Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

The last page of another book and I feel my heart break a little more.

The word bound artistry leaves my soul longing, aching, needing from the core.

It hurts to end the story here, for it to end so soon

For over another protagonist to think, to dwell, to swoon

I watched them as they grew, as they were moulded from page to page

To watch them make their own mistakes, adventures to engage

Now I must put them all to bed, forget who they’d become

Even after all the time in my imagination they have swum

Truth to be told, they’re all I’ve known and these characters I adore

They kept me coming back, the author knowing I’d need more

Who knew in this literature that I would ever find such friends

To shut the world out, bedside lamp on, soon became the trend

I was enthralled and threw myself into their stories and lives

Reading of monsters, of dragons, of vampires, of friends and adulterous wives

No matter who the story was about, the subject of this art

Almost every character crept in, made space, got comfortable in my heart

But now this book is over, the characters gone their separate ways

Left to find a new book on which to spend my days

Farewell my friends, our time together has been sweet

Until I read of you again my friend, until once again we meet.

It has been a couple of months since my last blog about my husband’s settlement visa application for the UK – The last post I did was in February called Taking over Me in which I was asking for you to all bare with me only a little while longer for J-P’s visa to be issued and for life to return to some sort of normality. Those who know me or have me as a friend on Facebook (or even follow me on Twitter) know that things did not turn out the way we had planned – Instead J-P’s visa was declined and we were forced to start the process all over again.

Our first settlement visa application was on the basis that I had not yet been here 6 months – This meant that the financial requirement is considered for the 12 months prior to application only. Having earned in South African rands with the awful exchange rate and also changing jobs (and having a drastic pay cut) meant that we were already very close to the line in terms of actually achieving this requirement of GBP18 600 per year (In the last 12 months). We had been advised that maintenance payments could be included in this calculation and so we used this to push us over the edge and apply with the hopes the visa would be approved. Sadly, it was not and due to South Africa’s maintenance orders not being recognised in the eyes of UK visas and immigration, J-P’s visa was denied on the basis that we did not make the financial requirement.

I remember that day that I got the call, I had already gone onto planned leave and J-P and the kids were due to arrive any day, I had gone to watch a movie to kill time while I waited for J-P to go and collect his visa and then book his air ticket – When he called me I was sitting on the bridge over looking the River Kennett, the sun was out and it seemed like it was going to be a beautiful day – I was not prepared for my husband to tell me that his visa had been denied. That we had just spent GBP885 for nothing. It was all I could do to immediately book a ticket back to my family and I flew the next day, uncertain of our future and unsure of being able to continue with this pursuit of a settlement visa so that we could continue our lives in the UK.

When it happened, I looked at this like it was the worst thing in the world but when I think about it now, it was merely a hiccup. Had I known before I left that the visa would be declined, I never would have left South Africa. I said from the start that there was no way I would be here for 6 months (The second way of application) without my family before a visa could be applied for and I was not prepared to stick it out without them for that long… Well, here we are, I have been here 6 months and we are about to apply again.

On the 20th of April 2015 I will have been working for Portman Travel for 6 months and have successfully been earning enough to make the financial requirement – At the end of April (beginning of May depending on how long it takes for the documents to arrive) the second visa application will go in on the new basis that I have lived and worked in the UK for 6 months earning a salary that would in the financial year (6 months before and after application) meet the financial requirement for sponsorship of my husband’s settlement visa. When I went back to SA in February I had every intention of giving up, of canning the whole idea. I was prepared to give up the new life I had built here just to be back to my family knowing how difficult it had been without them in the 4 months preceding the visa rejection. I was convinced otherwise by my husband and our visa consultant and so, came back to the UK with a heavy heart but a renewed determination to do everything we needed to to make this visa happen, despite the challenges, despite the cost. H was re enrolled in school and went back to Grade 4 slightly later than everyone else as by now she had missed the first few weeks of classes and thankfully J-P works for an amazing company who allowed him to stay on a little longer until the visa could be re applied for. I got a new tattoo and came back alone, hoping it would be the motivation I needed to get through the next 3-4 months it would take to resolve this.

