Saturday, February 06, 2010

new beginnings

guys i am starting up this blog again! I will try to make updates now and then and not leaving it for two years and stuff like that.

so i am just going to go through a little bit about what's been happening in my life lately. not the last two years though, that would be too much of an essay that i'm sure no one would get through. but the last few months have been pretty rough and also pretty exciting, and the day before yesterday i reached a new milestone in my life that i feel will make everything a lot easier in the future. i have been on my toes for months, nervous about the future, not sure what would happen and never really able to relax. but now! everything has worked out and i am relaxed and i don't feel guilty all the time and i can do stuff like updating this blog!

so the tl;dr version is that 1. i got australian residency. 2. i got married.

the long version starts with me coming back to sydney from sweden in mid-august. i had finished my six months at veolia in sydney and was looking for a new job, but did not have a work visa and would need sponsorship from an employer. i had done that with veolia, so i thought i would be able to again, but it was not to be. in october rachel and i decided to get married, and in early november we were going on holiday to melbourne and then my parents were coming to visit from sweden for the first time. now, my tourist visa was going to run out just before this, so i wanted to get it extended, but the immigration officer i met with was not forthcoming and pretty much told me to leave the country and come back. so i did.

i went to new zealand for five days, checked out auckland and some places around there. got back in australia, had a bit of a scare at the airport but it all worked out. now, time to work on the visa and plan the wedding. we decided to get married on january 2nd because it was an awesomely nerdy date (and we are both nerds): 20100102! palindrome date! win! we chose leura cascades, up in the blue mountains west of sydney, as our location. i might write more about the wedding in the future, mostly because i found some wedding-related blog posts by other people very helpful, but right now the visa bit is a lot more fresh in my memory and i want to get that out of my system.

the visa application procedure is really comprehensive, difficult, invasive, condescending and expensive. they want a bazillion certified copies of documents from both me and my partner. they also want evidence that we are in a "genuine and continuing relationship", meaning we have to prove that we share finances, that other people view us as a couple socially, the nature of our relationship and commitment to each other...a lot of detailed stuff. this is really hard to prove. who shares finances when they don't know if they'll be able to live permanently in the country together? ok so that was pretty nerve-wrecking stuff. but the real doozy is that they want a statutory declaration from both of you describing how you distribute housework in your relationship. yes, really! because this matters as to whether you are in a genuine relationship or not. they also want you to describe how you support each other "financially, emotionally and physically". yes really! they also want evidence that you kept in contact during times you spent apart, which for us meant all the e-mails we have written to each other. now, we wrote to each other pretty much every day and we have been apart for more than a year in total, so you can imagine how many e-mails there are. let's just say that i used up all our printer paper, went to buy 500 more sheets and then used up them as well the same day.

so in the end we had an application that probably weighed more than 5 kilos. i wish we had a scale at home, it would have been fun to know. on thursday, we went to lodge the application and have the interview. i had been really nervous for a long time, but as we got closer to the lodging date i felt better. we had a really good application, very comprehensive and well organised and i was pretty sure we were going to be fine. still, it's hard to relax when the entire future you've planned for yourselves is on the line.

we got a very friendly and reasonable case officer, who was very happy about how well our application was organised. we had everything ready...birth certificates, passport copies, statutory declarations to left and right, a photo album, health checks, you name it. and after about an hour of handing over documents and being interviewed, i got the visa granted on the spot! it was amazingly exciting and i didn't know what to do with myself. i got there, i got my residency in australia, i can stay as long as i want to, i can finally work, i can leave and come back as many times as i want to, i can start my future. it feels like a new beginning, a new chapter of my life, where everything becomes easier. i have been worrying about this for so long and now it is all over. and i won.


Mamma said...

Did they keep your e-mail correspondence? Will it be a future resource for research about the famous Stensmyr's of Australia?

Em. said...

ooooooooooo. you just made me cry a little :) grattis, vännen.

Peter said...

mum: no, the case officer did actually not even look at it. she skimmed through some other e-mails we had, between rachel and her mum/friends where she talked about me, but she didn't touch the heavy stuff :)

em: thank you. i'm very happy now, things are good and getting better and that's really cool. i hope you are well. oh, and there's a new outrageous safran show out, "john safran's race relations". you may be able to watch it on although that might be for australians only.