We had Thanksgiving dinner tonight with friends. It’s the fourth Thanksgiving that I’ve known Mr. Tea but the first time we’ve done a proper dinner with a real turkey and lots of friends. It was excellent. Not just because all of the food was amazing and my friend was kind enough to step in and help with the food, but also because it’s the holiday I miss the most and it’s just very nice to feel like I haven’t had to give it up forever.
Also, someone taught me the word “Chavalanche.”
I will admit that I feel Britain has become more commercialized even just since I moved here two years ago, but they cannot hold a candle to the IN YO FACE kind of marketing push in the states this kind of year. It’s nothing but BUY BUY BUY BUY BUY, with stores doing ridiculous deals. In 2008, a worker at Wal-Mart got trampled to death by the crowd running in the doors, probably trying to get themselves the best deals on whatever the hot toy was that year. (Which I think stores deliberately short-stock to up demand.)
Anyway, despite the fact that Sainsbury’s had christmas crap for sale in October and Starbucks was playing holiday music today while I was there, I don’t feel like anyone is shoving me so much to spend my money on presents or be forever known as a grinchy McGrincherson.
You know what prompted me to write this? I used to be an eye tech in the states, assisting an ophthalmologist with surgeries. To keep up your certification, you have to take periodic classes. And today, I got an email from the certification place that they’re offering black friday sales on courses, one day only. And really? I just had to stop and gawk at how f’n disgusting it is to offer holiday discounts on education. I think there’s probably a special place in hell for whoever thought this was an awesome idea.
Though, given the recent cutbacks here, I suppose it could be just a short matter of time before the UK follows suit! Get in line, shoppers! College tuition, buy one get one free! 24 hours only! Run, run, run!
Bad thing about living in the UK at Thanksgiving: They don’t celebrate it, so it’s hard to find things like pumpkin pie unless you’re about to make it yourself.
Good thing about living in the UK at Thanksgiving: There’s no grocery store insanity the week of, so if you do decide to make the pumpkin pie, you don’t need to don your riot gear.
Remember when I said my stuff being shipped from America was going to take 5-8 weeks? They gave me an underestimate of the time as well as the cost. I’m finally getting my stuff 13 weeks later for twice as much as I was quoted.
Sucky. The same thing happened to me in terms of time, but thankfully the price stayed the same on my end. (Small consolation, given how much it was anyway!)
But yay for having your things! I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to bring things when I moved here. It seemed a silly expense and stress, but you know, when I got them, it finally started to feel like OUR house and not like I was just traveling through. I think the mental comfort was worth it in the end.
Here is something that’s good for other people to know:
When you schedule your life in the UK test, they might not be able to take you right away. I guess I’d been under the impression that it’d work something like the DMV from home - walk in, take the test, walk out - but that’s incorrect! They can’t take me for nearly three weeks, which absolutely means I will be sweating it in terms of mailing my visa renewal in time. Naturally, I should also point out that I could have done this at ANY point in the last 2 years and it’s my own fault for basically being in denial that it’s the end of 2010 already and it’s time to do more paperwork.
So, call early and make sure you ask if they take plastic, because my test centre only takes cash. (£34, for anyone keeping tabs.) And in the meantime, cross your fingers that I don’t fail it! I don’t have time to re-take it and they no longer let you stick around until you pass. When you hit your deadline, you’re out!
It’s almost time for me to apply for Further Leave to Remain - what is, essentially, my greencard. It gives me the right to stay in the UK even if I suddenly become single for some reason. I have the right to live here without a sponsor once I have it, and hey, cool!
I still won’t be a citizen (that comes in about a year, providing I’m still married) and without the right to vote, I will still be doing the taxation without representation thing, but overall, it will feel like the end of a very stressful waiting game, where I have often felt disinclined to get too involved here “just in case.”
I have to pass my Life in the UK test first. I haven’t been studying. I also have to provide documents spanning the two years of my first visa that have my name on them to prove I was living here, with my husband this whole time. Let me tell you, in 2010, it’s a pain sometimes to get anything on paper, let alone with your name on it. We pay so many bills electronically that I’m struggling to come up with enough.
But the real kicker is that at minimum, it’s going to cost me £840 ($1354) to apply. I suspect I am going to do the in-person appointment service that double checks your documents on the spot, which costs another £250 but could potentially save me a flight to the states if things go pear shaped.
I swear sometimes, between the masses of red tape, the fact that nobody ever stops to tell you what you need to fill in next and when, and the money, I’m kind of amazed anyone ever manages to immigrate legally ANYWHERE.
Anyway, ho ho ho… for Christmas I’m getting a greencard. I hope.