10985237_10152521358391065_8990537747794325301_n

A second visa application means more money – Sadly since the first application, the cost has increased – Our timing has been fairly awful to say the least. Where it was just under GBP900, it is now closer to GBP1000. A new NHS surcharge has also been implemented (As of the 6th of April 2015) where all long term visa applicants are also required to prepay a charge to make use of the NHS for their intended period of stay – J-P’s additional NHS surcharge is another GBP600 on top of his application. Unfortunately documents that were valid for the first application are no longer valid so off my husband went for a second TB test (Another R1000) and a new police clearance certificate, tax clearance certificate and certifications of documents. All new payslips, employment letters, bank statements etc had to be obtained and I will have to send off another envelope filled with original documents from this side before he can even submit the online application again. What was supposed to be over already has turned into an extremely long, harrowing, expensive experience – BUT I KNOW that once they are here, it will be well worth all the sacrifice.

As soon as my documents arrive in South Africa, J-P will then process his online application once more, go in for his interview and re submit all his documentation. In February 2015, nearly all visa applications were being processed in 15 working days but sadly that number has gone up to 30 days for March 2015 – Many being rushed in before the NHS charge implementation date I am sure. I am hoping that the number is reduced again for April / May thanks to these new charges that may put people off from applying – The sooner J-P’s visa comes out, the better.

This time, we have no reason to believe it will be rejected – I meet the financial requirement, we meet all other requirements, we have everything we need for me to be an adequate sponsor of my husband’s visa, all we need is the UK visa’s stamp of approval and we can get along with the rest of our lives and we are nearly there – Hopefully no more than 6-8 weeks away now. It does mean that the children will not go to school until September but that actually works out quite nicely, D will go into reception year (Grade R) as this is the school year that she turns 5. Based on Hayley’s age, she will then be pushed into fifth year and will not be held back yet – That we will look at based on how well she is coping. Hubby has already been in touch with recruiters and has had some positive interest on his CV pending his visa issuance, this is great news as we will be able to get back into the financial swing of things fairly soon. I will also take some more leave but this time, I am waiting to actually have a flight date before I go off for ten working days to spend some much needed time with my beautiful family who I am missing considerably!

Thinking about this visa all the time has led me to discover a few interesting things that may be of use if you are planning on moving over to the UK – I feel that there is a lot of information dotted all over the place and it can get very confusing when you have a complex application / situation as I do.

*** RETAINING SA CITIZENSHIP ***

I am not an SA citizen so I did not give a second thought to this until now but it is important to note that if you manage to successfully obtain citizenship of another country without first having applied to retain your SA citizenship, you will lose your SA citizenship and you will then only be granted permanent residence to SA – It is an administrative and logistical nightmare. As J-P is coming over on a settlement visa (When and not if it is granted), it will be valid for 33 months after which he will apply for an extension for a further 33 months. After that time, he would have been in the UK for 5 years and will be required to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) by doing the Life in the UK test, doing a new English test and proving the financial requirement again in order to gain permanent residence in the UK – It is at this time, once ILR is granted that if he wants to apply for citizenship (Which he does) he will need to apply to retain his SA citizenship before obtaining his British citizenship.

*** CHILDREN HOLDING DUAL CITIZENSHIP ***

Luckily my girls have British passports as well as having their SA passports, this is because I was born in the UK. Under the age of 18, they cannot lose their citizenship in SA as minors but it is important to note that they need to apply to retain their citizenship after they have turned 18 – I still have to get clarity on how to do this because to me the ruling says they would not have lost their SA citizenship as minors but you cannot apply to retain your citizenship if you already have dual citizenship. I will look into this much closer to the time because by then, I am sure the ruling would have changed another ten times.

