Hi guys.. I’m still alive, for those of you who are left. It has been about 5 months since my last post.
I have no other excuse besides that this has been one hell of a past 5 months. I have started to write this, stopped, rewrote, deleted, wrote more, deleted, ignored it, thought about it constantly, and now I’m here. Rather than go into a lengthy post giving a blow-by-blow of October onwards, I’ll just do a chronological bullet-list. Ready? Here goes:
- Sent in my 3+ lb application to British Consulate
- Working as a part-time Innkeeper at the Calderwood Inn in Healdsburg
- Visa was denied by British Consulate because they didn’t believe Gavin and I were together for 2+ years, despite joint bank accounts, lease agreements, bills to both of us at one address, emails, text messages, etc.
- Went to Denver to visit one of my best friends from high school, drove back with a friend
- Spent Thanksgiving with family and friends
- Sent in appeal to British Consulate, very little hope at this point. No idea what or where Gavin and I stand
- Plan trip to London, board flight to London, arrive in London, get deported from London, land in San Francisco exactly 48 hours after departing
- British Consulate says that it will not give me a decision until May, 2013 (this was in December)
- Decide I need to actually start living in Healdsburg, rather than wait around.
- Get house, get dog(!!!), get real job, make plans
- Get visa approved
- Be confused about everything
So, basically, life is complicated and I’m not sure what my future holds at the moment. Right now I am living in a 3 bedroom house with no furniture – I feel like a college student again. All my stuff is in London in Gavin’s new flat, which I am dreading having shipped.. Hello huge bills!
But from here on out, I will blog consistently about what I am up to.. Which soon will be me refinishing my kitchen table, painting the insides of my kitchen cabinets and drawers, painting the house, buying furniture… eesh, this is making me tired already! Ha!
I found this print at Etsy shop Evajuliet and it totally sums up how I need to be feeling about my future.. Right now, things regarding my UK work visa are tenuous at best. Turns out my work didn’t do something they were supposed to and now my application might be rejected. If it’s rejected then (obviously) I’m not allowed to stay in the country anymore. Which is kind of a bitch seeing as Gavin and I have pesky little things such as rent, bills, etc. to pay. The application process is also $672.. There’s no way I can afford to pay that, plus a round-trip ticket again. Poor Gavin hasn’t slept in about a week!
This print helped put things in perspective for me though. While the UK Border Agency has final say in whether I am allowed to be in the UK, I have the final say in how to react. Rather than staring at the door (potentially) closing in my face, it’s my responsibility to find the one that will open in it’s place. I do have lots of options – go to Germany and stay with our friend as a tourist, go to work in our Canadian office (I am a citizen after all so won’t need to deal with a visa!), potentially cut ties with PD and move to Toronto (it’s been a dream), or just move back to California and get into working in the wine industry as my parents want me to do. I can’t go back to the States though until I get my passport back from the British Embassy though.. Catch-22 there. Got to leave, but can’t go back.. I guess we’ll see where this all leads to.
As my boss says, it’s an adventure. Unfortunately, it’s an adventure that I can’t really afford at the moment!
After all my waiting, I have got my visa! They mailed me my passport with the visa in it last week! My mom bought my ticket with points from the credit card so she only paid $50. Pretty sweet. Now the only fly in the ointment is that the ticket I have leaves San Francisco on February 2 and arrives in London on the 3rd and my visa’s “valid from” date is February 15th… I have emailed the visa office to see if I can enter the country on a tourist visa and not work until the 15th… I did that on Friday so today is the first day that they would even be able to get back to me, as they don’t work over the weekend.
I am also going to go to San Diego tomorrow to surprise Ayo :) He has no idea that I am planning to go down there for a few days! I am getting pretty excited, even though I have a fair amount of things I need to do today before I can go. The worst is to empty out and organize my closet, which has been a storage place for random crap for waaaaaay too long. Now I need to have it ready for it to be a guest room closet. Lame.
Being home is really nice. I can go out to nice restaurants, go wine tasting, watch TV on huge plasma screens but after a while, it just gets boring. I mean, I can only watch so many episodes of Dexter. I have to say that I am so glad that I have Netflix and that Netflix has unlimited Instant Viewing. I have to say that I do love me some Dexter. The problem is, I just start feeling like I need to be doing something. I did work over the weekend at Winter Wineland which was fun and I did my job very well, if I say so myself. And I do.
