23 September, 2009

What would you do?

I have touched on this vaguely before but thought it would be worth going into a bit more detail. The visa I've been given as Tom's wife for the United States doesn't permit me to work there. In fact in some states in the US it makes it difficult to get a driving licence or bank account but let's not go into the oddities of the H4 status here. Or the fact that an American citizen coming as a spouse could work here.

What I do know is that I'm not allowed a Social Security Number and therefore that I can't work. Of course I haven't done a paid job for some time now, not since the children were born. They came at a natural break in my then career in academic publishing and somehow it just didn't feel right to go back. That's not a judgment on other women's choices; everyone has to do what works for them and what they want for their family. We are in the lucky position of not needing an additional income and so far I think the children have benefited from having a mother at home for them. Of course it's often bored the pants off me, but I have also enjoyed having time with them.

This January when Lottie started at full-time school nursery, I briefly started looking around at what next for me. A return to education or work? What could I do here in Wales with the rest of my life?

Then of course the American option came up and we were thrust into limbo for the next seven months, and now I know that I won't be working or being a full-time student for at least the next three years.

So what should I do? Especially as gardening and chickens are unlikely to be as available in a two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco.

So far my ideas run as follows:

A cookery course/s to turn from a competent self-taught cook into an accomplished knife flashing, sauce making cook

Learn Spanish and brush up my sadly ropey French

Explore digital photography in more depth than taking snaps for fun

Take a writing course of some kind

Volunteer at a community garden scheme

This is of course in addition to helping out at school which appears to be obligatory and hard to escape in the US (aren't I keen!), housework (which ought to be obligatory but somehow always gets forgotten) and exercise (which may involve a lot of hills so I'm already worrying about my knees).

What would you do?


Joanna said...

I'm a few years further down the full-time motherhood road ... and if I could do it all again, I'd do something that QUALIFIED me to get back to work .... all those courses I took (including a degree), I don't regret them, but I do kick myself when I think that I could have made myself more employable than I am at present

On the other hand, it's a golden time for you to do something for you, something you'll really enjoy, a sort of adult gap-time. On that basis, I'd go for the cookery classes

Hope it's fun, whatever you decide


Garden Girl said...

Just catching up on your posts after a brief hiatus, so here goes;

I think all of those options sound great... do several... or anything else that comes your way when you are out there. I am sure you will find something good.

Take the girls' Welsh Gear if you can. Multiculturalism is cool in the great San Fran...

Fog: yes, but coming from Wales you'll be totally fine. It will be nice to NOT be so hot you can't stand it, as it can get (a lot) in most of the rest of Calif. It's not like you don't have wet/cold weather gear!

Good luck with the de-clutter!

Lee said...

I think the gardening and volunteering is the way to go.

There are a LOT of very poor people in the US, and if you can help, you're giving just a little bit back.

And it will be fun. There are some awesome people in the volunteer community!

John L said...

Do the lot!

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the city (in advance). If you're interested in taking French you'll want to know about the Alliance Francaise here. In addition to French instruction they have French films, a library, a cafe, and so on.

Alliance Francaise
1345 Bush Street
San Francisco, CA 94109-5611
(415) 775-7755

There are other options as well such as Berlitz and less expensively through City College at:


Robert Ruiz

Linda said...

Oh lucky you! I've just found your blog and am intrigued to read about your move. I've never had a career break with my children, so I can't advise on that, but I'm sure opportunities will open up from whatever you do. Just make sure it's something you really enjoy rather than feel you should be doing. No point doing something you don't gel with just to get into a line of work that you then gel with even less. If it were me, the photography/community garden/languages bit sounds good.