*** PERMANENT RESIDENCE EXPIRY ***

In the worst case scenario, J-P is not granted extension visa’s or ILR and this could mean that there is a possibility we would need to return to SA. If this is the case, I only hold a permanent residence certificate. Thankfully, those do not expire as long as you apply to the specific rules given on the certificate (if any) or you return to SA at least once very 3 years. Guess what family, you will be seeing me for holidays and visits – Not only because I want to see you but because I also need to make sure that if I need to return to SA permanently, I can :).

It has not been an easy road but I think back to me making the decision to come over and I know it was the right thing to do – I never intended to be away from the girls and J-P so long and as I said earlier, had I known I would never have left but then we would never have had the opportunity to know if this could work or not. It has been extremely expensive but thankfully money can be replaced, credit cards can be repaid – As soon as J-P is here and working again, we will be able to make that up fairly quickly. Money will be the last of our worries as long as my family is back together with a bright, hopeful future.

Now all we ask is that you hold thumbs for us, that this time, our second try, the visa is approved and issued fairly quickly (Hopefully 3-4 weeks instead of 6-7 but if it is approved I will take what I can get) and that I have my family here with me sometime between early and mid June. Unfortunately, the delayed visa issuance means that we will not be able to return to SA this year for a holiday because financially and practically we would just not be able to, but that will mean that next year’s visit will be all the more special – Especially because I will get to meet my nephew who is making his entry into the world in July this year :)

I remain hopeful that the next post I share that has anything to do with the visa is to tell you it has been issued.

Thanks for all your well wishes and positivity in the meantime! I have been here 184 days today… and counting.

10987309_10152511238921065_796964543138630764_n 10922437_10152541168187101_3874169905957472349_n

Close your eyes, open wide and take a bite. Now listen. That sound that you hear, crunching in your ear? That’s the sound that drives me to a madness I am certain I need a diagnosis for and its only one of many annoyances that push me to the brink of insanity day in and day out.

I am no psychiatrist but I am certain that I need to see one, you see I am pretty sure that I suffer from a condition called ‘Misophonia’. No, I don’t hate all sounds… only most of them. I don’t complain about your noises because I want to irritate you, I complain about them because they genuinely are the reason that people like me want to injure other people. It is an almost uncontrollable rage that creeps over me and all that I can do is plug my ears and hope it will end soon, before I do or say something I regret.

Over time, I have learnt to block out some of the sounds but it is impossible to block them all out. I am human after all and my hearing is one of my senses that is still near perfect, to my own detriment. Add my unexplained hatred for noise to my obsessive compulsive disorder and we have a healthy combination of crazy in a crusty bucket.

resized_the-most-interesting-man-in-the-world-meme-generator-my-misophonia-doesn-t-always-get-triggered-but-when-it-does-i-will-murder-you-10a4c1 506ba37044106b6cb99ffe3ced6877f7

Snoring

Ask anyone that I have ever shared a bed or a room with just how much I can handle a snorer. Simply put, I can’t. I grew up sharing a room with my sister, most of that time in a bunk bed, many a night spent kicking her in the back through the chipboard to wake her up so I could sleep. It was not uncommon for her to wake up with her nose inches from a pillow that I was contemplating suffocating her with (I am not actually going to admit to trying to suffocate her here). Ask my husband about our nightly ritual and it will always involve me going to bed and falling into a deep sleep before he is even permitted to lay down – Heaven help him if we watch a movie or something on the laptop in bed and he dozes off. I have been known to pinch his nose closed, throw water on him and sometimes get out the threatening pillow. (Again, not going to admit to any suffocation).

