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Chased down photo & references today, so citizenship application is DONE!

Need to sort out payment form and collect all the passports and marriage certificate and proof of passing the Life in the UK Test in a big envelope with all this. Then on Monday I can take it to the post office.

Having (extra) cake and (another) glass of wine to celebrate/destress. I didn't realize how miserable working on this today had made me until it was done.
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I took this picture on Tuesday night, for the #loveknowsnoborders campaign, started by [twitter.com profile] ZoeJardiniere, which you can read about. It's close to my heart because while obviously I was able to move to the UK to be with my spouse, his income only barely exceeded the requirement at that time, £15,000. The current income requirement to bring a foreign (non-EU...for now, anyway) spouse to the UK is £18,600, which might not sound like much but that would've kept me out of the country for all but a few years of our marriage so far.

It's especially unfair if the British partner is a woman, a person of color, young (in your 20s, ages at which many people including us get married), or otherwise on the wrong side of a pay gap, which makes it even harder to reach that arbitrary income. (Part of the reason we ended up here rather than in the U.S. is that Andrew is more able to earn a good income than I am, which is basically just down to the patriarchy.) It's the same threshold all over the country, too, so it'd be much harder for people living outside London to clear that income threshold.

It's also infuriatingly inconsistent, not that we can expect better of our governments of course. This income is supposed to guarantee that neither the foreigner nor their British spouse need to resort to state funds -- which they're not allowed to do. But years later when I couldn't work and was allowed to apply for benefits, I found that I wasn't entitled to any income-related benefits because my partner worked more than 24 hours a week. It could be 24 minimum-wage hours a week and yet this was expected to be enough for us to live on? Even though it'd be a damn sight less than £18,600 a year. (A tweet I saw yesterday said that working full time on £7.20 an hour isn't enough.)

#loveknowsnoborders made for interesting reading yesterday, for all those who were able to celebrate thoroughly multinational backgrounds, raltionships, addresses and children, there were also people saying "my valentine hasn't been able to bring me to live with her in the UK for four years" or whatever, which my brain just rebels from being able to even imagine.

Clearly the hashtag is an aspiration and not a reality so far, but reading it gave me all kinds of feelings and I wanted to be a part of it. I didn't have the brains or energy to of a video, even if Andrew would've tolerated it which I don't think likely. So I just took a picture, where you can't hear the low in-your-throat growl he's doing, like a dog who isn't barking yet but is warning you, and tweeted it.
My husband hates having his photo taken but he hates systemic xenophobia towards me more! That's how bad it is, folks.
A decision is expected next week on what's known as the MM case, a judgment that will affect thousands of families affected by the Family Migration Rules. There's a good explanation of that case here, from last year.
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Thanks to [personal profile] po8crg for realizing the Manchester angle on this meant we could write to people locally about it. (And for sharing his letter, which he might recognize in my one!)
Last night I was at a march through the centre of Manchester where we were shouting "No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here!" Of course I know that this is an aspiration and not a description, yet, but I'm dismayed to see how quickly we are proven wrong.

Unless we can stop it, there will be a chartered flight tonight from an airport the people of Manchester own, deporting refugees who in some cases never even had their claims processed and thus are being deported unlawfully.

You can find more information about it here: http://unitycentreglasgow.org/mass-deportation-charter-flight-january-31st/

Please use Manchester City Council's shareholding in Manchester Airports Group, who own Stansted, to prevent this flight, and any others as I'm sure the next ones are already being planned..

I'm an immigrant to the UK and I know how horrible our immigration and asylum system is. I know it's not keeping us safe, it's keeping us ignorant of what refugees and asylum seekers are actually like. Deportation ruins and even ends lives, and I don't want it to happen.
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Really like this. Keep being good about immigration, the Guardian!
Meanwhile, MPs from both major parties had the switch flipped in their heads that makes them link everything to immigration, causing their jaws to mechanically flap open and say: “Well, Nigel Farage is basically right about everything but you should still vote for us because $ERROR (Reason not found, please restart your political process).”
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This is so obvious but I don't think I've read about it anywhere.

It's pretty well understood in my circles, which involve a lot of disabled people and a lot of politics people, that disabled people get a lot of shit from the DWP.

Very few people realize how strikingly similar am experience immigrants can have in dealing with the Home Office.

