Furnish Your First Apartment: A Guide for Newcomers in the USA

Moving to the USA feels like restarting your life, but in a foreign land.

Do you remember the first time you rented a room or an apartment in College? How about when you first moved out of your parents’ house to start building your career? Or when you first got married?

In all of these cases, you had to buy almost everything you needed. Sometimes you received gifts and giveaways from your family and friends.

When you first arrive in the USA, you will need to buy a lot of things! A lot!

Thanks to the World Wide Web, you can now order most of your needs online. This is even better for the bigger items such as a sofa or mattress, especially if you don’t have a pickup truck!

Here’s a list of all the things you will need to buy right after you arrive in the USA and secured your first apartment.

Most of the items below are from Amazon.com. If you ever purchase on Amazon, make sure to signup for Amazon Prime membership to enjoy free two-day shipping and other perks.

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Our Green Card Timeline

In March 2015, I received my US R-1 Visa, which allowed me to accept a job offer in the Philippines. If you’re not familiar, R-1 is the visa granted for religious workers to work legally in the USA. Although I am not a pastor, I moved to the USA to take on a job with a religious organization, which is tre church I belong to–The United Methodist Church.

Based on conversations with our organization’s lawyer, and based on my reading of the requirements, I need to wait until I have completed two (2) years of service with my current organization before I could apply for a Green Card.

My official first day of work was May 1, 2015. That meant that the earliest time I could apply for a Green Card is May 1, 2017.

Just to make sure that I would not be a out-of-status in the US, my employer applied for an extension of my R-1 visa. The initial R-1 visa is good for two and a half years, renewable for another 2.5 years for a total of 5 years.

We got the extension but I didn’t apply right away. I got occupied by my responsibilities at work, which is why it took me another year to apply.

Here’s our Green Card timeline

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Disaster Preparedness in the USA

My phone’s alarm rang at 6 am on March 3, 2020. I turned the alarm off and after a few minutes, I checked Facebook.

What I saw alarmed me. A strong tornado ripped through Nashville (Tennessee) between midnight and 3 am! To make things worse, I was in Raleigh, North Carolina attending a 3-day meeting. My wife and sons remained in Nashville.

The photos all over Facebook and the news showed buildings without roofs, overturned cars, and electricity poles blocking the roads!

After trying to call my wife several times, she texted me. They heard the tornado warnings, hid in the safe space at home, and when the tornado passed by, they went back to bed.

From my hotel room in Raleigh, I let out a sigh of relief!

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Follow Me on YouTube and Learn What It’s Like to Live as a Filipino in the USA

I’ve had my YouTube channel for a couple of years now. But I have not really uploaded much content there.

That has changed!

Finally, I mustered enough courage to relaunch my YouTube channel. The past few weeks, I uploaded several videos to show what it is like to live as a Filipino in the United States of America.

Subscribe and Follow Me!

If you want to learn about the joys and fun stuff of living in America, or to be aware of the challenges, and just learn about How-Tos of being an Overseas Filipino, go subscribe to my channel at http://aMightyLife.com/YouTube.

Right now, I have uploaded some fun stuff that Malcolm (my firstborn) and I have done together; what winter is like in Nashville; and services such as Remitly and Xoom to use for sending money to the Philippines.

In the next few weeks and months, I plan to post more videos documenting our life in the US and sharing How-Tos and tutorials on visa application, Green Card application, Personal Finance, and even Filipino food and restaurants in the USA.

Watch this welcome video to learn more about my channel!

Do you have questions or thoughts about living in the USA? Or do you have suggestions about topics for the channel? Let me know in the comments!

A Review of My mid- to late Thirties!

I turned thirty in 2012. It was a huge milestone. I didn’t become depressed or anything. But I remember feeling reflective about my life so far, what I have accomplished, and what the future holds for me. 

By the end of 2012, it was a few weeks before my 2nd year anniversary with my lovely wife. We didn’t have a child back then and we were renting an apartment in Anahaw Street, Project 7 in Quezon City in the Philippines. 

Although we didn’t have a child yet, we were taking care of three college-age young men–my younger brother Aaron, her brother Chad, and her cousin King. It was fun albeit chaotic sometimes. 

I am in my late thirties–and I will reach the big 4-0 in 2022. That’s two years from when I’m writing this post. It’s good to look back and review the milestones of the decade of my thirties. 

Here’s a list of how my life changed, including some achievements! 

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Wanna be a father?… “You lose a book for every child…”

After having two kids, and another one on the way, by now, I should be a better father–accepting both the blessings and limitations imposed by being a father.

I have yet to reach 40. To be honest, I still am adjusting to this role. After all, fatherhood is a process–a life stage. And every life stage takes getting used to. Some of these stages are easier to transition to than others.

Success, Achievement, and Fatherhood

Elsewhere in this blog, I have written about the price of success and achievement and how Steve Jobs focused on his career to the detriment of his relationship with his daughter.

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How to Apply for a US Green Card WITHOUT a Lawyer: 7 Tips

The process to apply for a Green Card of Permanent Residence in the US can be complicated and expensive. But if you are willing to read a lot of documents, and carefully fill out the application forms, you can choose not to use a lawyer’s services.

Disclaimer: This is not a legal advice on immigration. I am just sharing my experience for educational purposes.

Here are 7 tips to help you apply for a US Green Card without a lawyer.

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Where to Eat Filipino Food in and around Nashville TN

For people like us who grew up in the Philippines, our palates and taste buds will always long for the familiar taste and smell of Filipino cooking.

Thankfully, several restaurants in Nashville offer Filipino food and cooking.

If you’re missing food from the homeland, here’s the list of where to eat Filipino food in and around Nashville, TN. The list below is not ranked. Instead, I organized them based on relative distance away from downtown Nashville.

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Moving to the USA? Teach Your Child the Filipino Language First

Our son Malcolm was a few months short of two years when we started planning for our move to the USA.

We decided to start talking to him mainly in English to help him prepare for the transition since he will be surrounded by English-speaking Americans.

Nope, that is not how it turned out. We were wrong.

Teach Filipino first!

Looking back, the same reasoning would have helped our son acquire Filipino as a mother-tongue first. Since he’s surrounded by English-speaking people–in church, at school, and in our neighborhood he could easily pick the language up.

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