I’m actually still thinking about some of the questions I’ve already answered, it’s amazing what else I’ve thought about since being asked. Here are some additional points.
Some other things that surprised me about the US:
Debit cards. Back in the UK, I was so used to having people at the till hold on to my card until after I had signed the receipt. They’d take it and compare both, boring holes in both with their laser beam eyes until they were satisfied it really was me. It’s nice that it’s quicker here, but disconcerting if anyone ever stole my cards. It would take much longer to sort out the mess.
The amount of different drive-thru facilities. I had never been to a drive-thru bank until stepping on to American soil. They built some in recent years though.
An American saying:
99% of the saying are the same, including ‘raining cats and dogs’, but there was one saying that totally caught me off guard and took a while to understand: Smacking someone upside the head. I just didn’t get it. What direction was upside? we’d say ‘on the side of.’
1. LceeL asked:
Although I know that Scotland is wetter, do you find similarities between the Highlands and Montana?
The air actually smells the same as it does in Scotland, and that’s kinda cool. As for where I lived, it was in a much more built-up area with a lot of housing and buildings (The Lowlands). My older brother actually lives on the Isle of Skye in the Highlands which is part of the Hebrides (heh-breh-dees). It’s really similar, I think.
2. Jameil asked:
Are you a U.S. citizen?
No, I am a Permanent Resident, or legal alien (ha!) which means I hold a Green Card. It’s a 10-year Green Card that expires when I turn 40 (the fee to renew is $290). It took a lot of time and money to get to this point: around $3000 I think. I stopped counting. Before we were married, I was on a visitors’ visa for a year (two separate fees). When I was making preparations for our wedding, we were also filing some paperwork too, so we hired a paralegal rather than a lawyer to save stress and money, even then, she charged us $800.
After we were married, I was issued a work permit and a social security number. The work permit was only good for a year, then I had to apply for a (conditional, due to 9/11 changes) Green Card. I also had my fingerprints taken. After two years, I then had to apply for the conditions to be removed and have my fingerprints retaken (all at my expense). After almost 4 years of marriage, I got my real Green Card. I could have applied for citizenship after two years but didn’t. I picked up the paperwork for citizenship the last time I was in a USCIS office over three years ago, but never applied. It cost over $400 then to apply. It has been something I have thought about a lot, I had decided against it as I felt like I would be abandoning my family by doing so (even though I can retain my British citizenship), so I’ve never been serious about it. I actually thought about going through with it last year, but as I was about to start the process, they increased the filing fees to $595. I can’t justify or afford that now.
3. If so, when did you gain citizenship and how?
After you file and pay the fee, you are interviewed and go through a series of questions to determine how much you know about US history and government. It is not multiple answer – argh! They also determine how well you can speak and read English. After that, you have to go to a court house and get sworn in by a judge on an alloted day.
4. How do you feel about the immigration debate?
As you can imagine, I have very strong feelings on this subject. I am flabbergasted by the amount of illegal immigrants who are gainfully employed (under the table) when so many others do it the legal way and feel almost punished for doing so. The process is not easy, and definitely not cheap, but it doesn’t make it right to come here essentially breaking the law and expect to stay because of longevity or family ties. I wish there was an easy remedy to the situation, but amnesty is definitely not the answer. It makes a mockery of those who have done so properly and through the right channels.
When I first arrived in California, no one would hire me because I didn’t possess a social security card, yet there were many around me who were being paid (tax-free too) by unethical companies. It’s a touchy but important subject for me.
5. Can you vote? Do you want to?
The only right I am not entitled to as a Permanent Resident is the right to vote. After being here through two other general elections, this is the first one where I would actually like the right to vote. It’s sad that more people don’t. I took the online survey to match me with a candidate. I answered as honestly as I could, and was matched 86% with Mitt Romney. Ironically, I liked his stand on immigration the most.
6. Who do you like in the current election?
I may step on some toes, but I can’t vote, right?
Hillary Clinton, I feel, has already been the President, because we all know who wears the pants in that family.
Barack Obama: Great public speaker, visionary and motivator. I haven’t really followed his policies enough to make an informed opinion though.
Ralph Nader: Was he in a coma or something? What a numpty.
John McCain: He just seems too old to me. Plus, I have watched quite a few pieces on him which have highlighted him flip-flopping, specifically within 8 minutes of saying something else. I don’t know if I trust him.
Mike Huckabee: His last name–it’s not very presidential, is it? When he talks I see Jimmy Stewart and can’t get past that.
7. Do you want more children?
Yes. When I was 21, I wanted four kids. I didn’t get married until I was 26-and-a-half and it took 2 years to conceive Ian, so I feel like I am really behind schedule, so-to-speak. When I was in labour with Cameron, I waited until I was dilated to a 7 till I asked for the epidural (don’t ask me why, I have no idea), thanks to that, it didn’t work properly and numbed my left leg only. I felt e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g and had chills thinking about it for the preceding eight months. It still gives me the heebies.
8. Did you think online dating was bizarre before you did it?
Yes, I thought it was kinda crazy. Thankfully, it was a little safer when I did it eight years ago, and I made sure I talked to his mother and sisters and brother before we ever met. What’s weird is, about five years ago, Bryan and I both filled out the personality profile on eHarmony for a joke and it didn’t match us. It essentially rejected me. It got my personally about 90% right though.
9. Do you want your kids to grow up in Scotland or do you want to live here forever? Will you move back one day?
That’s kinda of a difficult question to answer because I don’t do well with things unless I have some sort of deadline or goal to reach. The thought of dying and being buried here is so foreign to me. I am dreading the day I am in the States longer than I was in Scotland (25 years). I don’t know what will happen, but I don’t see them growing up in the UK though. I wish I could have the best of both worlds. I specifically feel bad for my Mum, her other grandkids are 4 hours away too. I think she should move to the Isle of Skye when my Gran passes.
10. Maria asked:
If you could have any eye or hair color, what would you have?
I kinda like having brown hair and blue eyes because it’s different here (but so common in the UK), but if I could choose, I’d have black hair and green eyes.
I’ll answer more questions Thursday!