Just over thirteen years ago, at the end of January 1999, I arrived in the US on an H1B visa to start working for Microsoft, after almost 5 years working for DEC/Digital.

On Monday, February 1st, 1999 I entered Microsoft's building 1 and saw my first SQL Server source code (it was the code for BULK INSERT).

Microsoft, in its amazing generosity, paid the roughly $15k legal fees to get me a green card, and I became a Permanent Resident of the United States on February 15th, 2002.

I repaid that generosity with another five and a half years of dedication to Microsoft and the SQL Server team, leaving on August 31st, 2007 to run SQLskills.com with Kimberly, and seeing my last SQL Server source code (I read through some CHECKDB code :-) that day.

A green card is valid for ten and a half years, so by mid-August this year I would have had to renew it, give it up and return to the UK, or naturalize. I chose to naturalize, kicking off the process with my N-400 application in January this year.

I'm very proud to say that yesterday I took the Oath of Allegiance and became a naturalized citizen of the United States. This country has been incredibly good to me and my family, and I'm extremely happy to be an official citizen now. I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be.

The first thing I did was register to vote and I'm looking forward to participating in the US democratic processes.

And the first meal I ate after becoming a US citizen was a good, hearty plate of haggis :-)

Finally, thanks to all of you who make SQLskills.com, and the life we lead, possible. We appreciate you all more than you know.