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.
40 thoughts on “A natural progression”
Congratulations and welcome to the wonderful world of US citizenship. We are honored to have you join the ranks!
Congratulations once more on becoming a citizen of the USA :-) see you back this way in May for IE1 & IE2
I attended a session you and Kim co-presented at PASS in Seattle in 2009, have followed your blogs and forum posts for some time now, and have cited countless of your posts to others also on the journey learning about SQL Server. I for one am happy you decided to do what you do. Congratulations on your recent citizenship, and thanks for all you do!
That is truly awesome. I have no authority to bid you welcome, but I will congratulate you!
Congratulations on becoming a citizen. You are a great asset to our country. Thanks again for all the knowledge you transferred to me during my two SQLSkills classes and your blogs. Keep up the great work and continue to keep us posted on your next travel adventures.
Awesome! I completed my oath in September and it really felt like both the end of a long journey and the beginning of a new one. While I will always have strong ties to my homeland, and I will never really let go of my pride in Canada, it is quite exciting to be a citizen here (even if I don’t always agree with everything the USA does, here or abroad).
Your journey has been amazing, wishing you all the good luck.
Congratulations, Paul. You’ve just entered the next part of your life’s journey :)
Paul, congratulations once again!! Your undeniable talent and hard work combined with microsoft’s generosity made it a relatively easy process, there are so many who struggle (my ‘journey’ lasted from 1997 when i came here on H1B to 2011 when i was naturalized) – the people who filed for GC even one month after me are still waiting for GC approval. (Third world countries have a very long wait of course). Anyways, we are all in now, similar in some ways and delightfully diverse in others :) Hope you will keep your love of language/reading alive and wishing you much happiness ahead :)
Wow, they really do let anyone in here, don’t they? There goes the neighborhood.
Welcome Paul. I’ll carve off a piece of mutton for you.
Congratulations Paul. I somewhat relate to your experience; I know how is it to become a permanent resident. Congratulations again!
I can honestly say that I share the same feeling, since less than a year a go (after my first Immersion Event) on June 20, 2011 I took the Oath of Allegiance and became a naturalized citizen. Just before my third Immersion Event I stepped into the Township building as an early voter in the 2012 Primaries.
So far I’ve accomplished a lot of things in this country, and I’m proud to be a citizen of.
Congratz! I went through this 8 years ago, I know how you must be feeling.
As Mark Rasmussen, I can only repeat: I have no authority to bid you welcome, but CONGRATULATION.
I will also say THANK YOU for amazing job both in Microsoft and on SQL-Skill.com
Did they make you renounce the Queen, Mike Meyers and Sean Connery?
Congrats Paul! We have lost one of the good ones. Hope you had Neeps and Tatties wi yer Haggis. :)
I also want to thank Kimberly since to me she definitely plays a big part in your decision so you can stay here with us in the US. As always thank you both for your dedication to our SQL community and best of all to make my SQL learning curve much more enjoyable.
Many many Congratulations Paul !!
It must be a great feeling. I have had a similar experience sans the MS employment and your level of SQL knowledge. Coincidentally, I became a PR of Canada in Feb 2002 too. Great minds immigrate alike. :)
Congrats! And Welcome!
Congrats. Glad to have you!
Congratulations and welcome! Perhaps you could share some of your Scottish culture and hold a deep-dive course (or blog) on the finer points of making (and eating) Haggis. ;)
Honestly, I’ve never tried it but would love to.
Congratulations and Welcome Paul!
Congratulations Paul! Get ready for jury duty…
There’s a great Scottish restaurant by the name of MacDonald’s that has great Haggis. You should try them out. :-)
I used to work with a Russian national who achieved his citizenship after many years in the US. It was the proudest day of his life, and probably the one day his curmudgeon nature didn’t come through.
I am still of the opinion that people who earn citizenship value it in a different way than those born to it.
Based on your meal of choice you must be of Scottish descent. Me too, just farther back in the mists of time. Welcome to you, mate!
Congratulations! Like you I am also a Naturalized US Citizen (2007). We are truly Blessed to be in this Country! God Bless America!
Congrats Paul and Kimberly!
Congrats Paul! On becoming a citizen as well as having the ability to choke down a plate of Haggis!
Congrats Paul. We appreciate what you share, and time and effort too…more that YOU know.
Congrats. Now it’s time to become a fire arm owner, like the rest of us :)
I’ve been able to do that since becoming a Permanent Resident in 2002…
I have two brothers-in-law (unrelated to each other) that are both UK citizens and permenant residents here in the states that are both going to have to go through that same process!
Got it from Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Traditional-Scottish-Haggis-Pack-2/dp/B000F35QQA