Your arrival is going to be as memorable as it will be emotional. As the plane lands at LAX, you’re suddenly going to feel a lot of mixed emotions. If you haven’t flown into LAX before, it’s a hell of a place. It’s a sprawling, slap in the face of Americana. The halls are wide, yet more impersonal than most airports. Security is tight and needs to be. If you’ve been lucky enough to get sleep, it may all seem manageable, but in the haze of early-onset jet lag, you’ll probably be floating in a surreal cloudiness, spurned on by several hundred people eager to be reunited with their most precious life possessions at the baggage claim.
Los Angeles is our port of entry into America and thus where we must ‘activate’ our Green Card. Passing through Customs and Border Protection, we have the normal fingerprint scan and happy snap taken. The guard is super polite and friendly and congratulates us on the Green Card. We ask what to do and are ushered to a counter to the right, where a man says to take a seat. Five minutes later, we’re called and he asks for the paperwork (the mysterious sealed envelope). He then wrote our alien number in the passport and that’s it. We’re official permanent residents. Legal Aliens. Australians moving to New York.
So suddenly you’re an immigrant. It’s not nearly as scary or overwhelming as it really is. At least not at first. The early days are spent in a state of jet lagged confusion. Everything around you is new and exciting and for now, it all seems like a holiday. Things change quickly. It will be a roller coaster ride. Emotional, challenging, hard. There will be days and weeks of homesickness, but remember, you did this because it’s something you’ve always wanted to, so embrace that roller coaster and ride it hard and fast. It’s a ride that millions of others would want in your place, so live life here like there’s no tomorrow.