The days slowly started to drift into a seemingly motionless blur of time. My aversion of lists was not quenched on account of nothing happening. Not a single box got ticked, and my hands were bound in terms of remedying that. On the morning of the 22nd March I woke as usual, by the rising sun burning through the mist, looking for my weary eyes. One missed call by an unknown number from Perth. Not inclined to start the day with more hassles, I decided to take a shower first.
After my shower, during which I used up the last bit of my Australian Tea Tree bar of soap, (for those among us with beards, go Tea Tree) I quickly got dressed. Although the days are getting warmer, the mornings are still chilly, especially after the fire dies out during the night. After applying my beard oil (yes, Tea Tree based) and noticing this too is starting to go empty, my phone rang. With a thought of, “might as well add more stuff to the list now that we are clean and awake”, I walked over to the bedside table. To my surprise it was Emma calling.
“Did you check your email?”
Now there are two things you should know about internet in France. The WiFi is not strong and anything but stable, and roaming only really works in the bigger towns, definitely not on the bedside table. So, already being surprised by my fiancée calling, compounded by the surprise of experiencing any form of mobile reception, I was utterly baffled by the first words coming into my ear. “Did you check your email?”
Thinking “good morning to you too” I stammered something about not having any data coverage and started explaining how I was surprised about having any reception at all. “Forget about all that, your visa got granted.”
…It didn’t really register. I just stood there, almost completely dressed, staring out into the meadow, again disappointed the cows were still not out there. While the words meandered their way through all the nooks and crannies of my brain. Visa. Granted.
Emma was at work, so we couldn’t talk long, and I apologized for not screaming with joy, simply because it was rather something to take in on an empty stomach. She understood.
If I wasn’t already going to, I’d marry her.
Making my way, from the house I’m staying at, to the house my parents live, the realisation of what just happened started to sink in. A little deeper with each step, and by the time I reached the front door I was within WiFi range, had read the email, and pulled open my bottle of whiskey that was still in the kitchen from a few nights before. I didn’t care what time it was, I deserved a glass of it, and I drank it standing next to a mother who had never seen her son drink in the morning before. “My visa got granted.” Enough said.
a mayor problem
I didn’t put much thought in how I would react to the news if it came, and I guess my reaction was spot on in that regard. I didn’t expect it to happen yet, seeing as the quickest timeframe we could find was another Dutch person whose visa took five and a half months to get granted, whereas mine only took four months, almost to the day. Even though I was very confident it would get granted, it was still a weight of my shoulders. If, for whatever reason (and trust any immigration service around the world to find one), it would be denied, we’d have a mayor problem on our hands. I guess that was in the back of my mind all the time.
It is such a weird realisation I could enter Australia (and get a job!) today if I wanted to. And although I have missed home so much these past months, even to the point of experiencing home-sickness for the first time, I didn’t pack my suitcase yet. I promised my grandparents to come and see them on the first of April just the day before, so I’ll be hanging around for a little while longer, then go back to the Netherlands and wrap up the last things that need wrapping up. Unfortunately that doesn’t included the house, but at least it should be back on the market any day now. And I’ve contracted a good friend who works as a bailiff to go after my money for me. It helps to have friends in the right places. So all that will be left behind when I go home, but I couldn’t care less to be honest. All that will work out in the end anyway I’m sure.
I’m so thrilled at the prospect of finally getting on with life. If I had to describe the past year in one term, it would definitely be “on hold”. You are so preoccupied with making sure everything gets done, at the right time and in the right order, you really don’t have time to do anything else. Now, as soon as I set foot on Terra Australis again, I can finally pick up again. Making progress in so many areas once more, like work, study, and relationships to name the biggest ones. In essence the big adventure is only just starting, regardless of the long road just behind us. I’m aiming at arriving on the 16th of April, which would mean I would make it back in precisely one year and a day. Perhaps a tad dramatic to some, but everyone deserves a little show every now and then.
Understandably the news of my visa got some mixed response. Everybody was obviously very happy and excited for me and Emma, and corks popped throughout Europe you could say, but with that some expressed their realisation I would really be leaving now. Something that has been on my mind ever since I went to see Emma for the first time. I will be leaving behind a lot of people very dear to me. Who supported me through thick and thin, and have always been very loyal to me, as I to them. But it is to each his own debt to follow where life takes you. And I will not forget you my friends.