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Finding Your Feet in the USA

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Finding Your Feet in the USA

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Naturally, there are things I miss. Like soap operas! And of course I dearly miss my friends and family, but telephones and webcams make things a lot less painful. I think American, for us, is long-term prospect.

By Karen Poole

My name is Karen Poole and I am 35 years old. I have been married to Phil for nearly 11 years and we have two children: Phillip, 8, and Katy, 5.

I set up a firm that deals in business development. It works with companies to help them relocate their staff from other locations. Therefore I look after people - like you and I - who make the big move overseas!

The emigration process was annoyingly arduous! We applied for a visa, which was permitted really quickly in the States, only to take ages to get back to England. At our interview with the embassy, which by the way was incredibly nerve-racking, they then said we needed to submit more information. It turned out that we were delayed for over a month! As you can imagine, it was pretty stressful.

I expected the differences between us and the Americans would be non-existent, but I could probably write a book with the things I uncovered. Cheque, or 'check', writing is an art form; petrol stations pump the petrol for you; you become embarrassingly familiar with instant this-and-that, all of which you promised you would never be so lazy to use when you got there. It is generally consumerism gone mad. The weather is amazing, houses are comparatively bigger, you risk your life when driving, and television adverts are longer than actual programs. It's a balancing act of good and bad.

Naturally, there are things I miss. Like soap operas! And of course I dearly miss my friends and family, but telephones and webcams make things a lot less painful. I think American, for us, is long-term prospect. As a family, we really relish the confidence the Americans exude, the positive attitude they have toward their abilities, and the sense of national pride which unites them.

The process of relocation is a lot more psychologically draining and stressful than you?ll expect. We thought we were ready for it, but I don't think you ever can be fully prepared. I occasionally look back on some of the reactions I had to circumstances, it makes me realise it took a harder toll that I had appreciated. My advice would be to ease in gently, endure survival mode for the first month, and then have a bit of a break. Just don't expect to run before you can walk. And the best of luck!

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