Life, Love, and Passports

Archive for August, 2011

Anything to declare?

If you’ve heard that question before you’ve been through customs and immigration.
When presenting my passport and visa to an immigration officer for some strange reason I get really nervous and though I know for a fact that I have nothing to hide I feel genuinely afraid.

I enjoy watching border control programmes and I guess this adds to my chronic fear. Having passed through the united kingdom border agency too many times stepping up to the desk to make your intentions known can quickly have you tongue-tied after a barrage of questions by a highly efficient official. I sometimes think the staff are trained by the CIA to spot liars, cheats and all manners of deception. My worst fear is always being sent back to my country of origin because I just failed to make any sense. Fortunately this has never been the case.

Just thinking back to the many times I’ve been “interrogated” and the questions you face although they seem simple after being repeated in different ways can leave you flustered. Travelling with three minors adds further complications. So being good to your kids on the flight is very important because the last thing you need is a brat saying “I hate you, you’re not my mother” when questioned by the officials.

So passport stamped and bags picked up from the carousel at this point you’d think you’re home free. Oh no, now comes the ultimate choice. Nothing to declare or quite simply something to declare. Every traveller knows at this point there is no room for error.

Fortunately I have nothing to declare every time. With a spring in my step I float out of the airport!


Donor mom

I just watched the most moving documentary. It was the story of an egg donor who just happened to know at a very early stage who the recipients were. The recipient eventually gave birth to twins!

I’ve never really given any thought to egg and sperm donations but this really opened my eyes to the absolute joy it gives the recipients.

Thankfully for this particular woman who just happened to have a son who was conceived by a sperm donation she was welcomed by the recipient mom and seemed to have lots in common with her children.

I also got thinking about the many children who have no idea who their parents are. I wonder if it’s a bit like adoption because I imagine the feelings and questions are the same.

There are so many childless couples around and I’m just thankful for the many ways that people can come to realise the dream of being parents.

I wonder if I would be so selfless if it was required of me? I hope I would.


I don’t like footie-I love it

Have you ever tried to avoid a topic and it feels like the whole world keeps serving it to you on a plate. The last twenty-four hours I have been confronted with Arsenal Football Clubs tear jerking loss to a little known team-I think they call themselves the red devils. I can believe it because they took Arsenal to hell and back!

I first started supporting Arsenal in the mid nineties mainly because I wanted a rival team to my fathers-he supports Liverpool. The reason I chose them was because of  a  good-looking French player named Nicolas Anelka. It’s quite ridiculous in retrospect basing my choice on him. A quick glance at his career and I would’ve been dizzy had I followed him-I’ve lost count of the number of teams his played for. Fortunately for me Arsenal was a worthwhile choice and of course the arrival of Thierry Henry kept me interested.

When we arrived in England my husband and I decided to back a local team. Sadly Birmingham Football Club have since been relegated and I honestly decided to take a break from the beautiful game it’s a decision I’ve had to go back on.

Now as far as Arsenal go I’ll always have a place in my heart for them. Their record is amazing and they remain in the top three best premier league teams since this system was put in place. However, I believe the time has come for the long serving manager to leave the club. I think his fire has died and he has run out of ideas for taking his team forward. He seems clueless about the function of the team. Arsene Wenger seems hell-bent on making the club debt free at the expense of their reputation.

Come on Mr.Wenger it’s time to take us back to the good old glory days or do the honourable thing and take your coat and bag!


When the going gets tough

It seems like a simple enough fact that time marches on with or without us. The way time seems to rush off when we’re having fun and appears to slow down dramatically when life is unbearable.

Recently my life has been going very well and I love the predictability of my daily routine. So today I had a bit of a shocker when I suddenly found myself being criticised by someone close to me. Now I’ve always felt that criticism has its place but even constructive criticism can be quite scathing. I have yet to meet a person who enjoys being criticised.

So I’ve spent most of my day being upset that I’m not much better at the things that I do. My time has been on a go slow while I licked my wounds. I must admit I’m finding it hard to get going. Perhaps I’m not that tough!


the fame factor

Music is a very integral part of my life. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t entertain my 3 young fans. Does that mean I’m gonna drag myself to the nearest reality show? Definitely not!

