Crossroads

So here I am back at work after my Baltic jaunt. We had a wonderful time and I managed to eat well.

I just wish I could be wild and witty Dietgirl today but I am riddled with PMS and confusion. I just have this constant pit in my stomach, Worrying About The Future. As of next Monday there’s only six months left on my visa before I can no longer live and work in the UK. So of course I’m busy dreaming up schemes so I can stay.

The day before I left for my holiday there was an internal job vacancy posted at my weekday job,. It was in the field I was working in before I left Oz. The job was at a level that I thought I was well qualified for, so I applied even though I am just a temp. I’ve been here 12 months so I thought why the hell not.

The more I thought about it while I was away the more I got my stupid hopes up. I imagined they would gladly take me on, thankful that someone who knows the company was already here, not needing to be trained. I convinced myself the job was of high enough calibre to be eligible for a work permit. So I had fantasies of finally having a fulfilling job and being able to stay in Scotland with my boy without needing a quickie wedding.

I got back to work on Wednesday then Thursday one of the HR team asked to meet me. I sat down in the meeting room and saw she’d stuck a post-it note on my application. It had my visa expiry date written on it. My heart just sank and I knew that was it. She was so kind and sweet and explained that I only had six months left and they wanted someone permanent. Even when I said I interested in staying in Scotland long-term, she said they weren’t the practice of doing work permits. She went through my application and explained that I didn’t quite match the job profile and asked would I like to meet with her and the Head of the department to talk more specifically about why I wasn’t chosen. Why on earth would I want hear more about why I wasn’t wanted?

Of course I took it personally, because it’s just this whole bloody Issue constantly hanging over my head right now. And of course I have this stupid face that cannot hide how I am feeling so I am trying to be professional and thank her for considering my application but she kept saying, "I’m sorry, I know you’re disappointed". It is so hard when people are so nice. So after the meeting I went and hid in the loos and tried not to cry. That worked for about ten minutes.

Back in the office, my colleagues noticed my radioactive red eyes. My supervisor, who knew I’d applied, took me to another meeting room and he was just as kind and said he thought I would have been great in the job. Cue more blubbering from me. I like where I work, I’d love to stay longer. So I was gutted not just because of another visa scheme gone wrong, but coz I’d missed the chance to get a good job in a company I like.

It’s hard to express how hard this situation is. My only realistic options now seem to be:

1) go back to Australia
2) get the 1-year Working Holiday Visa in Ireland and fly back whenever I can to see my boy, or;
3) quickie wedding.

All these options SUCK ASS.

1) sucks because I don’t want to go home. I am not ready to be back in the suffocating confusion of my family, I have not done all the Eurotravel I want to do. I love my freedom.

2) sucks because I have no interest in living in Ireland apart from it being the closest place to Scotland I would be allowed to live in for a year. I love Edinburgh and the thought of packing it all up then having to find a job a gym a home in another country all over again – especially for just one year – is bloody exhausting. And what happens after that? Besides, I love this guy too fucking much, I have had enough of being apart, the thought of even that far away from him me feel all empty and sad.

3) sucks because I don’t think we’re ready for marriage. I knew right away, POW, that he was the one for me and I daydream about marrying him. But not just yet.

We talked about this last night. We’re both easygoing types who like to let things unfold at their own pace. We know we want to stay together but like things how they are, slowly growing closer every day, getting to know each other, the feelings building and evolving. But it feels like we’re being forced to speed things up, the course of the relationship is being dictated by circumstances beyond our control. It just feels so wrong. We haven’t even been together a year yet, we’re still so shy and tentative, we just want to talk about music and holidays and what to have for dinner, not about how we want to manage our finances or what house to buy or whether we want plastic people on top of a wedding cake.

I’ve had friends who say, "Why don’t you just get married?". But it would be so weird to have it happen like that. A rushed proposal, a quickie wedding, just for a visa. It’s just not romantic, it feels forced, it’s just not us. It wouldn’t reflect the quiet, easygoing and precious connection we have.

BAH.