Breathing

I really wish people did not have to breathe. (No, that is not the reason for my pillow suffocation antics – not that I have ever suffocated anyone). I have tried to explain to too many people that we have noses through which to breathe in and mouths with which to breathe out – Alas, some people have never mastered that co-ordination and breathe in and out of their mouths alone thus allowing for an awfully loud huffing sound with every breath bound to try drive me nuts. I don’t think I would have a problem with mouth breathing if it could be done quietly but every oral inhalation is generally accompanied by a raspy throaty noise that cannot be explained as anything other than gross. I get that you need your mouth to breathe when your nose is blocked but there is no need to do it in my ear, on top of me, in my face where I can neither run nor hide.

Sniffing

And if you are going to breathe through your mouth because your nose is blocked and you are ill, I suggest you avoid sniffing and sputtering at the same time. The thing about Misophones is that we see sound, which probably explains why we hate it so much. The sound of your sniff gives me visions or mucus travelling its path from your nose to your stomach – If that sentence did not just make you want to be ill, I don’t know what will. Don’t sniff. Just don’t. It is unattractive, unhealthy and unintelligent anywhere near me and a pillow.

Swallowing

If you are not swallowing your snot, I commend you. That, however, is not license to turn your oesophagus into a drain. It is possible to drink or sip quietly and swallow sweetly without pain and injury. Walking around listening to people swig liquids like they’re auditioning to be a roto rooter drain cleaner is hardly my idea of a good time.

Nail biting

The sound of silence is beautiful, silence or some really good music through my earphones. Seeing you munching on your talons is a sure way to kill my sound of serenity. I don’t even have to physically hear you chewing or biting your nails to get annoyed because if I see you doing it I am already imagining the sounds… the sounds of the teeth on nail, grinding and gnawing away. Not only am I now hearing that unnatural crunch, I am imagining you swallowing those talons and feel sick all over again.

Hand rubbing

I appreciate it if you are not biting your nails in my presence but that doesn’t mean that you should be rubbing your hands together instead. Why do people even do this? The only time a hand rubbing is effective is when Gargomel in The Smurfs does it and that is because he is EVIL and wants to kill Smurfs. Are you evil? Do you want to kill Smurfs? No? Then WHY are you rubbing your hands together. If you are rubbing your hands furiously like you are trying to start a fire, perhaps you should consider moisturiser. Only dry hands sound like scratching sandpaper.

And of course, chewing.

There is no sound worse than the sound of someone eating. Other people, myself, pets, babies. You name it, I cannot hear it. Every meal of the day is eaten while trying to block out the sounds of gnawing and squishing and squelching and crunching. At one point, this irritation was so bad that I had to eat a meal in a different room from my husband and children altogether because the sound of them eating would cause me to snap. Most of the time I have learned to deal with this irritation but after a long stressful day, even the softest sound can set me off and eating is bound to be one of those sounds. I have been at such a point of desperation that I have used a pillow on myself to try and drown out the sound of the chewing but alas, this is near impossible.

Now that I have successfully worked myself up by replaying all the sounds that annoy me most in my mind, it is time for dinner – Wish me luck.

328aafdd1cd5d1c49d8e1bea168e2b0f

How does that saying go, if the shoe fits then wear it? What if it never does.

I have never been able to just ‘purchase a pair of boots’ and I am certain I cannot be alone in this battle.  The struggle is real, not only for our more feminine friends but for the tom boys as well.

Boot shopping for me is an all day event which usually ends in me going home empty handed or with another pair of casual shoes to make up for the loss of the boots I never owned. While I know I am a little more plus sized than the socially accepted norm, I never thought I would categorize my own calves as plus size – I did not even know that plus sized for calves existed! Because of my ‘socially unacceptable’ calves, I have resorted to ankle boots (The UK phenomenon). Something I swore I would never do.