There really are a lot of parallels. Look at this Guardian article I read today:

It starts right in the subhead.
the Home Office is driven not by reason but by keeping numbers down.
And it just goes on.
Not only is the Home Office understaffed and under-resourced as the result of public sector cuts, it is also under pressure to deliver whatever results the government needs to stand any chance of meeting its immigration targets
...
The guiding Home Office principle seems to be reject first, ask questions later, and in the meantime hope the applicant does not have the connections or resources to appeal. Immigration lawyers have told me that officials were at one point being incentivised, on the basis of how many applications they rejected, with Marks & Spencer vouchers.
...
the Home Office in particular, and the immigration system in general, has long made decisions not on the basis of merit or reason, but as a way of filtering out as many applicants as possible – either via exhaustion of resources or impossibly high barriers.
...
If the waiting or the rejections or the appeals don’t exhaust the anxious applicant, the costs involved in protecting themselves from the relentless machine surely will.
...
Already there are reports of EU citizens being questioned about their right to use the NHS, and concerns about poor and elderly people who may struggle to fortify themselves against whatever ultimate decision will be made about their status.
...
these deficiencies yield great consequences for ordinary people who suffer when a bureaucracy turns brutal. It has also revealed the extent to which immigration law is damaged by populist thinking and underfunding.
Having tried and mostly failed to get blood out of the stone that is the DWP, I don't relish dealing with another system that is similar in any way (and I heartily wish I'd been able to do this while Andrew still had a steady and quite healthy income, because I'm terrified of how expensive this could be... I know I Kickstarted the money for the application fee but, as this article alludes, anything that doesn't go perfectly smoothly will cost a lot more).

But now that Christmas is out of the way and I have a nice long stretch ahead of me where I don't expect to need my passport, it's time to put the final touches on my citizenship application and send it off.
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Got my first holiday card* this year, from [livejournal.com profile] starbrow. Inside there is a very nice message and a signature on the right side of the card. On the left side is just written
"IMMIGRANTS: WE GET THE JOB DONE!"


* I've seen a few "if you want a holiday card let me know" posts. I have been rubbish at answering them because I was hoping I could offer reciprocal cards this year...and it turns out that is in no way a possibility. Sad times. But if you are still willing to send a card to someone who can't send one to you, please add me to your list because I love getting cards and I really need more cheerful things right now. Will happily give out my address if you need it.

Words

Nov. 2nd, 2016 10:40 am
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When Andrew came to bed last night he told me he'd e-mailed me a link to an "I Am An Immigrant" essay contest. (Top prize $1000! Which would soon pay our mortgage, etc.etc.)

"How many words?" I asked.

"I think about a thousand," he said.

I can't imagine writing so few on the subject now!

Me at LDV

Oct. 11th, 2016 05:39 pm
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How to Address Concerns about Immigration.

(Comments may contain racists who think the most important thing is that they not be made to feel bad about being racist, approach with care. But you probably expected that, didn't you.)
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Andrew's talking to someone on facebook about how immigrants couldn't vote in the EU referendum. This guy's just said it's a good thing, as anyone here before 2011 could be a citizen by now, and if they weren't here that long they were too short-term to have a say in his children's future.

There are so many things that annoy me about this.

For one, he's deciding on those people's childrens' future -- even if they're British, at least one of their parents would not be. Which could lead to all kinds of horribleness.

For another, anyone who knows me will know that citizenship isn't easy, automatic, or indeed always worth doing. Since Theresa May made it revocable during her time as Home Secretary, it'll never be quite the same as a native-Brit's UK citizenship. And it's expensive. And the process for getting it is invasive, expensive, lengthy, stressful, discriminatory, punitive and in general a nuisance to everyday life.

Plus, not everyone can get UK citizenship even if they want it. I heard, from a migrants-organisation campaigner, about an Italian woman who's lived in the UK for several years, has Australian as well as Italian citizenship because her husband's Australian...and would have to give up one of those if she wanted to get UK citizenship, because she can't have all three. Why do that, just to vote on something so hostile in the first place?

And who would have thought it necessary? EU citizens are accustomed to voting rights in the UK -- they can vote in local elections as well as for UK MEPs.

