are delivering.
I suppose it’s a big deal getting my Green Card, but I’m suffering with Delayed Reaction Syndrome (my own term). It happens to me a lot. I think I’ve become so used to change and general upheaval in my life that it often takes me a while to react. I’ve become so adept at adjusting to new circumstances that I automatically suppress feelings of surprise or excitement, or indeed shock.
Saying that, getting my Visa approved last July, then actually leaving the UK was a huge deal for me because I had to say goodbye to my kids. It seemed very final at the time.
So many major things have happened to me in such a short time if I think about it, that in lots of ways this Green Card is representative of that. A mixed bag of towering highs, and the steepest lows that have charted my journey over the past couple of years, that I suppose it’s no real surprise I feel sort of inert about it. It means of course that now I can apply for the all important Social Security Number so that I can get a bank account, health insurance, a driver’s licence, although driving is not on my list of priorities at the moment, the drivers here in Maryland are certifiable lunatics! My husband is a good driver and happy to drive, and failing that, there are taxis, buses and trains, all with drivers far more experienced than I! Besides, I still haven’t wrapped my head around the direction of the traffic here yet, living in Germany years ago then the UK again kind of broke my sense of commuter-orientation. It hasn’t been right since.
Though I doubt I will ever apply for full citizenship, I am to all intents and purposes an American now. I won’t be able to vote, but I’m quite glad in some ways that I have been spared that cross!