Saturday, 1 September 2012
Wow, that was a quick trip!
Mrs Stace and I had decided that we were not going to go away for a holiday this year - we have way too much going on and thought that we would not have enough time between appointments to actually go anywhere. It was going to be a vacation of day trips, and maybe the odd weekend away if we could find the time.
Then about three weeks ago one of those appointments was cancelled and we were suddenly presented with a week and a bit where we could afford to be unavailable... But, it was going to *just* long enough - no time to relax.
After thinking for as long as we could (about 1 hour) we decided that we would take the trip - I really wanted to see my family again, and I know that they were also anxious to meet me. A week later and the car was serviced, the chunnel was booked and we were ready to go!
I cannot say how nervous I felt arriving at the passport control for the first time with the new one - but I went though without a problem or any strange looks from the woman checking the passports there.
It was great seeing my parents again, and spending 6 days with them was worth the effort that it took to go there. Their poor dog took a while to figure out who I was - but once she realised she didn't leave me alone for the whole time! It's a little bitter sweet though - she is getting quite old for the breed of dog that she is and I fear that she won't be there next year when we go; she was looking very old and tired this year.
I managed to do some work on my Spitfire whilst there this year, welding a hole in the rear wheel arch with my dad. It was a small rust hole and it needed filling more than patching and so that's what we did. I tried to fill it (blowing metal out at first!) and my dad put the top layer on (or to put it another way, I tried to fill it and he made good my repair!) It's really nice to be able to say I did some work on the restoration even if it was not really that impressive! The car itself is coming along nicely though - the rear wings are now on the car and it looks like a Spitfire again! Now just for the rear light panel, and rear skirt panel and the tub will be done! Just the bonnet assembly to fix and then it can be put back together and sprayed!
We made out normal trip to Waterstones and got another 12 books to add to the collection - we are up to 520 now in our library! - and a relaxing few hours spent browsing.
And I spent time going through my new wardrobe with my mum, and going through her new wardrobe (she has recently lost a lot of weight and so is having to treat herself to a new one too). I think that was possibly the highlight of the trip for her - it was only the second time we have really spent some mother / daughter time together since I transitioned and it's something she loves doing.
Of course, 6 days meant that the time absolutely flew past and in next to no time we were having our Sunday roast (Lamb - it's traditional when we go to visit) and preparing to leave again.
A long drive to Leicester (each drive seemed to be along drive - I don't think we had a travelling day where we did not spend half the time stationary!) and time to start visiting family members there. Only on my mums side unfortunately - my grandparents on my dad's side were on vacation, I have still not spoken to my aunt who is struggling with me, and the rest are just not close enough to go and visit.
First to my mums brother, his wife and my cousin. They have seen me on Skype, but never met me yet. It went absolutely fine with them, as we were expecting. There were a few problems with the name, but they got it. It was an enjoyable evening with them even if both Mrs Stace and I were exhausted from travelling.
The second and last day in Leicester was spent visiting my grandma and both of my mums sisters. Now, my grandma can be very, very sharp with her tongue. Whilst she is fine with me, she can make very much jelly fish comments - complements that are really not compliments at all! But no, nothing. Half hour or so of chatting just as normal, and not one single mistake with my name - not bad for someone who is 85!
The visit to my mums youngest sister was not something I was looking forward to. I knew that she would be fine (she had already met me as Stace last year), but her partner is struggling and had previously said that he would not be able to call me Stacy. If he wanted to avoid using names and pronouns then fine, I would accept that - but I was not going to accept being called by my old name. I was getting quite nervous about it, after all I did not want to cause a problem for my aunt! But in the end it went fine. Whilst he had no idea what to say or do when we first turned up, after a few minutes it went well - he did not use any name, but was perfectly friendly and even gave me his phone to check something on-line.
Finally, we went to see my mum's middle sister. It's been a while since we had visited her - but I knew from my mum that she wanted to me meet now.
And I am so glad that I did! She was in tears (good tears!) when she saaw me and spent the first half of the visit staring and complementing me on how I looked. She apologised for staring and said that she just had no idea what to expect, but it wasn't what she saw! The second half was just a good catchup for the last couple of years. Apparently as soon as she left she called my mum to say that she had a wonderful daughter - which of course put my mum in tears too!
All in all it was a hectic, rushed but fantastic visit to the UK. Lots of firsts for me as Stacy, I finally got my name changed on my UK bank account (HSBC in Inverness is staffed with very friendly people who cannot do enough to help you! So much better than the Leicester branch who have been useless over the last few years!)
It was definitely a confidence boost - for some reason I was worried more about being me in the UK than I am here in Holland and yet there was no issue at all.