The Day I got my Visa

It’s been a long struggle. Until now patience has been my best friend, ignorance my sanity.  I’ve waited and hoped for this day to come, to hear that the visa has come through and it’s here, today! Today as happy as I am, as joyous as it feels, it also feels surreal.  It feels like the joy belongs to someone else.  I’ve waited for so long but it doesn’t feel tangible somehow.

I’m trying to assess this, why do I not feel happy and victorious, like I’ve achieved something? I think it’s perhaps because it doesn’t change my situation  today, it changes it in the future. My life isn’t certain here in the Uk but it remains a possibility.  The job, a new job is a possibility  but I am faced with a more real and current fear, one where I’ve lost all my excuses.  There are no more reasons for failure. Today someone wrote to congratulate me,  he said you don’t have to worry about the future you’ll be earning £150,000 by then.  The truth however is no matter how capable you present yourself as, capable you may even be, to present that to a world is a whole different  story.

Your assessor  the person who assesses your qualities is perhaps the most poignant thing to consider. What is the one who values you worth? I want to be assessed  by a worthy assessor as being as good and that worth will come when I find that job where I find myself challenged to be a better me,  be able to work harder and contribute  more. The question  of whether I will achieve that job is to be answered.
So nothings changed my joy is shadowed by the present by the now. So when I get more phone calls and when the visa yields the results I hoped it will, then  I will be able to rejoice in receiving it.  For now I only have the anxiety that I was blaming the wrong person/thing, that it was me who was holding me back all this while and not the visa itself? Who will I blame now?
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The other side of 25

I am on the other side of 25, the not so nice side the one that approaches the 3 and closing in on at the ends. I have a realisation that this is not a desirable position to be in, I have a few friends who are on the other side of the mid position. I have seen their eyes when they remember I’m not in their side, their eyes widen “yeah, you need to sort out your life they say”. Sometimes it makes me laugh, I used to think that when I got to my age I’d be old but now that I’m here I don’t feel very old. I guess hence goes the adage ‘you are only as old as you feel’, ‘age is just a number’ etc. I don’t think it is just a number, however I do think the older you get the less you should allow it to affect you.

I don’t have any advisers now, I’ve lost friends along the way and I’ve also moved away from some good friends, the people who keep you in check. The ones you know you need to say hey, you’re loosing it. The ones you trust. Ive never been told the importance of having a support system, as the wise one calls it. I was brought up being told that I needed to be independent and fend for myself, whilst ironically also being told that when I was old enough my parents would find me the right man and he’d look after me. I’m Asian indian you see. That should explain it.

There’s an irony there, if you an Asian woman in a more modern (and I say this in the most cautious of terms, my parents are in no way modern, perhaps just not the honour killing types), they expect this man to come bearing gifts. They scrap the dowry system for something more current as it suits them, to find a man for you to marry who comes bearing wealth so that they don’t have to pay for anything. It’s convenience. Anyways, I digress.

What does it take to be a successful over 25 year old? What kind of advice can one be given that will help make the transition smooth and gentle. How do you survive with no support system how do you create a new support system? Does anybody know the answers.

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When the UKBA control your life: Woes of an immigrant

It has now almost five months since the appeal was allowed and I am yet to receive my visa. As cliché as it maybe, I have been under tremendous stress! Watching my friends and family progress whilst I am in a state of limbo, its like being trapped in a prison of no progression and has been extremely difficult for me. When I had completed my MSc, I assumed I would be able to find a good job, and advance my life, however visa restrictions made all of this very difficult. As more time progresses, it becomes harder to hope for a better future and just move forward. It makes you spiral to a point where you feel like you are going in circles like I hope for the best but I cant see that it might be a possibility for me. Like I am not capable, like success, happiness, and stability, progression for a 30 year old, its for someone else not me. 

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Was the real reason for religion, the policing of humanity?

** I understand Religion and God are highly sensitive issues and therefore at the onset I would like to say that I am religious myself and I do not intend to offend anyone with this post. **

Having said that, lately I have been wondering if the real reason for Religion is the policing of humanity? I remember being raised as a child in a very religious home where my parents and family would say to me, “don’t lie, you know Jesus is watching you”, “don’t steal, Jesus can see everything”. I grew up going to a Sunday School, which is “Kid’s Church” where kids would taught Bible stories and biblical lessons in an entertaining way, well or they tried at least.

