Life changing moments happen every day. It might be something you see that stays with you directly or something you learn that unconsciously affects how you behave in the future. Either way, every day is full of insignificant happenings that alter your life without you ever realizing.
Sometimes, however, there are moments that you can see for what they are - a single point that will alter the course of your life significantly, be it for better or be it for worse. For my family, three words spoken by an employee of the US Consulate in London gave us such a moment. He signed off our application for permanent residency in the USA with the words "Welcome to America".
So, off we are to go to the New World to see what Life and Fortune may bring us. There just remains the small detail of weeding out the lifetime of unnecessary collection, picking the best of our goods and chattels and transporting them and us to the other side of the world. Only then will I have made the step from the European Aerospace industry to the American one.
Now, let me just say that I am British. I was educated in the UK and have an Aerospace Engineering degree from British university. I have English, Welsh, Irish and Scotts blood in me. I am proud to be British and am grateful for what these countries have formed me to be. I am not one that has ever looked at the USA with longing eyes and I have never, ever felt as if I was missing out for not being there. And yet, here I am picking up my family's life and transporting it three and a half thousand miles.
The history of the piece is this: just over four years ago I was given the opportunity to work independently with an American Consultancy that was in turn representing an American Aerospace manufacturer. I worked in a French factory of a supplier to the American Aerospace manufacturer and as far as the French Supplier was concerned I WAS the American Aerospace manufacturer. After two years in this role, with everybody still happy, an opportunity arose in the US with the Consultancy. My wife and I discussed it and we decided to go ahead. Our son arrived after the decision was made and so didn't get a vote. We engaged a lawyer to get the ball rolling and two and a half years later, here we are.
As the full force of the global downturn started in earnest and the first year of waiting came to a close, my American colleagues remained baffled as to why I would move into a downward employment market. Truth is, when I started the process the employment market was very different. As the ball rolled ponderously on through the process I watched the contraction of all of those companies with whom I'd like to work. There have been some very big numbers in those redundancy figures.
The thing is that it has been, and in some places continues to be, a Global recession. UK and European companies have been hit hard as well as American ones. In relocating am not choosing sides or claiming one country as being in a better state than another. I am, however, flexible in what I do and I believe in making and maximising my opportunities. I have always thought that the European Aerospace industry was a great and interesting place to be, but have happily opened the door to working in the USA.
So I am excited, nervous, curious, frustrated, exhausted, sad to leave my extended family and thrilled to soon be discovering a new way of life. At least living in France taught us to drive on the right.
I will let you know how I get on. For now, if you will excuse me, there's more packing to do.