Tuesday 6 May 2008

lovely day


a typical stereotype of brits is that they always talk about the weather. if there was a day that deserved to be talked about, it was probably today: it was absolutely beautiful. sunny, warm, with a lovely breeze. the only problem, really, was that it was just after the bank holiday weekend, which meant that it could not be fully appreciated at work.

i was late to work anyway, and had a few minutes to enjoy this pleasant garden outside the merton register office, before submitting my application for british naturalisation (sorry american compadres - this word has to be spelled with an s instead of a z. that's 'zed,' not 'zee.' for that matter, i think it's 'spelt,' not 'spelled.' it's tricky to be bilingual in english.)

the home office has recently announced that they are changing the requirements for naturalisation, but they have not elaborated about the upcoming changes very clearly. logically, then, there has been a rush of applications while people try to slide in before the new rules. i got lucky that i qualified so soon after getting ILR (since my year as a student before marrying s counted toward the residency requirement). i took advantage of the nationality checking service, a clumsy name for "we'll check your application, charge you 40 quid, and send it to the home office so you don't have to be without your passport for the 20 or so weeks it will take to make a decision." all in all, i thought it was well worth the £40.

the merton register office was surprisingly nice - a charming building, currently covered in wisteria, which would make a pretty backdrop for wedding pictures, i suppose. while i was waiting to be served, i looked at the notices for upcoming weddings. nice to live in such a diverse community - some of the people planning to get married were from portugal, brazil, poland, mauritius...

and speaking of photo ops, if my application is approved, i will be back there in a few months for my citizenship ceremony, where i get to affirm my allegiance to the queen. and then i'll be able to participate in elections. i'm fairly sure my one vote would have kept boris out of the mayor's office.

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