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I do look forward to my annual summer visit. It’s important for so many reasons not the least of which is that it helps boost my supplies of Vitamin D – currently in quite short supply in the UK where, as I hear it is still cold and rainy due to it still being summer.

I don’t specifically come home in order to seek medical advice. I give the NHS most of my more pedestrian issues – in fact, my GP at the surgery in Bristol coped admirably with whatever was threatening to consume my left foot. In fact I am pleased to report that after three months on some fairly strong medicine that came with a warning about how if you saw your eyes getting jaundiced you should go right to A&E, my left foot looks to be back to normal. Barely a trace of the foot plague that plagued me remains.

I also live to save up a bunch of rather unpleasant errands and chores to deal with whilst I’m at home. It counterbalances all the fun I have. This year I set myself a real challenge: renew my Canadian passport so that a) when travelling at Christmas I am allowed back into the UK without argument (which requires more than six months on one’s passport) b) I didn’t have to try to deal with the government (any of it, in any country, at all) during the Festivus Period. As they require 20 days to turn around a renewed passport, I had to pay for premium (which happens so frequently with me, government, and passports that I’m just going to start at premium next time and save myself having to have the argument), but, fingers crossed, I ought to be able to pick it up today. Which gives me a full five days of trying to not lose it before I have to go back to the airport.

It is possible of course to renew one’s passport from without Canada, but for me, at the moment, that would probably also involve a trip to the embassy or consulate or whatever we’re calling it these days, and that sounds like a bigger pain in the ass than having to go to the passport office in The Mom’s town. Besides which, I need a certain amount of things to do that do not involve swimming.

The Mom loves to get in on this sort of action. It gives her a chance to get some mild worrying done, and if she’s lucky (mostly because I leave things to the last minute) she might just get the chance to do a bit of gentle panic too. I’m nothing if not a giver. She’ll remind me that I have to go pick up my passport, in this tone that indicates that she’s convinced that there is a real chance they may not give me a new passport (in fairness, as an ex-pat I’ve been recently relieved of the right to vote in Canada, so I feel like they’ll be issuing second-class citizenship papers any minute now), and that she is seriously concerned about whether or not they’ll give it to me after having seen me in person. This is because my ‘summer look’ whilst at hers is a bit… casual. In that as I swim every day, I frequently forego a shower, washing my hair, soap, changing into clean clothes. I live in a bathing suit and flip flops as I have done since forever.

Anyhow. The reunion I am most looking forward to each time I come home to visit is seeing my friends and family who really haven’t changed even after ten years. I know pretty much exactly how things will go down with each different group and that’s reassuring. Though, I’m beginning to wonder if drunk and disorderly at 40 is perhaps a bit cliched… never mind. It’ll be fine. As I’ve learned, Canada is a place where weird is completely okay.

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