As I write this, I am in the waiting room of the UK Home Office, waiting to hear my number come up so that I can submit my settlement application (Indefinite Leave to Remain).
Visa applications always make me extremely anxious. My paranoid brain just goes into overdrive and cooks up a whole number of things that could possibly go wrong. Its funny, I’m normally a glass half full kind of person but not when it comes to things like these.
As visas go, this is probably the most important one I’ll ever apply for; its the penultimate step before I can obtain that long-awaited British passport. I’ve also paid 3000 hard-earned pounds for it. So its understandable to be anxious under these circumstances, but I think I have just taken anxiety to the next level. I really need to calm myself down and I thought writing a blog about how anxious I am would help (try to see the logic in this dear readers!).
So I’m passing the time by making a list of how I know I am beyond anxious and bordering on panic right now:
- I have no appetite whatsoever – for a girl who loves to eat, this is a bloody big deal. I can’t even think about food without wanting to vomit.
- Music doesn’t soothe savage beast- I’ve tried listening to my Good Mood playlist on Spotify, which usually works. But not today, today I am beyond the reach of Shake It Off and Mr. Brightside. Maybe some Black Parade will help?
- I cannot concentrate on what I’m reading. Honestly, I bought a book and my kindle to while away the time but every time I start reading my mind goes into all the possible worst-case-scenarios that could befall me and I just lose interest in Clarissa Fray and the rest of the Shadow Hunters.
- I break out in sweat. The weather has turned in London and its now the season of coats once again but I have been sweating buckets since I got off East Croydon station. Seriously.
- Little things start to annoy me. Like the fact that the application centre has to be all the way in freakin’ Croydon, or the Mary Sue-ness of the book character whose story I’m attempting to read (the tv series version is infinitely better!). Or the buzz of the people waiting in this room with me.
- I feel teary. And emotional. Like I’m likely to break out in tears any minute now.
I am almost certain that things will be fine and I will laugh about this in about 5 hours. But at this moment in time I am nothing if not a bundle of nerves. Watch this space guys, I will update you on my journey later on in the day. Wish me luck!
The countdown begins. In approximately 30 days, I will be eligible to apply for an indefinite leave to remain (residency) in the UK, one step closer to being a British citizen.
It hasn’t been an easy road to get here. I’ve always been very open about the ups and downs of living and working in London although I’ve kept some of the hardest experiences to myself. I wouldn’t have it any other way though. As one of my clinical instructors once said, you can’t feel the measure of the treasure without the pressure. Or something to that effect.
One of the things I have to do to get residency is pass a Life in The UK exam where 24 questions will determine whether I’ve learned enough about this country’s history, culture and government to earn the right to becoming a resident. I meant to study for this exam well in advance; I bought the book ages ago but as always happens with the best-laid plans, life interfered and I find myself cramming for the darn thing over the last weekend (my exam is on Wednesday).
I mean, its not the hardest exam I’ll ever have to take but I’ve never been comfortable about not reading all the materials for an exam before I take it. This stems back to my days in college when I would read all the books, do research and borrow other people’s notes on top of my own already extensive ones just to make sure I’ve covered everything. I probably gave myself more work than was necessary.
I suppose I could pass this multiple choice exam with just stock knowledge and a little bit of revising. I’m quite fortunate that I’ve apparently been preparing myself for life in the UK before I even got here. I always loved history. And I’ve been fascinated with British history since I started reading Philippa Gregory and after finishing a book of hers I would inevitable look up more information. Believe it or not, reading romance novels also helped because they’re mostly set in historical times. I’ve also read a lot of classic British literature so that part I’m mostly comfortable with.
I was revising yesterday and I could not wrap my head around notable sports and sportsmen. In that arena I’ve always been more American I think. More specifically, the only sport I’ve ever followed closely is basketball so I found myself scratching my head when I get asked questions during the practice exams about the woman who sailed around the world one-handed or who led the British team to a world cup victory in 1966. The political and judicial system were also a struggle for me and while I hope I never have reason to need to know what a crown court is, I can see why all these things are relevant.
All in all, I will be quite busy with this and other residency requirements over the next month but I will try to blog with some kind of regularity. I will also be turning 30 in a few days and you can bet I’ll have something to say about that!