Coming to America

Brewery Downtown Indy

It’s been over six months since I last wrote on this blog. The longer I delayed, the more I felt like I had to wait until I was able to sit down and write a whole series of posts about the past few months.

Let’s be honest—that was never going to happen. You know it, I know it, time to move on.

Last time I wrote it was from Newcastle, NSW; today it’s from Jacksonville, FL. Obviously at least one thing has happened: I got on a plane.

A second: Jared got his green card.

So, a brief(ish) summary on how that went:

For two weeks in April, Jared thought he had a stomach bug that was, in fact, appendicitis. For two weeks! He thought it was a stomach bug! By the time he went to the emergency room, shaking from fever, none of the doctors could believe it was appendicitis because it had been so long.

Ironically, this happened on the day of his visa medical, which was postponed because he was admitted to hospital and put on a drip for five days. The infection was so intense that the surgeon decided to wait until late July for the appendectomy.

In the meantime, Jared passed the visa medical and his rescheduled visa interview. He reported that both were pretty straightforward; the most notable part of the interview was that actress Rose Byrne and cricketer Glenn McGrath were also in the visa office.

Appendix came out, all at no cost—definitely missing the Australian healthcare system but that is a long, frustrating story for another day— and we booked our flights to Florida via Hawaii.

Sunset Beach
Maybe we should have just stayed in Hawaii, where I did not feel compelled to make decisions.

After five days on the North Shore, sneaking out as Hurricane Lane barrelled towards the islands, we flew to Florida. My mom picked us up at the Orlando airport for the two-hour drive to Jacksonville.

“I saw an alligator on the way here,” she told me.

“No you didn’t,” I said.

“I did, on the side of the highway. It reared up on its tail and waved its front arms.”

“That didn’t happen,” I said.

“It happened.”

Eventually I accepted that she wasn’t making it up, and that I definitely was not prepared for life in Florida. Not that there was time to settle in; a couple of days later we went off on a road trip.

South Carolina oak tree
South Carolina’s Angel Oak, where we saw a couple get engaged. It was awkward.

We were away for a month, stopping in Nashville, Indy, Chicago, D.C., and the Carolinas. We managed to skirt the edge of Hurricane Florence and got back to Jacksonville in late September.

Since then, I’ve been at a bit of a loss. Here’s how I seem to spend most of my free time:

  • Squinting at the ingredient list of products in the grocery store, mumbling “What does that word even mean?” and “Why is there sugar in that?”
  • Shouting at people on Wheel of Fortune for wasting their money on vowels
  • In a state of bewilderment about why Florida drivers are so aggressive
  • Burrowing down the rabbit hole while eating Triscuits and pepperjack cheese

We recently began watching Stranger Things, but that’s on hiatus after Jared emerged from the bathroom in the dark and unintentionally scared the crap out of me (“AAUUGH! YOU LOOKED LIKE THAT THING THAT TOOK THE BOY”).

I can’t say we’ve been exploring Jacksonville, because that would be a lie. Jared and I walk laps around the condo complex, occasionally venturing through the gate to the neighbouring Wal-Mart, or, if we’re feeling especially ambitious, the Target down the street.

Jacksonville Florida beach
Sometimes we even go to the beach.

There’s something paralyzing about starting from scratch, not knowing what your future holds, yet simultaneously being fully aware that you’re the only ones who can figure it out.

We keep coming back to the same locations: Colorado, California, and the Pacific Northwest. But it’s a chicken-and-egg scenario—which comes first, the location or a job?

One thing we have figured out: we aren’t going to live in Florida forever, so we should make the most of it. Next week we’re going to Cuba, which is part ‘always wanted to go to Cuba’ and part ‘remove ourselves from the nest of indecision we’ve built.’

But if we come back from Cuba and still can’t figure things out, there is a backup plan. I don’t want to give too much away, but it involves a very large map of the United States and a set of darts.

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  1. Hiiii! *waves from NorCal*
    I would say, settle where you feel most comfortable and the jobs will happen. I moved from SoCal to NorCal with no job and it has worked out for the most part. Don’t get hung up too much on the job, as long as you like where you live, everything will be fine:-).

    Good luck!!

    1. Thanks! I have a friend in Sacramento who’s been selling Northern CA pretty hard – we’re looking at San Luis Obispo (so…technically central CA I guess). It’s so hard to choose, there are so many good options!

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