Monday, November 16, 2015

The date is set for the big move... (and more things)

Well, the date has been set for Thanksgiving Day as the move (26 November).

I'm going to be flying off to Ft Lauderdale to do some planespotting for a day (for my Richard) and then I will be flying across the pond the next day. Hey, can I help it if prices are cheaper doing it this way?

I guess the day is quite symbolic. Thanksgiving Day. I'm very thankful for many things. Skipping the obvious, I really am thankful for the USA. I've had quite a few people ask me if I'm getting tired of living here, and well, it's a mixed bag. Yes, I'm tired of a lot of the BS and politicking that's going on as well as the ever-present polarization of the nation... but there's also quite a lot to be thankful for. I'm never tired of the freedoms that we enjoy (and I think we enjoy some of them a it *too* much). I will never tire of what the USA stands for. Sure, the USA and more precisely, its people, is viewed as being a stuck up spoiled brat child of a nation who always wants to get their way, but be honest, don't all nations always want to get their way? The USA just has more bully power. OK... I'm not going to get off on that tangent... you'd be reading War and Peace by the time I'd be done with that. Back to Thanksgiving... I'm also thankful for the country that has seen fit to allow me in to be a productive member of their society. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland finally has seen fit to let me in, and I will not let them down. Third, the friends I have been able to make that live in the UK (thanks Facebook!) have made me feel so much better about moving to Terra Incognita. It's scary, but I will have Richard and friends to help me.

I will say this again, because I have gotten asked a few more times over this past week about it, but yes, I do plan on becoming a British subject. I will not however, renounce my US citizenship. Yes, I am allowed dual citizenry. 

Lots and lots of exciting things are in my future. I will for the first time in my life, be able to spend holidays with a loved one (excluding family of course). I do plan on expanding my photography work. I will still continue to take landscapes and improve on them by doing new and different things, but I also have a lot more portrait work and artistic work planned. I do want to do nudes, and yes, I have some volunteers already (get your mind out of the gutter... this is NOT pornography). I will be diving into themed art pieces... one in particular is very very exciting and will be hugely symbolic. I'm hoping to get this into a gallery somewhere if I can pull it off. I'll be doing light painting as well, which is just hugely cool!

It's truly fantastic to have people that support me fully in all of this. The first person who really believed that I had talent in photography was my friend Ron. He told me time after time that I had talent, but I guess I would always not think that highly of myself and I just lacked confidence in myself. The people at Grace Episcopal Church in Cullman, Alabama also helped a lot to build my confidence enough to help me take the big step into the pro world. Richard has been the key for me though. He's my future in everything, and I'm soooo thankful that I have a wonderful partner and husband to help me in my endeavours in photography (and more importantly everything else!).

Finally, I have been asked how the events in Paris and Lebanon have affected my plans. Well, they haven't at all. That's not to say that Richard and I haven't talked about moving back to the US in a few years if things do get worse, but I think we will be just fine in England for a while to come.

I'm gonna miss a lot of you guys... friends, family... you know who you are.


Monday, November 09, 2015

Whilst riding the wave of emotions...

So I know a lot of you are going to be curious about where I will be going from here...

Well, first, Richard and I have to decide on a date that I will be flying over. It's hovering around 21 November.

Second, I will have to tie up all loose ends and affairs here in the USA. This means selling off a bunch of things that I will not need in the UK.

Third... well that's the easy part. I'm going to Britain (OK, the United Kingdom, Great Britain or as I now know it... HOME).

I will do my best to document and share a lot of my life and travels and experiences while there and abroad.

This is just the beginning of a fantastic journey, and I cannot wait for it to begin!

Thank you all for your support.


Well... I have FINALLY heard the news...

Watch the video to hear the news...

Saturday, November 07, 2015

The Beginning of my new life is nigh?

So a few days ago I got this email:

Regarding Visa Application: GWF033345954
For: (ME)
A decision has been made on your UK Visa application. Your application will be dispatched shortly from the Decision Making Centre in Sheffield, UK. If anyone contacts you advising that your application is still under consideration or that they can influence the outcome of your application in any way, they cannot - please report any such approach to
Applications submitted at a Visa Application Centre will be returned there for you to collect.
Applications submitted in Yaounde, Dakar, Banjul, and Lagos Visa Application Centres will be available for collection 3 - 5 days after receipt of this email. Please do not attend these VACs until this time has passed, or until you are notified that your documents are ready for collection.
Applications submitted at the mobile VAC in Abidjan will be returned by courier directly to the address you have provided.
You should not expect to receive any further notification from this office unless you have made your application in North America and submitted a pre-paid courier envelope for your documents to be returned directly to you. If so you will also receive a further email with the courier tracking reference. Please note that if you applied at the Toronto Visa Application Centre on or after 28 April 2015, and have paid for your documents to be returned directly to you, you will shortly receive your tracking number from the Visa Application Centre rather than from this office.
Kind regards,
Sheffield Visa Section

Well, the documents are in Louisville now... and I have to wait until Monday morning before I find out if I got the visa or not. I really wish they's just come out and tell you! From what I do understand, this email they send is a generic one that everyone gets, regardless of acceptance or denial.

