I am thrilled to announce that my dream, after a decade in the making, has finally come true - my application to settle indefinitely in the United Kingdom has been accepted.
You know the story by now: sheltered girl from the Malaysian suburbs moves across the world to a cosmopolitan city to study at one of the more famous - if not prestigious - art schools; and in the process learns how to fend for herself, parties day and night with the international jet set and somehow manages to graduate with a pointless degree in illustration, then starts a satire blog which evolves into a not-unrespectable lifestyle brand with some influence. It's a character arc as old as Homer's Iliad and Odyssey (just replace jealous deities with bitchy bloggers and unreasonable PR reps).
Much like the siege on the city of Troy, my British invasion spanned ten years, the likes of which saw me staying in the country on four different types of visas. Last September marked the 10th anniversary of my long affair with London, so in November I submitted my case to the Home Office and asked them to consider this humble Anglophile's application for the right to remain in her beloved adopted country...forever.
Traditionally the application for this process - called 'Indefinite Leave To Remain' takes six months for a decision by the Home Office. Which is why I had resigned, with great heavy-heartedness, to be grounded in the country until May 2017. Surely, a small price to pay for my ardent dedication to the British Isles?
Therefore when my application was approved in half the usual time, it came as an enormously gratifying surprise! I found out two weeks ago, funnily enough; just a few hours after I blogged about how I was then bogged down by a sinking feeling: "...In the middle of this whirlwind of activity is the one thing I wish would move along - acting as the eye of the storm, ever still and ever impassive." This was the 'dream coming true at afternoon tea at The Wellesley London' that I alluded to, the big fat cherry on the top of the double scoop sundae that is the encouraging progress my life is making in 2017: one being my detoxing the remnants of my last toxic relationship and donating them to a charitable cause, the other being my moving into an exciting new home in Battersea Power Station...!
- THE GREATEST DISNEY ANTHEM EVER, OBVS
Wearing my heart on my sleeve or rather, on my handbag...
Immigration is a hot topic now in the Western world, or at least in that web of nervous anticipation of what the future holds for the globalised, liberal generation of Britain and the USA. I said it in the wake of Brexit and I'll say it again - I would've never imagined that my right to remain in the UK would be more certain than those from the European Union countries. It's no coincidence that some of my friends; both British and EU expats (incidentally, why are white people expatriates but everyone else are immigrants/migrants? Food for thought...) are looking to move beyond the British Isles. Their reasoning was that, aside from the uncertainty of their right to remain when Article 50 is invoked, was that the potential process to apply for immigration status had made them feel unwelcome.
Of course, not being from an EU country I have never enjoyed that privilege of free movement, so I am somewhat accustomed to the strict, demanding, and complex process of immigration. Now, I am no expert on the subject even if my blog post on my understanding on how to gain PR in the UK is one of my most asked about/read (to this day I still get emails and messages about it). But...!
...If you'd like me to share my experience on how I obtained the next best thing to a British passport, let me know in the comments below and I'll blog about my immigration journey.
Ironically, the moment I was granted the right to stay in the UK indefinitely, I booked my flights out of here! Being a travelling blogger and serial wanderluster without a passport for 3.5 months had taken a serious toll on my mental state as well as work. This coming Tuesday, I'll be making up for lost time with two months of travel. My housemate, thrilled about having the place all to herself, has announced that she'll be doing all her work from home and will be turning my empty bedroom into her office (joke's on her, I've ordered about a thousand things for my new flat - including a HUGE sofa that will apparently not fit in my building's lift - to be delivered while I'm away, that she's going to have to sign for in my absence...)
Throughout March and April I'll be travelling to Kuala Lumpur, Sabah, Singapore, and Melbourne to see my friends and family, and for work; Sydney to see Luxy, and then we're heading to Hong Kong together before I head back to London in May to take delivery of my spanking new home! And just like that, half of the year will have gone by. It's insane how slowly time seems to drag on when you're waiting on something to happen, but as soon as it does everything seems to move at the speed of light. The saying goes "When it rains it pours" - I don't know about rain, but this turn of events is certainly the windfall of progress, achievement, and excitement I was hoping for. x
How has your 2017 been far? Any proud achievements, exciting plans, and upcoming travels to share? 😘