Are you sick of me going on about this yet? When am I going to talk about The Fat again? I am sorry, I am just really confused and blue and no idea what’s going to happen and which path to take.

But I can’t stay in this mood. I have to have faith that we will work things out and figure the best way to handle this. We still have six months to think. And I need to look after myself and get back to the gym and back into the running after the holiday break. Half this bleak mood can be put down to lack of endorphins.

I have to milk this six months I definitely have left in Scotland and not waste another second. And I will write about The Fat tomorrow.

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33 thoughts on “Crossroads

  1. Hum, what a bastard. Be strong. Fight every inch. See what you can do re the work visa.
    Much love Andrew

  2. My boy and I did the quickie wedding thing, but then neither of us had ever planned to get married and we didn’t have any romantic preconceptions about it. It’s worked out brilliantly for us, but I understand completely if it’s not for you. (We’re planning to renew our vows in Vegas for our 5th anniversary<--totally not the romantic, white wedding types!) Could you tempt him over to Aus for a while and move somewhere well away from the family? Another capital city, perhaps? In the meantime, good luck finding a job with a visa so that you don't even need to worry about any of this stuff.

  3. Ooh – crap though it is, do please go and meet with the Head of Marketing and the HR Chick to find out why they didn’t consider you were right for that job. For starters, it might help you in any future applications. But it will also give you a second chance to show off why you are so wonderful and so suited to the company. They may take you more seriously another time then. And you can tell them/show them how easy it is for a company to apply for a working visa for someone.

    But, I’ve been thinking about your plight recently (honestly I have – is it weird for you knowing that complete strangers are thinking about you) and you are a fantastic writer. Why not take examples of your blog / any other writing you’ve done and try and get work that way – either for a UK company or an Oz magazine/paper (an Aussie abroad kind of stuff).

    Now I’m sure you’ve thought of all of this, and maybe even tried it, and I know it’s really not easy to break into the world of paid writing, and maybe you don’t even want to. But I think you’d be really, really good at it. And I’m a complete stranger who only knows you through your writing. So if you are even vaguely contemplating it, then maybe this will encourage you.

  4. Welcome back honey! No wise advice I’m afraid 🙁 Just the belief that things that are meant to be always find their way through life 🙂

  5. It’s a sucky situation. Immigration departments are a compassion and soul void.
    No possibility of the boy going overseas for a year? There are lots of places you could both getting working holidays for – but of course, if he can’t leave, then that’s a dud option.

    It might be worth a visit to britishexpats.com – even if though it’s for, obviously, british ex-pats, there’s lots of information there and some very good newsgroups. misc.immigration.australia+nz also has some posts that might be useful for you.

    The working visa is though in the end going to be the best option. Milk these remaining six months, network like a mofo, and apply apply apply for jobs. Fortune favours the brave, and all that. And as that dude in the Adam Sandler movies says “you can doooo it”

  6. That’s so frustrating! I really feel for you. However, I do believe that if it’s meant to be, you and the boy will manage to work around even problems that seem insurmountable now. My boyfriend and I have had to put up with long periods apart – at one point he was living in Germany and I was in France (OK, it’s not Scotland – Australia distances, but it is a nine-hour train journey) and we’re about to be parted once more as he’s going to do an MSc down south for a year. Which is a very good idea, although we hate the thought of being apart.

    However, he asked me to marry him on Wednesday and I said yes, and I’ve been walking in a euphoric cloud ever since. Please don’t take this as a vote for the quickie wedding – we’ve been going out nearly six years – but the fact that we’ve made it public that we don’t want to be apart, even though we have to for a while, does somehow make everything feel more hopeful…

    Not that that helps with wanting to stay in Edinburgh and not being able to. What a major bummer. Not that I know anything about work permits – but it seems pretty shortsighted of your firm not to hang on to a gem like you when they’ve got one. Just my opinion.

  7. usch I feel so much for you.
    I can so relate to your feeling and it sucks.
    I thought Aussie and the UK had another agreement about work permit but I guess that is not the case.

