One year old

One year old

So tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of when St Pat’s to Spartans launched and I posted my first introductory post. And what a year it has been. There have been some great highlights, some low moments and charting my way through life here in the USA after living my whole life in Ireland until Nov 2015 has been fun. 

I have tried to keep the posts lighthearted and easy to read but at the same time using the blog as a journal of what I am thinking, doing and how life is going. I think I have succeeded for the most part but at times it’s difficult to find time to put up a good post that hits all the targets I want but I keep trying. 

I hope people have enjoyed the blog and it will continue as I move on with my life here in America. Last June I started my first job, moving onto my second job in October and at the end of February I will finally start a job that I feel can be a career. The opportunity to do this new job would never have happened in Ireland as I wouldn’t have made it passed the screening process due to not having an honors degree.  

So after a 4 week process of interviews, online assessments, practical role play assessment and a final face to face interview, I received a job offer from Geico in mid January and I start training for my new role as an Auto Damage Adjuster soon. It will be 3 months training with lots of study, a tough learning curve and a whole new career to look forward to.

I have enjoyed my time at Hennessy Ford, some excellent people work here, and it gave me another opportunity to work closely with people, which helps in the assimilation into the USA. I enjoy chatting to work colleagues, learning new things about life here, and I notice I talk a lot slower now due to these interactions. So if anyone is buying a car soon, drop into Hennessy Ford on Peachtree Industrial Blvd and say hi and they will look after you. 

I will finish up this post with a little thank you. Thank you to everyone who has read the blog, liked or shared a post, or sent me comments.  Thank you to all my friends do back home in Ireland for a wonderful visit home in December and your ongoing friendship and support, to my friends here in the USA for your friendship and support, to my family for being there for my Mam when I couldn’t, to my in laws, I would be amiss if I didn’t thank you all for the wonderful support from day 1 and my final thanks has to go to my wife, Leanne. Thank you honey for supporting me in everything I do, for being my friend, partner and wife. 

Changing Jobs

Changing Jobs

After a little over 3 months working with Lanier Parking, today is my last day. It has been fun, met some lovely people, some who shouldn’t be allowed drive and some very strange people. Working has helped me settle into life here so much better than being a house husband. I can now get myself around Atlanta quite well even though I still stuck the GPS as a fall back. 

On Monday I start work with Hennessey Ford in Atlanta and I will be dealing with the layout of the new cars in the parking lot. So lots more parking to do and in some lovely nice new cars. Oh it also comes with a 25% pay rise which is great. Add in the fact that it is a Monday to Friday, 9-6 job and off every weekend and I am happy!  

That leads me nicely to my career to date, in Ireland I had 3 full time jobs in my life. I started work part time in a local pub when I was young, about 14 I think, but my first full time job was with Irish Rail, starting in Jan 1985 and remaining there till Nov 1987. I did work in my old school for a few months but that was more a work experience role rather than a full job with any prospects.  

In 1987 I joined the Irish Defence Forces and started what would become a wonderful 23 year career. It had more ups than downs so overall it was a highly enjoyable 23 years. I have been asked numerous times why I left and it is a very simple question to answer, after 23 years the enjoyment was starting to leave the role and job and it was time to move on. 

Once I took the decision to leave it was all about making a plan for the future. It was 2011 and moving to the USA was not on my radar at all. But going to college was so after a few months off I started my college courses in Sept 2011,finiahibf up in May 2014 with my Higher National Diploma in Media, equivalent to an Associate Degree here in the states. But attending college full time is expensive so I needed to get a job and a friend of mine told me to apply for a position with Airport Security. Luckily I got the job and spent 2 great years there. But my life was about to take a turn I don’t really expect. 