I decided (3 months ago) that I needed a new pair of flat, knee high, work appropriate, flat boots. I wanted to find a pair of boots that would see me through winter that I could wear to work and could comfortably cover my calf tattoo (New job so the work attire must be up to scratch). I had ordered a pair of boots online after discovering that in the UK, your items actually get delivered to your door, but when they arrived realised that they were mid calf boots. I was not upset, instead I thought that I would go on a hunt for some boots for myself and spent what felt like an entire day out looking for unicorn footwear… but alas, no success. I then went the online route again, this time ensuring that the look, size and feel of the boot was exactly what I wanted but when they arrived they barely zipped up my ankle – let alone up to my knees! Disgruntled and disheartened, I returned the boots and after a few more searches I gave up on ever owning a pair of boots that would fit my dancing calves again.

I have since seen some desirable boots by trolling the interwebs and have been recommended various boot outfitters by friends, but to be fair, I will not be ordering boots online knowing that my success rate is nil for 2. I had some time to kill over the weekend so decided to brave the sales at my local shopping centre and see what I would be able to find (if anything) in the hopes that I would fulfil my boot desires months old. Boy, was I mistaken.

For those of you that know The Oracle in Reading, it is safe to say that I entered every single boot selling shop inside the mall and tried on almost every single size 8 pair of boots I could possibly find. There is the first problem, I wear a size 8 shoe. The most beautiful boots are made to a size 7 (Docs excluded of course) and thereafter the dregs of the factory floor have been sewn by a small slave child to create a shoe bigger than they are.

In and out of store after store I pursued this quest and repeatedly failed. Here is why.

1. Size 8 shoes should not be made without a zip to the knee. The retarded little zip at the ankle that is created to allow space for your foot to go into the shoe does not work. Not only does it NOT create any space, it looks daft when the top of the boot doesn’t go past mid calf – That is IF you can even get your foot in, which I cannot. Ever.

2. XXX / EEE / XXL / XL fit or whatever the shop would like to name or brand it is a load of bollocks. Just because you have sewn in a small square of elasticated fabric at the back of the boot does not make said boot  WIDE fit. Also, boots should not be made with a toughened material in the front and elasticated material behind, it looks daft.

3. If I manage to get my apparently obese foot into your midget made shoe, it is an even bigger task to get my foot out again. In many a shop I could be seen yanking, tugging and even blowing into the boot to get it off again – I am starting to wonder if I have grown a shoe size?

4. Hey – Let’s sell boots and shoes and pretty things but if they want to try them on, it is tough. We have no space for chairs. Well, when I am sat on your store floor trying to get boots on / off, don’t bother helping me up again when they don’t fit.

5. Ok so I see what you did there – You really did make the calf of this boot a WIDE FIT – The problem is that this boot looks like Barbie. Big boobs, no waist. Big calves, tiny ankles. It is all very well I can fit my calf into your boot but that is not going to make my ankle feel any better about itself.

6. Screw it – I will buy these cute Wellingtons instead. Oh wait… no size 8’s.

***

In the end I went home with nothing but shoe envy that day. I have not found any boots that fit my description to date and sadly, stumbled upon a different pair of casual boots that have now been added to the ‘Calves need to lose weight to fit into’ category. I will continue wearing ankle boots in the meantime and hope that my calf muscles are not opposed to some cardio… apparently they need it.

How do you direct your thoughts onto something far less selfish when all that occupies your mind is what is currently happening to you? And by ‘to you’ I mean to me and by ‘currently happening’ I mean separation from my family. The truth is, you just don’t. When what you feel like you are experiencing is all encompassing and rules everything you say and do, there is no room for thoughts of anything else. This may make me boring, selfish, self-centred or reclusive even but to be fair, I cannot be bothered what people think it makes me. I am fixed onto one thought, one goal, one light in sight – Being reunited with my husband and my children, the reason that all this was put into motion.

4 months ago (16 weeks and 2 days to be exact) I landed in the UK with only my suitcases in tow and a dream that I was prepared to sacrifice everything for to achieve. People disagreed with my decisions, disapproved of my methods and judged my choices and yet despite all of this, with the support of my closest friends and family I persevered. I put myself into a lonely situation for which there was no alternative and the desired result? That my family would join me as soon as possible.