Tonight I watched a music special with Will Young the first Idols winner-he took the crown over ten years ago. Since his win the British have begun their search for the X factor. While I do find it rather entertaining to watch I often wonder if the concept of hard work no longer exists in this era of instant stardom.

Is there really anything new out there? If we look and listen closer we will find it is just a reproduction of sounds we will find quite familiar. I’m certainly surprised by the lack of innovation. Perhaps the music industry is so flooded with passing fads that the incidence for monotonous sounds and lyrics are inevitable.

A typical example to me is the much talked about Adele. For everything that happens to be said about her voice it is precisely what you’ll hear being said about Amy Winehouse. The common denominator is the fact that they attended the same music school!

In the 80s we had Madonna and she sure pushed the barriers of the time. These days we have the likes of Lady Gaga and she is attempting to throw the barriers away.

The fame factor seems to have taken on a life form of its own. More people dream of being a star without doing any of the hard work! How can you value something you haven’t worked for?


Funky Friday

Today marked the last Friday of the summer holidays. To celebrate I took my daughters to a cool cats disco at the local library. Personally I wished that the dj looked less like a prison warden and more like a music man. Nevertheless the girls had a fantastic time playing the musical games and the dance routines.

I can’t believe how fast the summer break has gone. I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun. I’ll be rather sad to wake up early in the next few days. The highlight of my day is always waking up rather late.

So our weekend has started off with a bang and we look forward to lots more fun as we count down the last of the summer holiday!
Why do good things have to come to an end?


Crunch Time

Today Steve Jobs resigned as chief executive officer of Apple. He has been plagued with illness for some time. He has taken a fair amount of time off from his position. I’m not certain how much input he has during these absences but clearly the company has managed to get by.

Personally I think it’s great that he has stepped down albeit that he will continue to serve in some way. I imagine just knowing that he doesn’t carry the weight of that responsibility might offer him much-needed rest.

Of course as a dedicated apple user my hope is that the innovative technology that I’ve become accustomed to will long continue even after Steve Jobs walks away…forever!


East meets West

Well it finally happened~I actually completed reading a book. It has been some time but the deed has been done. I just feel disappointed that it wasn’t really worth the read. It promised so much and just failed to deliver!

The promise was that the book would transform your perspective of parenting forever. Personally I think it was a bit of an exaggeration but of course that is just my humble opinion. What it did prove is that every child is unique and what is good for the goose is not always suitable for the gander.

A Chinese American mom chronicles the journey of her daughters and sets out to prove how Asian parenting skills are superior to their Western counterparts. So for more than half of  the book she waffles on about what a perfect mom she is with outstanding kids. Just when I couldn’t tolerate her trumpet blowing antics any longer the tone of the book changed.

One of the daughters turned rogue and decided she no longer wanted to be a pawn in her mothers game of chess. The only conclusion I came to after reading the book was the fact that the mom was a controlling perfectionist. The job of a mom is hard enough without people claiming to know they have all the answers.

Check it out if you dare!  Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua


The seven Dwarfs

I’ve been watching a documentary on the lives and experiences of seven dwarves who live and work together. The more I watched the clearer it became that no matter how different we are our challenges are often the same.
We all have this need to be loved, accepted and appreciated. While their differences may be very obvious to the naked eye in reality whether publicly or privately we have this desire to be “normal” in many aspects.

The challenge for me is to accept myself the way I am and to give both friends and strangers the same courtesy. Having young children often means having to find the best way to explain the differences we see in each other. Respect for each other goes a very long way in this life.

The lesson I learnt from these seven people was to be the best you can be because people will always have their opinions about you! We hear this often but it’s sometimes worth hearing the reminder and taking the challenge to be your best head on!


Liberation for Libya

Tonight Libya is on the brink of freedom according to the latest media reports. So the world is watching with bated breath to see the outcome.

Freedom comes with great responsibility and my only hope is that the Libyan people are indeed prepared for the challenge! After years of  tyranny under a leader they referred to as a brother and friend the wheels of his heavy-handed leadership are now turning against him. The same way he usurped leadership is the exact way it’s being taken from him.

No doubt it is a very scary time for Libyans at home and abroad. It’s been said that change is as good as a holiday but the Libyan people have had change before and it turned out to be a disaster. Hoping for speedy change and peace for all the people of Libya.