Archive for May, 2011

When Steve and I moved to England in June 2008, we were to be here on a two-year contract from his company. I had the luxury of not having to work during those two years (although I did work for three months on a temporary contract), so I decided that I would take advantage of my time here by immersing myself in the English culture, exploring my English roots (my mom was born in England but has been an American citizen for over fifty years now – she is in her eighties and only considers California her home) and giving back to the Lincoln community by volunteering for a variety of organizations:

  • The Lincoln Cathedral – steward in the Wren Library and for special events
  • The Lincolnshire Jewish Community
  • The Lincoln Chapter of the CCJ – Council of Christians and Jews
  • The Lincoln Interfaith Forum
  • The Mayor and Sheriff of Lincoln – Various Fundraising Events
  • Bishop Grosseteste – 150th Anniversary Fundraising Committee

It all began with driving lessons in order to pass my driving test – I did!  I received my UK Driving License October 2010.

Then going through the process to pursue my British Citizenship – I did! I received my British Citizenship at a formal ceremony in Lincoln January 6, 2011.

One very proud brand-new British citizen

I am serious about my responsibilities and rights as a British Citizen – I registered to vote. I will be voting in the next election.

And the icing on the citizenship cake – a British Passport. I filled in the forms, paid the fee, and had an in-person interview (which I had to do since it was my first time applying for a British Passport) and I am very excited to say that I received my British Passport Thursday, May 19, 2011.It was hand delivered to me and I had to sign for it.

So I am “Official” in every sense of the word.

Having dual citizenship has opened up the world to me (and Steve), especially within the European Union (EU).

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There’s no place like home

This is definitely someplace that we could live. In a castle in Kent.

Steve and I had some business to do in London and decided to make a long weekend out of it, so I got online, did a little research using our own criteria and *bingo* I found Maidstone, Kent.  This also gave us the opportunity to visit Canterbury.

The grounds are beautiful. I said to Steve, “look at how beautiful nature is in its natural state” as he was quick to reply “Oh yes, nature that is meticulously kept by gardeners.” We both laughed.

There are a variety of birds that roam freely around the grounds. It was obvious that they are used to people and they stood still long enough for us to take incredible pictures of them as well as watch them communicate with each other.

The very welcomed  warm weather and sunshine always seems to make everything look beautiful. That is coming from a Southern California Girl.

The Queen’s Bathroom

The castle was amazing.  It looks big from afar but as you walk up to it you realize that it has more of a homey feeling to it.  I especially loved the Queen’s Bathroom, it was a large room and in it was a stand alone wooden tub (used as the bath tub) with a sheer curtain part way around it, a fireplace, wooden floors and a beautiful window letting in the natural light. The funny thing was that there were a few wooden buckets next to the tub that were used to fill the tub with water after it had been warmed up on the fire (from the fire place) to fill up the bathtub.

So here you have this big fancy castle with a King and Queen living in it with no running water or electricity.

As we headed back through the grounds to the car park we had some more time with the peacocks, ducks and many birds along the way.

We left the grounds with countless (250, if you must know) wonderful pictures that I took to capture the memories of that beautiful day.

Until we meet again

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SpringSpring is in the air – Spring is here.  Not only am I very happy and excited to see Spring appear, so are many other people in Lincoln as well as all over England and the UK.  All of us are ready to see the sunshine and feel the warm weather finally show their faces again after a very long and bitter cold winter.  Being from Southern California and living there since I was four years old – basically my whole life – I have not really experienced the four seasons as in other places in and out of the USA. So as rough as this past winter was in Lincoln, England, it gives me a true appreciation for each of the seasons and the beauty and uniqueness it brings. The many changes in nature brings an understanding of the ebb and flow of time. It allows us to enjoy the cycles of life. Beginning with Spring – the coming to life of the trees and flowers blooming and blossoming all around us. The farms filled with a rainbow of colors as if nature is waking up right in front of our eyes.

Gardening – I love working in my garden. It brings me closer to nature. Some call me “Mother  Earth” as it makes me feel so happy when I am cleaning out the planters and planting new flowers. I water the plants and flowers and talk to them and encourage them to grow big and strong and show off their natural beauty for all of us to enjoy.

Smiling Faces in the Garden

Everyone seems to be in a happy mood and feeling happier and lighter. Like many people that I have met, I too need the light and warmth of the sunshine as it gives me a positive energy that gets me “High On Life.” Everything takes on a special beauty and looks so beautiful in the light of the sun.

The Colours of Life

Spring is here. Time to invite a few friends over for a BBQ and enjoy being outdoors.

Food's Almost Ready

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Today I had to go to a doctor’s appointment with my Oncology Haemotologist.  Why was I so stressed about it? Because it was not a regular scheduled visit. My doctor called me a few weeks ago to ask to see me to discuss “something” with me. I had given him a copy of my CT scan and blood work from my Oncologist in Southern California that was done in September 2010 when I was home for a visit. He told me that he and his team of doctors here in Lincoln, England had discussed my case and he wanted to talk with me about their findings.

I immediately said “ My CT scan was clear and my blood work was normal.” He agreed and asked if I would come in for an appointment to talk with him. I agreed and here it is Tuesday 10th May and I have had the talk with the doctor on their findings. It wasn’t doom and gloom – just a reminder that I’m in remission, not cured. It is a reminder that we are not here on earth forever. In fact, nobody is promised tomorrow. Not to sweat the small stuff. Not to take life so seriously. Not to over plan for the future. To live in the here and now. Live with the attitude of gratitude. To live life to the fullest. To love many people. To laugh a lot.

I have a framed picture with a favorite poem:

Follow your heart wherever it takes you and be happy

Life is brief and very fragile and only loaned to us for awhile

Wake up every morning with the thought that something wonderful is about  to happen.

I read it every day when I wake up and give thanks for this new day, as it is a gift. I know that something wonderful will happen today – it always does. I wish for something wonderful to happen to you today.

Enjoy the Journey….

Me with my sons Jonathan and Joshua, and my husband Steve

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Waking up to sunshine is a welcome sight here in jolly old England. Being a Bank Holiday (long weekend), this gives Steve Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday off, so I suggested that we do a few day trips and explore some places that we have not been to.

That's me at Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve

Even though the wind was blowing vigorously, I went out onto the beach area to collect shells and rocks and take in the beautiful scenery of the coastal grazing marsh. I met a warden on the beach and began to talk with him and told him that this was our first time visiting the National Reserve and the surrounding area. His passion for his job and hearing our American accent  got him talking about his various visits to the United States to study at other nature reserves, especially one in Northern California.  I mentioned to him how I love to collect shells and rocks but that I had left my plastic bag in the car. He quickly turned around and went to his rucksack (backpack) and came back with a small plastic bag and handed it to me. I thanked him and began collecting shells and rocks as Steve began taking pictures of the all of the marine life swept up by the waves at low tide.  It is a haven for birds and bird watchers.

With my bag full of shells and rocks, and the camera full of pictures to capture our day, we headed back to the car and drove off to Skegness city centre to get a bite to eat. Of course we had fish & chips and a hot cup of tea.

This isn't where we ate, but it makes a better photo

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