    There is a forth option though and that is that you are finding a job and getting a permanent work permit. Even if it looks dark now it can still happen but you have to go for it.

    Glad you had a good time in Balticum though. It is beautiful there but very different which is nice. Been some time since Ive been there and Im sure it has happened alot. And good that you managed to not gain alot of weight, that helps too.

    I hope you feel better soon and the positive side is that not many manage to find a special person like that in a lifetime. Even if the situation sucks now you have found a wonderful person to be with and that is very fortunate.

  8. Welcome back – I totally missed your postings last week!

    My brother’s girlfriend had the same dilemma last year in Hungary – they bit the bullet and did a quickie civil ceremony so she could stay with him. Since neither of them understand hungarian, they might have volunteered to serve in the military or give away their first born – but its worked out so far…However I’m the super cautious type myself so I wouldn’t be able to do it unless I thought the boy deprivation might drive me more insane than questioning myself about getting married too quickly – Sorry to share so much on the first posting but I can relate to your crisis too well…Stay strong and try not to find comfort in tempting puddings (Sweets always know to tempt when you’re feeling weak)

  9. i’ve been reading your site for a while & think it’s great.

    why not marry your guy just for the visa, and consider the marriage something other than totally for keeps until you’re ready to do the deed the way you want? it seems silly to let the government get between the two of you.

  10. Hey dietgirl, I just wanted to add my .02. My Aussie boy and I met online in 1996, about 8 years ago. He came to America in 1997 to meet me. It also felt “right” between us, but we had to have the quickie wedding because he only had 3 months on his visitor’s visa. We’ve been married for 6 years, this January will be 7.

    Last year he decided he was ready to go home and what could I say? He’d come here for me, his family has grown and changed in the last 7 years – I had to say “Let’s go!” So, the paperwork began! Last March I was granted Permanent Residency of Australia. Wednesday, I’m flying 14 hours to Sydney to eventually make our way to Canberra.

    This is in no way a vote for the quickie marriage thing. Everyone has to do what it righr for them. We had a quickie wedding, it happened to work. I wouldn’t change what we did for anything. However, immigration is a bastard and expensive as well.

    Whatever you decide, Dietgirl, I’m sure it will work for you. Good luck!

  11. I can honestly put in a vote for the quickie wedding. My husband is Dutch and I am American, we met online in November, he visited me for the first time in February and by September we were married, before his visa could run out. Neither of us could bear the thought of his leaving. That was 6 years ago this month and I’ve never been happier.

    We were married by our local mayor, in our own living room. A nice small ceremony with just good friends and family. We got to stay together and we saved a boat full of money by not going the big wedding route.

    Sometimes we have to let go of the things we think we want to make room for what we really need.

  12. can’t tell you how much i appreciate your thoughts and ideas and experiences, it really is helpful… cheers 🙂

  13. Don’t give up on the work visa situation!

    Are you eligible for any jobs at universities, or any other internationally focussed institutions?

    I’m a Kiwi, and I managed to stay in the UK through a university position. Because they are used to the work permit scenario, it caused very little stress (except for me directly, convinced every week it didn’t come I was about to be thrown out, but that’s neither here nor there!) So maybe that’s an option to look at, after all there are two damn good universities there in Edinburgh, if it’s marketing you like doing, they are moving more and more towards marketing themselves now (and employing more staff to do so!).

    As another antipodean, my experience is the jobs are there, for all it may be hard to find them. I’ve had a couple of friends also desperate to stay here, and each of them did eventually find employers willing to sponsor them… I will be very suprised if you, with your very evident talents, don’t find the same 🙂

    Oh, and I want to second someone’s comment above about you writing. I also think you’d be very very excellent at it if it’s something you wanted to pursue.

  14. oops, the above post wasn’t supposed to be anonymous. it was me. sorry. (not that a first name removes that much anonymous-y, but hey….)

  15. I’ve always felt too daunted to post on the great Dietgirl’s tagboard, but here goes!

    I really don’t envy you the situation you are in – it’s wrong that because of some stupid law you should feel rushed to do something you are just not ready to do.

