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JumpingJasonFlash last won the day on October 17

JumpingJasonFlash had the most liked content!

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About JumpingJasonFlash

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  • Birthday 05/17/1977

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    Jun 2013
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    JHB & DBN
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  1. Do it! Do it ALL!!! So glad to hear about your adventures. We’re just finishing up our first trip to Mexico! Met soooo many Canadians down here, that now we just HAVE to head north and visit some old friends and new friends on the other side of the other wall! Maybe on our way up to visit Alaska. Still plenty of places to go in between the northern and southern borders, but that blue passport needs some more stamps!
  2. Finally! So excited for you! It really is such an awesome experience and wonderful milestone on this insane journey we on this forum have chosen to take.
  3. 3 hours will be close, but is doable. The trouble with the JNB to JFK flight is that it usually lands first thing in the morning, so there aren’t always a full compliment of officers at passport control and with a bunch of other flights landing at the same time the lines can get pretty long. The actual immigration process itself is pretty quick once you get to the officer.
  4. So exciting! I’ve been to the Big Island. It’s awesome. Very chilled and less touristy than Maui and Oahu. Lots of diversity in geography and vegetation. We stayed mostly in Kailua-Kona, spent a day in Waimea, and then the rest of our time in Pãhoa, south of Hilo. Sadly, we didn’t get to spend any time in Hilo itself. Drove through it couple times and it’s quite pretty. Yeah, not so many white sandy beaches there, mostly rocky bays and awesome rock pools. Great for snorkeling and diving. Most of the good beaches are attached to hotels and resorts, but the public has full access to them. The biggest issue with access to almost all of the beaches and rock pools is parking, which is either always full, or faaaar away. Especially in the residential areas, where non-residents have to park outside the suburb and walk through to the beach or pools.
  5. Congrats, FranetteM! So exciting! I remember leaving the US Consulate after our successful interview and high fiving my wife under the US flag on a sunny Jozi afternoon like it was yesterday. It was sooooo crazy and surreal. An entire ocean of uncertainty lay ahead of us and now we are citizens with a 4-year-old girl and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Good luck and enjoy the ride!
  6. This is so right! Unless you have a VERY heavy accent, I wouldn’t stress about trying to change it too much. As Malamute said, more often than not Americans absolutely LOVE hearing a different “exotic” accent. Forcing yourself to sound like an American never works, you more often than not, just end up sounding like Gru from Despicable Me, and even if you happen to nail the accent you’ll almost certainly trip up on the American words, phrases or names. Best stick to what you’re comfortable with and own it! Make it your own and embrace your “foreignness”. Whenever I have mentioned to friends, colleagues and even complete strangers that I forget just HOW different I sound and that I probably should work more on sounding more “local”, they quite literally beg me not to. They really do love hearing the different “exotic” accent and love that we use different “fancy” words for almost everything! I’ve had at least half a dozen people ask me to record voice mail messages for them to impress their friends. My wife’s entire office and nearly all of her 30 staff members now naturally say things in conversation like “dodgy”, “crap”, “rubbish”, “lovely”, “just now”, plus a litany of random Afrikaans words and a whole bunch of very British ones too. I’ve even noticed that the vocabulary of our friends and colleagues has improved dramatically over the years and in some cases expanded. It is truly quite amazing what a little bit of diversity can do. Most important though, is just being understood. 99% of that is just using the American English words instead of the British English words. You simply don’t realize just how many words are different, until you have to actually use them to be understood. I used to think American English was only slightly different, maybe 30-50 words and then some slightly different spellings eg. “z” instead of “s”, “color” not “colour”, “aluminum” not “aluminium” etc. Not even close! In some ways it really is a completely different language. The weird thing is that growing up with American TV, Music, Movies and media we already know almost all of these names and words, we just never used any of them. The best part of having an accent is that you get a LOT more slack and people are generally a lot more forgiving, receptive, understanding, and considerate. It’s like playing stupid, instead you still come across as intelligent, only different. I once got out of a traffic ticket because I sounded foreign and the officer cut me a break because I accidentally said kilometers instead of miles. Hahaha! Also, whenever i’m dealing with people in customer support, banks, information desks, reception, on the telephone, etc. and don't quite know the procedure, need help, or just have a question, I just say something in my best South African accent like, “Excuse me. You might have