The countdown begins. In approximately 30 days, I will be eligible to apply for an indefinite leave to remain (residency) in the UK, one step closer to being a British citizen.
It hasn’t been an easy road to get here. I’ve always been very open about the ups and downs of living and working in London although I’ve kept some of the hardest experiences to myself. I wouldn’t have it any other way though. As one of my clinical instructors once said, you can’t feel the measure of the treasure without the pressure. Or something to that effect.
One of the things I have to do to get residency is pass a Life in The UK exam where 24 questions will determine whether I’ve learned enough about this country’s history, culture and government to earn the right to becoming a resident. I meant to study for this exam well in advance; I bought the book ages ago but as always happens with the best-laid plans, life interfered and I find myself cramming for the darn thing over the last weekend (my exam is on Wednesday).
I mean, its not the hardest exam I’ll ever have to take but I’ve never been comfortable about not reading all the materials for an exam before I take it. This stems back to my days in college when I would read all the books, do research and borrow other people’s notes on top of my own already extensive ones just to make sure I’ve covered everything. I probably gave myself more work than was necessary.
I suppose I could pass this multiple choice exam with just stock knowledge and a little bit of revising. I’m quite fortunate that I’ve apparently been preparing myself for life in the UK before I even got here. I always loved history. And I’ve been fascinated with British history since I started reading Philippa Gregory and after finishing a book of hers I would inevitable look up more information. Believe it or not, reading romance novels also helped because they’re mostly set in historical times. I’ve also read a lot of classic British literature so that part I’m mostly comfortable with.
I was revising yesterday and I could not wrap my head around notable sports and sportsmen. In that arena I’ve always been more American I think. More specifically, the only sport I’ve ever followed closely is basketball so I found myself scratching my head when I get asked questions during the practice exams about the woman who sailed around the world one-handed or who led the British team to a world cup victory in 1966. The political and judicial system were also a struggle for me and while I hope I never have reason to need to know what a crown court is, I can see why all these things are relevant.
All in all, I will be quite busy with this and other residency requirements over the next month but I will try to blog with some kind of regularity. I will also be turning 30 in a few days and you can bet I’ll have something to say about that!