Where has Billy been?

Where has Billy been?

Not quite Where’s Wally (Waldo) but it has been a couple of months since I posted something here on the blog. A lot has happened and a lot more is about to happen. When I think back just 2 and a half short years and I was just arriving in Atlanta and how much has changed. Do I still call myself a ‘recent immigrant’? Well yes I do because after 2 and a half years I am still learning things but boy have I learnt to be more vocal in things. I enjoy being able to express myself but you still won’t catch me ordering through a drive through! Actually ordering in restaurants is still the one thing that is still difficult and it normally involves pointing to what I want or Leanne doing a quick translation. It’s the accent not the language!

But anyway lets do a quick news update to catch everyone up on what has been happening in our lives over here. So much has happened its hard to know where to start so in no particular order of importance….

  • We are in the final process with USCIS in relation to immigration
  • Our final approval came in to allow us be foster parents
  • Work is work, like best way to eat an elephant…one bite at a time or not at all. Decisions to be made!
  • Have heard of way to many people back home passing away 😦

So lets tackle each of those one by one. We started the visa process in April 2015 when we applied for our K1 visa. Once that was approved we got married and then had to apply for Adjustment of Status, allowing me to work, get a 2 year Green Card and generally move on. Well the final part of the process is to Remove the Conditions from our original visa and adjustment phase. This is another phase that will take a year to 15 months but unlike the original application in 2015, we are together and not waiting so we can move on with getting married. Of course after this I have the option of applying for US citizenship and that’s a decision for another day.

Foster parents, even the phrase scares me slightly but we started the process last October and a few weeks ago we completed it when the State of Georgia approved us and our home as good candidates to foster 2, yes that’s a 2, children. We have requested between 0-5 years old and are open to a sibling pair. The process takes a while and some of it is absolutely brain numbing but it has to be done. Of course we are experts in paperwork these days so I think we shocked the foster agency by having paperwork back to them nearly immediately but it’s what we do. Our home is ready for whatever comes our way, we are ready to and even though I go into this with some fear, I am going into it with the one person in the world I would want to, Leanne. So here is to the future and having a family together, in some form or another.

Now onto work, the one thing I really have difficulty with here in the US, besides ordering food, is a near complete lack of respect for employees, the expertise they bring to the role and some people who are in roles they should not be in but because they work there the longest they get promoted! The job I am in is fantastic, like the actual role is ideal for me, I get to wear a suit, be at a desk, meet people and interact with them all through my shift but some of the external pressures from what should be considered ‘management’ are mystifying. But a decision will be made soon and I will be looking at all options for more career development which I have to say here in the US, if you can get passed the automatic web based filters, you will get a chance.

I am not going to end on a sad note but it would be amiss of me if I didn’t mention some people who were close to my family back home who have passed away recently. 2 were within a few days of each other and were friends of my parents for over 60 years and I had known them all my life. So to Pat Byrne and Tony Roe, Rest in Peace, to their families, our sympathies. Back in February, a friend of mine passed away, quite suddenly and he was not even a year younger than me. We were close friends for a long time, playing football together and generally hanging out. He got the one job I would have loved, a train driver! But when I awoke one morning, I seen a message that he had suddenly passed away, I was in total shock. One of the nicest guys you could meet and even after his passing his friends continued with an event he had planned to celebrate his 50th birthday and all proceeds went to a charity he had already picked. So Rest in Peace Barry Prout and know you are missed everyday by everyone whose live you touched in your short time with us all. Probably the hardest thing about being away from home is not being able to attend the funerals or offer in person support but I hope they know we are thinking of them, their families and friends.

I will wrap up now and try finish on a lighter note. We are looking forward to being foster parents and hopefully moving on to be adoptive parents in the near future. Life is good and it just keeps getting better. A long way from 2014 when I didn’t know what the future really held as I finished college and was working in Dublin Airport. Well here I am now, a content Irishman living in Atlanta, Georgia.

Be back soon…I hope!

