20 Years In The USA

“The angel of the LORD came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.”” (1 Kings 19:7)

Exactly twenty years ago today I landed in the USA. What a strange journey this has been!

The strangest thing was how my US residency status changed during these 20 years:

1986 – 1987: J-1 Visa (exchange student)
1987 – 1991: F-1 Visa (foreign student)
1991 – 1993: 2nd F-1 Visa
1993 – 1994: Practical Training
1994 – 1995: H-1 Visa (work visa)
1995 – 1996: Labor cert process started and aborted
June 1996: Temporarily out of status
1996 – 1999: 2nd H-1 Visa
1999 – 2000: Work authorization card
2000 – 2002: “Conditional” green card
2002 – 2004: Green card
Dec 2004+: US Citizen

My place of residence has also changed a lot:

1986 – 1987: with an American couple in Dodge City, Kansas
1987 – 1988: at a U of Texas dorm with American roommates
1988 – 1989: at an apartment in south Austin with Chinese and Indonesian roommates
1989 – 1992: at an apartment about 16 blocks from school, with the president of the HK Students club
1992 – 1993: at a one-bedroom apartment in west Austin
Summer 1993: at my brother’s apartment for 3 months
1993 – 1994: in a “studio” in Mountain View, CA, where the bathroom was broken for half a year
1994 – 1995: with 2 ex-Austinites in a 3-bedroom apartment in Mountain View
1995 – 1996: with my brother in Foster City
1996 – 1998: with my parents in Redwood Shores
1998+: my own house in Newark, CA

What will my next 20 years in US bode for me? Chase will be 20 years old by then, and I’ll be thinking hard about retirement then. But if I’ve learnt anything, it’s that life will keep on changing and it’ll keep me guessing. When you look forward to starting a journey, you always think you see a straight path to a destination. When you get there and you look back, you realize it’s always been a windy, meandering road. After all, if you’re driving on a straight road, you’ll easily fall asleep at the wheel. For me, I’d rather the journey be interesting and that it can keep me wide awake. So here’s to the next 20 years…….

3 thoughts on “20 Years In The USA

  1. 21 for me, similar experience, moved about 10 times too.  Looking back, yes indeed the Sovereign hand of God has always been there at every turn of the road.  Blessed be the name of the Lord!!

  2. When I think about my residency, wth like this came up
    1983-1995 I believe in God but donno who God is – reside in nowhere, HK maybe?
    1995-2001 I knew and believed in God (I thought I did) but did not follow Him – thought that I was in Him but not quite, still was in HK
    2001 Thought that I was migrating to US yet found God here, thus migrate to His kingdom and truely want to follow Him
    till now, still seeking to closely walk with Him so that I can reside in Him always.

    Where do I live? WHere will I live? I donno, but to live in His shelter, I am amazed.

  3. Tim, thanks for your sharing! I read your post while going through fear and uncertainty. What a great reminder and encouragement about God’s providence and guidance. Thanks again!

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