Twenty years ago today…

… I emigrated to the United States. I boarded a plane in Glasgow with my (then) wife Sylvia, bounced in Amsterdam and then landed in Seattle, entering the US on an H1B visa after almost five years of working for DEC/Digital. We arrived in temp housing a block away from the Microsoft Campus late in the evening, and I started work in Building 1 with the SQL Server team on Monday, February 1st 1999. My first task was making the integer conversion code in BULK INSERT and bcp go faster. Microsoft was nice enough to pay for my Green Card, making us Permanent Residents on Valentine’s Day 2002, and I naturalized as a U.S. citizen on April 3, 2012.

Fast forward 20 years from 1999 and here I am today running SQLskills with Kimberly (left Microsoft on August 31, 2007), with an eldest daughter studying at U.C. Berkeley to be a trauma surgeon and the other daughter a junior in high school. (Sylvia is still here too, in case you were wondering, naturalized, remarried, and we’re good friends – the girls are lucky to have her as their mother.)

It’s been a pretty wild ride over the last twenty years, but I wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world now.

Thank you to Microsoft for bringing me here, and thank you to the United States for accepting me as a citizen.

23 thoughts on “Twenty years ago today…

  1. Congrats Paul. I did not know that we are in same H1B boat. But I am still struggling with H1B. Thanks for sharing your story. I read similar story about satay Microsoft CEO.

    1. Thanks Brahma. I was lucky in that my H-1B was almost done by 9/11/01 so didn’t get delayed. I know people who applied a few months after me that had many years delay because of 9/11.

  2. Congratulations! I appreciate your journey! Your knowledge & guidance has helped helped me tremendously throughout my career.

  3. Hearty Congozzz Paul..!!! Wish you a very Happy Anniversary.. !!! Your tips and guidance has always paved the way to fine tune my knowledge.

  4. Congratulations Paul. An amazing journey you’ve had and its been fantastic for me personally over the years to listen and learn from you. I hope the next 20 years for you and family are just as awesome.

  5. Congratulations Paul. This post got over so quickly :) wud love to read your 20 yrs journey someday, if you decide to write someday !

  6. Congratulations Paul! Scotland’s loss was most definitely our gain! And our technical community (#SQLFamily) is immensely richer for having you in it. I’m not big on “name dropping” but I am very proud of having met you (and Kimberly!) in person and having been a participant in your training classes. I would not be where I am today without your guidance and instruction. Thank you!

  7. Very cool, Paul. I had never heard that part of your story. Thanks for sharing, and congratulations on your anniversary!

  8. Paul, Congratulations and Welcome to the US, Happy Anniversary and like Tommy stated above our Community and Country are a better place because of your efforts (Thanks)

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