Living in California

After visiting California on business and vacation many times over the years, I decided I wanted to be living and working here by the time I was forty. And here I am!

I'm living with my wife, Jay, in Castro Valley, having bought a house (in 2001). I came out here in August '99 to work for IS Solutions Inc as their Software Development Manager in Redwood City but that didn't really work out so I moved to Macromedia (now Adobe) in July '00 as Director of Architecture, initially in IT and for most of the remaining years in their Web Technology Group.

What is it like?

Brits seem to love or hate America in general and California in particular. Me, I've always loved it here: the weather is lovely, the people are friendly, food is cheap and plentiful (which is true for pretty much everything here except housing!), service is excellent and the whole culture is geared toward convenience - the consumer is king.

If you want to hear about my day-to-day life, join my "weekend report" mailing list, seans-weekend, on Yahoo! Groups. [You may have to register as a Yahoo! user but don't let that put you off!]

Seeing it for yourself

Timeline

September   My voter registration card turned up! Done!!
June 9 My American passport turned up! Yay!
May 10 Took the oath and pledge - I am an American citizen!
April   My second citizenship interview :(
January   My citizenship interview!
^2005   2004v
September 13 I finally got my Green Card!! Three years and three months from the original conditional approval date and only four months after they removed my conditional status and said it would be another six months (see May 17th below). Now just my civics exam and the pledge... hurry up INS! :)
July 22 FBI fingerprinting for citizenship...
May 17 The INS removed my 'conditional' status so I had to go back into the INS office to give them three photos and some additional information. They'll mail me a new Green Card in about six months (yeah, right!). I also got my passport stamped... again! Another one year extension on the temporary I-551. In the background, I've also completed my N-400 for my citizenship. That might take less time than my Green Card! Better start boning up on my civics knowledge!
^2004   2003v
    2003 was a very quiet year for me and the INS. I got my passport stamped again - another one year extension to my temporary I-551.
^2003   2002v
May   After many visits to the INS, they finally say everything is sorted out. And one day I get a letter saying "Welcome, your Green Card will arrive soon Mr Corfied!". Yes, they've still got my name wrong. Argh!
^2002   2001v
December 30 Arrive home after two weeks in England (and another wedding!) and suffered only a minor delay at immigration. I wonder when (if?) I'll get my new Green Card?
October 25 My Green Card finally arrived! Yippee! Except that they spelled my name wrong. Boo! And somehow, I managed to lose it within a week. Argh! And then discovered that the INS have my records mixed up with some Mexican guy. Arrgggh! So I'm now waiting for them to contact me to explain what is going on. [time passes] I went in again and they are still waiting for files but stamped my paperwork so I shouldn't be delayed too much when we come back into the country after visiting my family & friends at xmas!
August 18 Moved the cats and furniture to the new house. We got the keys on the 9th but needed to cat-proof it (fit new screens etc).
July 9 Opened escrow on a house in Castro Valley - you can see some pictures here. We started looking on the 5th, found what we wanted on the 7th (my birthday!) and made the offer on the 9th - surgical house-hunting!
May 21 Green Card interview - it went very well and I was approved for my Green Card!
April 4 Nearly nine months later and it's time to go and get fingerprinted for the FBI background check. Oh, and Macromedia just gets better and better... as does married life!
^2001   2000v
December 22 The big family wedding... We'll have to do it again in England for my family and friends at some point!
July 17 Went and queued up at the INS office for two hours(!) until they took my picture and gave me a work permit! Then I walked down to Macromedia (now Adobe)) and started my new job. So far, it's great!
June 29 Passed my DMV driver test then took off for Denver for a week's vacation with mom & dad. We also submitted the Green Card and work permit applications before we left. When we got back, my driver license was waiting in the post!
  28 My last day at IS Solutions!
  22 Accepted Macromedia's offer to become "Director of Architecture". I start on July 17th.
  15 My 'famous' brass bed finally arrived from England!!
May 31 Jay visited an immigration attorney to start the ball rolling on my Green Card application.
  22 Resigned from IS Solutions Inc.
  20 Jay & I decided to run to Reno! We called up Anet & Sean and Dagny & Sean (and their dog!) for a day trip to Reno to get lawfully wed.
  1 Joined the US payroll for ISS Inc.
April 28 Completed the sale of my house in the UK. Now I need to sort out a mortgage here so we can buy a house... So far, not much joy on credit but American Express finally came good and transferred my UK account to the US - hurrah!
  20 Applied for SSN - got it by phone on Apr 24 and the card arrived a few days later.
  18 Back home in Oakland with an E-2 visa! Yippee!
  4 Back in the UK: to get the E-2 visa sorted out once and for all!
January 28 Bought a sensible car!
  24 Another delay: I can't get the visa while I'm in America! *groan*
  6 Back in the US: a delay on my visa means I'm here on an I-94 again!
^2000   1999v
December 22 Our commitment ceremony on top of Glastonbury Tor.
  18 Visited the UK for xmas with my folks.
  6 I joined the UK payroll for ISS plc.
November 25 Thanksgiving in Phoenix with Jay's family. They're a great bunch of folks!
September 21 I proposed while we were watching "Dharma & Greg"... Jay accepted!
August 28 Moved to Oakland, CA to work for IS Solutions.
  8 Returned to England to sort out work in California.
  1 Jay & I had our first official date: "The Blair Witch Project" with what has become our regular Sunday Soiree crowd. After the movie and dinner (which I paid for, making it an official 'date'), Jay invited me back to see her beautiful Bengals. And the rest, as they say, is history!