Madness…

I’m told busy season will end soon.  Considering it’s May, I am hoping so!  I’m currently working from home trying to catch up on things (having done the same yesterday – yes, on a Sunday, it’s all good fun) without people asking me questions every few minutes.  The joy of email and instant messaging mean that isn’t quite the reality, but it is rather nice to be at home in my terribly comfy clothes while working on VSOE analyses and getting files completed.  Still, it will be worth the work to get these things done so I can get weekends back properly!

 

The past few weeks haven’t been too bad (well, outside the work side of things) – a first communion for the younger of the boys I live with (followed by lunch at Bertucci’s and a great party!), some cinema trips and a lovely trip to Ten Tables with a friend.  Today the sunshine has even come out, so my walk to Whole Foods later today might be rather nice!  Finger’s crossed anyway.

 

Anyhow, I must get on with work again.  The next few weeks will have a lot of work involved, but hopefully also some fun.  And it’s now under three weeks until I go home for a two week bumper trip to see friends, family, and the homeland!  The countdown is on!

Long time no see…

Well, I can talk the talk but apparently I fail a little on execution!  In my defense, it’s been a mad month and a half…  there are jobs that won’t end, jobs which suddenly HAVE to be done NOW, and jobs where we can’t get the information we need to make it end…  Fun and games.

 

In other news, there was a short trip to the UK to be a Godmother to the lovely Theia, which was magic (the jet lag wasn’t, but the trip was!).  Seeing family and home was lovely.  I’m currently on countdown to a two week trip home at the end of May, which is going to be marvelous!

 

In the meantime, it’s a lot of work still ongoing.  Which I now have to get back to.  Another (proper) entry will follow when my brain has caught up…  Promise!

Yes yes…

… it’s busy season, give a girl a break.  I know it’s been a while (not as long as the last gap, thankfully!) but it’s the ‘attack of busy season’ time of year and things went a bit mad.  Well, really they’re still going a bit mad, but the end is sort of in sight (unless the light at the end of the tunnel turns out to be an oncoming train… which is always a possibility at this point), and for now I’m just going to apologise to everyone I’m ratty with while I’m staying afloat.

 

Anyhow, there has been some fun mixed in with all the work – cinema trips, gym sessions (yes, you read that right…), youngest members of the household setting fire to the microwave (leaving pizza heating on high for 10 minutes leads to a lot of thick smoke and flames – not advisable), and learning to paint.  There was a “Paint Nite” event organized at work by… oh, wait, it was me!  Yes, I organized an event for the Women’s Inclusion committee (I help run the local work branch of the WI… this was not foreseen…) to help with an upcoming merger of our office with another in the area.  It was a roaring success if I do say so myself, and I actually managed to paint something I am going to hang on my wall.  My year 8 art teacher would be very very surprised…

 

Evidence below:

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Unexpected, yes?  Plus it was a great event with some great ladies, having some fun and some drinks away from the office.  This was at Muse Paint Bar, if you are ever in the Assembly Row area of Somerville (North of Boston – great area).  Highly recommended.

 

Oh, and best news of all?  I’m going to be a GodMother!  A lovely friend back in the UK has asked me to be one of her daughter’s GodMothers, and I am so excited!  I have literally been bounding up and down about it since I was asked!  I need to sit quietly in the corner for a while to calm down, really, but there honestly hasn’t been time…

 

Anyway, I have to call a partner in 5 minutes about an invoice (really, life is almost too exciting – after that I get to go home and cook myself a dinner that can be less than or equal to 7 SmartPoints in nutritional terms…), so I’m going to sign off.  But I’m still here (no second attempt deportation, thankfully…) and still going!  Spring is coming, and it’s looking like fun!

So…

… it’s been a while.  I know, I know, there isn’t any excuse for being away this long, but as most of you who read this know there have been some pretty significant extenuating circumstances…  Well, deportation.

 

Yes.  Deportation.  Sigh.  It’s been an interesting couple of months…

 

So, let’s see.  The last time you heard from me I was counting down to an EPIC trip to Florida for two and a half weeks with the family, with sunshine, relaxation, and general brilliance.  Naturally, things didn’t go quite to plan…

 

Let’s set the scene.  It’s a week and a day before Thanksgiving (the day before my lovely parents are due to drive to the airport to stay in a hotel before they fly out to Florida).  I have been told that the decision regarding my visa extension is due this week, but that there is nothing at all to worry about, despite them requesting further evidence of my status (i.e. that I am a manager) – we have sent them all the possible documentation that they could want, proving beyond a doubt that I am an appropriate candidate.  An email pops up in my inbox.  It’s an invitation to a meeting in 23 hours time with the secondment specialist, the local head of HR and two of our immigration lawyers.  Naturally, I panic, and respond immediately to ask whether or not there is a problem.  After no response for an hour, everyone else is set to ‘offline’, having gone home for the night.

