Part eleven in a series exploring my work history, revealing how I ended up working in a library. This post: not working in America.
My visa was finally approved, so I moved from England to America to live with my wife. It was a conditional visa, so I couldn’t work straight away, which meant that I suddenly found myself living in a foreign country with nothing to do except be a husband. To some, this might sound wonderful; imagine being a house-husband with the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want, with the added bonus of exploring a foreign country at the same time. However, I wasn’t living in New York or San Francisco or Seattle or Chicago; I was in a small corner of Wisconsin with no idea what to do to occupy my time. I visited thrift stores. I bought a bicycle. I baked cookies.
I remember walking downtown to the public library, with my official documents to prove that I was eligible to get a library card. The lady behind the desk probably had no idea how much that library card meant to me; here I was, in a new town, in a foreign country, unable to work, with lots of time on my hands. That card gave me access to free books, free magazines, free music and a place to hang out when I had nothing else to do. More importantly, it made me feel like I was a proper citizen in that community, it gave me a sense of belonging. I didn’t know it at the time, but within a few years, I would end up working in that library, alongside the same member of staff that issued my library card that day.
Part twelve to follow.