Approved … For British Citizenship!

Sometimes there can be no shortcuts when you’re working towards a goal especially when others have the final say. All you can do is put your head down and slog on and hope it will go your way.

Yesterday marked an end to almost four years of documenting the details of my life, along with bit of test taking and fee paying, and multiple appointments with officials asking loads of questions as I worked to meet the timelines in my application for British citizenship.

Since submitting my final paperwork in August, I’ve spent the last two months listening for the sound of the postman’s shoes on the walk and  racing to the door when I heard the rustle of mail being pushed through the letter box. When I was not able to check it myself, John would usually announce in an increasingly weary sounding voice that there was nothing for me or at least not the letter I was hoping might arrive.

He was away yesterday morning and I was in the shower when a single letter was left for me. I was rushing about as I had to be somewhere when I realized that it was past time for the mail delivery and hurried to the front door still wrapped in my bath towel. I saw the brownish envelope on the floor as I climbed the stairs and could see that it was addressed to me. It was crumpled a bit, in part because of the flimsy ultra-thin envelope, and also the force required to push it through the slot in the door.

Scrawled on the envelope of my much-anticipated letter was ordinary message written in patchy ink saying, ‘parcel in garage.’ It wasn’t until much later that I remembered to tell John that there was a delivery for him as well.

I held my breath while tearing the envelope open and saw a detailed letter with the important words below:

I immediately called the number in the letter to schedule my citizenship ceremony and in a few weeks, just before I celebrate another American Thanksgiving in Cornwall, I will complete the last step to ensure my permanent place in United Kingdom with all the rights and privileges enjoyed by British citizens.

Someone asked me yesterday why having a British citizenship was so important and I cited a few of my reasons, many having to do with my life with John, but some of which are just for me … such as the right to vote.

In fact when asked what was next for me, I said with a smile, A seat in Parliament before adding that it might be wise for me to start with the Parish council first.

Having a dual citizenship was never on my ‘Before I Die List,’ but I love how staying open to change continues to enrich my life.

 

Seeing Sydney By Dawn’s Early Light

Sydney Harbor By Dawn's Early Light

Arriving in Sydney Australia early yesterday morning just as many of you were waking or going to sleep yourself, we flew into a gorgeous sunrise and the beginnings of a journey I never imagined I would take.

While I have long had a list of 50 Things To Do Before I Die, trips Australia and New Zealand were not included. Travel is there of course, but closer to home and more familiar than the other side of the world to where I was living in Athens Georgia when I began building my list.

Looking back I have to wonder if some of the things on it were limited more by the idea of practical obtainability than the scope of my imagination.

Don’t get me wrong … there are some pretty far-fetched ideas written on that wrinkled piece of yellow legal stationary such as my desire to write a speech for a US president or play the cello like some of the musicians I had seen on stage.

Many dreams I imagined important in my 20s no longer matter and there are new ones taking shape in ways I could not have foreseen when I created my list in the late 80s while finishing my undergrad years and preparing for the birth of my daughter.

Turning 50 a few months ago, I realized that I needed to close the door on certain dreams. It seems very silly now to mourn for a lost life as a dancer when I never even had ballet lessons as a child. Truth told, I have such trouble picking up steps that I was always a disaster in any musical audition that required dance and early lessons probably would not have changed that.

Speech writing for the president is another dream that’s not likely to happen as people develop whole careers as speech writers, a path I do not wish to follow. And while cello lessons and practice would improve my skill with the instrument, I wish for smaller things with it now such as solo pieces I can play with ease for myself.

It did occur to me while I was sitting and thinking during our 22 hour flight to Sydney that a writer has the best career because they get to be anyone and do anything in the stories they create.

After seeing treetops filled yesterday with loads of large bats in a park near our hotel, I wondered if the Wright brothers had studied the bat and its wings when considering how to cover the wings of airplanes while dreaming of the possibility of flight.

Which led me back to who I really am as I began crafting a story outline involving Orville and Wilbur Wright. I may not have a pilot’s seat on the flight deck listed on my list of 50, but I can fly all of the planes in the stories I write and the possibilities are really much larger than that old list ever was as long I stay open when the opportunity presents.

This two month trip with John is one of those opportunities and I am wide open to possibility.