It was early 2014 and myself and Leanne were about to have a conversation that would change both of our lives. It was the conversation that has led me to where I am today, happily married and living in the USA. I have a few posts about that already and I am sure there will be plenty more but back to my jobs and college. The final year in college and working in the airport was a challenge, I started work at 4am, finished at 10am, and then headed to college. Some days I worked longer and college just wasn’t an option to attend then. But I got through the year, finishing my Diploma and even managing to get made full time in the airport. The pieces of the jigsaw were falling into place, except the jigsaw changed with the upcoming move to the USA. 

And now a quick jump to present day, here I am about to start my second job in the USA after just a few short months working, it feels a bit strange after so long in the Defence Forces back home but maybe that’s the way my future career will be, moving jobs, always moving upwards and not staying in one place for more than a few years, or maybe this new job is the niche I have been looking for, the company I want to work for and will stay with for the rest of my career. Who knows but whatever happens it’s another step on my journey through life in America. 

PS I will expand on my previous jobs in later posts

US Flag

US Flag

Another little thing I found out today that I wasn’t aware of, today is USA Flag Day, a day to commemorate the day the US flag came into being. An absolute brilliant idea especially as it falls between Memorial Day when a lot of people place the National flag out on graves of fallen military and Independence Day on July 4th.

I replaced the Irish flag flying outside the house for Memorial day and it will fly there till July 4th when the Irish flag will go back up until Veterans Day when I will swap them again. So what is flag day and why? Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened on June 14th in 1777.

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USA National Flag

I always knew the layout of the flag, stars and stripes and what they meant.The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 states of the United States of America, and the 13 stripes represent the thirteen British colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and became the first states in the US. I am a proud Irishman and I love the fact that here in the USA people fly their national flag with a lot of pride. This is something that has been lacking in Ireland but not because people didn’t want too but rather because of political reasons. In recent years this has calmed but it’s only on major sporting occasions or St Patrick’s Day that you will see flags outside houses in Ireland.

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Flag Day

Something completely different now to the first part of this post. I came to the USA a little over 6 months ago and due to the conditions of my immigration I was unable to work until recently. Well now I am able to work and have secured my first job in the USA.

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This is a big step in my journey here and one I am delighted I am able to take. I have also officially launched my own photography business and have received my business license for the state of Georgia and Dekalb county.  As a photographer it will be hard to break into the market but if anyone needs a fresh photographer with Irish charm, do not hesitate to get in touch via my website www.amanwithhiscamera.com.

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A Man With His Camera

Moving along nicely and reinventing myself

Moving along nicely and reinventing myself

Over the last couple of weeks I have received the paperwork required to work legally in the USA while my application for full permanent residencey is awaiting approval. I have also got permission to travel outside of the US but that card has run into a glitch but will be sorted over the coming weeks. The travel isn’t that important but it is good to have just in case I have to head home to Ireland for any emergencies.

Work though is vital. I have never been out of a job or with something to do for this long. I do manage to keep myself occupied by walking the dogs, keeping the garden tidy, sorting my website and doing research about what I hope will be my photography business going forward.

As the title of this post implies, don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself. When I think back to where I was a couple of years ago to where I am now, the change is immense. I was working shift work in Dublin Airport and didn’t really have much or time for a social life. Having a proper conversation with an adult at times was impossible as getting up for work at 2.30am doesn’t really allow for meeting up with people. In the last few months I am meeting people, having conversations and socializing a lot more. Sometimes I can be shy and not socializing a lot only makes that worse. But mixing with more people has helped me blend into my new life here.

New clothes, new hairstyle and new outlook as well as being happy in my newly married life are just some of the things that help overcome any loneliness I may feel. I would love to be starting a job soon too as I feel that would be like the icing on the cake after nearly 6 months of being in the USA.

Moving country isn’t easy but with the support of everyone, both here in the USA and back home in Ireland, I feel I am over the worst of the ‘missing home’. I have noticed recently that I don’t compare things here to things back in Ireland as much as I did when I first arrived. Ireland will always be my country of birth, will probably always be my ‘home country’ but the USA is now home, Georgia is now my home state and Decatur, outside Atlanta is now my home city.