We learnt songs one of which went like this:

“O be careful little eyes what you see

O be careful little eyes what you see

There’s a Father up above

And He’s looking down in love

So, be careful little eyes what you see.”

The word eyes in the song was then replaced with ears – what you hear, feet – where you go, Mouth- what you say etc.

Obviously there were other songs and yes I enjoyed doing the actions, singing along, dancing coloring etc. however I remember being in school as a little girl and always being careful. I knew that bad people went to hell and stayed there burning for eternity and telling a lie was a sin, that Eve was cast away from the beautiful land because she sinned and I would too if I was BAD! There were so many things I was told God would punish me for, and honestly I it worked! I was scared and I usually didn’t sin i was a good policed young girl. Until one day I did sin and realized it didn’t have any massive repercussions and so it went on, like all children do, I learnt that every lie doesn’t catch up with me and only some did.

I’m not a child anymore and Religion being the only real way of policing children that I know of , I’m beginning to wonder…. If you don’t subscribe to Religion then how do you police your children, do you scare them with an imaginary boogie man who’s going to get them or say that their noses will get longer like Pinocchio? (Though that might not be very successful in the long run!)

Is religion really what keeps us on the straight and narrow, is my ingrained Christian values what makes me a good human being and is that is REALLY why we must all believe in a God, the super-Boogie Man who is eventually coming to get all human kind?

My question really then is: Is God the ultimate Boogie Man?

 

 

 

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Blogging for the introvert

I have been tormented by this question for a while now, is blogging for introverts? Blogging in itself seems to me like an extroverted act, sharing your life and yourself with not just one person, but with the entire blogosphere. Personally, I would define myself as being an introvert as shocking as that is to most people who know me, I think I appear extroverted but I have a lot of introverted tendencies. Drawing from stereotypes I would say they are things like hiding away everytime I have spent a lot of time with other people, needing me time, getting away, hiding, avoiding people, going out, maybe these are signs of depression instead of introvertedness (this is probably not a word). Getting back to the topic, the thing I enjoy about blogging is the anonymity that I can keep despite the sharing of my life online. 

If anybody has read Susan Cain’s book Quiet, she talks about how the world today is not meant for introverts, what with facebook, twitter, instagram etc. its all about putting yourself out there, to the point that if you didn’t you might find it very hard to find a job aka Linkedin. What do you think are the coping strategies that an introvert uses to be sucessful in today’s digital age?

I’ll get back to you once I’ve figured some of them out, or I finish reading “Quiet”

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The truth about Driving Instructors

There are various types of driving instructors out there, having had lessons with over six of these type of creatures, I have deemed myself qualified enough to make an informed opinion. Having also failed two driving tests and in an attempt not to fail any more of these, I am getting more lessons and this has definitely made me a skeptic. I am absolutely exhausted with this breed and the costs associated with this driving and learning to drive.

Instructors are of many kinds, however most of them have some generic ways of functioning. From the time they pick you up to when you are dropped of their aim is to reduce your time on the road and hence save their petrol costs as well as any wear and tear of the car and themselves, which maybe associated with teaching you. With this in mind they will talk nine to a dozen about various driving related things, or anything really and then they will faff about with lots of formalities and paper work. For example, “oh you must see my method of evaluation its better than your previous instructor’s”, or “oh I must write down your lesson timings for the next week and the next week” and may I also say they all have very neat handwriting which takes time and precision to achieve. This is then followed by pages and pages of notes and talking and looking interested in your previous driving history. Then they talk you through the aesthetics of the car and the weather and how this affects your driving. Oodles and oodles of talking and faffing.

The type of instructor that to me is most annoying is the “note taker” instructor. These are the ones who make you drive around perhaps for about five minutes to a maximum of ten minutes at a time and then stop you so they can write down notes. The note taking usually lasts for about 3 – 5 minutes and then you start off and drive away. This is a very good time wasting tactic, and they then spend a good quarter of an hour at the end of the lesson talking to you about how and what you could’ve done better. This process then carries on to the next lesson where at the start of the lesson they recap the various things you were told at the end of the previous hour and essentially you spend about half an hour driving and the other half talking. I dont think this process is efficient as I think they should take notes as you drive and they should try to remember the various mistakes and correct you as you go along and then do a short recap at the beginning and end of the lesson. The constant stopping to write is me loosing my money!