noticed, but l’m not from around here... and I really have no idea how this is supposed to work...” and they laugh with genuine delight and more often than not make a concerted effort to explain things in great detail, go out of their way to be as helpful as possible, and often cut you some serious slack, when they’d normally cut off or shut down the average customer. It really is like a secret weapon in many cases. Your accent will naturally change over time as you learn to stretch out your words and slow down your speech. The hard ‘g’s and rolling ‘r’s will soften, and the quick and flat “a”s will become more accented and drawn out with time and you’ll start to naturally pronounce many words and names the American way, especially the American ones, which you’ll use more and more. So much so that your South African friends and family will start commenting that you “...sound so American!” I realized just this on our recent visit to SA this April. I was talking to my daughter on a swing in Durban (where I grew up) and the mother next to me turned around and asked me where I was from! The exact same question I get almost every single day (sometimes 5 times a day) in the US. That’s when I realized than I now officially have an accent without a home, as I like to say. I sound foreign to Americans and I sound foreign to South Africans. Hahaha! In short... just be yourself. Embrace your accent and incredibly unique foreignness. Unless you are intending to act in Hollywood or host a TV show, going full Charlize Theron is just a complete waste of time, effort and money. If anything, it might even work against you, as you’ll often be treated like every other American. Unless they already personally know another South African, the vast majority of Americans effectively have absolutely no preconceived ideas or stereotypes associated with South Africans. Especially negative ones! Unlike, they do for so many of the other larger immigrant populations that they might otherwise perceive in a negative way. This lack of preconceived ideas tends to make them more accepting, welcoming, friendly, and genuinely curious towards us. And that goes a really long way in most cases.
  7. Congrats! One less thing to worry about now ?
  8. Yaaaay! Personally, I’d take that estimate with a grain of salt. My original estimate was something like 9-13 months. In fact I logged in to the portal last week to print out one of the notification letters on file and my estimate was still 4 Months! Hahahahahaha!
  9. I know right? Now we will always... “remember the 21st night of September”! Hahahaha! It’s like the ultimate dad joke!
  10. Yes, I filed online. Didn’t frontload withtax transcripts or anything other than the requested docs, which were birth and marriage certificates, green card etc. The interview notification requests that you take along the originals of these documents, plus any passports you have used to enter the US during the last 5 years, if I remember correctly.
  11. OMG! What are the chances!?! Congratulations, RubyShoes! ????? This will now forever be our citizenship day song! https://youtu.be/Gs069dndIYk
  12. OMG! So excited for you! I thought you were only due in Dec, but I totally forgot about the 90 day rule, which, i’m assuming you are taking full advantage of! Either way, I hope it goes quickly for you! I have a feeling that it will, as I suspect that the reason that so many applications take longer (which also skews most field office estimates) is that their paths to citizenship are quite often much more complicated and convoluted than ours, with more errors, more delays, more corrections, and higher chances of administrative reviews and appeals etc.
  13. Thanks, SJ! I know you only have a few months before applying yourself. The good news is that the whole process only took a little over 4 months for us, even though the estimated wait time was 9-12 months at our field office.
  14. We did it! We took our oaths yesterday morning in a truly wonderful ceremony with some truly wonderful fellow Americans! Listening to all the incredible and moving stories shared by our fellow freshly minted citizens, friends, and families, really drove home just how fortunate we are. Especially, those of us lucky enough to have DV Visas! Our journey from first letter of notification to citizenship was a little over 7 years in total, while others in our group spoke of up to 25 years, with tales of deportation, strife, and life’s many tragedies in between! Can you even imagine a quarter of a century journey to citizenship!?! Our group spanned the global, from Iran, Pakistan, and Macedonia, to Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Germany, UK, Liberia, Morocco, and more! Complete strangers welcomed us as family, and others remembered departed friends, family, and servicemen who had fallen along the way serving the country we now call home. Even an old cynic, like myself, was rather moved by the experience. Thanks again to all on this forum who have shared in this journey and adventure with us, and I look forward to hearing more of your own journeys and helping out where and when I can.
  15. Thanks, everyone! Quick update: Our notification letters came through the online portal at the end of last week, scheduling our Oath Ceremony before the end of the month! Which is incredible, considering even conservative estimates had the process taking us all the way up until the end of the year! No complaints from us! That’s for sure!
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