And, hard as it is to believe, many people are uninterested in becoming British citizens. Certainly citizens of other EU countries would notice very little to recommend it -- this is the whole point of the much-vilified freedom of movement: it means that citizens of any member state can travel, work and live in another as if it were their own. Plenty of Europeans have lived decades in the UK, settled long enough that babies born the day they moved here would've been old enough to vote and at least as entangled in British society as native who'd lived here as long, without seeking British citizenship.

There are so many people saying "well of course immigrants couldn't vote in the referendum!" As if there are so many referendums there are hard and fast, universally understood and agreed-with rules on things like this. As if there is any objective reason why Commonwealth citizens could vote in this and EU citizens couldn't.

Beneath this sentiment there always seems to be some nastiness, "they shouldn't decide on my children's future," something about how selfishly they'd vote -- as if everybody else doesn't vote in what they think are their best interests too.

Excerpt

Oct. 7th, 2016 06:51 pm
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Here's a bit I had to cut out of something I'm writing, but didn't want to let disappear completely. So you can read it if you like!


Angela Rayner, shadow education secretary (so obviously she's the best person to talk about immigration, I'm sure) said “immigration is a good thing for us, but what undermines (that) is when people feel that it is unvetted and that we are not able to deal with the issues and the concerns that people have around that.”

Shame how many people lose their mastery of the only language they want anyone to speak when they try to explain these immigration concerns. What stands out amidst the nebulous concern is Ms Rayner’s assertion that “immigration is a good thing for us.” I don’t remember hearing this from a Labservative MP before.

In another unusual move for a politician talking about immigration, when asked if she meant there should be controls on numbers, Ms Rayner replied: "I believe that you do need controls and we have always had controls on immigration."

We have always had controls on immigration! While the UK’s only had immigration controls since the Aliens Act of 1905 (which Wikipedia describes as "ostensibly designed to prevent paupers or criminals from entering the country and set up a mechanism to deport those who slipped through, one of its main objectives was to control Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe"...hm), current political discourse only describes immigration to the UK in one way: "mass" and "uncontrolled" precede immigration as surely as Nigel Farage gurns for photo ops with a pint in his hand.
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As I alluded to a little while ago, my passport needs renewing before I next use it at Christmas. The process for this turns out to be sending my old passport, an application form and a payment form by courier to London.

I got a letter a few days later, a form letter they send to anyone with whose application there is some problem. Mine had the box ticked that said "your payment was declined".
 photo IMG_20160901_083731_edit_edit.jpg
I knew there was plenty of money but I dutifully called my bank. They said they couldn't even see that any attempt had been made to take the payment, and couldn't offer me any further help.

I didn't know if the problem was that I'd written a number down wrong -- I'd checked it carefully, but you never know -- or something else had gone wrong or been misunderstood. I'm so used to paying for things over the phone or online, where problems or mistakes are instantly flagged up and usually can be dealt with then and there. To have something so important as my passport hinging on something as fallible as a handwritten paper form drove me crazy.

I figured it was time to do as that form letter said and "contact this office" to tell them there shouldn't be any problem with the payment details I'd given them, and verify or correct them if need be.

But you know what? I can't find any way to "contact this office."

If you're doing a straightforward passport renewal, the U.S. Embassy in London give you no other way to interact with them than by courier. This made sense when they were taking my precious passport, and the only proof I have of my right to live in the UK, away and bringing it back along with a new passport I can actually use at Christmas. But I'm not paying another £15, and again facing the potential of waiting in all day (£15 only gets you the "between 8am and 6pm" delivery slot; for £30-some you can have "before noon" or for £50-some you can have "before 10am"; I know I complain about how arbitrarily expensive and inconvenient the UK government is to interact with but don't think that any other one is any better!), just for the same problem to potentially happen again because I have no idea what the problem was in the first place!

After a lot of messing around on the website, I finally found the switchboard number for the U.S. Embassy. I've just been through its automated list of choices twice, and haven't been able to find anything even vaguely relevant to me, or anything that gets me a human to talk to.

I've already had anxiety attacks about this and have put off dealing with it because of the damage it's causing to my health. But of course putting it off only makes it worse, and I've also made myself sick just by remembering at random, unhelpful times that this exists and needs to be dealt with.

I wrote as soon as my passport was taken away how essential it is to me, and that was when the system was working as it should! By rights I should have it back within a couple of weeks now, but the process won't have even started yet because I can't get the payment thing sorted out, no matter how desperately I want to, no matter how many tears of frustration and fear I have shed.

