expat

Bee's picture

romance, sunshine, and cream tarts

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 02:04 -- Bee

Observation: Lisbon has more drug dealers per capita than any place I've ever been. Also, boy scouts.

The dealers are shocking because nobody has ever offered to sell me drugs, let alone six strangers on any given public square.

The boy scouts? Well, I kind of thought they were extinct. Or at least, elsewhere in the world the older ones refrain from going out in public with the hats on.

Bee's picture

the right wrong thing

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 02:02 -- Bee

The surgeon wanted to make a standing date for more super annoying cancer treatments every Friday for the rest of the month.

I went "Uh. . . no."

He was surprised - who turns down such exciting offers?

I shrugged. "I'll be out of the country."

The plan was even (to my not so secret delight) a direct challenge to the whole notion of cancer, because I jetted away toward that dazzling forbidden treat: sunlight.

Bee's picture

curiosity, imagination, wishes

Sat, 12/17/2011 - 02:55 -- Bee

Make-a-Wish and similar charities either did not exist or did not reach my hometown in the year I was diagnosed with two different kinds of cancer and a rare genetic disorder. If they had, I would have asked for something along the lines of a trip to England and a visit to the set of a certain science fiction television program.

But they didn't, so instead, I got a television of my very own. I curled up around the pain and the remote control and watched endless cryptic episodes of Doctor Who, wishing myself away. Anywhere, everywhere, elsewhere.

Bee's picture

poverty, work, society

Wed, 12/14/2011 - 08:14 -- Bee

"Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works." --Newt Gingrich

I was born and raised in poverty. Both of my parents worked full-time, over-time, and extra jobs from my earliest memory until the present. They have never accepted government aid or charity. They just work, and work some more.

Bee's picture

Christmas pudding & compliments

Thu, 12/08/2011 - 00:50 -- Bee

Yesterday I was at the grocery contemplating the phenomenon of Christmas pudding, a tradition that has survived modern concerns about hygiene, and an overall improvement in the gastronomic desires of the average Brit. I have never been offered a slice of the heritage dessert, but it is sold everywhere at this time of year, along with mince pies. Whatever they are.

Dimly, I perceived that the woman scanning my groceries was talking to me.

"I like your lipstick," she said. "It suits you."

Bee's picture

size, space, home

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 03:09 -- Bee

Some burlesque performers from Seattle are booked to play a venue in my London neighbourhood for few months this winter and a friend asked for tips on where they should stay.

My first instinct was to answer "give up all hope," but that isn't very friendly.

The truth is that England in general, and London in particular, features the smallest and proportionately most expensive personal living spaces of any city in Europe. This means that affordable housing is scarce, sublets are either nonexistent or marked up, and nobody has room to let acquaintances crash.

Bee's picture

Baby's first... stop and search

Sun, 11/20/2011 - 09:23 -- Bee

My 15 year old son came home today and said "Now I really have some ghetto cred!"

He had been walking near Brick Lane when two cops approached and said they could smell marijuana on his person.

This was patently a lie, yet the police, without any valid reason whatsoever, proceeded to search him. They also asked for identity papers (not legally enforceable in this country). Then they filed an incident report. All because... he is young, urban, and male.

We've all been joking about it - the experience is a rite of passage for inner city youth.

Bee's picture

celebration, protest, revolution

Fri, 11/04/2011 - 01:03 -- Bee

Here in the United Kingdom we don't have Halloween, or Thanksgiving, or the Fourth of July.

This seemed like a real loss at first but everyone I mentioned it too was dismissive. They said, yes, but we have Bonfire Night: on November 5, all across the country, in towns large and small, people gather to light fires.

The practice has evolved over the centuries into a carnival, with rides and fireworks. To an outsider it would appear to be a leftover pagan tradition, a celebration of the turning of the seasons.

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