 

Thinking that if there was an actual critical problem, there would be no chance of people not telling me as soon as is physically possible, I nevertheless did not get much sleep that night, but by 1pm the next day (where there was still no response from anyone regarding my questions) I had persuaded myself that it could not be a rejection of the application since it was impossible for people to be so callous as to not tell me immediately.  I was wrong.

 

At 2pm I got a call telling me that the petition to extend my visa had been denied, and that due to this I was in the USA illegally.  I would need to leave the US within the next week.  At that point, my parents are at the airport and I am all packed for a trip to Florida with them.  Naturally there were tears…

 

Thankfully people are really kind.  A director in the office shuffled me (sobbing) into her office so I could make phone calls.  The US lawyers proceeded to point out that I should pack and get out of the country asap.  When I asked them exactly what the time-frame was, there was a pause, and they clarified that the actual guidance was ‘as soon as is practical’.  I managed to talk my way up to 2.5 weeks, since my whole family was in the US, complete with house keys, and I had no-where to live in the UK with my flat being let out (it’s amazing how many moving parts there are…).  I was able to call my lovely sister, and was offered parking space for my car in Chicago by a partner over there who is on the same kind of visa as me (not the most practical offer, but appreciated nonetheless).

 

The lawyers also stressed that it was going to be a big risk reapplying for a new visa in London, since the local office would ‘obviously’ check up as to any other rejections that had gone through the US (more on that later…), and that I might be better off simply appealing.  Which would take a year.  Not the most practical…

 

Somewhere in all that I managed to get hold of the Cambridge (UK) partner and my UK career advisor to ask them to reserve me a desk for December (they were pretty thrilled I was heading back, and I think they were hoping I’d be back for good!), and my lovely friend A who offered her garage as a space to store my car.  Then the letter from HR came, stating that they were terminating my employment effective the next day due to my lapsed visa…. That wasn’t much fun.  Happily, people had sprung into action and I was transferred onto the UK payroll starting immediately.

 

The next few weeks were a bit of a blur.  The next day some wonderful friends threw me a going away party, and there was a ‘temporary goodbye’ email which had comments from virtually everyone I’ve worked with while I have been here.  Naturally there was more sobbing…  There was a LOT of packing (I have accumulated a LOT of stuff in the past 3 years, and needed it all boxing up in case things didn’t work out – so many boxes…), and logistical planning – would I be able to take my work laptop with me (yes), would I be able to work on my jobs (no, not on US soil), could I communicate with the teams who would be doing the work while I was away (not through work email, only via Gmail).  I was lucky that I got half of my trip to Florida, and my family is amazing and worked really hard to keep me distracted and busy.  My goodness we were busy…

 

Then it was time to fly home – from Orlando to Boston, and then Boston to London.  A and her kids met me at Boston airport, and had dinner with me, which was wonderful.  I had managed to upgrade the flight (if I was leaving the US for good, I was leaving in style!) so it was a very comfortable business class flight home, with a lovely friend waiting for me at Heathrow.

 

From there it was back home, to my parents house, to wait things out.  The lawyers were busy while I was still in the US, communicating with their UK team (much friendlier, I have to say, and they pointed out that on their watch no-one had EVER been rejected at the Embassy having had their extension denied… which put my mind at rest a bit), and I had a HUGE pack of support come in from the US firm, with letters detailing how brilliant I am and how critical I am to the operations of the firm.  Which was rather nice.  Plus I got to work in the Cambridge office for a week, catching up with everyone at work and outside and seeing what life would be like on return to the UK.  Answer – pretty fun.

 

The Friday after I landed, was my appointment at the Embassy.  I stayed overnight beforehand at a hotel on Grosvenor Square (Millennium Hotel London Mayfair) – having had an AWFUL journey down (getting caught in the rain, delayed trains, and people getting in my way… I was in a major worry-inspired-grump) I got upgraded to a massive room, and had some lovely room service with a glass of wine.  And the next morning, when I arrived at the Embassy (at 8am), I was sorted out and out the door before 9am.  They didn’t even read all the support, I was approved in minutes.  So that was easy…

 

I have to say, I slept for most of the rest of that day.  I hadn’t anticipated how much stress can tire you out.  Naturally I preceeded the sleep with a battered sausage and chips (this is why I put on 10lbs over Christmas!!), and it was SPECTACULAR!!

 

The rest of the holiday was lovely – it was fantastic spending a bit longer with family, and being able to work from Cambridge was a real eye-opener as to what life will be like when I do return to the UK.  It was really nice.

