IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING DDoS VULNERABILITY

On September 25th 2014 I was advised that this website domain had been exploited and used as part of a DDoS attack on a number of different services.

The website was exploited via a known WordPress vulnerability. More details can be found here

http://blog.sucuri.net/2014/03/more-than-162000-wordpress-sites-used-for-distributed-denial-of-service-attack.html

This website and all other sites hosted on this server have since been patched to WordPress 4 which has closed the vulnerability. 

If you are still experiencing issues please contact me immediately at admin <@> thelongmile.net

I apologize for any inconvenience caused

Expatriate

Well, I made it.

It’s been just under a month since I arrived into the ‘Land of the Free’, ‘Home of the brave’ and the state that despite being ranked the “Third worst in the nation for healthcare”, is home to two cities which according to Money Magazine are the best places to live in the USA, home to the safest city in America (forbes) and The best city in the USA to get rich (Dallas Business Journal) and coincidentally, where I now live.

Yup, I’ve made it to the 28th State that was once French, Spanish and Mexican in that order. Texas. Home to some 25.5 million people and me and yet despite the French ancestry I still cannot find a decent croissant. (Well, ‘Crescent Roll’. Apparently croissant was too complicated)

Despite the tearful goodbyes that were had at 2am when I left the journey itself was relatively smooth sailing. Security at Heathrow paid no attention to my envelope, and security at the gate thankfully left me alone. Despite horror stories of long wait times, I was in and out of Dallas Fort-Worth airport in a little over two hours (trust me, that’s quick for DFW).

So far, things have been smooth if rather busy. Everyone is friendly and BBQ really is everywhere. Fortunately I have a lot to carry on with in the run up to the wedding before an entirely new visa process and more moths of waiting begin. Hopefully though, this one will be a little easier to cope with since I won’t have to be alone for most of it.

For now I’m off to enjoy a little more of the weather. It might be cold for Texans, but it certainly isn’t for me!

24 hours to go…

Well, the boxes are packed, the two suitcases are full and predictably my last day in the UK is turning into a very cold and grey one. There are now 24 hours until my flight takes off and I leave the UK for the foreseeable future.

Nervous? Yes of course. For all the reasons I’ve discussed before and then some. Actually, I’m not really nervous about the move itself. Anyone can do ‘a move’ and everyone does at some point, it’s nothing special even if it is to another continent.

My nerves stem from the fact that rather unusually I have almost zero control over anything, and that if either myself or my better half have made even the slightest mistake it could make this entire move redundant and leave me facing deportation and a three year ban from the USA.

There’s also the fact that in my hand luggage is an envelope containing a folder that the US Embassy gave me. It’s sealed. If one overzealous security guard in Heathrow airport decides to break that seal, my journey will be over before it even begins and the US Embassy will have to re-seal the envelope at considerable cost to myself and there is no guarantee they actually will.

I’m sure things will be fine. There are some two thousand individuals and couples who immigrate to the USA on the K and CR visas every year from the UK and soon I’ll be one of them. Both myself and my better half have been planning and arranging for 8 months. We have huge folders full of information, bookings, contingency plans and more.

We’re ready and prepared right down to the last cent and second. We both know exactly what’s going on and where we need to be with a level of precision akin to most military operations. It is however still frightening that one little tear in an envelope could spell disaster.

Still, UPS will be here shortly to pick up my boxes and check-in for my flight has opened. Nothing left to do but walk the dog and wait.

Let us hope that military precision I was referring to more closely resembles the British or American military forces, and not the forces from Costa Rica or Pakistan.

 

Please go to Window 15

I should be sleeping right now but after todays activities it’s hard to ‘settle down’ enough to let the tiredness of a 1:30am start take over. Perhaps I’ll go in search of a hot chocolate once I finish this update, although I must apologise in advance for the lack of brevity thanks to the exhaustion. Normal service will resume shortly.

After all the buildup, all the anxiety, suspense, the medical examination and preparation, I was finally able to greet the day that I had been waiting for. Finally, after 7 long months,  today was the day of my US K Visa Interview and probably one of the most important days of my life.

Despite attempting to sleep last night, I found myself rolling around for several hours thanks to the anxiety I felt about the upcoming interview. It’s surprising just what the human mind can do to you when you’re worrying about something and, lets be honest here, it’s surprising just how evil it can be when it wants to use your minds eye as the worlds most prominent cinema screen to show you just how bad the worst case scenario is and exactly why it will happen to you.

Face it, your mind is the guy that no-one ever invites to parties because he always proves to you just why you never invited him in the first place.

Still, I did manage to get a few hours of shut eye before prising myself out of my bed and into the shower. Not the best start to what is one of the most important days of your life. Several cups of coffee and a final check of my documents later and my 1:30 wake up call had become 3am, and time to hit the road.

After a quick detour for some rudimentary breakfast (McDonalds sadly does not start serving until 5 am) I was back on the road, hurrying along the M4 to Heathrow to catch a tube into London. With every mile covered I could have sworn my heart rate increased by a beat. I felt myself getting more tense as I hurriedly went through my bag to make sure my interview documents were there, my minds eye once more playing host to the motion picture of paranoia that my brain had created for me.

By 6:30, the car was parked, and I was aboard the Underground, racing toward my doom with little else to do than to stare at the documents, stopping only to blink with the occasional arm pinch to stop myself falling asleep. I must have drifted off at some stage. The journey from Heathrow to Green Park in central London takes about an hour. I could have sworn it had gone by in less than ten minutes.

As I stepped foot in Grosvenor Square, the nerves kicked in to overdrive and the sweat started to run along with that cold chill of pure fear when you realise you probably aren’t as well prepared for this as you thought.

Once more I checked my documents, and once more time jumped ahead. This time, I was in the queue, handing over my appointment letter, before being ushered into a security hut.  Before I knew it, I was inside a waiting hall, staring at a monitor waiting for my number to be called.

Please go to window 14.

If I had stood up any quicker I would have fainted. My documents were collected from me and my fingerprints taken and I was ushered to sit back down and await my interview.

Please go to window 15.

And my interview began.

After all the buildup, the panic, the emotions and the utterly utterly pathetic amount of worrying, I was presented with just a few simple questions about my fiancée and then it was done.

I was approved.

Five minutes later and I was outside the embassy doors walking towards a park bench to finally get some air. Pathetic or not, I had ruined the shirt I was wearing, but I didn’t care.

After months of waiting, preparation, anxiety and uncertainty and one ruined shirt, my Visa was finally approved with the green light to start my new life in America.

In just over two weeks time, that new life will begin.