Wednesday, 7 March 2012

I am not going anywhere

The problem of talking about the stuff that is close to you, too close to your heart, is I think, that often, your emotion kind of overrides ones consciousness and more than often there is a danger which the speaker may become too attached and end up focusing on the sentimental values of the subject matter rather than the matter itself.

This is my problem.
I have been babbling about what is up with me lately on this screen for the last few days, in an attempt to write a post to share the important news. For the last few days, and I am not joking when I say Days, it has been six days to be quite precise, I found almost impossible to get pass the first few sentence.
The thing is though, I am trying to talk about something that is not only very close to my heart but also a very big deal; a huge deal. To talk about such is really overwhelming and I didn't quite know where to start.

Well, as some of you might already know, I have been living in London for quite some time. Over the past 12 years, I had to learn to speak English, learn to understand the culture and learn to grow up; try to grow up as a good resident of Britain.
You could argue, I didn't have to learn to speak the language, if I had chosen to live near by Korean community. And to tell you the truth, for a little while I did in fact lived in New Malden; a small town in Surrey where you'll find most things Korean. But soon, I realised it wasn't for me. I wanted to feel part of London, so to speak. 
I remember going into the bank to open a bank account and feeling slightly humiliated by the lady who found me a little difficult to understand. Experiencing what I could only recognise as dismissal of my rather inadequate performance in communicating, I promised to myself I'll never let that same feeling to hurt me again. 
I tried really hard to speak well. I wanted to speak, so no one can ever tell the difference that I wasn't actually born and bred hear in London.
I am not sure whether I have kept my promise but fortunately enough, the same incident does not happen to me anymore.

It's been a tough journey to get here and a very long one too. And here, I mean by, where I feel possibly more home than back home, Korea. I am comfortable with my surroundings. What was so new and shocking back then isn't alien to me anymore. 
A naive young girl who landed London with a little clues of what was ahead of her life has finally grew up and London has become an essential part. It is part of me, part of my adult life that I want to celebrate.

The dilemma of adolescence and the confusions in values of my life as youth has come to an end with my status in London as a staying guest.
I am preparing myself to become a proper resident and possibly to gain the British Citizenship in near future.
Strange thing is though, although I never doubted that I'll get here, I am kind of frightened of the slim chance that it might all fall apart. I am not confident all again.
It was so easy to talk about this stuff in the past but now it is so close, I can't seem to be able to rationalised it. And to even think of the possible failure really terrifies me.

Toby tells me we're not going anywhere until I pass this test.

Triple Cooked Chips (Inspired by Heston Blumenthal's)

some potatoes, scrubbed well and cut into thick chunky chips
frying oil

For making chips, I found King Edwards or Maris Piper works well at home.
Triple cooked may put you off with all the work involved but it is actually quite easy and worth  the effort. My method doesn't actually fry the chips twice. Instead, I fry once then bake them in the oven. I just prefer it this way.

First of all soak your chips in cold water for 5mins or so to remove starch. Rinse well under running water then simmer them in salted water for 7-9mins. Chips should still hold its shape.
Drain them well and lay them onto baking tray. Put them in the freezer for 30mins or so to dry them out. You can leave this in the fridge over night instead if you're not going to use this straight away.
Heat your frying oil to high temperature and fry the chips until lightly coloured.
Now, place your baking tray in the oven and wait until it reaches the highest temperature. Carefully remove the baking tray to place fried chips, put them back in the oven, drop the temperature to 200ยบ and bake them for about 20-30mins or until chips are dark golden brown around the edges.
Sprinkle some sea salt to taste and the rest is entirely up to you. Good helpings of tomato ketchup, a dollop of mayo, a drizzle of malt vinegar or perhaps all of these. Whatever it may be, I am certain you will enjoy these quintessentially British chips.

And now, back to my study of 'Life in the United Kingdom; A Journey to Citizenship'.

In 1948, people from the West Indies were invited to come and work in Britain as well as workers from Ireland and other parts of Europe.
Until 1857, a married woman had no right to divorce her husband.
In 1918, women over the age of 30 were given the right to vote and in 1928, women won the right to vote at 21, at the same age as men.
A census has been taken every ten years since 1801, except during the second World War.
The UK is divided into 646 parliamentary constituencies.
There are 78 seats for representatives from the UK in the European Parliament.
The National Assembly for Wales, or Welsh Assembly Government (WAG), has 60 Assembly Members.
The Queen is the head of the Commonwealth, which currently has 53 member states.
Schools must be open 190 days a year.

And 75% must be achieved to pass the test. 
I hope I pass because, I intend to stay here for good this time and that is, for sure.


  1. I absolutely love your photographs. What camera do you use?

    London's a big part of me too...and I've heard stories from my grandmothers who went through the same thing you did, when they first moved to England as students. And best of luck for your test!

    1. Thank you.
      We use Canon 5D Mark2 with very old manual focus Nikon 35mm lens.

      S x

  2. That does sound terrifying. But you've already achieved so many huge, difficult things; I'm sure you'll pass!

    1. Thank you, Sarah.
      It is so nice that everyone is so supportive and kind.

      S x

  3. Su, my first visit to ur beautiful blog and love everything abt it! as much as I enjoyed seeing eye candy of food photographs, it's your write-ups/narration that touched my heart :) I am from India, now settled in UK and I went through similar things... now I feel I belong here! Good luck for ur Life in the UK test. Trust me, it is not as sacry as it sounds :) And I am sure a girl with so much talent will pass this test with flying colours :D

    1. Thank you, Sia.
      Your kind comments really do mean a lot to me. And just so you know, luckily, I passed the test not long ago. I was so petrified in the exam room, and was so sure I have messed it up. When the lady told me, I passed, I screamed and ran out the door as fast as I could, just in case, the lady has made a mistake!
      S x

  4. Thank you, what such a beautiful blogspot you maintaining. that's great, providing the good information. my first attempt fail in life in the uk test. but i practice the test in After practice i got pass. thank you.