Friday, 25 February 2011

The Riddle of the Sphinx

A four syllable word is the answer you seek,
Playfully written by Heather the geek.

Thomas in his usual Eeyore-ish form
Takes no credit at all for this dreadful poem.

The first syllable is in city
Minus the y.
Stop looking so bored dear,
Please do not sigh.

The second is in bin but not in bun.
Stop rolling your eyes dear,
This is meant to be fun.

The third comes before the art of motorcycle maintenance.
I know it doesn’t scan,
But at least it makes sense.

The fourth is a boat
With a Union Jack sail.
Now can you guess what
Arrived in the mail?

The answer for viewers at home is:


That’s right, folks! Yesterday we received a certified letter from the Home Office. I was worried as we had already had one and it was kind of a disaster. Well I was the disaster. About a week ago we received a certified letter from the Home Office. It included all the documents we sent (current passports and marriage licence) plus a letter. I TRIED to read the letter, dear reader, really I did. But the letters squirmed on the page like snakes and reconfigured themselves into some other words--the words of my greatest fears and I read it all wrong. Or really just made shit up that wasn’t there. I implied a lot of subtext that was not there. I phoned Spiderman at work all in a panic--which made him panic--and brought to him the offending letter. When he read the letter-which somehow stayed a letter and didn’t reconfigure itself into lies--he gave me the stink eye for days because what I said it said and what it actually said were 2 separate things entirely. All they really were saying was “here are these documents, we don’t need them anymore. Could we have your expired passports and proof that you were born where you say you were (birth certificates)” Yeah, I didn’t get that meaning at all.

Luckily Spiderman was home to take this letter and open it and read it first because Lord knows what I would have made it say. But suffice it to say this one included our documents and had the glorious words:

I am pleased to say that the application has been successful and you will shortly receive a letter inviting you to attend a citizenship ceremony. When you attend a ceremony you will be presented with a certificate of British citizenship.

I would like to think that even I could not have misinterpreted the meaning of that. But let’s not hold our breath, shall we?

We are more thrilled than you can imagine and extremely relieved. It happened so quickly--we were told it would take between 4-6 months to process the paperwork and they did it all within a month. Hooray!

This all stems from being spoiled in 1990. As exchange students from sheltered Louisiana we were thrust into London headfirst and we were given an unquenchable desire--a thirst for more. More art, history, theatre, lectures--intellectual stimulation that Louisiana could not provide. In London there is always something going on. Sure, we tried to recapture that feeling back in Louisiana when our exchange semester was over. We drove to New Orleans, Texas, Mississippi to see art exhibitions. We attended as many local plays as we could. But it wasn’t enough. We needed more. If you wait until you are older, more financially secure, retired or whatever--it may be too late to live your dream. My dad had so many plans for travel and adventure after his retirement  and died at the age of 56--having only managed a few of the journeys he dreamed of. We did not want that to happen to us.

Yesterday, we took the train into London and went to the British Library to see a small, but very beautiful display about Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner which included original handwritten manuscripts and several different illustrated versions of the text. We also took in an interesting exhibit about how the English language developed and saw a Middle English manuscript which is the first written recorded use of the word fart. Can you beat that?

 Then we strolled, nipping into bookshops and occasional cafes until we came to the Courtauld Gallery. We weren’t even planning on going there, but we saw a poster advertising an exhibit called Life, Legend and Landscape: Victorian Drawings and Watercolours  and we thought “Why not?” so we popped in to see it as well as their permanent collection. Very nice--the exhibit had a Millais, Rossetti and a Landseer just to name a few of our favourite artists.

Then we ambled our way to the National Theatre for a lecture on the history of Frankenstein from Mary Shelley’s book through all the film variations and how they differ. Fascinating stuff. 

Then it was back home by train and we were home and snug in our beds by 10:00pm.

This is why we are here. Thank you LC/MC Overseas program for awakening in us the desire, thank you Home Office for granting us citizenship and most of all--thank you God for all the blessings that you bestow on us.


  1. I shared on FaceBook so Lois Grant and all my friends could see your happy news.

    I am sooooo please and happy for you both.

  2. Yes!!!! I am so happy for you! My son Jonathan has also begun living his dream, currently teaching native English at an all-boys public high school in South Korea! I am really happy for you all to be able to do this! (And trying not to be just a teensy bit jealous! ;D) Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!!!

  3. Oh, I am so happy for you both! Your mom sent me the link. How grand to be in and part of a place where you get to see and enjoy such grand things.

  4. Can't wait to see you both and celebrate this wonderful news!