It's absolutely unacceptable to build such a fortress of uncontactability around citizens' own embassy for routine, necessary interactions with it. I am furious that I've been told to contact them, given no idea how to do that, and fumbling through menus and options both on their website and on the telephone switchboard has just made me more panicky without getting any closer to solving the problem.

They have the worst contact form I have ever seen. Even if you click on "Still have a question?" at the bottom, all you get is a message that apparently is supposed to shunt people to the right form based on where in the UK they live, but it looked to me on my first several readings like it was for people who were applying in person at London, Edinburgh or Belfast -- since the rest of the messaging makes much out of who is required to apply in person and who is required not to and must only deal with the private, outsourced we-can't-guarantee-anything courier and I'm emphatically in the second group, it was not clear in my heightened state of aggravation and misery that this wording did include me because my passport will be going to London even if I cannot.

So anyway I've used their contact form now and since I didn't think to copy what I'd said before I sent it I have no record of so doing now. They ask for your e-mail address but don't even send one of those "thanks for using our shitty online contact form!" e-mails to you so you have some record that you've done it and, if you're lucky, an idea of how long you have to wait for a response. But I'm writing this partly so I know when I did it.

And mostly just to whine and elicit sympathy: I fucking hate this, I hate the bureaucracy and the expense and time and energy and stress of it all. I hate how high the stakes are and how much more stress and anxiety that leads to. I hate how I never get to stop feeling unsettled. I hate all of it so much.


Edit: I did get an e-mail back about an hour ago, which along with some unhelpful stuff -- "The Embassy has not yet been able to complete processing of your passport application"; yeah no kidding! -- did also give me the fucking address to send it to and requested that it be sent Special Delivery. Which costs almost half as much as I paid for the fucking courier, but never mind; at least I could go to the post office at a time convenient to me rather than waiting in on some unspecified day until some unspecified time.

Fingers crossed nothing else goes wrong. I've been such a stresshead lately anyway, and even now that I've done what I can to get this sorted, I'm not feeling much better. I've got a sinus infection too, which probably isn't helping. Bah.
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I worked hard on it, because it's a tough subject and my brain hasn't been working lately (I have so many things to tell you about! but no words!). And it's important so I wanted to get it right. I'm pleased with how it ended up and glad I was able to do it.

Here it is. It's about Ray Fuller, a bisexual Jamaican denied asylum in the U.S. partly because the judge thought his relationships with women meant he couldn't be bisexual.

Passport

Aug. 16th, 2016 10:03 am
hollymath: (Default)
My passport got picked up by a courier yesterday to be taken away and replaced with my new passport in about a month. There's a little part of my brain that is constantly aware of this and not happy about it. I occasionally hear friends talk about not having seen theirs in years and I marvel at this: I could always tell you exactly where mine is. When people ask you what you'd run to get out of your house in case of a fire (note: I know this is different than there actually being a fire, when it's most likely you'll run outside without anything), I always say my passport. It's a surprising answer I think, so prosaic and boring.

Of course I know intellectually that my friends can lose or forget about their passports for years and it's at most an inconvenience the next time they think about a holiday or a work trip abroad. But I didn't get a passport until I came to visit Andrew, and ever since it's been necessary to my well-being. First as what I needed to be with the person I loved, and now as what I need to see anyone I'm related to, anyone who's known me loner than a dozen years.

Without my passport, I don't quite feel like me.

It's not just my standard form of ID, since I can't drive. It's also the only proof I was given of my Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. It's what I have to show to prove I can work here, to access benefits and public services. I have scans of what airports call "the picture page" of my passport for ID, but I also have scans of the ILR page for access: it's like a tiny little bit of a UK passport that entitles me to almost everything a UK citizen gets while they're in the UK.

Should I get as far as a job interview before my passport comes back, there will have to be explanation and faff; it'll make me worry that I seem more difficult to employ than someone for whom they don't have to worry about immigration status. If my parents suddenly get sick or someone in my family dies, I'd be desperate to fly back and terrifyingly unsure of how to (this is not the time to give me the details on this; I'm sure there's a procedure and I could figure something out if I had to, and yes I know it's unlikely, but when you've already got an anxiety disorder anyway this kind of thing is meat and drink to it, and mine's gorging on this right now).

