As scary as moving country is, it’s also the most exhilarating decision I’ve ever made. I started working straight after college (lucky, I know) and apart from one amazing, eye-opening summer in Barcelona, I’ve never lived anywhere but Ireland. While all my friends were off on J1s or backpacking in Asia, I was sitting in rainy Dublin typing furiously, trying not to miss them too much. Don’t get me wrong, I have no regrets about getting a head start on my career, but travelling is something everyone my age does so I’m relieved that my time has finally come. The following reasons (some serious, most so ridiculous I should be embarrassed to even mention them) are why I’m so psyched to be moving to America.
- I get to quit my job. Yes, I’ve loved it for five years, but I’m also chomping at the bit for a change.
- Arizona sounds amazing. As I’ve previously mentioned, it’s hot, everyone has pools, the neighbouring states are brilliant and I’m looking forward to trying out a new, and very different, lifestyle. One that involves drive in movies and swimming, preferably.
- The telly. American TV, with its ridiculous local news shows, brand new sitcoms, terrifying ads and infinite number of channels is one of the reasons I went back to Vegas a second time. I’m not even joking about that.
- Getting down with the lingo. I’m gonna fill up on arugula, cilantro and zucchini while riding the elevator to my condo. You get the idea.
- Have I mentioned the weather and the fact it NEVER rains in Arizona?
- Travelling at weekends. We’ve decided that the only way to really make the most of this move is to see and do everything. I’ll consider myself a failure if I don’t get my picture taken with the world’s biggest ball of string before the three years are out. I really will.
- The fast food outlets. The scary reality is that I’ve already Googled the addresses of In N Out, Taco Bell, IHOP, Krispy Kreme and so many more delicious, fatty and terrifyingly cheap restaurants. Please don’t judge me.
- Meeting American people. As tourists in Dublin they wreck my head with their lumbering around and constant bellowing in Temple Bar, and in Vegas they’re always drunk, so I’m excited about meeting, getting to know and hopefully making friends with some Yanks, as my nana would so affectionately call them.
- The supermarkets and pharmacies. Target, Walmart, Walgreens – they’re so big, with so many aisles and so many quick fix solutions. I want loyalty cards for them all.
Of course, for every reason I’m excited to move there are two that could tempt me to stay. Still, musn’t let fear stand in my way, eh?
For the first 18 months of the American assignment we will be living in or around Phoenix, Arizona. I’ve been to America a few times (New York when I was 20, Las Vegas two years ago and again in April of this year) but I’ve never stayed for longer than two weeks. Hence, I’m excited. Knowing nothing about Phoenix (apart from the fact Bella is from there), I turned to my dear friend Wiki and made some exciting discoveries:
- Phoenix is hot. In fact, along with Baghdad, it’s one of the hottest inhabited places in the world. It’s dry, deserty and dusty, and the average summer temperature is around 40C. Scorchio, scorchio, scorchio.
- Most condos in Phoenix have community pools. See above.
- Arizona has some fun border states, namely California (LA! Beach!), Nevada (Vegas!), Utah (mormons!), New Mexico (don’t know anything about it, sorry) and Mexico (MEXICO!).
- Everyone drives over there. This is not a problem for most 28-year-olds but I learned to drive six years ago and promptly forgot everything immediately. I’m back behind the wheel now but I only have a Learner Permit and I don’t think I’ll be close to passing my test by October. This worries me. Eoin maintains there are no footpaths or public transport in Phoenix. Will I be house bound?
- It’s cheap. I’ve looked at some condos online (how could I not?) and rent seems to be about half what we’re paying for our one bed in Stoneybatter. Petrol, I mean, gas, is waaaay cheaper too. This pleases me muchly.
- The state of Arizona has the death penalty.
And that’s the extent of what I know about Arizona. The Massive Multinational Company That Cannot Be Named where Eoin will be working is actually in Chandler, around 30 minutes outside Phoenix. We might be living there, or in two other nearby cities, Mesa or Tempe. It really doesn’t make any difference to me, I just can’t wait to find out for sure.
First, a little background info. I’m Sarah, I live in Dublin with my boyfriend Eoin and I work on a magazine. About six weeks ago Eoin, who is an engineer at The Massive Multinational Company That Cannot Be Named, which produces something nerdy to do with computers, was offered a two and a half year assignment in America. We talked about it (a lot) and decided it was an amazing opportunity, one that he couldn’t turn down, and that I would go with him. To be honest, I did most of the talking. Like, who wouldn’t want to live stateside for a couple of years? The price of magazine subscriptions over there is enough to make me sprint to the airport.
The Massive Multinational Company That Cannot Be Named is a sound company and once we could prove that Eoin and I been living together for over a year, I was officially classed as his significant other in their (probably bespectacled) eyes. As a SO, The Massive Multinational Company That Cannot Be Named will ship me off to America with him and organise a visa allowing me to stay there for the duration of his assignment. Like I said, sound.
The only problem is the visa (it’s called B1 or B2 or something) won’t allow me to work in the States; I’ll technically be a tourist, or a kept woman, as I like to put it. That’s the scary part. While this move is great for Eoin’s career, it means me giving up my job. A year ago I wouldn’t have dreamt of it but lately, well, it’s lost its lustre a bit and I’d been thinking of making a move for the past six months. So when you look at it, this America opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time.
Obviously we have loads to do (starting with this week’s job, some paperwork) as the preliminary start date for the assignment is the beginning of October. That’s only about 12 weeks away. Oh look, I’ve just pissed my pants out of sheer terror.