When the conversation between my husband and I took place and we discussed our move to the UK, we knew the sacrifices that would have to be made. We did every investigation possible and based on our individual circumstance, at the confirmation of various experts, the only way that I was going to be able to move my family was for me to go first without them and build a life here ready for their arrival. I came under fire many times for this, for the fact that as a mother and a wife I could desert my husband and my children and throw our lives into utter disarray for my own selfish desires… to those naysayers I say up yours. Extended time without my children beside me is most certainly not what I wanted but it was the only way that our future could be forged, ‘small’ sacrifice for a grand ambition.

We knew it would be difficult, we knew that the girls being without their mother was not the best idea. We anticipated that our relationship could take a knock or two with a prolonged marital separation and I knew that being away from my family was going to kill me…  Kill me? I did not know, understand or realise the half of it. If I thought what I would endure would ‘kill me’ then I am in fact feline and have died multiple times since I have been here. I cry for my children every night that they are not with me and every morning I wake to my empty, quiet house is another day in self-made hell that I have only myself to blame for. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for this change and our move but without my family it is worth nothing. It means nothing. It will continue to mean nothing until they are here.

16 weeks later and here I sit alone, still. Each day we wait on the visa a new torture for us to endure. I find myself checking on the visa tracking almost hourly and requesting constant updates from my husband that I know haven’t come. While we thought that we had gone through the worst of the waiting, it was impossible to anticipate these last few weeks that have been nothing short of unbearable. Each day drags. Each night endless. Each minute silent. I try to throw myself into work, into a hobby, into writing (which has come to an almost standstill) and yet all I can think about is what they are doing, who they are with, what they are wearing and try to prompt myself to remember what they smell like. We thought that modern technology would aid in our communication but due to travelling, working hours and a horrible 2 hour time difference, that has barely been possible. In fact once a week is probably all I get, along with the various pictures that are sent to me sporadically. It is expected that the visa should only take a ‘few more days’ but that was said almost 2 weeks ago so I guess we are back on South African time, waiting while the paperwork gathers dust on the desk of an underpaid administrative clerk.

I have never been more ready for them to arrive. Everything that we have done for the past 4 months and more is about to culminate into a glorious reuniting. A very tearful but long awaited meet that I hope will happen this week, UK visa office permitting. Then this pretty awesome life I have already started working towards for us in a new country can finally begin… We have a beautiful (albeit small) little house, we have food, we have warmth and most importantly we will have each other. My children will know a life in a world not plagued by constant troubles of crime and basic utilities – which I have chosen no longer to voice my opinion about on social media due to being chastised by the very people living in SA and posting these updates. For all its faults, South Africa was home and is the birth place of my children but I am ready for them to know stability, I am ready for them to know the difference between privilege and right. I am ready for them to receive the world and everything I have sacrificed is so that that can happen… none of this has been for me. All who dare to question my motives and my reasons for leaving can go and do one.

So yes, my Facebook updates may be annoying because all that they appear to be is updates on the visa. Yes, my Instagram pictures are full of photo collages of my daughters who I miss as if I had had my limbs removed. Indeed, I sit at home most nights (weekdays and weekends) because first and foremost, finances do not currently permit a social life and secondly, I cannot bare to be false and to be out and about and pretend as if I am not going through the most painful experience of my life. I am sorry if this worries or offends people, this is just how I am dealing with it. Unfortunately the only other person who has even the slightest idea of what I am going through is the one person who has to appear to be the strongest, for the children and especially for me.

Do I think we made a mistake? No. I know that the life that I am making possible for my family is the best life for us. I know that the choices we made, however debilitating, were the right ones and I have no hesitation about the advantages of such a drastic change for our family.

I gave up almost everything I owned.

I sacrificed time I will never get back.

I left a forged career and reputation.

I walked away from lifelong friendships.

