Wow – quite a long absence, sorry about that! Didn’t I say I was a bad diary writer?
Anyway, I thought I’d better write a post to say that my visa was granted on June 6th 2013 – a whole month ago now! I can’t quite believe how fast the time has gone. What scares me most is that I actually have just over four months left in the UK now before I board my flight to Melbourne. If a month can fly by just like this last one has, I’m sure I’m just going to blink then be on that plane.
The visa coming through when it did was a huge shock to the system, if anyone has read my posts on what we included when we applied and the next steps after that, you’ll know I’d been advised that the visa would take 8-9 months to process at a minimum. I was expecting to hear around August/September at the quickest, so to have my visa issued by early June took me by surprise.
It also freaked me out. A lot.
I think mainly it was because I wasn’t expecting it to happen so soon, and though I knew I “needed to organise stuff” at some point, I hadn’t really actually made any start on “organising stuff”. At all. I haven’t made my savings goal (yet) and basically, there’s still a pile of stuff I need to do. Plus, now we actually have a date. For the first time in nearly two years, P and I have a date where we WILL be leaving for Australia. We’re not talking about it, it’s not a plan, it’s real. I understand that applying for a visa that costs the best part of £1,500 is pretty real, don’t get me wrong, but for some reason, booking that flight made everything reality.
My initial reaction that Thursday evening was to be expected. I was ecstatic, euphoric, pick any adjective you like – I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt amazing. P was happy, my parents were happy. P and I went out for dinner, we had drinks and generally celebrated. Shockingly soon however, in fact two short days later, my feelings changed. I panicked.
I’m one of those people whose mind runs away with them pretty easily. Thoughts, especially when I’m stressing, don’t come to me in nice digestible chunks. I can’t compartmentalise and I can’t turn my thoughts off. The Saturday after the visa was granted I was sat in my living room feeling completely overwhelmed by everything. The second I had thought “Oh, what about this, I need to sort that out” another “what about?” “what if?” “how do I?” “when do I?” was hot on the heels of the last thought.
Making lists tends to calm me, so I made a list, if only to silence the crazy drill Sargent in my head who was barking tasks at me. It made things worse, as now I had a list and the voice was barking “WHEN, WHEN, WHEN?!” at me. For the best part of a week or so I couldn’t think of Australia without having a panic attack.
P and I had decided to get our flights booked as soon as we could, the theory being having a “deadline” would help us get organised. (I’m a world class procrastinator so sometimes I need a deadline before I can even think about getting my brain in gear.) Usually, I LOVE looking at flights and planning trips. For as long as I can remember, I have been typing Australia into the destination box then daydreaming. I have wanted to visit Australia since I was about 16 years old. I have nearly applied for a working holiday visa four times. Each time, something stopped me. First, it was that I wasn’t “ready” to do such a huge journey alone and I had no friends to travel with. Second, I had a place at university. The third time I chose an MA over a plane ticket. The fourth time – when I considered just leaving with P after I lost my job – it wasn’t right. It felt like I was just being desperate. Now, lucky time number five, it was right, it was being done properly…and I had no enthusiasm what so ever.
We decided to make it simple and go to a travel agent. Finally, after over ten years, I was booking my plane ticket to Australia! How did I feel? Nauseous. Panicked. A little depressed actually, when the money for the flight went on my credit card. Outside, P was joyous. He was going home, he was going to see his sister, he was going to see his parents. I rang my Mum. “Flight’s booked!” I declared, sort of happily. She asked if I was excited. I responded with no. Mum was also upset by the booking – I guess reality had hit for her as well. So in addition to panic mingled with apathy, I felt guilt too.
That basically sums up my feelings for the first few weeks – now since a visit from P’s Mum and a chance to talk through the emotions I wasn’t expecting to feel (well, the apathy anyway!) with just about everyone, I do, finally, feel better. My list has grown (it now covers the wall organised in a month-by-month timeframe) but that feels ok. While I’m not excited yet, I’m sure that will come. There’s just a lot of boring practical stuff to do first. 🙂
Australia: (just under) 18 weeks to go!