There are good reasons I don't often think about how so much of my life depends on such slim threads as this passport.
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Tonight I was delighted to be a speaker at Your Liberal Britain event. It was a great night, I got to see old friends, met some great new people, started plotting about a group for Lib Dem women (and nonbinary people) outside of the stuff that currently only goes on in London...and I gave a little talk! Asked to choose a specialist subject, of course I was the one banging on about immigration. The other talks, about engagement with underrepresented groups in the party and about how we should all be paid the same for working less, were great.

Here, just for fun, is what I said: )
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I have a stock answer for anybody who finds out I'm American and asks (out of politeness or incredulity, it ends up the same) what brought me here.

"My husband's British," I say. "And he thinks Manchester is the best place in the world."

1:49 this morning is the first time he told me he was sorry for bringing me here. "I thought when I married you I'd be taking you to a country where you'd be safe."

It broke my heart.

He hasn't stopped apologizing since. And my heart hasn't stopped breaking, for all kinds of reasons but this chief among them.

I love the UK. I love living here. I love being an immigrant, for all its miseries and horrors. I am surprised to find what an integral part of my identity this has become.

But of course, most of all I love him. I love the lives we've worked so hard to build together.

That anything, or anyone, could make him, the naturalized Mancunian who resists all my complaints about the weather and about how nice Yorkshire would be, could make him apologize, is almost as bewildering as it is enraging for me. He's 100% convinced he's brought me to a fascist country, where I'll be less safe as an immigrant, as a disabled person.

Considering, of course, how bad the country I'm from is on such things, I think at first he's exaggerating; my heart doesn't just break but feels like it'll shatter when I understand that he is not.

Goddamn anyone who makes him feel like a failure for marrying me and working so unbelievably hard at keeping us fed and housed and as happy as possible. I couldn't ask for anyone more committed to my happiness than he is -- not my parents, certainly not me! -- and goddam anything that makes him doubt or question or regret that.
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Even the nice people, the people on the right side, the people who'd never wish me harm, the people I think of as friends, are saying this on social media.

And it's a headline you can find in all sorts of news, if you're self-destructive enough to Google it.

One day, I hope not to be a problem at all.

One day, I hope I can expect more robust cases in favor of immigration, not just pointing out that a once-important country shouldn't ruin itself over its hatred of immigrants because then it'll be ruined and there will still be immigrants.

One day, I hope we can take a step back from "that won't work, you can't get rid of the immigrants that way!" (true though it may be!), to "but why the fuck would you want to get rid of all the immigrants anyway?!"

I hope for these things. But I'm not sure I can see a path to that world from this one.

Peak Dad

Mar. 26th, 2016 09:26 pm
hollymath: (Default)
I thought my dad telling me that they'd been to see Zootopia last week and really liked it was going to be the most surprising news of that phone call, but then he told me he'd gotten an iPad (they went to look at new phones and a contract that better suited them, and I know he's been vaguely interested in smartphones but not in a hurry to get one for years now, having seen co-workers looking at YouTube and Facebook and whatnot; I actually think whoever in the Verizon store steered him towards a tablet rather than a smartphone did the right thing for him) and hey there's this thing called Skype that means we can call you for free...

This after we got webcams as a wedding present from a friend of my parents', who already had offspring halfway across the country and was Skyping to see her grandchildren and whatnot. I set up one camera for them, installed the drivers, installed Skype, wrote down very hand-holdy instructions for how to use it...and then nothing happened. They never ever used the sweet, clever, thoughtful present. Ten years later, I get asked if I've heard of Skype. Bless them. I still can't convince him he doesn't need my phone number to use it. And he still can't use it, he's going to take it back to the store because it sounds like he has some very old-person problem with using the app.

But in the meantime he seems to be using his iPad for two of his favorite things: weather and geography.

He told me that Middlewich, where Andrew's family live, is south of Manchester which I didn't know I'd needed telling (it's in Cheshire) but apparently he'd been thinking it was west of here. I know he's always said, since his first visit, that he can never get his cardinal directions the right way round here, he has trouble visualizing the relative positions of things, and that really disorients him.

I've always been meaning to get him a map, but finding one with the right kind of detail and not so much irrelevant stuff as to be confusing to him has proved basically impossible. Sounds like now he's got it anyway. "And then I saw the airport, and then Didsbury [where we lived the first couple of times they came to visit] and Levenshulme [where we've lived since]..."

