The Time, The Place & The Person

>> Thursday, July 20, 2006

I've been in the States now for almost 10 years. I first started out going to school in Rhode Island, and for my graduate in Pennsylvnia, found a job and stayed with it for the past 5 years. My employer was kind enough to sponsor me for a working visa, and we have been working sparsely together to get me to the way of a proper green card.

Along the way, I have my doubts of whether I really want to be an US citizen. I always thought Americans are pompous and in some ways naive and selfish, also I grew upset with a government that made decisions based on lobbyist contributions, which to me it does not differ far from corruptions. But then, what country would allow me to be the person I want to be? What neighborhood would give me the space that grants me peace and privacy? I long for Hong Kong where my friends are, where things are modern and exciting, but then my family is there and the limited space I can own would drive me insane. Should I go to France, where my estranged father and his family are, learning back my now forgotten French so I can roam in complete isolation? I've been to Canada a few times and it is a very nuturing environment where everybody seems so much nicer, but is it just because I was a tourist? Can I really pay 50% tax in exchange of a better quality of life? Should I even consider Argentina, where my prospect of a love life may one day returns and resides? And I thought I already have experienced all the culture shock one person should endured for a lifetime. Although I claimed to have a talent in learning languages, I doubt that I have the patience for a developing country. Am I too old to start anew?

I went to my immigration lawyer yesterday with my boss to discuss my application for a green card. My ex-lawyer wasn't responsive enough, she has been dragging me along for years beating around the bushes, not returning e-mails or phone calls. She likes to see herself as an extremely important and unavailable person. She get her stuff done, but on her own schedule and she certainly don't have time for me. But then I'm not her boyfriend, so I hired somebody else. My immigration lawyer now was recommended by my other lawyer friends. My friends gave me a list of 12 reliable lawyers, his name was on top of the list. "He's good, but it comes with a high price tag." They warned me. My company is paying for it, so I didn't care. This guy updates me every single week, reliable guy really, experienced and know every single law changes within the week of the change. I don't think I can get anyone better than him. The drawback? When we meet he only looks at my boss, seldom address me directly. Maybe because my boss is paying him so he think my boss is his client instead of me, maybe he's a racist. But if he gets me a green card, he's my best pal.

First, I need to get a labor certification which takes 4 months to get ready and, on average, 3 months to process. Then, we can proceed to a petition and a green card application, which takes 6 to 12 months to process. So we're talking about 19 months in total. I asked him whether I can change jobs and how long I have to stay with the same organization. He told me if I get a similar position then the application won't be affected and he also says the employer is acting in good faith to get me the green card, so although it is not legally binding, it'll be nice if I at least stay for a year. I did ask him right in front of my boss though. They are not good questions to ask, but I did because I need to know these things. I don't have much loyalty with this organization, sure they are nice enough to me, but there's too much stuff going on that I can't agree with and it's my belief that I will have a better future or at least compensation, if I go elsewhere. But for the next 19 months, I will endure. I'm not saying that I will stay here, at least not this city. But then I have made so many acquiantances here, it will be hard if I left and have to rebuild my social circles again.

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