Archive | June, 2011


22 Jun

I just got back from London, at the US Embassy for my visa interview.

Now, if you haven’t been to the Embassy before, you’ll be in for a shock if you ever go. It’s a garish 1970s lovechild of Alcatraz and Fort Knox, a horrendous pebble-dashed monstrosity, an eye-sore adorning Grosvenor Square, surrounded by the standard grey neo-classical Victorian edifices that seem to be London architectural thoroughfare, a stark contrast to the Embassy, London’s answer to Tour Montparnasse, the Scottish Parliament Building or Boston City Hall. To top it off, mounted on its roof is a giant bronze eagle. Which, on paper doesn’t sound too bad, but in the flesh (or concrete) just makes it look a bit like the Reich Chancellery.

But I’m not complaining, really. Despite the impregnable layers of security, the fortress-like aspect of the gates and the assault rifle-wielding policemen, it is really like a giant armadillo. It’s tough, scaly and ugly on the outside, but on the inside it’s really quite soft. The people inside were incredibly helpful and friendly, and despite the machine-like, monotonous nature of their work, processing endless queues of people carrying the same forms, I got the impression that they actually did take an interest, and that I wasn’t just another cog in the giant conveyor belt of the day.

So, here’s to you, the British-based part of the American Foreign Office. And thanks for the visa.


I forgot to give this a title the first time round.

6 Jun

Hello. Sorry, I’ve been a bit rubbish recently. But the clock is ticking down, and it’s now only a few weeks before I go! I even have a tentative date for my US visa interview. I’m also slowly mapping out the next eighteen months of my life – in as much detail as my hodgepodge peripateticism will allow. I’ve also been questioning myself recently, analysing my motives and reasons behind leaving. I’m leaving a lot behind, so it might take a lot of analysis.

I also had a bombshell dropped on me last week – an £850 dental bill. I thought I’d get a check up before I left, and on account of three years of heaving drinking and smoking – the life of a student – I need a bit of stuff done. While I was initially shocked and appalled, I had a look at leaving my parents’ private practice and had a gander at NHS dentistry. And it turns out, I need half as much done as the private dentist said I’d need (would greed be a motive there?), and it’s all going to cost me only £47. It’s one of those moments where you stop being British for just long enough to stop complaining and realise how lucky we are for having this glorious National Health Service. Yeah, it’s a bit stale and bureaucratic, but when it really matters, it really helps.

I have to get back to my D-Day documentary, but I’ll be leaving soon. Keep your eyes peeled. And I’ll try to be more diligent with my updates in future.