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I have returned from the Land of Amerrypants to the sound of disgruntled yowling. Sorry, Telstar. - Sauntering Vaguely Downward [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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I have returned from the Land of Amerrypants to the sound of disgruntled yowling. Sorry, Telstar. [20120626|18:51]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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On my way through immigration this morning, I was unintentionally sarky to a border agent. This could have gotten me into trouble, except that it played exactly into the particularly British class of interaction that somehow makes it the fault of the person on the receiving end of the sarcasm.

The exchange went like this. I walked up to the counter with landing card at the ready and passport and open to the photo page (which, due to an obscure and inconvenient bureaucratic decision, is not on the front page of the newer American passports). I passed them to the border agent. She looked at the landing card, flipped through the first couple of pages of my passport and looked at me oddly.

"Don't you have anything that shows you live in the UK?" she said, with a peculiar combination of derision and plaintive appeal.

I raised an eyebrow. "It's right there," I replied, pointing at the passport. "In the back." I honestly didn't mean to, but upon reflection I was horrified when I remembered my tone of voice clearly implied that she was being thick.

She flipped the pages rapidly and found it, making apologetic noises all the while. "I'm sorry, it's just that some people have separate cards showing residency," she said deferentially.

"Mine is pretty new," I smiled. She wielded her stamp vigorously and handed back my documents, apologising again.

I walked off to baggage claim. It wasn't until I'd gotten halfway there that I realised how fortunate it was that we were in Britain. If I'd spoken like that with a border agent in the US, I'd probably still be there right now.

In conclusion, have a photo of my parents being cute.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: cosmiccircus
2012-06-26 19:17 (UTC)
It's the British accent! It makes everything glorious to Americans!

Cute photo of the parents! How'd they like their iPads? And seeing their baby girl pregnant?!

Edited at 2012-06-26 07:18 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2012-07-02 20:52 (UTC)
This was at the UK border, though. I don't think the American accent has quite the same effect there...

They liked the laptop very much. (I brought them an "old" one of ours.) Except for the trackpad. We had to get them a mouse. They were very happy to see me and frankly spoiled me rotten while I was there. I didn't have to lift a finger - except for all that internet business, of course.
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[User Picture]From: cataragon
2012-06-26 19:25 (UTC)
We make a point of excessive politeness with US border agents. It's really the only safe option.
I can't imagine that scene would go down anything like that in the US.

(For some reason I cannot fathom, the ones on the Canadian land borders are the hardest to deal with. Even the LAX ones aren't as bad)
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[User Picture]From: purplecthulhu
2012-06-26 19:31 (UTC)
The US land border guards to Canada can be deeply unpleasant. Just ask Peter Watts!
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[User Picture]From: anthrokeight
2012-06-27 05:47 (UTC)
A Scottish friend of mine once referred to the Immigration officer in Chicago as "vinegar tits."

So, yeah. Youwch.

nanila, your mater et pater ARE SO ADORBS! Look at those smiles! <3333

Edited at 2012-06-27 05:47 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2012-07-02 20:54 (UTC)
AHAHAAA. I had really nice immigration officers coming through Vancouver. I guess living in Canada is even capable of relaxing Americans.

My parents are very cuddly. I hugged them lots while I was home.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2012-07-02 20:56 (UTC)
No, it wouldn't.

Oddly, I had the easiest passage I've experienced back into the US for a long time. Despite being so pressed for time because of the late arrival of my UK flight that I nearly missed my Vancouver-Seattle flight, the US border agents were incredibly nice to me.
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[User Picture]From: alice_mccoy
2012-06-26 20:07 (UTC)
Welcome Home.
You do know you owe Telstar an extra meal for every one you_didnt_give_him.
Dare I ask how cute parents reacted to being dragged into the skyping version of the 21st Centuary?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2012-07-02 20:57 (UTC)
Thanks! I think Telstar keeps count of his gooshy food rations. Although he's so full of mice lately that he hasn't been nearly so demanding.

The parents adored Skype! I was shocked. They took to it right away and have called me three times on it since I got back to the UK. They love that we can see each other.
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[User Picture]From: victorine
2012-07-02 21:15 (UTC)
My parents love the Skype too! My dad doesn't like talking on the phone, but he'll sit there for a conversation on Skype. They agree it's more like a visit than a phone call.
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[User Picture]From: victorine
2012-06-26 20:08 (UTC)
Your parents are cute in the extreme!! I really enjoyed our visit and it was an honor to meet your parents!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2012-07-02 20:59 (UTC)
I always think of them as chibi versions of themselves. Thank you so much for coming up. My parents thought you were very smart and articulate. (This is their highest approval rating for my friends, heh!)
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[User Picture]From: jixel
2012-06-26 21:46 (UTC)
funny how reading it without any reckoning of the intonation makes the exchange entirely ordinary. i wonder just how you must have sounded!

your dad looks like don king, and your mom erma bombeck! <3
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2012-07-02 21:00 (UTC)
Scornful. I sounded scornful. SUCH A BAD IDEA!

My dad gets mistaken for Morgan Freeman. Mom used to be a dead ringer for Audrey Hepburn. I must scan in the photos of her that I brought back with me.
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[User Picture]From: recycledfaery
2012-06-27 09:20 (UTC)
If I'd spoken like that with a border agent in the US, I'd probably still be there right now.
Yup probably. :)

*loves the pic*
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[User Picture]From: thekumquat
2012-06-27 10:41 (UTC)
Yup. Took me an hour once to get through O'Hare with my American passport, thanks to the wrong accent and a bunch of visas in Commie and Terrorist alphabets...

Now I just mumble 'hi' and smile and keep my mouth shut and clean un-visa'd passport open.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2012-07-02 21:03 (UTC)
I look forward to having two passports, so I can play the, "Now, which of these is going to get me into less trouble in this country?" game. :P
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2012-07-02 21:01 (UTC)
I'm so glad I didn't. I must be careful the next time I'm coming off 20 hours of travel and my usual social filters are somewhat damaged...
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