Mom, dad – there’s something I need to tell you

Once the excitement of being selected had worn off, and the realisation that we have the option to move permanently to the US had sunk in, questions about what we will leave behind became very apparent.

One of the big issues is telling family. How would they respond to the news that we’re considering packing our belongings and moving across the globe on a permanent basis?

And when should we tell them? Now, before the interview (where we may still be refused)? Once the Visa is in our hands and we know it’s happening? Or via SMS at the airport when we’re about to board the plane?

I’ve heard arguments for all times (except the SMS one – that’s just cruel). But for us, the decision was easy – we need to break it to our families early. It means they can be part of the longer process and have an understanding of the decisions we make.

Now I’m not going to speak for Nicole, who seems to have the broad support from her family for the idea, but for me, I was met with the full range of emotions from my ageing parents.

My mother, who at first couldn’t understand what a permanent resident was, was a difficult nut to crack.

“Oh, you’ve always wanted to visit the US,” she said. “It would be great to go every year without needing a Visa.”

Apart from the fact that Australians don’t need a Visa to travel to the USA (thanks to the ESTA program) I had to break it to her that this wasn’t a Visa for visiting “once a year for a couple of weeks” type of thing – this was an “every day of the year” type of thing.

Her mood changed, she shut down and changed the subject to an aunt I haven’t seen in decades. Getting her to discuss it since has been a chore.

But I guess silence has been better than that response from my dad. “Why would you want to move there?” he loudly snorted. “You’d have to deal with Trump.”

I tried to reason that America was about more than the current president. For me, the appeal of moving to the US is the amazing people and the opportunity the United States offers every person. But it made no difference.

“When are you moving to Trump-land?” my dad asked next time I called. I calmly tried to explain the process, that it wasn’t going to happen next week and there was a lot of hurdles to overcome between now and then. I told him about the DS-260, the interview, AP processing and the activation process. I left nothing out.

“Okay good. So when you leave, can I have your websites?” he asked. Ahhh… self-interest as opposed to genuine concern.

So that’s where I’m up to, my mom still is refusing to talk about it, and my dad is picking the bones of my estate to see what her can secure for himself.

Was telling them this early the right decision? I think so – at least there won’t be any surprises when it happens.

And yes dad, you can have the websites.


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