Got questions? Send ‘em my way

Pictured: A guy whose advice you should definitely take with a grain of salt.

Pictured: A guy whose advice you should definitely take with a grain of salt.

It’s Monday October 27, which means there’s one more week for you hopeful folks to get your entries in before the DV2016 green card lottery closes for applications.

If – somehow – you’re reading this blog yet aren’t sure what the lottery process entails, or are thinking of applying but don’t know how, fear not! I’ve got you covered with a comprehensive rundown right here.

I’ve been documenting the process, and my life as a new immigrant to the U.S., since I got to Maine last December. I’ve now been here 10 and a half months, and I feel like I’ve jumped more than a few hurdles and navigated my fair share of interesting situations in getting acclimatized to life here.

I’ve done this a couple of times since December (here and here), and the results were pretty good, so I’m going to throw open the floor to all of you, my readers, to once again ask: What in particular would you like to know?

There have been questions about the lottery process itself, questions about different elements of relocating and getting set up here, questions about lifestyle and other differences between here and Australia, and plenty more.

So I’d love to hear from you all – leave me a comment and I’ll try to answer them all!

Loved by thy neighbor

 

The Liberal Cup: Come for the beer, stay for...Vegemite?

The Liberal Cup: Come for the beer, stay for…Vegemite?

On Saturday afternoon, I went to the Liberal Cup for a beer and returned home two hours later with an enormous jar of Vegemite.

Now in case you were wondering, this isn’t a regular occurrence, even though the Cup brews its own beers in the back room and the old joke goes that Australia’s famous sandwich spread is made of the leftover yeast from the brewing process.

This one was a (mostly) unexpected happening, because it was a gift from a column reader who knew I’d appreciate it.

It’s just another twist in the surreal tale of my time here in central Maine, adjusting to a community that’s smaller than I’m used to.

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A feather in the cap

IMG_8952I got to announce some pretty cool news on the weekend; Saturday night, to be precise.

The Maine Press Association awards were held in Portland, and my barely-10-month-old column was awarded second place in the Local Columnist – Daily/Weekend category. I’d known for a few weeks but it was embargoed until the awards ceremony.

I’m not sure who won first place, but needless to say I’m pretty elated and extremely humbled by the recognition, especially seeing as how it was judged on work produced before March 31, 2014. That means it was my earliest work for the KJ that was on show, and it was good enough for second place.

I feel like I owe some thanks to my readership here too, for encouraging me along the way as I’ve fine-tuned my “voice” since moving to Maine. Thanks, y’all!

Anyway, here’s this weekend’s column. It’s about my trip to Canada two weekends ago, but it’s not based on the blog post so it’s pretty original. Enjoy!

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30 for 30: Pre-birthday beers via the internet

 

Like this, just on a webcam instead of in a bar. Yeah?

Like this, just on a webcam instead of in a bar. Yeah?

I’ve never been too big on birthdays, but being overseas permanently and away from so many of my friends and family has made them a little more sentimental for me I guess.

But there’s no two ways about it, really: I’m going to be turning 30 on American soil.

Unless I hit the lottery or end up in a job offering six weeks’ paid vacation in my first year (the lottery is a better chance), I’m just not going to have the cash or the opportunity in 2015 to get back to Australia to visit.

And while I wouldn’t expect all of my favorite people who don’t live in the same state as me to come to me, I’ve decided on a way that I can celebrate with all of you. Or some of you.

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Onwards and upwards, from Maine to Canada

 

Pretty spectacular, right?

Pretty spectacular, right?

It’s only been like five months since I wrote it, but I finally crossed another thing off my to-do list…and even then I really half-assed it.

Drive into Canada. Somewhere. Just cross the border, buy a weird bag of milk, and come home

Despite my well-documented lack of enthusiasm for long car rides, this weekend I drove literally all the way off the top end of Maine and into America’s northern neighbor.

That’s right, sports fans. This weekend, it was Crawfin’ Canada. (This is a long one, gang. But it’s a fun one. Cultural comparisons ahoy!)

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The more things change, the more they something something

Oh Augusta. Never change (I don't mind)

Oh Augusta. Never change (I don’t mind)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about change. Hey now, don’t go calling the police.

Maybe it’s sparked by the beginning of my 30th year, or knowing that there’s no longer any birthdays as a buffer between me and that milestone of adulthood.

Or perhaps it stems from the realization that the months are changing faster than I can keep up with them, the cold weather is coming and I’m approaching both the anniversary of my immigration and starting work in Maine.

Either way, it’s an unstoppable force, and it’s been on my mind. Fair warning: this is an idea I’ve been kicking around for a future column, and you’re about to be the lucky* guinea pig.

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A green card lottery primer for Aussies wanting to immigrate to the U.S.

Want one of these? You're not alone!

Want one of these? You’re not alone!

When I woke up this morning, I noticed a solid uptick in visitors to this site over the preceding 10 or so hours.

That can only mean one thing: Green card lottery season is upon us again.

Less than an hour ago (at the time of writing), at 12:00 p.m. ET on October 1, the 2016 Diversity Visa program opened its doors to the world.

I’ve always wanted this blog to act as a strong resource for Aussies in the lottery, so after the jump I’ll give you all a nice rundown of what’s what.

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Older but none the wiser

Bonnie said she wouldn't let me eat all of these on my own. IT'S MY BIRTHDAY, MAN.

Bonnie said she wouldn’t let me eat all of these on my own. IT’S MY BIRTHDAY, MAN.

My first few weeks here in Augusta were pretty surreal. With all the snow and ice, and the various processes of getting set up to live somewhere new, it was tough to get my head around the fact that this was my home now.

I remember one of the first times that that realization really sunk in. It was in the parking lot at Applebee’s, of all places, when the thought popped into my mind: “I’ll be spending my birthday here.”

Not the Applebee’s parking lot, mind you, but central Maine. And 10 months later, here we are!

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