ewein2412: (osprey hair)
[personal profile] ewein2412

You know, I have lived in the United Kingdom for over 20 years. Cumulatively, I have lived in the UK for longer than I have lived anywhere else in my entire life. Osprey-like, I raised my children here. Now, OFFICIALLY, I am as much British as American. (It was bound to happen some day!)

Of course I did this for a bunch of practical reasons as much as, and maybe more than, deeply emotional ones. The process was such a grind – my friend Tina and I have been going through it together, comparing notes and interviews, helping each other with forms, etc. We started filling stuff out in February and YES, we had to take the “Life in the UK Test,” which incidentally I think is easier than the one they make you do for US citizenship – it’s kind of like the Great British Pub Quiz, and indeed, I have been calling the whole process the Great British Scavenger Hunt, because it’s required trips to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Falkirk, and ultimately Perth, as we gather signatures and official stamps and pass certificates.

So the very last thing you have to do is make a pledge of loyalty to the Queen, and I had kind of just viewed this as another Scavenger Hunt Item, and was TOTALLY unprepared for how much fun it was.

For a start, I’m so glad it happened in Scotland. I ended up having a private ceremony, to expedite it, as they only do them once a month in Perth and I wasn't going to be here for June or July. They do it in the Old City Council Chambers, in a beautiful Victorian high-ceilinged room all wood-panelled and with ornate stained glass windows overlooking the Tay.

They got out the Saltire & the Union Jack and a portrait of the Queen up on the altar where they usually do weddings.

Because it was private, I was allowed to invite random guests – the Council actually sent me invitations, which was lovely, and I was “attended” by my great friends and (both of them) former next-door-neighbours Betty and Kathryn. Tim came too (Sara is still in Salisbury finishing up her first year at university and Mark was at his Duke of Edinburgh award qualifying weekend on a 50 mile hike). Betty and Kathryn were UBER-EXCITED and got all dressed up and brought presents. Kathryn got tearful while I was doing my pledge of allegiance! “Accustomed as I am to public speaking,” I, you may know, managed not to tear up.

At the end we all had to stand up while they played the national anthem. I loved the speech about diversity and making a contribution. I do try.

Afterward the Council gave us coffee and shortbread and the presiding official, Rhona, revealed that she’d been at a Girl Scout camp (as a Guide leader) in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, near Ephrata, in 2011. So that was a funny coincidence. Later, Betty and Kathryn and I had a girly lunch in the sun in St John's Square in Perth, while Tim ran away to nurse his latest round of dental anesthesia (he had already been to the dentist in Edinburgh and to Ikea by the time he met us at the Council Chambers at 11 a.m.).

“Do you feel different?” someone asked me.

I do, kind of. It feels right. It was time.

The Recall

I am the land of their fathers,
In me the virtue stays.
I will bring back my children,
After certain days.

Under their feet in the grasses
My clinging magic runs.
They shall return as strangers.
They shall remain as sons.

Over their heads in the branches
Of their new-bought, ancient trees,
I weave an incantation
And draw them to my knees.

Scent of smoke in the evening,
Smell of rain in the night -
The hours, the days and the seasons,
Order their souls aright,

Till I make plain the meaning
Of all my thousand years -
Till I fill their hearts with knowledge,
While I fill their eyes with tears.

--Rudyard Kipling


Date: 2016-06-03 05:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ts davis (from livejournal.com)
While I cannot imagine being a citizen of another nation, at times, it's simply unimaginable to be an American (those are the days I pretend my house is a sovereign nation)... for what it's worth, I think the Great British Scavenger Hunt is a super idea and it sounds like the process was much less painful and scrutinizing and "WHY ARE YOU HERE/WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!?" than the American one would be... but now America will tend to look at you with slitty, mean eyes. *throws up hands*

The only thing that would throw me is the whole queen thing... but, I guess essentially we have to swear to honor the flag or somesuch, so it's close to the same ridiculousness. I guess a flag isn't going to up and kill anyone whereas a person... meh. CLEARLY, my ambivalence about organized ANYTHING is coloring my view of citizenship - which is a cynical shame, really. Honestly, so pleased for you! Just... it's making me think of a lot of very real life stuff in American life, and my deep longing to get away...

Cheers! Raising a mug of tea your way. ♥

Date: 2016-06-03 06:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amanda riley (from livejournal.com)
Congratulations. :)

Date: 2016-06-03 06:58 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Wow, fab post! I too have spent all of my adult life in this country, 25 years in all, but have never done this although I have thought about it often. As a result I cant vote in the referendum.😠

Date: 2016-06-03 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] butterbobbin.livejournal.com
That room is SO gorgeous and all of this just makes me ridiculously happy. <3

Date: 2016-06-03 09:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com

Date: 2016-06-03 09:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] camille-is-here.livejournal.com
What a great day!

Date: 2016-06-03 11:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rj-anderson.livejournal.com
Congratulations! You look gorgeous in those photos, and so happy. I'm glad it was such a lovely day for you.

Date: 2016-06-04 12:50 pm (UTC)
ext_6284: Estara Swanberg, made by Thao (Default)
From: [identity profile] estara.livejournal.com
Good save the Queen and congratulations, and thanks for sharing with us!

Date: 2016-06-05 10:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meener.livejournal.com
wooo congrats!

Date: 2016-06-06 09:13 pm (UTC)
3rdragon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] 3rdragon
Congratulations! It looks lovely.


ewein2412: (Default)

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