I waved goodbye to family…

The hardest part of all is about to come to an end and while everything else will remain just as difficult, as with any family who relocates countries, at least I will have my life partner and my little best friends here to endure it with me.

So friends and family, I ask that you bear with me just a little while longer – It is almost over and regular ‘Shevy’ programming will resume as soon as humanly possible. Thanks for sticking by us, for being our rocks and for lifting us up when getting out of bed has been a challenge in itself.

Xxx

Dark blankets shadow the night

A moon, ever glowing, ever white

Hidden and removed from my sight

Lost to me, sadness, my only light

Sinking, swallowing, feeling alone

Tired of listening, hearing me moan

No ring, no message, no telephone

The sound of silence, the lingering drone

No one around to see me weep

No human touch, my hand to keep

Tangled emotion locked away deep

From pit to pillar, my love does leap

Away from them, myself I did shove

Thought of my actions only for love

Hurting, aching, longing to see their face

Smell their hair, feel their embrace

So difficult on my own it has been

Many aches, many nights, my tears unseen

So it draws near, the end that is nigh

Each dragging day, ending with a sigh

So close you are, so far away

Why does tomorrow always feel like today?

And yet soon I’ll wake up and so it shall be

Finally, you here with me

Yesterday was the worst day of my life.

While I have never been the ‘Christmas’ kind of person, I have always done my best to make an effort with Christmas, to make sure that my children have an amazing day and to make sure that we spend the day as a family with family, the way it is intended. Yesterday, I spent my first Christmas separated from my children and my first Christmas separated from my husband – A Christmas tradition I would sooner not repeat.

I have been in the UK for 10 weeks without my family now (10 weeks and 1 day) and yet I remember that day at the airport as if it were yesterday. The awkward uncertainty of goodbye and the fear of not seeing my family for what felt like forever, with no end in sight. I remember checking in and walking down the hall towards the security desks as they walked alongside me on the other side of the pillars – I stopped to reach for my phone and when I looked up, they had gone. The emptiness that swallowed me at that point was something that can never be described and was only the beginning of the loneliness to come.

Many people have told me how proud they are of me for doing what I have done so far, for leaving my family for months to build up to a new life for them. As far as I am concerned, no matter how good of a life I am trying to give them, no one can take away the guilt I feel every second of every day for deserting my family. No one can take away the loss I feel. No one can give me back all the days I have and continue to miss with my children, no one can give me Christmas or my 30th, my husband’s birthday or H’s 9th birthday. The truth is, I made this bed and now I must lie in it until it has all played out and everything we are fighting for finally comes to fruition…

That said, supposedly, we are almost there. In 10 weeks, I have moved countries, started a new job, found a house, moved, familiarised myself with public transport and have tried to fit right in as I have been here for much longer.  Just the other day, a train was cancelled and I shared a cab with a South African woman who immediately heard my accent and was curious to my origins. After chatting briefly on our journey home she was under the impression that I have lived here for a long time, she was surprised that I had only been in the country a little over 2 months. In the time that I have been here, my husband has sold up everything we owned, lived with his mother-in-law, single parented two daughters and made sure that we are ok financially. The girls now have their British passports and my husband’s visa application has been submitted – The waiting game has begun and now the ball is in the court of the UK home office to issue his visa, hopefully sooner rather than later.

The truth is, the hard times are only just beginning. As soon as J-P and the girls arrive we need to find him a job, the girls need their placements in schools, we have to figure out how to manage without our full time nanny and instead work out after hour child care. We have to learn how to be a family again, without the support that we have in South Africa. We have to learn to fend for ourselves, our little family, alone and in a new country. Am I nervous? Absolutely. Right now though, all I can focus on is my family and their arrival… I cannot even count the days because we do not have a definite date, but I count each moment that passes as another one on my own without them. Something I vow to never do again. I will never be separated from my family for this long, ever again.

Merry Christmas everyone, I am not sorry that it is finally over.