Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Wednesday 22/08/07

On Tuesday I’m in the office and I get called to the reception at the front, because there’s a delivery for me that I have to sign for and I get a bit excited, but obviously not too much – within reason (3 out of 10?).

So I pick up the envelope and I think I know what it is and I open it and I’m right – it’s the decision for my British citizenship application.

To those who haven’t been following the story, this has been an incredibly long and relatively costly and quite tedious process. I had to have worked in the UK for 4 years and I had to apply for permanent residence in the UK and then I had to study and take a test about “Life in the UK” (even though I’ve lived here for 9 years) and finally I sent off my application on the 14th of May this year. And all this cost me around £750-£850 in total (I can’t remember exactly now and I don’t care anymore), because obviously every part of the process costs.

And I had no reason to do this, I can stay here as long as I want with my Greek passport, apart from I really wanted it – for some reason which I haven’t figured out just yet.

So anyway, I open the envelope and I find all my supporting documents (passport, payslips for the last 4 years, all kinds of shit), but I don’t care about any of this, what I care about is the covering letter and the covering letter says:

“I am pleased to say that your application has been successful and you will shortly receive a letter inviting you to attend a citizenship ceremony”.

And when I read this my excitement goes up to the next level (6 out of 10?), but obviously I try to conceal that, because I make a point in my life of not being excited about anything. It works better like that.

So then I go back to my desk and I send an email to a few good friends to let them know, and my email reads:

“I just got a letter (and my papers back).

The letter says: “I am pleased to say that your application has been successful and you will shortly receive a letter inviting you to attend a citizenship ceremony”.

I AM BRITISH!

Ha! In your face!

USA! USA! USA!”

And that’s it really – I can now look forward to my citizenship ceremony (whatever that is) and then I can apply for my shiny new passport.

The best reply to my news comes from Andrews, who says:

“Eeek so you are a Briton now! What happens at the ceremony? Does this mean you will stop speaking in that ridiculous accent now?”

And the answer Andrews is no, I will keep this hilarious accent, because I may be suddenly be British but Britain celebrates its diversity, welcomes people from different backgrounds and is a melting pot for international influences and cultures*. (*This is all bollocks obviously, the real reason is that I can’t shake off this damn accent no matter what I do).

Anyway, this whole thing has left me with a bittersweet taste and slightly upset (because I guess if I didn’t get upset over everything I wouldn’t be me) and what I’ve been thinking is:

OK, I lived in Greece for 18 years and I know everything there is to know about it culturally (the language, how people behave, what people do for fun, where people live etc). And I’ve lived in the UK for 9 years and I feel almost the same, i.e. I’ve figured it out and I sort of belong here.

But what upsets me is that I’m kinda old now (27) and there are some other countries out there that I would love to know more about, but I’ll never have the chance. And I could go on holiday there endlessly or I could go traveling and spend a couple of months in The Netherlands for example, but I will never really get to know any more countries and be part of them (like I am to Greece and England), because I would have to spend a good 10 years there to do that and I don’t think I have the time for that.

For example when I’m in a hotel abroad sometimes and I watch TV there (where they have a selection of different European channels) I will catch a Saturday night talent show from Germany or something, and I’ll watch it for a while and think about the millions of German people also watching it at the same time, and how they recognize the people on it, and how they’ll go to work on Monday and talk about it, etc. And I’ll never see this program again.

Basically, there is a whole other world out there (or several actually) that I will never really find out much about. And I feel a bit left out and upset.

And the countries that I would love to live in and be part of are: Germany, Holland, Australia. And to a lesser extent New Zealand and France. So 10 years in each of those would take me to 77 years of age, and I’m planning to be dead long before that.

I have 1 song by Bob Dylan and I've played it 0 times
I have 1 song by Bob Marley and I've played it 13 times
I have 12 songs by Bob Sinclair and I've played them 186 times

19 comments:

Bobby Vanquish said...

