Thursday, 3 April 2014

A new life

Any of you ever thought about moving to the other side of the world? Anyone? Do you have any advice for me?
A year ago I flew to the kids, for the impending birth of my grandson. Being there was very moving and beautiful, and knowing I would have to leave again moved me to tears. My only grandchildren are in New Zealand, which is way too far from the Netherlands. I still remember how heartbroken I was going back after my granddaughter had been born. I was crying so hard I could hardly see where I was going.
And then I suddenly realised that being with in New Zealand made me happy, and that I hadn't been happy in years. I'd been struggling with a relationship where I was the only fighting for it, my job was awful (due to management, not to colleagues), my grandchildren were too far away, and I didn't have enough opportunities to pursue my BDSM interests, being tired all the time.
I didn't want to go, my daughter didn't want me to leave, my son (in law) loved having me there, so I decided to stay. Isn't that something? A major, life changing decision, taken before I had even consciously thought about it. But the moment I said it out loud, I knew it was the right thing to do.
Not that is has been easy, mind you, especially not for somebody used to the EU and the open borders for EU citizens. Had I known all this a couple of months sooner, it would have been a breeze, but my 57th birthday meant I was too old to get a work permit straight away. Now I got into a Catch 22: in order to obtain a work permit, I needed to have a job offer, and in order to get a job offer, employers wanted to see my work permit. Finding myself a job was proving difficult.
Change of plans. Instead of going for a work permit, let's go for residency. Yes, you read that right, it's easier for me to become a New Zealand resident, than it is to find myself a job here. Why is that? Because I have a daughter who is a resident, and grandchildren who are citizens. And that means I'm eligible for residency under the parent category, assuming my daughter sponsors me, I have a clean bill of health, my English is up to par and the Dutch police has nothing awful to report about me.
So: extend visa and send an Expression of Interest, pay for both. Get an Invitation to Apply for Residency. Extend visa again, for a further fee. Get a health screening (including X-ray and blood tests), police certificate, birth certificate (of myself and my daughter, to prove we're truly related), sponsorship form including evidence of sufficient income, take an English language test, include dozens of pass photo's, send everything of, with my passport of course.
It's all in the works now and I should hear about their decision soon, they tell us. How soon? Who knows, we're talking about government officials after all. But soon.

My residency has been granted!

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