 

So that’s why I’ve been away so long – I returned to the US on January 3rd, flying direct to Dallas for training (complete with 3 GIANT cases).  After a few days there, it was back to Boston (with some very confused check-in attendants regarding the volume of my baggage…) for one night in a hotel (the flight landed at 10pm – I wasn’t going to wake everyone up moving my stuff back in at that time of night on a Thursday) downtown (the Langham – look it up, it’s amazing, I’d like to live there please…), and then it was back to Jamaica Plain to see some lovely people and start to sort out my stuff.  Which took a while…

 

I’m still not fully sorted out.  The rug got pulled out from under me, and it’s taking a long time to get stable again.  The fact that so many people have been so happy to have me back is really great, but it’s still a big deal and I’m still working it all out.  But I have great friends, and great colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic, all of whom will fight to keep me (family, you know I know you would, that’s why you aren’t included here!), and that’s something that I am very very chuffed about.

 

In the meantime, it’s been back to the personal trainer and onto Weight Watchers (which I should’ve done in earnest on arrival, honestly…) – I’m getting healthy (my trainer actually said ‘holy cr*p’ when I got on the scale this week because I had lost so much in so little time – hooray!) and making plans again, and working things all out.  And missing home, obviously.  But it is good to be back in the USA.

 

Now, back to work I go…  it is busy season, don’t you know…!

Relief

Sigh.  It has been over a week since we filed the financials for the big client.  It was a very long few weeks (not, I might add, nearly as long as the run was in prior years on the other big client, but still long and challenging) and last weekend was mostly spent relaxing (although I made it to brunch, the cinema (please see ‘Burnt’ if you get the chance – 1.) Bradley Cooper; 2.) Beautiful food; and 3.) It’s set in London, so I got to say ‘Been There’ with monotonous regularity) and participated in the consumption of a deep fried turkey, which is something that everyone should do at least once in their lives…

 

This week we are working to get the files archived away, plus picking up all the other bits and bobs which slipped into the ‘non urgent’ pile during the other job, and which have now been upgraded.  Plus I am starting packing/writing Christmas cards/packing, which is rather lovely.

 

Back to work I go, but I wanted to check in and point out that I am still alive over here!

The Final Countdown

We are in the final stages of counting down to filing this thing.  After the VERY tight deadline and turnaround, some very late nights (an 18 hour workday yesterday – 8am to 2am), a LOT of stress, plus some great teamwork and jokes, we are nearly ready to sign off and be done with this.  And get our evenings and weekends back, of course…

 

Two and a half weeks until Florida!

The Countdown

Tomorrow it is five weeks to the day until I fly down to Florida to spend two and a half weeks hanging out with my lovely parents and sister and brother-in-law in the sunshine.  Cannot wait.

 

On Thursday it is two weeks until our report issuance deadline.  This is a rather scarier proposition…

 

It is four working days until my weekend (woop de doo, Saturday working).

 

In other news… Christmas decorations are appearing in the shops.  The way I see it there are two kinds of people who react to this:

 

Christmas

 

I’m on the right, at this point.  I’ll switch sides once we get past filing…

New Things…

… The past week has had some new things, which I thought I would share:

 

1.) Being asked if I was Mary Poppins in a coffee shop by the person serving. Because, you know, accent. The less said on this the better…

 

2.) Autumn has arrived, which is new for 2015:

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(this was on a walk around Jamaica Pond with Colleen on Sunday – my day off).

 

3.) The turkeys are getting awfully fat in preparation for Thanksgiving:

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That’s at least seven people’s worth… Just wandering around outside Dunkin Donuts in Chelmsford, MA! Good gracious…

 

4.) Well, there isn’t really a number 4. Except that I would like a nap right now. But that’s not a new thing…

PS – one last new thing… If you soak your invisalign braces in mouthwash and it’s blue, make sure you water it down properly. Otherwise they turn blue and you have to scrub them… Live and learn!

Chaos

That’s what is happening at the moment.  A client with a 9/30 year end and a 11/5 deadline leads to chaos.  And sleep deprivation.

 

And a lack of blogging, as it turns out… but I’m not sure, based on prior years, that this was totally unexpected…  Anyhow, my weekends are getting planned for fun things to do (on days other than Saturday, anyway), which have included cinema trips, drinks trips and wine-store trips.  Not that drinking was involved too much, oh no…

 

Roll on Thanksgiving…

Batten Down The Hatches

We have a potential hurricane on the way. Called Joaquin. Which may or may not dump a lot of weather on the Eastern seaboard. Personally, I am very relieved that I live on a hill!

In other news, everyone should see “The Martian”, it is brilliant. Also, 5-hour long SEC trainings are tiring, while also being terribly useful. Also, I think my personal trainer may be trying to kill me through the medium of reverse lunges… My legs are about to drop off!

Anyway, enough moaning from me, I’m off to bed!