So if I get it, I can finally join my most awesome and cuddly cute husband in the UK!

I'm so excited and I'm not sure I can actually wait until Monday!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

So it's time for a long overdue update...

Hello everyone that's reading, I thought I'd give a short status update.

Many people have asked me what's taking so long with my visa application. Well here's the story so far:

The application was sent in on August 31 and the documentation (my passport, photos, bank statements, appendix paperwork, etc etc) was posted afterwards. I never had any confirmation that either my application or documentation were received, so when the 12 week mark came (the maximum length of time that the application is supposed to take), I contacted the UKVI asking what the status was. Of course, they said that it was in process and that I should wait to hear from them. 24 weeks came around, still nothing, so I contacted again. Same story. I contacted again a month later and again a month later, same story. They did finally send me a message that they received my application but I needed to send in my supporting documentation. I went ballistic! It had already been sent by Richard via special Post Office delivery MONTHS back!

So I the frustration has mounted and Richard and I have considered actually having him move here or we could go to another country...

So then I asked Richard to try calling the UKVI about this and he did this morning. I also got an email that said the following:

Dear (my full name) ,
Regarding Visa Application: (My application number)For: Thomas Blake Britton
Thank you for applying for a UK visa. Your visa application has been received and is under consideration.  We aim to process non settlement applications within 15 working days (unless you have opted for the Priority Visa service), and settlement applications within 60 working days.
Unfortunately, the processing of your application has not been straightforward and we will be unable to decide your application within our customer service targets. We are continuing to work on your application and aim to make a decision as soon as possible.
We will write to you again if there is any change to this. Please do not attend the Visa Application Centre until you have been advised that your application has been decided and that your passport is ready for collection.
Kind Regards,
Sheffield Visa Section 

So what's this mean? I hope to bloody hell it's good news! It's killing both Richard and myself being apart!

Friday, December 05, 2014

So I had this genetic test done...

I've been waiting a long time, but my y-DNA test has been completed! What's a y-DNA test? It's a genetic test done that compares DNA that is only passed father to son. It's very useful for genealogy research.

Based on my existing family history (which has actually been re-written a bit because of this test and other tests from FamilyTreeDNA), my familial origins are from Wales and England. More specifically, I have definite roots back to James Brittain, b.1705 d.1779, Wales, UK & Richard Britton b. 1585 Batcombe, Somerset, England. 

What's this make me? Well as expected, my immediate roots out of the US are Welsh, then English as you go further back in time.

What makes this really interesting is that my results are adding a much needed distance dimension to the Britton DNA project.

More interesting information later!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Another quick update on the visa process...

Thought I'd give everyone a quick update on the process of my immigration visa.


The good news is that the longer I have to wait, the better it generally is. The last time, I heard back very quickly about my denial. I'm now running somewhere in the neighborhood of 9-10 weeks, and the waiting period is between 2-12 weeks. So according to the UKVI, 96% of visas have been decided by this point. I also hear that they are a bit backed up, so really, I could hear at any point in time. I cannot travel out of the country at all because they have my passport... so I'm totally at their mercy.

It's going to be rough this Christmas because most likely I will NOT be moving in time; however, I do have the trip to Vegas planned with Richard at New Years, so hopefully everything will work out by then.

In the meantime... I'm just working in Kentucky. :-(

Thursday, October 23, 2014

So what does moving to another country mean to me?

I'm still anxiously awaiting news from my visa application, but I thought I would write a few thoughts about moving to a different country...

I'm asked if I'm scared. Yeah, I really am. Not for the reasons you'd think though. I'm only scared about going to a place that's just new. New people, new surroundings. What makes it easier to bear? That would be my husband, Richard. he's all I really need.

I've always said that if I ever did move to another country, it would be one where I could speak the language. Yes, I speak English (duh). I could always go to Germany... but there's always the persistent fear of being a stranger in a strange land.

My close friends have asked me if I'd miss them. Of course I would. That's the single hardest thing about moving. The fear of abandonment. My bestie, Freddie I know has this on his mind. Thanks though to the internet, we can at least have face to face video chats. Still, it's not quite the same. I could go on and on about sharing my life on this blog or Facebook or Youtube or any social media outlet, but it's still not the same as some personal face to face time.

I do know that I'm destined to make a life changing move. Seems like the United Kingdom is it. I've always felt this inexorable pull there. I don't know if it's a genetic thing or if I just identify with the people and ways of life there. It just feels like my home, where I should be and where I belong, and yes, this was well before I met Richard. He just makes it completely clear and that the UK is somewhere I want to be, without a single doubt in my mind. My sister Lynn LOVES the UK. I guess we share some things in common there, even though I've never stepped foot on British soil. Crazy huh?

Bottom line. I will miss my friends in America. I'm not gone nor am I abandoning them. I'm just moving on to start the next chapter in my life, one of happiness and joy for the first time in my life. I just hope that they can be a part of it. I will make new friends and have a new life, but my old friends will always be a part of me.