Diversity

One of the things I still find most bizarre about having a step-daughter in her late teens, and one who is very smart at that, is some of the more peculiar conversations we have. This evening it was about the demography and diversity of the population in London.

For a little bit of context, Regan is starting a degree in socio-anthropology in the autumn so for her at least this is not that peculiar a topic – it’s simply her area of interest.

We were talking about all the different nationalities and languages we encounter, travelling by public transport everyday. Curiosity struck and I decided I might as well share some of the facts we learned.

Contrary to seemingly-popular belief, the largest ethnic group in London is ‘White’ with 59.79% of respondents in 2011 census. Over half the population of London identify as white. And the majority of these (44.89%) are ‘White-British’.
Asian/Asian-British come in at 18.49%, Black/Black-British at 13.32%, ‘Mixed’ at 4.96% and ‘Other’ (including Arab) at 3.44%
Clearly, London is being over-run with foreigners, just like shock media would want you to believe…

The census also recorded that 36.7% of Londoners are foreign born – with 24.5% being born in a non-European country. London has the second highest immigrant population in the world.
Although, that’s still only marginally over 1/3 being foreign born.

We then looked into languages.
77.9% of the population spoke English as a main language, with a further 19.8% speaking it as a second language or well to very well. That’s a total of 97.7% for those playing along at home. Yes, we’re being so taken over by foreigners that don’t speak English that… oh.. only 2.3% of Londoners don’t have English as first or second languages.
In fact, only 0.6% of those surveyed didn’t speak English at all. Not quite 2500 people out of a population of over 8 million.
The main languages, other than English, spoken here are Polish, Bengali, Guajarati, French, Urdu, Portuguese, Turkish and Spanish. Arabic is the 10th most common language with a grand total of 0.9% of the population.

The last thing we looked at was religion. And, like me, 48% of Londoners identify as Christian. The second most stated was ‘no religion’ at 20.73, with Muslim coming in third at 12.39%.
The remaining 18.88% was made up of ‘not stated’, Hindu, Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist and, like Jade Rachel, ‘other’.

I found all this absolutely fascinating to learn about to be honest with you. I love the diversity of the population of this city and was actually quite surprised by a lot of those figures. It just goes to show you the difference between the truth and what popular media wants you to believe.

Pace Oddity

Sometimes it’s amazing how fast time goes by. It’s like life has started rushing by like it’s trying to break a land-speed record and I’m scared it’s going to pass me by and I’m going to miss it.

How is it possible that we’re coming up to Jade Rachel & I’s first wedding anniversary? I still remember the first moment I saw her and that was six years ago now. SIX YEARS.
Note to self: what are you going to do to celebrate this?

How is it possible that Regan is 18 this year. 18, driving, (hopefully) leaving home and going to university. And Caden Bryce is 5. I was there when he was born, this tiny little wrinkled baby and he’s now this exuberant 5 year old who loves cars and monkeys and lego and counting.

I feel like I blinked and half a decade has gone by. I remember how long the six-week school holidays felt as a child, stretching out into this foreverness of freedom. And now it’s almost March – weren’t we just celebrating Christmas?

Can we please slow time down a little so I don’t miss anything?

Pat On The Back

I’m relatively certain that a lot of people who read this blog also read my step-daughter Regan‘s blog and will have already heard the news but I feel the need to write a proud mother post. Because Regan, my sweet baby girl, has been accepted into her first choice university. Providing she gets the exam results she’s predicted – and she’s predicted higher than she needs – she will be leaving us in the Autumn, and moving almost as far away from us as is possible and still actually be on the mainland UK. From London to Aberdeen. Hope she’s got her thermals and electric blanket packed!

I am a little sad at that, at the thought of her leaving the nest but at the same time, I am so so SO proud of what she’s achieved.

The last couple of years haven’t been easy for her. Her mum died, Jade Rachel had a breakdown and Regan ended up living with her father. Not that living with her dad was at all a bad situation just completely different to everything she’d experienced at that point. It took Jade Rachel a couple of years to pull herself back together, get back to London, regain custody of Regan. And then Regan had to cope with moving a couple of times while they found the right house.

And then there was me. It cannot have been easy for her to have me come into her life, to have her other mum falling in love with someone else. Neither Jade Rachel or I will ever replace Regan’s mum Shaine, and nor would we want to. We make sure she’s still part of Regan’s life, as much as we can. Regan also had to cope with not being an only child anymore and having this baby, then toddler, around.

She didn’t only cope, she excelled and she blossomed. I have had such a pleasure watching her grow from a smart tween to this intense young woman. Have I mentioned I’m really fucking proud of her?

Karma Chameleon

Today’s Daily Prompt asks Reincarnation: do you believe in it?

The simple, easy, answer is NO.
I believe we are sent to a temporary heaven or hell, to await the final resurrection, the final judgment, and then the finality of their eternal destination

Allow me to explain:

The Bible tells us that after death, good souls/spirits are taken to heaven, because their sins are forgiven by having received Christ as Savior (John 3:16, 18, 36). For believers, death is to be “away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:23). However, passages such as 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 describe believers being resurrected and given glorified bodies. I believe our souls/spirits go to be with Christ immediately after death and our physical body remains in the grave “sleeping.” At the resurrection of believers, the physical body is resurrected, glorified, and then reunited with the soul/spirit. This reunited and glorified body-soul-spirit will be the possession of believers for eternity in the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 21-22).

For those who are not worth to be reunited with Christ, death means everlasting punishment. However, similar to the destiny of believers, I believe they are also sent temporary holding place, to await their final judgment, and eternal destiny. Luke 16:22-23 describes a rich man being tormented immediately after death. Revelation 20:11-15 describes all the unbelieving dead being resurrected, judged at the great white throne, and then being cast into the lake of fire. However, even though they are not instantly sent to the lake of fire, their immediate fate after death is not a pleasant one. The rich man cried out, “I am in agony in this fire” (Luke 16:24).

Don’t Tell Anyone…

I am terrible at keeping secrets. It’s probably my worst habit. I’ve always been like it, and assumed, when I was younger, that it’s something I’d learn to do as I got older. I’m now in my 40s and now, I still cannot keep a secret.

It’s probably related to how much I talk. I’m really good at talking! Brody says it’s my best talent and that I was born kissing the Blarney Stone. Cheeky fucker!
When we were younger, I would tell him everything – and he, me. I think it just grew from there, that I have some biological imperative to share wi
th everything with the people I’m closest to.

Despite talking a lot, I am really really bad at lying. And keeping a straight face is pretty much impossible. Blushing gives me away so easily, and fidgeting with whatever is near to me. Sometimes that Freud was scarily right.

“No mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his finger-tips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore”

‘Dont tell anyone’ are the most horrifying words anyone can say to me. If Jade Rachel is planning a surprise for the kids, she can’t tell me because I get so excited about it I want to just blurt it out. I am getting better at thinking before I speak but really, I’m no good at keeping my lips sealed.

My life is very much an open book to my loved ones. They know pretty much everything about me. I have nothing to hide. And you know what? I like to think that being truthful, open and honest are very positive personality traits to have – my friends certainly think so and really, that’s all I need.