I know that I can go back to San Diego as soon as my visa is processed, which I am hoping won’t be too much longer. Ticket prices to London are much cheaper from LA anyways. I think I will try to fly from home to LA, see my sister and then take the train to San Diego to spend a few days with Ayo before taking the train back to LA to fly out.
So in all my down time, I have compiled a sweet list of sites that I find interesting. Enjoy!
- Zim and Zou – A French designer who works with paper. The work is beautiful and the execution is perfect.
- We Heart – This blog featured a grocery store in London called Unpackaged that realized how stupid all of our food packaging is. As a couple of the 3 R’s (Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle), they are helping to reduce the strain on landfills. And they do so in a beautiful and very well designed way. I look forward to finding this store when I go!
- The Workerman Flickr – I really hope this doesn’t come true for me! Nice simple design though :)
- The Pump Promotional Video – A really funny video for an eatery in New York. via Kitsune Noir.
- Ruben Brulat – Amazing photographs. ‘Nuff said.
- Chanel – Now they are making surf gear? Snow stuff? Bikes, boats, guitars and more! Some really well designed products from one of the fashion world’s best known design houses.
After my hellish trip to and from London, I came down to San Diego where I am currently. As of now, I have filled out all relevant visa application forms, went to an immigration center to get have my biometrics taken. Biometrics, btw, is a fancy way of saying digital scans of fingerprints as well as a digital photo. I also got my visa photograph taken by a very nice man who works in a dingy little office downtown. After all that, I made my way to the post office where I then mailed all my forms, photographs, signed documents and my Canadian passport to the British Consulate in LA aaaaaaand I received an email today saying that it was received and I will know whether I am approved for my visa within 1-15 business days. That means I might have my visa tomorrow! That would be rather exciting! Now I need to start looking for tickets. I can’t imagine that they are very expensive right now, I mean, who wants to go to London in the middle of winter? Does anyone have an idea of how cold it is? I mean, look at this picture! That does NOT make me click my heels and say “yippee!’ Instead, that makes me go, “you know, I think a California winter isn’t all that bad after all.” Oh well, it is a learning experience and I feel that everyone should at some point in their lives experience seasons. Real ones.
I got this AMAZING internship to go to London and work as a junior designer for 8 weeks at a company called Perfect Day. Sounds amazing, right? It is, until I tried to figure out what visa I needed to get… I was told it was a “working holiday” visa, so I went on the UK visa site. Nowhere did I see a visa like that, I clicked on all the other ones, though, to make sure that I wasn’t overlooking something. I didn’t see anything that looked like it pertained to me, so I assumed that it was like a tourist visa – show up, give the Canadian passport, receive 2 year visa. WRONG!
I guess I didn’t see that the working holidaymaker visa was canceled in fall 2008, and a new visa called the Youth Mobility Visa came into play. One that I needed to get BEFORE I left for London. Needless to say, I was denied entry to London and was sent back to the US on the next available flight. Talk about my worst day ever.
So I was sent back to Charlotte, NC. Then I had to buy a ticket to San Francisco. $600. Then I had to check my bag. $50. Then I had to take the Airporter from San Francisco to Santa Rosa. $30. Then I had to take a cab from Santa Rosa to my parent’s house. $40. Including my $1200 ticket to London, I wasted a grand total of $1920.
I am totally dreading telling my parents as they bought the initial $1200 ticket, as well as take me to San Francisco for Christmas and then to Florida for New Year’s and buy me boots and clothes especially for London… I have come up with a plan to somehow make them not hate me. They come home from Bahamas on Friday so I will call on Saturday (I escaped to San Diego ASAP) and tell them what happened. Then, I will propose to work as many hours a week as they want until I have worked off my ticket price. I need to have at least £1600 (approx. $2555) in my bank account when I apply for my visa, there is no way that I can afford a ticket and a visa. Also, the internship is unpaid and I don’t quite think I can live in London for 8 weeks on only $1500. Well, I guess I could but it would mean absolutely no life outside of work, which kinda defeats the purpose of going to London. So hopefully my parents will calm down enough and consent to some sort of indentured servitude agreement.
Worst case scenario, my grandmother said that she would pay for my ticket over so that I can afford life. Thanks Oma! Lunch with Oma will have to take another blog entry since that was such a nice time and this entry is stressing me out!