It’s been a week since I’ve been able to visit my local coffee shop for my routine morning typing, to-do list creation, and admin session. I feel as if it’s been months. With only 19 days before we fly to Gibraltar to get on the boat, I’m really spiraling between being scared, excited, and feeling overwhelmed!
In the last week, Simon and I, have attended and passed our Medical Care on Ships course, received all our European Health Cards, got our awesome Sailing Britican business cards, ordered our Sailing Britican polo shirts, ordered all the drugs and medical equipment for the boat and today we’re laying out everything on the floor that we’re going to pack in the pallet being sent to Gibraltar.
The Medical Course was a blast!
Not only did we learn loads but we had a great group of professional cruise ship captains with us. The laughs and stories combined with knowledge and practical exercises were a perfect combination. Not to mention that our teacher, Sue Johnson, is a brilliant teacher and person. Both Simon and I can now put in a catheter, cannular (for drips), do sutures and use a staple gun, take blood pressure, and other vitals in addition to drawing up drugs and giving injections.
It might seem excessive that we took a nursing type course but if Simon and I have only each other to rely on when we’re off traveling the seas and 3rd world countries, I want to know that there’s someone there that can help me and vice versa. Everything we learned was rather easy – it was just unknown before we learned it.
I’m now dual American and British!
My other big news is that I also went to my British Citizenship ceremony located in Buckinghamshire in a Rothchild’s Stately home. The whole idea behind getting my citizenship was based on a potential need for a British passport. With it, I could go to more countries, get in a variety of countries easier (EU!), and pay less in visa duties. For example, a visa for Americans in Turkey was $100 last time I went and only £10 for Brits.
On Monday, just a couple of days ago, hubby and my friend Ene joined me at the ceremony. We pulled up to the Dairy House on the estate, entered the doors and were greeted by staff and several council office workers and dignitaries.
In a beautiful atrium overlooking a pond with lush greenery and weeping willows, there were 17 of us seated to become British. The main room had a life-sized picture of the Queen, some British and county flags, flowers, and period decorations. If I hadn’t been married yet, I’d want to make this spot my choice for the ceremony. What a beautifully English atmosphere!
There was a large selection of nationalities and 2 of us Americans. I quickly migrated towards Byron, a nice gentleman from Uniontown, Pennsylvania. It’s funny how it feels to find someone of your own nationality – there’s almost an unspoken let-down. I often feel as if I don’t need to explain my self as much – I just know that other Americans will know what I’m talking about.
The ceremony had some speeches and then we all did either an oath or an affirmation to the queen. We sang the national anthem and were then invited to have tea, sandwiches, and cakes after the obligatory group photo.
It wasn’t until the end of the ceremony that I discovered it was a 10th year anniversary of having citizenship ceremonies. Most people have their ceremony in a local council office and are not afforded the number of dignitaries and post-ceremony snacks! How lucky was I?
Everything flowed very well until we heard a crash. I quickly noted that Byron and his demonstrative wife (a Brit) were missing. ‘Hmmmmm,’ I thought, ‘I wonder if they’re involved in the crash.’
We then noticed all the dignitaries shaking their heads
The photographer put her hand over here eyes and looked like she was going to burst with anger. It wasn’t long before we heard that Byron got to close to the picture of the Queen and she went toppling over. Glass smashed everywhere! Although the queen took a tumble, it didn’t seem to affect spirits.
Not long after the incident, I a junior journalist asked if he could interview me. After taking my name and some background information, he asked, ‘So, what will you be doing in Britain not that your British?’
I awkwardly said, ‘Ummmm, I’m, ummmmmm, I’ve decided to sell all my possessions and sail around the world.’ I highly doubt that my story will make it into the Bucks Herald!
Overall, I must say that the day was fantastic and I am very proud to be a British citizen. Throughout my preparation – learning about life in the UK for the mandatory, ‘Life in the UK Test,’ and during the ceremony it really rang clear that Britain is a country that stands for freedom, diversity, human rights and community. I love this place. After living here for 16 years now, I can honestly say that I prefer living in this country to any other.
So today is all about packing. My biggest fear is that we pack up the pallet and it goes missing or gets stuck in Customs forever. Yikes. I’ve got to get that out of my head.
What are we packing on the pallet?
Clothes, shoes, toiletries, books, kitchen stuff (Yes – I’m going to bring my Foreman Grill and food processer!), courtesy flags, life jackets, spares, chemicals, and anything else we think will fit. It’s all starting to happen! So exciting 😉
Or…if you’d like to carry on reading all about our journey from selling up and sailing away, you can purchase my book, ‘Changing Lifestyles – Trading the Rat Race in For A Sail Around The World,’