Friday, April 25, 2008

Tag You're It

I've been tagged on a meme by the ever inspirational Almost American. I mean, what's not to love about someone who posts things like this?

It's always nice to be tagged (particularly if you're still feeling some post-vacation lethargy and are about as inspired as a Wet Wednesday in Wetherby). To be honest though, the real clincher was the first question, as you will see:

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?
I always think the word 'apropos' is used by ponces, or as my friend Sue would say, 'nobbers', but damn if this question wasn't, well apropos darling. While I was back home cleaning out any evidence of my existence from my former bedroom (Hi Mum!) - I came across a letter I'd written to my parents in April 1998.

Before reading the letter I would have said that 10 years ago I was newly married, had just emigrated to the US, was dealing with immigration, not able to work, out of my gourd with boredom, and coming to terms with the fact that bravery does not come with the act of moving to a new country, it comes with living with that decision. I remember with absolute clarity the first time I realised (in 1998) that I was only ever going back to England for a couple of weeks every other year, for the foreseeable future. The homesickness was desperate and overwhelming.

LK remembers it like this:

LK: Can you pass the salt?
Me: *Sob* They have salt in England! (followed by 10 hours of foetal position wailing).

As you can imagine, when I found the letter I was pretty interested to see if AliBlahBlah circa 1998 felt the same way:

It begins, 'Today is officially the last day of my 3-month visa waiver, so as from tomorrow, just to make my immigration situation more interesting, I'll be carrying round an expired visa in my passport'.
Then I mention the fact that I probably wouldn't be able to go to my oldest friend's wedding that May because of immigration, and my need to get 'Advance Parole' in order to leave the country. (In the end it did not arrive in time and I did not make it to my friend's wedding because they sent paperwork for 'political asylum and establishment of refugee status' because the INS are absolute morons.)

Towards the end I wrote 'sometimes I get the distinct impression that I'm not doing justice to my life and that I could be getting an awful lot more done' - don't I sound the doe-eyed bride?! My parents must have been so reassured and happy. Clearly things have not changed much in 10 years, although I am slightly more reconciled to my underachieving.

and the piece de resistance, I wrote that our friend Mooks had just been round to set us up with 'our very first e-mail address'. I remember it being completely useless for months as no-one in the UK had one, but hey - that was progress 10 years ago!

Anyway, on with the meme:

2. 5 snacks I enjoy:
Salt and vinegar hula hoops
Guacamole and chips (and margaritas)
Jalapeno Cheetos
Sourdough bread & butter

3.Things I would do if I was a billionaire:
Buy a small one-bedroom fixer-upper in Santa Barbara.
Ha, oh ha ha ha.

4. 5 jobs I've had:
Production Studio Assistant - where I met REAL STARS (well, Jeff Bridges).
Exam Board Mark Checker - I actually stapled my thumb out of boredom.
Paper-girl - I earned about £1.35/hr as each drive was about .5 miles long in poncey Harrogate.
Receptionist - I still have nightmares
Medical Practice Manager - I'm living the nightmare (only joking).

5. 3 bad habits:
Situational alcoholism
Looking for split ends in my hair

6. 5 places I've lived:
Carpinteria, CA
Santa Barbara, CA

I know, I've hardly been slumming it have I?

7. 5 people I want to know more about:

Or else why would I blog?


Law Student Hot Mama said...

The part about wanting to know more about yourself? It's so true. Bloggers are such narcissistic biotches! I know I"m one.

Expatmum said...

Ah, another northern lass! I loved your comment about bravery being not the decision but the living with it. I'm still doing that after 18 years. I have stopped complaining because it was my decision and I made it with my big girl knickers on and everything, but boy is it weird living where you weren't brought up.

Almost American said...

"Ever inspirational"? Wow! That's the first time anyone's ever called me that! (I am happy in my delusion that you were not being sarcastic.)

Thanks for the pointer to your post about the INS - somehow I missed that one. I'm an accidental ex-pat too. Came here to go to grad. school and through a certain degree of inertia never bothered moving back to the UK.

I've blogged about my reasons for becoming American, my dad's fingerprint problems with immigration, and dual nationality

Hyphen Mama said...

Great post! I, too, want to know ME, ME, ME better. Maybe in another 10 years.

Frog in the Field said...

Nice to meet you Ali Blah Blah!
We seriously considered moving to Oz, my husband even went over to find somewhere, so glad we didn't go.
But you live in a fab place?
Wonderful daughter?
Great husband?

Pig in the Kitchen said...

'sometimes I get the distinct impression that I'm not doing justice to my life and that I could be getting an awful lot more done' ...oh god, I think that every other day!

ExpatKat said...

You're right about the bravery thing. Always telling myself not to look back, but to be brave and face the good and bad things about where we live now.

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