The stress began as soon as we decided to make the big move to Australia in April. We had to sell everything, organise shipping important items, book tickets, quit jobs, tell friends and family, and make decisions about any number of seemingly small things. Perhaps the most stressful part of the process was the paperwork. That began immediately.
First we had to apply for a temporary work visa just to get in the country. That involved filling in a 12-14 page document filled with legalese, scanning in official documents, getting things like our birth certificates and marriage license notarised, and sending our passports to the Australian Consulate in DC with the hopes that they would be returned. I remember the day I sent all that off because when I got home and started thinking about it, I had realised that I had forgotten to sign the spot on the form authorising a charge to my credit card to pay for the visa. My heart sunk. I was convinced that we would be denied just on that little thing. Imagine my surprise when we were notified that everything had been approved. After we had received that notification, I could proceed to buy tickets, organise the overseas shipping, and contact the auction guy.
When we arrived in Australia at the end of June, it wasn’t long before I started the next round of paperwork to apply for permanent residency. I completed the initial application – done online, only another 12 pages of information most of which involved stating that I have no criminal past nor do I know how to make explosives. Seemed easy. I submitted that at the end of July, well before the deadline.
Then I received notification that I could proceed with the rest of the application. There were lists of things to complete with links to pdfs that I would need to download and, in some cases, fill out twice (once for myself and once for Dan). We had to list every job we had ever had. Ever. With addresses and job duties. We had to mention every address we had lived at in the past 10 years and every country we had traveled to with dates. This meant deciphering passport stamps and looking through pictures saved on my computer to see when exactly we had been in Canada, Ukraine, Scotland, and Israel. This meant listing references for people we know here, listing all of our siblings with their birth dates and locations, listing every place we had gone to school in our lifetimes. These were the days when I was happy to be in my 30s rather than in my 50s. We visited a notary at the shops one day to have a whole stack of papers certified, which I would then have to scan at home and upload to the Visa site.
This was stressful.
I knew that if we didn’t fill this out correctly and completely, we could be sent back to the US, so I would worry. I would have vivid dreams about being rejected, immigration agents showing up at my door to haul me to the airport and send me back.
And then this arrived by email today.
And of course I get home from the gym yesterday and Dan hands me this piece of paper and calmly says, “Hey, you should read this.”
I scan it, flip the pages, and see the word indefinite.
“Does this mean what I think it means????” I ask.
“Yep. We’re permanent.”
Cue me jumping around, high fives, and a plan to hand it to our Friday night dinner companions casually and ask their thoughts on what they think it means.
This calls for a celebration!