    A friend at work has had to resign to go to NZ because her Scottish love can’t get another working Visa in Oz, and she can’t get another one in the UK, so they are forced to spend a year in NZ together. What happens after that?? Neither of them know.

    I like to believe that true love will conquer all, but sadly in this complicated world, we end up with a lot of broken hearts.

    Stay strong, enjoy the next 6 months for what it is, because you never know what can happen in that time.

  16. So, I know this is probably stating the obvious, but just in case … you don’t have any european/UK grandparents or anything that entitle you to a different kind of visa?

    Also, have you registered with any recruitment companies that might get you work with a work permit? Unfortunately I guess marketing is the kind of area where there are lots of local people, but still, it might be worth trying, yeah?

    And, any chance your boy is interested in doing a working holiday in Oz? By the end of that you might feel ready to take the marriage step, or know it’s not going to continue. Also, I think possibly that in Oz you can sponsor someone to stay on a defacto basis, rather than having to get married.

    As you know, my husband and I met on the net, had a long distance relationship for 6 months with flying back and forth, then I moved from Perth to Brisbane. We married two years to the day from when we met online (so a little under 2 years from when we met in person), and part of the motivation for us getting married was so he could come to the UK on the same type of visa as me (Ancestry).

    If you ask me, he should holiday in Oz with you!

  17. Go to school. I met my husband online when we were 15 and 16 and we got married last year, at 22 and 23. He is English and I’m American We never got to spend much time together, but we knew we wanted to be together and though I had never wanted to get married until I was 35, it has really worked out and we love being married and in the same country. Instead of doing the fiance visa thing I decided to do a masters in the UK and it worked really well. So that’s what I would suggest. You can still work part time on a student visa too.

  18. mopsy dear – we’re aussie back to the second fleet, sadly! 😉

    and i wish i could afford the fees to be a student, but the debt would be tooooo much…

  19. basically i have been trying to get a ‘real job’ for the past six months that would lead to a work permit, but have not been able to find one. my experience seems to be a bit too patchy or not quite enough to qualify. working temp jobs and travelling for the past 18 months hasn’t really helped the CV either. but i can’t begrudge that – if i hadn’t come over and had all this travel and fun i’d never have met the boy and been in this mess. i’ll keep looking for that elusive job, though!

    also mopsy – my boy is 31 so he’s too ancient for working holiday visas.

    as for defacto visas – you have to have previously lived together for at least two years to be eligible… bah

    i know the UK Visa website inside out these days… 🙂

  20. also, it’s really cool seeing all these Tales of Internet Lurve come out of the woodwork! it is so great hearing when things figure out 🙂

    Things happen so quickly and intense when you meet online, i can relate to that. you know that someone has to make a big move early on. but in this case we met in the same country and were friends for six months and it took forever to get involved so it’s all happened at a slow pace… so this is why it is so hard to make Big Decisions – we are used to taking things slow. does that make any sense? eek…

  21. Firstly I would also have the meeting with HR and the Marketing manager to find out their reasons why you didn’t get the position, and see if you can convince them that sponsoring you for a work permit isn’t so hard!

    Now onto matters romantic…I’ve done the quickie wedding too. Well sort of. After a year of doing the distance relationship thing (6 hour flight between our countries) my boy came to Oz on a ‘prospective spouse visa’ which means we had up to 9 months to get married, in which case he could stay on, otherwise if we decided not to go through with it, he’d have to go home. We got married after 7 months, he stayed, and we’re still going strong. So what I’d suggest is to see if the UK do anything like a ‘prospective spouse’ visa? which gives you time to be together before you actually ‘have to’ get hitched. Of course you have to tell Immigration that you’re engaged etc but at least it’s not forcing you into a quickie wedding right away.

    The other alternative is to invite your boy to spend time with you in Oz…even if he can’t get a working holiday visa you could always do the ‘prospective spouse’ visa…and then get married here after 9 months, if that’s where you want to head?