He was clearly delighted, and I was impressed he remembered the names, even though he's actually pretty awesome at that. Hence being disoriented bothering him so much: my mom couldn't tell you most of the cities she's been to here, much less what number bus we get into town, what parts of Manchester we've lived in, or the name of a coffee shop chain, but she's happy like that and has no interest in knowing more detail than she does. My dad knows all that stuff and still feels a bit adrift, bless him.

And yes I know all of this has been freely available on the internet forever but my dad basically never uses the internet, doesn't even use the computer for much, so I don't think it'd either have occurred to him or been enjoyable to him to look at Google Maps or similar this way. Whereas he's just the kind of person who'll love being able to sit in his comfy armchair and drag his fingers in what he probably actually thinks is an intuitive way across a map, zooming in and out.

If he ever finds out about Street View, he'll be showing my house off at family get-togethers, I can just picture it.

In today's phone call I'd forgotten all about the iPad until he asked me if it was "still" raining, which baffled me, but then he told me it'd been raining in Ireland for two days straight now and he'd figured it'd get over , Manchester at some point (he has a very "lived in the middle of a continent his whole life" faith that whatever weather's off to the west of you I what you're going to have next; I figure in this instance the more likely explanation is that it rains in Ireland a lot, it rains in Manchester a lot, and any apparent cause-and-effect relationship between these two facts is probably coincidental...but hey, if it makes him happy there's no reason to argue).

He knows the temperature and precipitation where I am better than I do now, because his local TV meteorologists have to satisfy old-cranky-man needs for weather precision (especially when some of the old cranky men, and others, are farmers whose livelihoods really do depend on the weather and how accurately it's predicted), and I don't even have a TV to watch the news on and consume only national radio which seems to think the likes of "sunny spells" and "dry except in the northwest of England where it'll rain" (I have heard that way too many times) are sufficient weather data.

If I could find him an app that tracks (and converts!) local-to-me petrol prices, he'll be able to have all the Dad conversations with me. It'd be almost like I never left home! Or at least, not for anywhere actually very different, anyway.
hollymath: (Default)
From our U.S. correspondent, Holly:

"For years I mocked the Americans mercilessly for telling me my accent was so sophisticated," said some lady named Fiona, "and that was certainly something I never got back home in Liverpool! I kept telling that joke about us being two countries separated by a common language. After I was asked what 'bum' and 'chips' mean, I got a lecture about the dangers of linguistic prescriptivism and a demand to pack my bags."

"My test just consisted of listening to an earnest white Midwesterner say 'fanny pack' without giggling," a bloke called Kevin said, "and I failed. Of course! It's disrespecting my heritage to expect anything else!"

"Sure," said Alex, "it's funny to tell the Americans they're not speaking proper English. But if they start using our own rules against us and decide we have to say 'bathroom' when we mean 'toilet,' just so we can stay here in the land of the free refills and the home of the fuckoff big cars, that's taking things too far! You can't even use 'fuck' as punctuation here," he said, clearly on the edge of breaking down. "People get all upset. But...but the petrol's so cheap!"

Then he loses his battle against the sobs. "Gas," he says sadly. "I mean 'gas'! Not petrol! Don't make me go back to Milton Keynes!"

That's it

Jan. 18th, 2016 08:19 am
hollymath: (Default)
I've given up hoping this will ever change and am now resigned to the fact.

I will never be done reassuring my parents that I am always going to be a U.S. citizen.

Vignette

Nov. 29th, 2015 02:51 pm
hollymath: (Default)
Right now I'm sending love to the Portuguese woman on the bus who got accosted by an old guy who wanted to talk to her about Nando's.

I recognized how difficult those polite shrugs and vaguely bemused smiles can be. I recognized something in her face and her body language as she had to keep giving answers "yes, piri means hot...piri piri doesn't mean anything, we'd never say that" and "I think it's owned by a South African...it's a South African thing...SOUTH AFRICA" answers are to give, when someone's grabbed onto one thing they think they know about your country and just will not stop.

They ask questions that have no answers -- the questions make all kinds of incorrect assumptions -- but you still have to answer anyway.

I wasn't able to intervene on the crowded bus, but I wanted to. I hope somehow psychically she knew I was sympathizing and it did her some good.

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Holly

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