Following what turned out to be quite a useful week and a half at the Portsmouth base of TUI Marine, I finally got my visa through for the United States (obtained after hours of queuing the previous week at the US Embassy in London) and arrived into Tampa Bay on Thursday 28th October. TUI Marine offices are based in Clearwater, perhaps best known as the world HQ of Scientology (Tom Cruise, perhaps its best known follower, has a house just down the road), but also known for its beaches and good quality of life.
I’m actually living a reliable commute of 15 minutes up the road in Dunedin, which is fate as it’s the old world for Edinburgh, where I’ve been living for the last 5 years. What’s great about Dunedin is its lively town centre (it’s a rarity to have a town centre in Florida at all), proximity to some great beaches and National Parks, and fairly cheap rents. People definitely follow their Celtic roots with enthusiasm. These links might seem tenuous to Europeans, but America is a new country, so these kinds of thing matter.
The office is super-friendly, and I really like my colleagues. I’ve not had a moment to be bored outside of work either, having been sailing, hanging out at the beach, barbequing, playing tennis, celebrating Halloween AND, for my benefit, Guy Fawkes’ night. Tonight I am playing more tennis, Tuesday I’ve got Spanish in St. Petersburg and on Thursday am attending my first Democrats meeting. It’s a shame there’s not more time!
I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures of my house, and my car, with TEXAN number plates. Definitely a good conversation starter/killer when Texan émigrés realise I’m not one of them.