    Finally I’d like to say that there’s no reason why a quick wedding can’t ‘reflect the quietly intense and tender and precious connection’ you guys have. Ours sure did 🙂

  22. It’s so nice to have you back! I know how you feel about not getting the job. Excatly the same happened to me (without the visa-part though) few weeks ago, and I felt so bad I quit. Good luck and happy thoughts for you and the lovely boy – I’m sure things will work out the best way in 6 months. I would hate it too if I would have to get married for practical reasons. And BTW – I never get sick reading about the amazing adventures of DG, with or without the fat 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing with us. Have a nice autumn-week,

    Tracy

  23. I was thinking about you last night. And I have a tiny ickle piece of advice to offer. No matter what, do not go through the rest six months with a count down. Savour each day. And concentrate on it solely. Do not bring the clouds of “how much more we have left” in your bliss. After all, you have something that is worth celebrating. A life with love!

  24. thanks you guys! nice to wake up to your comments and advice, you all rawk 🙂

    kimba – cheers tiger 🙂 btw, has everyone been to kimba’s site to see her new hairdo?

    they have the prospective spouse visa here too, cept it’s called the fiancee visa. only problem with it is for six months and you’re not allowed to work while you have it.

    we’re just not ready for marriage, full stop. we can’t even bring ourselves to say the word. when we talk about this situation we can’t even say ‘we’d have to get married’, we say ‘things would have to be sped up’.

    and argy – you’re a smart cookie 🙂 i won’t mope around and count down the days. like i said the last para of the entry, i just have to milk this six months and not waste a moment!

  25. also i hope i haven’t offended anyone on here who’s had a quickish wedding… i’m not trying to say such a thing couldn’t be romantic or special, etc etc. in fact, when the time comes i would like it to be small and quick thus saving money for a HUGE honeymoon, hehe! all i am saying it wouldn’t be right *for us* at this point in time.

    btw — you guys have given me so much to think about, thank you!

    i think i am conforted by this unwavering belief deep in my gut that lurve will find a way. I know (especially after hearing your stories) that things work out when they’re meant to be 🙂

  26. me = canadian, him = dutch. 3 years long distance relationship = quickie wedding after my 3mth ‘holiday’ was about to end.

    Being together tends to outweigh all the other options in the end if it feels right. Even if you have to go back to Australia, you are happier in Scotland. Know you can always return 🙂

    welcome back by the way!!

  27. Oh that’s so cruddy that you can’t work in the UK on a fiancee visa. Typical! Here in Oz on the fiancee visa, you can work from the day you get here. I mean how else can you save for a huge honeymoon 🙂 Another incentive to see if your boy wants to come here for a while…? heh.

    But whatever happens, you’re right, lurve will definitely find a way. And I agree with Cat, in the end all that will matter is finding the best way to be together. All together now: Awwwwww.

  28. Immigration rules suck. As you may have guessed from the email address, I’ve always been a ‘leftie’ and believe we should all have a lot more freedom to move wherever the hell we want to.

    My situation was completely different because my parents were Brits who moved to NZ in the 50s. Hence I have two passports. I realise that may sound like gloating but I’m not really. I realise how lucky I am. Neither my partner nor I believe in marriage so it is a relief not to have to do it. And when we eventually go to NZ we’ll be considered a couple so he won’t have to go through the visa thing.

    What about both of you moving to Ireland for a year? I vaguely remember he has finished a PhD recently? If not, don’t dismiss Ireland completely – it’s a great place. But I thought it was more than a 1 year visa! Rules must have changed since I heard about that loophole. Flights are cheapish these days and you could share the cost by alternating weekends. I have a friend who lives in London and has a relationship with someone in New York. New York woman only gets 3 weeks holiday a year so they have to snatch time together and the flights are at least £200 a time. But they have lasted for more than a year that way.

    My last suggestion is that you try to find someone friendly at Immigration and tell your story. Perhaps there is some level of discretion that a personal approach can make a difference. I’m sure they don’t want to be seen to encourage bogus marriages (even if you have feelings for each other).

