I was fortunate to have spent the weekend with an older, more experienced, fellow transplant in the UK along with her husband and mine in Essex. It was really nice sitting down and chatting with each other about things they encountered and learned from their own journey through the immigration system, what it was like adapting and even offered a couple of suggestions that we will have to follow up on ourselves.
Firstly, the advice: surprisingly, they advised us to speak to someone with the Citizens Advice Bureau (http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk), as they found that, if the people there didn’t have answers they could either apply pressure to get them or knew who to get in contact with to find out. So we’ll be trying that as well soon. I will let you guys know if we have any success from that on a later date.
Secondly, this is a not-so-shameless plug reminder for everyone to TUNE IN (yes, caps are important here) tomorrow at 2:30PM GMT 0 to watch the debate about spousal visas in the House of Commons (http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Live.aspx). Again, that is 2:30PM on Monday, 9th of September, 2013. Kind of a big deal here for me, people, for obvious reasons we won’t go into at the moment.
Now for the fun stuff: we talked about a whole host of things. How she kept her dual citizenship for herself as well as for their two kids, which resulted in at least one altercation/scare-tactic attempt on part of UKBA to deport her then 1-year-old child because he had an American passport. “We could send him back to America, you know.” “A one-year-old? Send him where without his parents? We’d love to see you try it,” clearly they weren’t impressed. Thankfully the Officer backed down, though not without attempting to have the last word of “I’m doing you a favour.” as they stamped the child’s passport.
Does this still happen? Possibly, but said child is almost 10 years old now and things have changed a lot in immigration since, so I can’t say for sure.
A lot of their experiences were from a simpler, more innocent time, as far as immigration goes in the UK, so I will skip that for the time being and talk about the bits that we did have fun laughing about. Namely, the similarities and differences between American and British culture. With our husbands on one end of the discussion and us on the on the other, we laughed about politics (her husband: “Americans have no idea that they’re basically voting for a political party with just a different figurehead moving to the front every now and then.”), food (“They’re crapes; if you hold up recipes for british pancakes and crapes you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.” “They are completely different!” “Totes not.” “They are! Pancakes have sugar and lemon drizzled over them!”), sports (“golf: a great way to ruin a perfectly good walk.” “I like golfing!”) current events (“A study was published that said that children from impoverished regions, most dramatically Caucasian males, are two years behind in their education from the moment they start school – they begin education not able to recognise their own names and still in their diapers/nappies.” “Frankly, the parents of these children need to be charged with child neglect.”) and back again, several times over.
All in all, there was a lot of great debating that took place and I have it on good authority (see: he told me so) my Husband enjoyed it as much as I did.
On a side note, I really have to shake my head; no thanks to a popular TV show here (I will forgo names, as I can’t remember it off of the top of my head and don’t care enough to go look) Essex has gotten a bad name for itself for being full of flaky, ill-mannered and shallow individuals who appear to have nothing better to do than to waste their time and money chasing fashion trends and living in their own personal melodramas. I don’t know where the self-called “reality” show finds these people, but I am very happy to report that they, from my observations, seem to be a laughable minority and, generally speaking, the stereotype does not hold up under scrutiny.