This post might be slightly different, but keeping the ‘Cosmopolitan’ in the Creative Cosmopolitan, I thought it was important to share. This is part of my experience as a modern immigrant and I hope that it will help people who are thinking of immigrating to learn from my mistakes. This is also just an overview, with more information on my whole situation to come.
For this last year, I have been battling being able to stay with Tim in the UK due to immigration. When my mom and I first moved to France, which you can read about by clicking here, we made a small hiccup. Basically, while I had always been living in France legally, I was classed as a student instead of a dependent of my mother who is a French resident. We didn’t pay much attention to it, thinking that both of us being in the county and sharing an address meant that my rights in the country as her dependent would be recognised. When we finally realised that this mistake on paper could potentially destroy everything that we had built together in France (and everything I subsequently built in Britain while a student), it was too late to change it as I had then become over the legal age to be able to be classed as my mother’s dependent. All of this sound confusing? I will certainly work on a more detailed post of the whole situation and my experience as a modern day immigrant in both France and Britain, which can be described as nothing but confusing.
Nonetheless, in 2010 I moved to Britain to study both my undergraduate and my master’s (the basics of which you can read about by clicking here) and met my parter. We have been living together for 4 years, and while we have both graduated this last year and should have been super excited about beginning our life as educated and capable adults, my immigration situation was more complicated and impeding than ever. I had no rights to live with my mother in France, had no immediate family to be able to move back in with in the U.S., had set up a life in the UK with my future husband, but was unable to work and nearly deported since I had finished my studies. Neither Tim nor I had any saving with all of his wages being needed for us to make ends meet. We tried to plea that I had a family life in Europe, having not lived in America since 2008, and requested that they look at my circumstances and let me stay. Getting them to do this took over a year, took $1000’s and included an actual court case with a judge and everything. Our initial problem for why Tim and I couldn’t make a straight forward partnership application was because we didn’t meet the financial requirement (since we were both graduates and I didn’t have real rights to work or drive). In a way we were lucky since by the time it was all over, Tim had been working long enough for us to now meet the financial requirement (there is an age requirement and a relationship requirement that we already met). My only other option was to country-hop between France and Britain, which was risky since they could refuse my entry into either county at any point, or to move to America alone for a year with no job secured, no established place to live for that amount of time, without any of my belongings, and knowing it would be unlikely Tim or my mother could afford to visit me (which was not something I wanted to do). Our court case was unsuccessful, with the judge stating regardless of our situation, the money it would cost or the time we’ve already spent waiting it all out, I should now make the application from America since the Home Office has no further reason to say no and since it would no longer take a year, but a matter of months.
Coming back to America was a scary thing for me. This whole immigration situation has been a stress that has caused many sleepless nights and severe panic attacks. I felt like I was losing time to start a career with my biological clock ticking away. My mom and I had left America, and I never really thought about moving back, nor had I really lived with anyone else in America besides my mother who is no longer there. The idea of coming back alone was, well, isolating and I just felt like I was going to lose more time from actually beginning my life. Now, with that said, in this last year I was able to start the Creative Cosmopolitan as a blog, a YouTube channel and a hobby candle company. It is highly unlikely any of this would have been possible had I had working rights and while my endeavours have yet to be profitable, if there is anything that I’ve learned this last year is that things really will come in their own time.
My whole 17 years of growing up in America, I rarely felt like I fit in or that it was the place for me. I know to a lot of people that will sound completely crazy, but I can’t help the way I feel. It may very well have been that Arizona was not that place for me (of that I’m sure) but I am glad that I have had this time in America this last month and a half while my visa application has been processed. I have been staying with my aunt, who I never really knew before this trip and who really is an amazing person. She keeps busy constantly and it has been fun to be a sit-in in her life and with her friends. Alongside working as an after school programme director for kids ages 5-12 at a home for children (Oh my, oh my- the chance to finally have A JOB), my aunt and I go out to lunch, have long weekends at the beach in Florida, and shop, shop, shop for those amazing outlet deals. For the first time in my life I feel like I will be leaving with long lasting, positive experiences of America and that when I travel here in the future I will no longer feel isolated.
When my visa packet finally came back, with my heart racing as I ripped open the package and searched to see if the all-important visa sticker was in my passport, my Aunt Cathy was right there by my side just a nervous for me, my mother was on the phone (even though it was 2 AM French time) waiting to hear the result, and Cathy’s phone was constantly buzzing with family and friends eager to hear if I had been granted the visa or not. I realised that this trip had given me the opportunity to develop a support group that I may not have ever had otherwise.
When I saw that my application had been successful, I felt a serenity that I didn’t think I could feel. As I knew it would, the visa’s start date isn’t valid for another month and a half anyway, but my mindset is now completely different. It is a new concept to me but something people have heard and been told to do time and time again: Live in the present. I spent a year being able to do nothing but plan what I would do when my visa situation had blown over, and now it finally has. I know that I will be able to go back to Britain, get a license, a job, save for a wedding and a mortgage and finally live a normal life. Until then I can take solace in the daily routine that my aunt and I have perfected, fitting in our own lives and personal goals without hindering the other. I can wakeup each day with the feeling that today will be productive and unrestrained, with every action I make being that of betterment, be it individual or as a positive influence to others. I hope to live the rest of my life this way. I guess you can say that this last year has been a lesson of patience and learning to go with the flow. Both things I obviously wasn’t very good at before.
As I said, I will be happy to write up my whole experience, detailing every step and what it finally took for me to able to get the Partnership visa to stay with Tim. It is complicated. There are very few people who actually know what to do (even officials) and you will often be given conflicting advice. Believe me, it is how I ended up in this situation to begin with.
To end on a happy note, once I had been granted my visa, my aunt was super sweet and threw me a little party so I thought I would share some pictures!! There was delicious homemade food, a bounty of wine, fancy wine glasses and of course a Creative Cosmopolitan Candle burning in the corner 😉
In case there was any question that the food was good 😉