It’s funny. We started this journey in October 2014 and despite knowing just how difficult it was going to be, we could never have anticipated a separation that lasted this long and lives that would be affected this greatly, but here we are! I have been in the UK 280 days today (Over 9 calendar months) and finally the visa saga is drawing to a close.
I think that even though we have struggled (And I am sure you have all noted our intense struggle), we should not be underestimated. Yes, we knew that this was going to be a crazy ride, I knew that I would be lonely and we knew that this would take a toll on everyone involved – The point of the story is that we reached the goal in the end, despite all the challenges we faced. We did it! (Well almost).
On the 22nd of July 2015, after daily check-ups with and at Teleperformance and hounding and annoying as many people as humanly possible, my husband finally collected his visa. Exactly 11 weeks after submission, he has a settlement visa in hand and we can now move forward with our lives. So what was the first thing we did you asked? Most certainly breathed a mutual, continent separated, sigh of relief. It was surreal. I spent the day in a somewhat shocked daze, walking around in disbelief and taking in the realisation that finally my family would be joining me and the new battles of life in another country for them begin. Shortly after the sigh of relief, we paid for the air tickets and made it official. My husband and my beautiful children will arrive in the UK on Thursday the 30th of July 2015! And the countdown couldn’t possibly go any slower.
I really cannot explain the elation that we are feeling. It is a mixed bag of emotions… On the one hand, we are finally getting what we set out to do all of those months ago but on the other, it is the end of an era. The end of a limbo in which we have been living for what feels like a lifetime. Will I remember how to be a wife? Can I go back to being a good mother? Will I remember how to share a home with 3 other people when I have been on my own for so long? There are nerves, anxiety, disbelief, happiness, sadness, anticipation and excitement. It feels like I am getting on a plane and leaving South Africa all over again… Only this time, I won’t be alone.
On Wednesday, I put up a picture of the visa across my social media platforms and I could hardly believe the support that we have received. It is overwhelming. It is like each and every one of our friends and family members have walked this long and treacherous road with all of us. Seen our longing, felt our sadness, shared in our frustration and wiped away our tears. Without all of you, no doubt this journey would have been far more harrowing. To all of those who have cared enough to be a part of this, we thank you – Those that I have met and those that I haven’t. Thank you for your messages, your likes, your comments, your shares and overall just thank you for supporting us from afar.
This looks a little like an Oscars speech but it isn’t really, I just feel it necessary and important to thank everyone involved! Like my crazy ‘landlord and lady’ who in the time I have moved here, wiped my face, held me as I cried, watched me suffer, helped me move, accepted numerous Argos deliveries, drank with me, fed me, showed me the ropes and then decided to have a baby –Without these two taking the plunge, I would never have had the guts to do it myself. And my mother, who if she had not so graciously opened her home to my husband and children, we would be in a far different situation – Thanks Mom and Ken for housing my little family for 9 MONTHS (What we hoped would be 3-4), you are almost an empty nest… finally!
And of course… the strongest man in the world. My husband.
I do not know many men (if any) who would watch their wives move halfway across the world without them to brave a foreign country alone. Giving up all freedom to move in with his in laws, to parent two children (One of which is not his blood relation), to financially support himself and the girls while continuing to fund his visa costs and every now and again a guitar and some eBay shopping for me. To tirelessly and relentlessly push on through delay after delay. To calm his psychotic wife when she was having a lonely episode and to listen when I felt like our worlds were falling apart at my doing. To buy me flowers when I didn’t get the house I wanted or send me a Lindy Bop dress in the wrong size (Oops). He has held my hand through the bad times but held my heart through the worst and I could not thank him enough for being this man because without him at my side, I never would have had the courage to shift my life back to the country in which I was born. I am so grateful that he continues to remind me every day that despite everything we have already conquered and all the hardships that our marriage has faced, we are soul mates and stronger for it. We are not perfect. We make mistakes. We falter. But now we are in a place that our marriage and our family can be proud of – We achieved what we set out to do and in only a few days we would have successfully moved our family across continents! No one could be more proud of us than me.
I missed my 30th birthday with my family, my husband’s birthday, Christmas, Hayley’s birthday, Mother’s day (In the UK), Easter, Mother’s day (In SA), Father’s Day, Dakota’s birthday and soon our 3 year wedding anniversary among many other things (Including the birth of my nephew) – But for all I have missed, we are about to gain so much more…
And NOW the work begins.
Schools are on holiday so we have a few weeks to get the girls placements in school – Hayley will be going into Year 5 (Bumping up and missing out on the last half of Grade 4) in September and Dakota into Reception year (Like Grade R). We already have some hopeful waitlists and I am working tirelessly with the admissions team to get them where we want them to be – This, no doubt, will be sorted sometime during August.
J-P has his second interview set up for what sounds like a really good job which will see him starting work very soon (A place they have been holding for him since a Skype interview in June).
And then in 2 and a half years time, we go through this whole visa process all over again – BUT AT LEAST THIS TIME, we will not be separated and it will be the final one before the ILR and citizenship.
So there we go… no more miserable visa posts and moaning blogs about the settlement process. We made it this far and the next blogs I write will once again start including my girls and our lives and the adjustments we have made. Thank you again to everyone who has followed and supported us… It would never have been possible without you.