Advertisements

Where has Billy been?

Where has Billy been?

Not quite Where’s Wally (Waldo) but it has been a couple of months since I posted something here on the blog. A lot has happened and a lot more is about to happen. When I think back just 2 and a half short years and I was just arriving in Atlanta and how much has changed. Do I still call myself a ‘recent immigrant’? Well yes I do because after 2 and a half years I am still learning things but boy have I learnt to be more vocal in things. I enjoy being able to express myself but you still wont catch me ordering through a drive through! Actually ordering in restaurants is still the one thing that is still difficult and it normally involves pointing to what I want or Leanne doing a quick translation. It’s the accent not the language!

But anyway lets do a quick news update to catch everyone up on what has been happening in our lives over here. So much has happened its hard to know where to start so in no particular order of importance….

  • We are in the final process with USCIS in relation to immigration
  • Our final approval came in to allow us be foster parents
  • Work is work, like best way to eat an elephant…one bite at a time or not at all. Decisions to be made!
  • Have heard of way to many people back home passing away 😦

So lets tackle each of those one by one. We started the visa process in April 2015 when we applied for our K1 visa. Once that was approved we got married and then had to apply for Adjustment of Status, allowing me to work, get a 2 year Green Card and generally move on. Well the final part of the process is to Remove the Conditions from our original visa and adjustment phase. This is another phase that will take a year to 15 months but unlike the original application in 2015, we are together and not waiting so we can move on with getting married. Of course after this I have the option of applying for US citizenship and that’s a decision for another day.

Foster parents, even the phrase scares me slightly but we started the process last October and a few weeks ago we completed it when the State of Georgia approved us and our home as good candidates to foster 2, yes that’s a 2, children. We have requested between 0-5 years old and are open to a sibling pair. The process takes a while and some of it in absolutely brain numbing but it has to be done. Of course we are experts in paperwork these days so I think we shocked the foster agency by having paperwork back to them nearly immediately but it’s what we do. Our home is ready for whatever comes our way, we are ready to and even though I go into this with some fear, I am going into it with the one person in the world I would want to, Leanne. So here is to the future and having a family together, in some form or another.

Now onto work, the one thing I really have difficulty with it here in the US, besides ordering food, is a near complete lack of respect for employees, the expertise they bring to the role and some people who are in roles they should not be in but because they work there the longest they get promoted! The job I am in is fantastic, like the actual role. I get to wear a suit, be at a desk, meet people and interact with them all through my shift but some of the external pressures from what should be considered ‘management’ are mystifying. But a decision will be made soon and I will be looking at all options for more career development which I have to say here in the US, if you can get passed the automatic web based filters, you will get a chance.

I am not going to end on a sad note but It be amiss of me if I didn’t mention some people who were close to my family back home who have passed away recently. 2 were within a few days of each other and were friends of my parents for over 60 years and I had known them all my life. So to Pat Byrne and Tony Roe, Rest in Peace, to their families , our sympathies. Back in February, a friend of mine passed away , quite suddenly and he was not even a year younger than me. We were close friends for a long time, playing football together and generally hanging out. He got the one job I would have loved, a train driver! But when I awoke one morning, I seen a message that he had suddenly passed away, I was in total shock. One of the nicest guys you could meet and even after his passing his friends continued with an event he had planned to celebrate his 50th birthday and all proceeds went to a charity he had already picked. So Rest in Peace Barry Prout and know you are missed everyday by everyone whose live you touched in your short time with us all. Probably the hardest thing about being away from home is not being able to attend the funerals or offer in person support but I hope they know we are thinking of them, their families and friends.

I will wrap up now and try finish on a lighter note. We are looking forward to being foster parents and hopefully moving on to be adoptive parents in the near future. Life is good and it just keeps getting better. A long way from 2014 when I didn’t know what the future really held as I finished college and was working in Dublin Airport. Well here I am now, a content Irishman living in Atlanta, Georgia.

Be back soon…I hope!

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.