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Happy Wednesday, goddesses! It’s been a whirlwind week, but I am now settled in the UK. Today I’m posting the story on how it happened!

 

Tuesday – The girls, Ashley, and I went on a shopping trip around Dufferin & Steeles. We had a really great day and I even picked up clearanced candy corn for Jon, as it can’t be purchased in the UK. I told Liat that I needed to buy an air-tight container to put the candy corn in so it wouldn’t go stale and hard since I had no idea when I was going to get to see him again.

When we got home that evening, I checked my email and right on top was an email from UKVI saying my passport was ready to pick up any weekday between 4-5pm.

HOLY CRAP!!!

My heart skipped a beat and I felt like hot ice was poured down my back. After feeling like it was never going to happen, there was finally an answer, whatever that was! Intense anxiety set in and I couldn’t eat or sleep that night.

Wednesday – To be quite honest, I think this was the scariest day of my life. When your entire future hinges on something, and you really REALLY want it, it sends you into a desperate panic… Especially when you have anxiety. I didn’t dare think of what we would have to do if my application was rejected. It had cost so much, and we’d already been apart for nearly six months. Whirling thoughts of terror nearly paralyzed me, but I was stuck with them as I made the long, long trek down to VFS.

I got to VFS and got in line with several other people who were waiting to pick up their passports. The security guard each handed us a number and asked us to sit down until our numbers were called; we were allowed to take our purses or bags in this time, so long as any devices we had were turned off.

My number was called in just a couple minutes. With shaking hands, I approached the window and handed the officer my photo ID and my receipt from when I handed in the application in August. He handed me a fat yellow DHL envelope, then asked me to sit down nearby and make sure everything was in there. So I did, and I was shaking so hard I could barely breathe. I carefully opened the envelope and reached inside, pulling out my passport where a letter from UKVI was stuck into one of the pages. As the page fell open, I immediately saw my visa there in all its glory.

It was valid from October 28th, which means they made the decision on it around that day. A good number of people receive emails from UKVI saying that a decision had been made and that the passport was on its way back to the applicant, but I’m actually quite glad that I never got that email because then I would have spent days on pins and needles!

Fear, anxiety, stress, loneliness and all the other bad things left my system so suddenly that they knocked the wind out of me. Trembling harder, happy tears leaked from my eyes as I stared at my beautiful visa and the letter that came along with it.

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I left and called Jon as soon as I got down to the lobby. I felt like screaming, crying, and passing out all at once. When he answered the phone, all I said was “We’ve got it!” and just his happy, relieved laugh made this entire journey worth it.

I got home and we booked a flight for Saturday night/Sunday morning.

And I grinned as I realized I didn’t need to put Jon’s candy corn in an air-tight container at all. I’d be with him again in just a couple of days, as hard to believe as that was!

Thursday – Friday – These two days were hectic and full of frustration and panic attacks as I sorted through all my belongings and packed. I bought a second suitcase, closed my bank account, did laundry, and enjoyed my last days with the girls.

I did my nails with some celebratory OPI wraps I found at Dollarama a while back (excuse the ripped cuticle, that happened while I was packing!):

image1I spent some quality time with Susie on Thursday. Friday night had Ashley, Anthony, Maja, Ola, Kathy, and Monica over to say goodbye, and we had a little party with good food and lots of laughs and love. Monica gifted me with a heartfelt card, a pink bracelet, Lindor almond truffles (in pink packaging, because Monica knows me well!), and a travel pillow she’d made herself. I was so sad to see everyone go, and I realized how bittersweet it really was to leave.

But as I went to bed in Canada for the last time, with my two suitcases and my backpack by the front door, I thanked the Universe for the years I spent here and all the things I learned. I knew it was my time to go.

New adventures and experiences awaited!

Saturday – Sunday – The day had come, and I remembered how much I hate traveling.

I managed to eat something before getting ready and calling Uber to take me to the airport. It felt so bittersweet as I hugged Alora, Liat, and Susie and petted Monkey, who seemed to know what was going on as he looked at me with solemn eyes. They all supported me and sent me off with their love, and that meant more to me than anyone can know.

My Uber driver was very friendly and chatty as we drove into the bright gold of the setting sun, and that eased my nerves a little. He said Jon was lucky to have me for a wife, and to tell him hello for me. He was a wonderful fellow and I was happy to talk with him! I wish I could leave comprehensive reviews on Uber.

I quickly got through to my gate and settled down with the first substantial meal I’d had since early Tuesday. In case you’re interested, it was bbq pulled pork flatbread and a hazelnut latte!

image2After I watched darkness roll into Toronto in a thick, blurred-edge band of purple, I sat down and waited to board the plane that would take me home to Jon.

image3And soon enough, boarding time arrived, and I had a great spring in my step as I entered the plane and found my seat.

My breath hitched in my throat as we banked over the Toronto area and I saw the long strings of golden lights on roadways and the neatly formed blocks. Goodbye, my beautiful city.

I’m not the biggest fan of flying and I never will be, but the seats and legroom on this WestJet flight were an improvement from past flights on Air Canada and Air Transat. So I was more comfortable and kept myself busy through the night!

As we approached the UK, I kept waiting for the tell-tale signs of dawn. And finally, the eastern horizon was a bow of dark burnished orange that got bigger and brighter, then underneath that was yellow, then bright yellow, and the deep indigo-black of the night turned light blue. The vast sea of clouds underneath were purple tinted with gold.

As we descended to Gatwick, the clouds thinned out and made just a thin haze over a landscape of rolling golden-green velvet grass and copses. The sun was bright and beautiful as we landed.

After I got through passport control and retrieved my suitcases, I sat in International Arrivals and waited for Jon to show up. The bus he’d originally meant to take never arrived, so he’d gotten on a later one and was worried he wasn’t going to get there in time for our scheduled bus back to Leicester. So I sat there for a couple hours, feeling so exhausted that I couldn’t really function. What do you feel when the fear and stress are gone?

And then he was there. I hadn’t noticed him approaching me because of how exhausted I was, but then all I knew was the warmth of his arms and chest and he was welcoming me home for good.

The bus ride home was long, but pleasant. We took the back of the bus and were almost entirely alone for the duration of the trip. The weather had gone bad, but it felt rather cozy to me and I spent part of the trip sleeping on Jon’s shoulder.

image4And then, finally, we arrived in Leicester.

We drove to Coalville to get dinner at one of our favourite restaurants, a Turkish one called IMGE, and it was fabulous. And then it was home… home.

Back to my beautiful England, my beautiful Leicestershire, my wonderful in-laws, and my amazing soulmate.

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I am so ridiculously happy.

And I’ve settled back in nicely and am recovering from jet lag. The trees are all bronze and gold-green, and today it’s grey and misty out and a great day for creativity and lots of tea to happen!

 

3 comments

  1. Nicola says:

    Mary, I am so pleased for you that you got your visa and are in the UK! Thank you for sharing this post, it was wondefully well written and I had a tear in my eye as I thought of you happy on that plane waiting to land.

    I am off to read some more of you blog now to find out more about you.

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