Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Life in a New Land - In St Louis At Last

Early Morning View from the Diner
Well, it's been a while since my last post but I'm happy to report that everything came together in the end and I made it to St Louis at the start of December. I took a couple of weeks to catch my breath and get over any jet lag and then my darling man and I finally took the next step and got married!

It was just the two of us at City Hall which, for my British readers, is nothing like a Registry Office wedding or like the wedding chapels in Las Vegas that we often see in movies & tv shows. Nope, we queued to get a licence then went to the Courthouse building next door and queued to see a judge, 5 minutes later we were officially married and heading out of the door to get some lunch!

With all the expense of visas and moving, we just wanted to 'get it done' but I wasn't prepared for the starkness of the courtroom. I didn't care though - here I was at last with my man beside me and rings on our fingers.

Since then, we made a huge roast ham for Christmas and I learned how to make candied sweets -that's sweet potatoes slow cooked with brown sugar and butter then topped with melted marshmallows before serving. Really not my thing to have any sweet stuff on the same plate as meat but apparently I nailed it and my candied sweets were pronounced to be awesome!

Scott's Mom gave me a big Betty Crocker cookbook for Christmas so I could learn about cooking with measuring cups and American style foods. It's been a godsend so far but luckily, a lot of American cooking seems to involve canned goods, packet mixes and pre-made stuff. It's very different in that respect but it is definitely easier, if not as satisfying as prepping a full meal from scratch.

I finally got my next set of forms filled in and posted so hopefully, I should have a work permit within the next 2-3 months and eventually my green card sometime after that. Banking and finances is a nightmare though - I haven't been able to open a bank account yet so I'm still using my UK cards which means sometimes they get refused for no obvious reason. Getting a money order for the visa stuff took about 3 separate trips to ATM's and the grocery store to actually get the check sorted out and 2 trips to the photo place for passport photos.

I think I must have walked about 10 miles last week just getting it all sorted - I really miss having a car here but living in the city, it's just not worth the hassle or expense. The bus & train service is great but still involves a fair bit of walking. That's not a bad thing as I need to get out of the apartment regularly but when the temperatures drop to 20F and below (-7C and below, eek!), it's a bit of a shock to my system and of course, I don't have the proper cold weather clothing sorted out yet.

I'm settling in well though - I've made a few new friends and reconnected with friends made on prior trips and I'm trying to focus on my online business too. Once I can get a proper job, things will really be so much easier all round and of course, I'll be meeting new people and hopefully widening my social circle a bit more.

In the meantime, it's business as usual with my photos, blogs and websites and looking after my lovely new husband too. It still feels a bit like a dream to be here and not have a leaving date but I'm not complaining about anything, I'm happy to be here with him at last and content in my new life in St Louis.