Synchronicity, Dates … And My British Passport

Cornwall 2013

When a day begins with a sunrise this gorgeous it may be reasonable to assume that something special is going to happen.

Five years ago today I sent the email below.

On 2008-01-07 at 04:19:19, reaching4Skye wrote:

John,
I sent a real email to your other email address.
Sorry I dragged my feet a bit.
I hope to hear from you soon.
Best,
Elizabeth 

On January 7th 2008, he was a man I barely knew. We’d only exchanged one email after meeting on a UK dating site. He had a look that had caught my eye, and I liked what he had to say in his Guardian Soulmates profile so when an accidental save to favorites action on my part sent him a message saying that I was a fan, he sent me an email that started a correspondence that led to marriage.

20051000- 017You may know this story if you’ve read GOTJ for long, but I want to point out a connection I found interesting in the date of the email above and something that occurred this morning.

After John and I married and I decided that I was going to apply for a British citizenship, I found myself hoping that I’d be approved in 2012 which was the shortest amount of time it could happen. Given that it can take up to six months for approval, I’d hoped my naturalization ceremony might occur around one of our anniversaries. We have a couple in January and February that are important to us. As if happened, I had my ceremony the day before Thanksgiving and after redoing my passport application four times, (don’t ask) I submitted the dreadful form and all the other documentation required for my British passport.

You can probably see where this going, right?

Today is the fifth anniversary of the day I contacted John after ‘dragging my feet’ as I said in my email. I was worried about things that as it turns out, have not mattered at all.

A black car pulled up in front of the house this morning. It looked like a black taxi you’d see in London only without the taxi sign on top and it was totally out of place in our little village. Seeing it through our kitchen window, I wondered for a moment if it might have something special for me.

Why something for me, you ask?

Because I had an identity interview last Thursday satisfying the last step needed to receive my British passport.

And today … look what showed up!  You can call it coincidence, synchronicity, or luck, but I think it’s pretty remarkable.

IMG_3242

That’s right … my British passport arrived exactly five years to the day that I sent John my ‘ foot dragging’ email.

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No laughing at my photo, please. You’re not allowed to smile in them anymore so it’s pretty awful.

Still, I’m pleased as I can be.

And I’m smiling now.

How about you … is there some bit of magic you can’t explain in your life?

Big or small, do share it with me in a comment below.

The Perfect Way To Start My Day

Once people realize I’m an American living in England and not just here for a visit, they always ask me if I miss my life in the US. My response never varies when I tell them that I miss my daughter, other family members, and my friends. Of course there’s more that I miss, but not being able to easily see the people I love does make it tough at times.

Unlike immigrants who left their homeland in the days before airplanes, telephones, and the internet, moving to another country doesn’t have to be a total or permanent separation from those you love.

My daughter is pretty easy to reach by phone so that helps a bit and she sends me photos fairly often too. They don’t always have her in them, but may be more of what she’s seeing, like a smoky red sunset seen over the darkened parking lot of the company where she works or a funny bumper sticker on the car in front of her, taken at a red light. Random quick snaps that help me see what she sees as she goes through her day make me feel a bit closer as if she’s just across town instead of the other side of the Atlantic.

Her point of view photos like the image above can make it seem as if I am actually there with her, feeling the evening sun on my face and seeing the breeze blowing through her horse’s mane, enjoying as she said later, ‘ The best way to end a weekend.’

My favorite ones tend to be the last ones, those that I know come at the end of her day. They are the unexpected ‘goodnight’ photos that I wake up to over coffee and the perfect start to my new day.

Both photos were taken by my daughter, Miranda and used with her permission.

Life Without Laundry Baskets – Breaking Bad Habits

Laundry baskets used to be the catch-all for all odds bits of stuff in my life and while they do sell them over here, I’ve not been in a mad rush to go out and buy one. That’s right … there are no laundry baskets at all in this house.

In my previous life, clean clothes rarely seemed to make their way out of the baskets and into the dresser drawers. I’d fold the clothes, put them back in the basket, carry the basket to the appropriate room, and there it would sit until it was practically empty because I hated putting up laundry. These days,with no laundry baskets in the house and no tumble dryer for me to hit the refresh button, things tend to go directly they belong.

An added benefit to our no basket approach is I no longer have a place to stash miscellaneous stuff to sort out later. It either goes into the proper place for it or it finds a new home.

You may be thinking with only a drying rack and an outdoor clothesline … how do they transport the wet stuff?

I snapped the photo below the other day to show you how we do it here. The sun was shining so it we had a big wash day and after filling the clothesline you can see hanging in the very back, I moved the drying rack outside too to take advantage of the weather.