The second type is the “too personal” type. These tend to get very interested in your personal life and as time goes along you tend to spend a lot of time driving about talking about yourself and life etc. This definitely makes for an interesting lesson and it is enjoyable, however you soon realize you are actually paying to have a friend rather than learning to drive. FAIL!

The third type, the “scared” type. These are the ones that get frightened when you make mistakes and trust me mistakes do happen! They worry about their car and they faff about the breaks, the light switches, the wipers etc. Its all about the car and any potential damage with these ones. You also have the ones who scare easy, in that if you drive too fast you can see them hold on to the edges for their life’s. These should NOT be driving instructors, but hey I shouldn’t be an accountant but I am.

The fourth kind, the “tortoises”. This I think should be labelled extortion. If you haven’t had other instructors before, you wont be able to tell how further along you are in your progress and how much progress you have actually made. This is something I definitely struggled with as every time I switched instructors they all wanted to start from scratch and wanted a particular number of lessons usually more than ten. Most of them would say to me, in almost these exact words “after assessing your driving today, I think you will need at least ten lessons and you are not close to a test at all. I think you have been prematurely sent to a test, which isn’t your fault its your instructors.” However, I failed my test with one major fault and three minors, if this is taken into consideration I think they are lying and what they are after is really money. I’ve seen people pass tests with 14 minors or seven minors and no majors. A good fail someone who definitely is a premature test taker surely should fail with a lot more majors wouldn’t you say?

The tortoises will take you through your lessons at the slowest possible phase, making you do everything over and over again until they have achieved perfection and then start on something else, however by the time you have learnt the something else you have done very little of the first thing and you start over and over you spend over a 100 hours and you’re still no closer to achieving test standard. Perhaps it is a good place to mention that the Driving Standards agency recommend 20 hours of lessons before a test, not 50 or 100!

The next kind are the “angry” kind. These run a regimented driving session, one controlled with military precision and lots of yelling and negativity. They will tell you that you are not ready for your test that you will fail, that you will get no where and that you are no good. They call you useless and worthless. These are definitely the ones to avoid unless you’d like to ruin any future driving chances that you might ever have.

Perhaps another thing to note is how far away you are from the different test routes, as a lot of your time will be spent being picked up and driving yourself to the test route itself. This might take you a while and essentially you loose out on test route driving which is a very important part of learning to drive!

I hope my discussion of the various types of instructors has been insightful, feel free to comment on any other types you may have come across. I am very interested to see if my experiences are isolated. Here’s to my next ten lessons, wish me luck

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Resources: UK Border Agency Stories

I thought this title was rather apt, because the power that the UKBA have over my life feels like they are the king of me. I know that others out there have written about the incompetency of the UKBA and the ordeals that they put us immigrants through and I have found these very useful in my quest for a visa and the afflictions of dealing with the UKBA. I appreciate they are only trying to do their jobs, I am also only trying to vent my grief and hopefully provide a place for us to share our experiences.

http://turbotasticaltales.com/2013/11/11/theres-no-place-like-home/ – UK Ancestry visa rejected and has been since deported. Regular posts about the experiences and dealing with the UKBA. I have located a few resources in my search and have shared them below: Hopefully you find them useful as well.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/blog/2013/jan/24/uk-border-agency-your-stories – The Guardian website giving you a place to share your UK border Agency stories.

http://www.nus.org.uk/en/get-involved/welfare-and-student-rights/share-your-ukba-story/ For students – Share your UK border Agency story.

*Why do people move? What makes them uproot and leave everything they’ve known for a great unknown beyond the horizon? Why climb this Mount Everest of formalities that makes you feel like a beggar? Why enter this jungle of foreignness where everything is new, strange and difficult? The answer is the same the world over: people move in the hope of a better life.

(Life of Pi, Yann Martel)”

This extract is from the case stories website: http://www.case-stories.org/migration/. “Case stories is a trans-disciplinary project on migration, dying and care. Using oral histories, stories and art, the aim is to better understand the pain of social exclusion and to build a digital archive of experiences of transnational dying. The site is developing with the project.”

Others:

http://www.tntmagazine.com/ukba/ukba-balls-up-readers-reveal-their-uk-border-agency-visa-horror-stories

http://www.migrantsrights.org.uk/news/2013/stories-sought-experiences-applying-ukba-visas-campaign-improve-customer-services-applican

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