  29. Ohhh man, I had tears welling up reading your tale of love and tragedy! Damn the government! I wasn’t going to relate this story but you’ve lots to think about so here goes. I did the long distance thing too (me in the US, my bloke in the UK) for about 3 months, racking up the frequent flyer mileage & phone bills until he came to visit and stayed for his 3 month waiver visa in the US. Just prior to it expiring, we decided we couldn’t be apart and despite knowing full well we weren’t ready, did a quickie marriage in Vegas. I moved to the UK to be with him straight afterwards and within a year, it all started to fall apart. That’s the bad part. Strangely something good came of it. As we were married for more than a year (we stuck it out for 2 to try and make it work), I got my Rights of indefinite leave on my visa in the meantime. After we’d split, I decided to make the most of having that visa and decided to stay in the UK. It was then that I met someone who I’ve completely fallen for, head over heels. We’ve been together for a year, gotten to know each other in our own time, without the pressures of anything else and it’s worked out better than anything I could have hoped for. It’s the most rewarding, comfortable, loving and healthiest relationship I’ve ever had. I do think sometimes that had I not taken the original risk with the ex, I wouldn’t have ever met the man of my dreams. So, sometimes, in a very round-about way, things happen for the best.

    In the meantime, have you contacted the Australian Embassy for advise? Perhaps they can make some suggestions? I did think of the fiance visa as well but the whole not-working-thing doesn’t exactly make things easy (not unless your blokey is independently wealthy and can take you on as his housegirl). I’m with the others in encouraging you to take your writing to the next level. Put me on the list for the 1st release of the book 😉

  30. I have to say, you’re being fantastic about the marriage thing. If you’re not ready, you’re not ready, end of story. Getting married to soon can be as bad for a relationship as an ocean between you.

    As for the marketing department….bastards! I totally do this too, but the thing is that they may seem like they’re being nice at the time, but it’s so you don’t argue with them. Then later on you realize “shit! they totally took me in!” I agree with the people who say go into the thing about your application. And then — and here’s the important part — ask them exactly what trouble they would have to go to to get you a work visa. And go in with a nice, printed copy of what they have to do. Trust me, it’s not as hard as they’re making it out to be. They’re making excuses, and if you can paint yourself as the perfect employee it’s going to be totally worth your while. Also, speaking from the experience of someone trying to make temp work look good on her resume: Temp work gives you a lot of different experiences and shows that you learn quickly. Hell, you’re doing someone’s full time job on practically no training. Tell them that.

  31. well, that’s one hell of a lot of opinions so I won’t add mine! but I want to wish you luck and say that things always turn out for the best! hugs!

  32. Hi DG. I think this is the first time for me to comment on your site, but — like so many others — I couldn’t resist. Here’s my tale: Met a Scottish boy way back when he was visiting America. Came over to Scotland to visit him a year and a half later. Cupid struck, big time. Lots of mini-vacations followed.

    We were going to try to move him over and have more of a “normal” courtship, but after 8 months we were pretty sure we wanted to get married anyway, so we set a wedding date and did the whole thing up big. Not a “quickie” at all, but what we really wanted. He moved over a month before (on a fiance visa), and we were married about 2 years ago.

    Anyway, in our case, it felt right to go ahead and get married. We had been very fast with things, and it was totally the right thing. It didn’t feel unnatural or wrong at all. In your case, it sounds like it may feel unnatural or forced.

    I don’t know what to advise you but I really do think love does conquer a whole lot of things. Right now, we’re living apart again as he’s gotten a job across the country, and I won’t be able to join him for a few months. But… we will be together, I know, and I know you and your Scottish boy will be, too, if it’s meant to be. It is possible to survive apart-ness — especially in this age of cheaper long distance phone calls and online communications. Not that I think you should be apart, but, should it be necessary… Anyway, I’ll shut up now. Keep us all posted.

  33. Could you possibly get a student visa and go to school? Of course that would mean your BF would have to support you…not sure if that is a possibility…