When you live in a place with frequent rain and no dryer by choice (John’s choice, not mine, but I’ve adjusted) you learn not to put things off. And with only one very old baby’s bathtub to get the wet stuff from washer to clothesline, it gets used and put away afterwards so it’s always empty and at the ready for a good wash day.

John’s been using his niece’s old bathtub to transport washed clothes outside to the clothesline since he found it in his dad’s attic after his father died in 1997. The plastic bathtub’s former occupant turned 29 earlier this week and while she looks great, the plastic on the tub is beginning to crack.

If I know my ‘use it up or wear it out’ husband at all, I’m betting we’ll use it another year or two before we buy something more traditional like the one below.

Internet Image

Having had time to learn the new behaviors I mentioned above, I think I’ll be okay having a laundry basket in the house again, but only if we stop with just one.

 

 

What Happened To My Peanut Butter?

Smart Balance Peanut Butter

I reached for a recently opened jar peanut butter today, only to discover it had been moved and I couldn’t find it. John had rearranged the shelf where my peanut butter stock from America sits while looking for something for his lunch.

Peanut Butter Supplies

I buy it at Walmart and you’d think that since Walmart owns ASDA, (a grocery store near us) I might be able to find it here as well, but they don’t carry it so I’m forced to bring it back in bulk in my checked baggage.

The TSA folks always go through the plastic bags I wrap it in and rightly so. Imagine all of those jars lined end to end looking like rounded rows of things we’d rather not have mucking up our air safety.

I thought I had plenty to see me through until my next visit stateside, but I was shocked to discover that four jars are all I have left.

You probably think I’m overreacting and it is kind of funny in a way to think of a 51 year-old woman as peanut butter dependent, but I am going to be in a real fix if I don’t get some more. We’re talking withdrawal symptoms!

Smart Balance Peanut Butter With Omega 3

Four jars are nowhere near enough! While I’m not a vegetarian, I don’t eat a lot of meat. I usually have it once a week or less so peanut butter is an important source of protein for me. They do make it in the UK, but I’ve not found any as tasty as the Smart Balance brand or with such a healthy balance of ingredients.

Smart Balance - Quick Facts

I had fifteen jars in total when I flew home to the UK on August 3 so it doesn’t seem so far-fetched to me to think that something must have happened to it. John insists that I’ve eaten it, but I’m beginning to wonder if the fairies have been nipping into the cupboard for a taste.

Empty Jar of Smart Balance Peanut Butter

Sigh!

Do you have any food you’d miss if you couldn’t find it where you live?

We’re Having A Child

Calling one of my local American friends today, we did a quick catch up, ” How have you been, fine how about you, ” and then I said, ” John and I are having a child …” and before I could finish my sentence, I think she said something like ” Whaaaat “

Like me, Gillian has a British husband, but they also have two children who happen to be the perfect age to hang out with John’s granddaughter, Jersey Girl. Children are out of school both here and on Jersey for the next few weeks and John flew over to bring JG back to stay with us next week. So what I was trying to say was, “John and are having a child with us next week and I want to invite you and your family to a little pirate themed party on Sunday.” Once she realized I wasn’t trying to join the ranks of older women intent on increasing the size of their family, we settled into the details of the party.

It’s funny how many women there are with children in the six to seven age range in my local circle of friends. I fall into this weird place of being about nine or ten years older than most of them except Gillian who’s still a baby in her late thirties. She’s a natural entertainer making her great person to have at a party and I was pleased she agreed to join us. Tina, who I’ve mentioned before and Lara, a new running buddy, will be coming with their children bringing the child total up to a manageable seven.

I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to have a little one to plan a party for since my own daughter will be twenty-three soon, but I have been planning a fun outing for us down by the river. It’s a perfect place for a pirates picnic compete with a treasure map that I plan to hide in the river (more like a creek in size next to the party area) in a bottle tied up with string.

I love to come up with rhyming clues and have been testing some out as I get ready to create the map. I’m off in a minute to scout out hiding places and then back home to bake and make some party treats.

I’ve already painted an egg carton metallic gold for a small treasure chest and I have a larger one that looks like a crystal jewel box for the larger candy treats. I even made pirate spy glasses and painted a styrofoam sheet metallic gold so it can be a big doubloon for the party.

Fingers crossed it goes off as well as it looks in my head. I’d hate to think there might be a mutiny because between you and me, I am not walking the plank.

February 1, 2009 - Me with Jersey Girl

UPDATE: She’s here, Jersey Girl is in the house!

After bed, bath and reading the book, Angelina’s Birthday, Jersey Girl fell fast asleep. She wants waffles for breakfast having remembered them from her last visit. I think I may have to cut them into a special shape to surprise her. Hmm, now what kind of shape should I do …. suggestions anyone?