expat

Bee's picture

choices, distance, stories

Sun, 10/09/2011 - 03:01 -- Bee

We were talking about how much our lives have changed in the last ten years and I asked idly "I can't remember - how long ago was my book stolen?"

Byron answered "September 14, 2001."

"Really? Why are you so sure?"

"Because everyone thought the break-ins were political."

My mind has not retained the details but Byron sketched in the scenario: a series of punk houses robbed, a warning from friends that we might be next. At the time I shrugged off the danger. I owned nothing worth stealing.

Bee's picture

cultural differences, self-defense, and creepy strangers

Fri, 07/15/2011 - 03:12 -- Bee

Walking around Paris with my daughter I was shocked beyond reason to find that men stared at her.

This should not have been surprising - if you've read even a little bit about France you would probably guess that cultural attitudes about flirting and sundry mating rituals are specific to the place.

Heck, I'm completely oblivious to such things and even my backwards self has clocked the fact that waiters pet my hair. Elsewhere in the world nobody would dare, but in Paris strangers walk right up and touch my arm.

Bee's picture

choosing school

Mon, 06/13/2011 - 09:30 -- Bee

Ever since his fourteenth birthday my son has been exasperated with me, and frequently asks why I do, oh, anything and everything.

I quickly learned to answer "Because I am old, and stupid."

He accepted this, and proceeded with the activities most dear to an adolescent.

Except one day he asked why I was doing something so obviously routine and necessary I answered "Because I am old, and stupid, and boring!"

He paused, thought about it, and replied "You're not boring."

Bee's picture

righteous indignation

Wed, 06/08/2011 - 02:35 -- Bee

Yesterday I was walking through a seedy part of East London talking to my fourteen year old son. Ahead, about half a block away, I noticed a cluster of ruffians obstructing the path.

Specifically, one man stepped out in front of us, planting himself solidly in my way. He was what in the UK we would call a hard-man; the shorthand from home would be skinhead, though that term means something entirely different here than it did where I grew up. In short, his tattooed muscular form did not convey "cute hipster bartender."

Bee's picture

geography & spelling

Tue, 06/07/2011 - 09:14 -- Bee

A representative of the Historic Royal Palaces (capitalisation their own) just wrote to ask if I can change a link on a foment.net post. From 2005.

In a slightly related note, I have just spent several obsessive hours in the hipmama.com archives. Yes, it is true, I keep everything.... the question is, can I find it again? But anyway, I dusted off a bunch of stuff that I myself formatted. Except my computer INSISTS that 1/3 of the words are spelled incorrectly.... cause my machine is now properly British.

While my files are forever defiantly American.

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Bee's picture

academic integrity

Thu, 06/02/2011 - 02:05 -- Bee

One of the most irritating aspects of my grownup life is the fact that I spend a great deal of time with people who care about academic rankings.

This is repugnant to me not because I disagree that it is important to strive for excellence - oh no. My problem with rankings is the fact that they are meaningful in a factory where input = output.

How does that translate to education, where standards can only be reliably applied to basic and largely irrelevant goals like achievement on standardised tests, or the performance of school sports teams?

Bee's picture

immigration, isolation, racism

Thu, 04/14/2011 - 09:42 -- Bee

The blogosphere is ablaze with chatter about whether or not Tory immigration policy is racist. The answer is debatable; I believe it is merely xenophobic, but that isn't much comfort to those of us who are actually immigrants, now is it?

When David Cameron evokes words like "discomfort" to describe how he thinks native-born British regard new members of the community it makes me feel, hmm, "unwanted" and perhaps even "sad."

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