Today was THE day. The day we travelled to the Home Office in Croydon to see if I could get approval to stay in the country.
We first visited the local shopping centre named "Whitgift Centre". We thought of a word that rhymed with Whit of which we were reminded. We stepped into a cafe that we suspect was a time/space portal back to the early 80's of my youth. The "Italian Salad" was priceless. Not sure actual Italians would serve coleslaw & carrot but hey, there were olives. I managed to shoot them across the room by insisting on attempting to spear them with my fork. Such misleading advertising. It took me ages to realise that the plastic yellow stuff was the "mozzarella cheese". Even the plates are 80's throwbacks. I can't recommend the cafe nor the centre let alone the suburb.
When we first went into the Home Office we were impressed by the seeming efficiency of the system. Then we entered it. Well we didn't in fact. We sat waiting for our number to appear on the screen and waited and waited and waited. Well you get the idea.
We were helped by a very friendly & determined "Greeter/Traffic mover". She was terrific & followed up for us until we were seen by someone & then made sure our number was kept moving. Apparently we were a "manual entry" which basically means that the guy on the registration counter, who kept insisting all was well, did not push the correct button & all was very far from well if we were expecting to get out of there anytime before Monday!!
It did make us laugh, we were remembering so many of the folks with whom we had worked & supervised in Australia in our 30 odd year careers in the public service. Fascinating how they are the same the world over. Fascinating & scary!! It could be a whole Mattel line, "office workers", collect the whole set!
Actually these new gardens were very nice & they will be even more lovely when they get released. They were on the way to & from the station. Very nice, no idea what the flowers are but lovely.
After sitting a long time & even managing to have a nap at the table I wandered back to the counter & can ecstatically report that I CAN STAY!!!
This is such a relief I can hardly say. Our lawyer had really made us start to panic. Not really what we had paid him for but anyhoo all done now. Once I have lived here the required 5 years I will be able to apply for dual citizenship.
I could not get back to the coast fast enough. Celebratory steak dinner & a relatively early night. Up early for weekend shifts on the seafront. Bliss!
Loving what I do, especially with whom & where it is done!