Yey! You must now go out and celebrate being British!!!
Woohoo!
So that means a binge at Primark and then off for a kebab and too many beers so that you get drunk and abusive and shout things at tourists like "if it wasn't for us you'd all be speaking bloody German."
When's the Citizenship party? I'll bring you a Union Jack towel so you can wear it as a Superman cloak.
Go Britannia! Eng-er-land! Eng-er-land!

Trevor said...

Congrats and Welcome to where you are...
It seems there are always new possibilities in life, and sometimes you feel you need to see and do all of them... but you'll probably find as time goes on that you probably learnt much more with the first major change than you could possibly in any subsequent one... So travel, but don't be a tourist, experience the world through the eyes of those you come into contact with, and be open to the possibility of change always, but feel free not to take it.

Can someone else can take the microphone now?

BY23 said...

Since I am German (actually Bavarian) it's fun to read about these "saturday night talent shows", because people here are REALLY crazy about them.
Anyway, here's a small clip to give you a little impression of Germany (again, actually it's Bavaria) besides those tv shows. A friend of mine shot it at the opening of our "Volksfest" last week (sth like the Oktoberfest in Munich but without all these tourists) with people singing the Bavarian anthem. I haven't been home a lot since I started going to University, so watching that video is also kind of strange for me...and it's strange that it feels strange...whatever. Watch it if you like:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=5Dln0eAGaV8

London Preppy said...

bobby: I actually am planning a citizenship party, but the theme will be everyone comes dressed as a different country. Where they would want to live

trevor: The microphone comment made me laugh

by23: I LOVE having German (OK, Bavarian) readers. And the video is ace. I'm planning to be there singing along by 2019

Adrian said...

Ah bless you, and well done old sport. Spiffing what....

Russell said...

Hey LP:

Congratulations on your citizenship. I too am applying for my UK citizenship (I'm from the US but have lived here 10 years). I don't know why I want to (I have permanent residency) but because I feel an affinity for the UK, then I want the citizenship too.

I'm sure you'll have opportunities to visit other places in future. I'm living/working in Paris for 3 weeks at the moment just because the opportunity came up. It's been a great eye in on another place.

But be thankful for how far you've come too – it's a lot further than lots of others ever will.

Anyhow, congrats. Don't lose the accent.

Russell

Trybaby said...

Congratulations, it sounds like a long time coming.

I think that wanting to live everywhere is very exciting. I too want to do that. Maybe you are having a bit of a 1/3 life crisis? I often find it distressing that there are things I'm missing out on or that there are things that I don't know are happening. And that I know that there will be a whole world of things that I'll never experience before I die. I guess the best you can do is travel a lot. Or do those work project where you stay somewhere for a year? You won't get the "belonging" feeling but you'll get something. That's more than most. And isn't that the most important thing? Not that how good we have it but that it's better than others? ;)

That's funny, when I've read this blog the voice that I hear in my head doesn't have an accent, I wonder what you sound like. I'm sure it's not goofy, you probably have a cool accent that makes you sound worldly. It's always cool/sexy when people have accents but are very well spoken. I think my favourite accent is Russian, because they all sound like they are in the Russian Mafia.

London Preppy said...

Can anyone who knows me in real life please describe my accent? If don't have a log in, let me know and I'll tell you my password

chabang said...

hurrah

//pours you a warm beer//

right it's time to start hating the french and complaining about the weather....

...oh and get a cockney accent if you're going to be a proper native.

t

Simon said...

Congrats! You're one of the nutters now - along with the rest of us! Must be a weight off if it's been such a major thing in your life. You should definitely celebrate - if you haven't already.

I bet you have got a slightly unusual accent - but that's what makes this country the great place it is ;-)

Knight said...

"..my excitement goes up to the next level (6 out of 10?), but obviously I try to conceal that, because I make a point in my life of not being excited about anything. It works better like that"

I'm like that too.Although I know something great has happened (and I feel like jumping up n down), I pretend like it's not significant to me or I don't really care if it didn't happen.I guess it's a way of avoiding disappointment in case that good thing is withdrawn from me..weird huh?!

Totally agree with Trevor! If you don't get to live there, travel to 'there'..embrace the culture and SEE the world!

Pete said...

Congrats!

You could always save up for the Eva Green treatment - they (almost) got rid of her French accent in about three months. Some specialist in London did it.

Just make sure you don't go all red in the sun like a true Brit ;-)

Gabriel said...

that certificate and passport will complete your identity of being british. and its a great feeling not feeling like a 'second class citizen' when you've got it. that's the reason i took up australian citizenship. things to do before turning 30: get a working holiday visa for a year in each country you have on your list and you might have seen most of the world! congratulations.

DAMO said...

Waheyyyyyy! Ur British! It's all down hill now lol only kiddin hehee

What country do u aim to conquer next? I have always wanted to live in Germany as I love the language! And the people so hmmmmmmmm

U may be British officially, but you still have a few things to do, just before you can completely 100% relax into ur British mould, you need to do the following:

1. Go back to greece and trash the place

2. Think that only British people can understand irony.

3. Remind the World that we won the war!

4. say I am not racist, but I hate ...(whatever foreign country comes to mind)

5. Go abroad to countries like Italy, France etc to eat British food and watch British television and most important (moan/complain)

Once you have ticked all of these, You are a fully fledged British Boy!

Seriously though I am aware of how hard you have worked for this!
Just wanted to say.............
CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Matt said...

Congrats on the citizenship.

It's funny about the country thing. I think when you leave one, you never really settle again and start to wonder what others are like. I am currently on my third country, done the UK for 13 years, then the US for about 8, then the UK again for 5 and now heading into my 2nd year in Australia. It gets to the point where you don't know where "home" is and you want to put the best parts of each country together and live there! And then you get all these friends all over the place and you want to visit them all the time, but that is really expensive (particularly, when like me you chose places which are all a minimum of 10 hours flight between each other). Sigh! Don't really know where to choose next!

Why can't you do another? So what if you are 27, so am I (OK I'm 28!). As long as you pick a place where they have real jobs--by this I mean as opposed to Ibiza where the jobs would be tour reps, podium dancers, or club promoters--I think you can have a semi-professional life. Its all part of being in the lost, curious and insatiable generation.

Ok enough of my ramblings.

robin said...

How about an audio blog post? That way we can hear the accent and get some content all in one fell swoop.

JC said...

Congratulations mate, I can imagine how you feel....I must admit I'm slightly envious! I came to the UK from Zimbabwe 5 years ago (more like ran like a dog with my tail between my legs) and although it was my first trip outside of Africa and the scariest thing I've ever done, I fell in love with the place very quickly. Coming out here was probably the reason for that!

Anyway, because of my visas, then work permits I can only apply for my perminent residence in 2009 & passport in 2010 but I worry so much that I might not get it and I'll be pissed (drunk) for a month when/if I do so good for you mate, have a blast...you have the whole bank holiday to celebrate!

As for your accent, I've only spoken to you twice so I'm no expert, but it's a typical, cool, greek accent from what I remember and your english is excellent....but hey what do I know, I have a zimbabwean accent which is really crap!

London Preppy said...

Thanks to everyone who's leaving a comment to say well done for the citizenship thing :-)

Mike Novak said...

Dano: your comments were spot on. Especially #4 and #5. I traveled with a group of 15 brits through Middle East, India, China and Southeast Asia for 9 months in 2005. In a restaurant in Nepal, 3 brits in my group make it a point to tell a German tourist (who we just met) that he was just jealous because “Britain had an empire and Germany didn’t”. And I can not even count how many times we search for bacon (even in strict Muslim countries) to make bacon “buntie” or “buddies” or whatever you call them, as well as “beans and toast”, and “bangers and mash”, etc.

LP: congrats on the citizenship!! Nice Blog!