Friday, 30 July 2010

A harrowing day!




My future is hanging by a thread. My financial situation is so precarious.

Today was quite the day from hell. It began when I looked out the window this morning and saw fog. Oh shit, what about my flight to Wellington? That was rather unsettling but I hoped things would be alright. It seemed they would be as I logged onto Air NZ and checked the departures, so far so good. Having parked at Auckland domestic airport I went to check in. Waiting, waiting, waiting. The staff person asked me if I would like to transfer to an earlier flight as she suspected my flight would be cancelled. Oh-oh, Yes please. Just as she handed me my boarding passes they announced my original flight was cancelled. Then they announced my new flight was delayed and a decision would be made later. All around me flights were being cancelled, it wasn't looking good.

I went through the gate and hoped and hoped.More cancellations were announced. I was now quite unnerved and i could not rebook. I had to get to Wellington in time for my interview at the French Embassy for my work visa. I had all my documents and more to prove I had been offered a job in France and documents had been sent to the french government. Alas, when I arrived at the embassy with not a moment to spare, Madame took all my documents and passport and then went through everything. She stared at me and said she could not process it because there were no stamps from the french government. Well no, I explained I was still waiting for that. She told me I would have to go away and start over another time if the government approved the visa. I told her I was all organised, the payment was there and I could not afford to come back again. She got angry and raised her voice saying it was nothing to do with her, over and over. I became more desperate. Madame kept reminding me the website said appointments were made AFTER APPROVAL. I explained the university was closed for the summer holidays, the government was on go-slow for the same reason and my future boss was unreachable, on leave.She admitted the situation was stressful and unfair BUT...I burst into tears. I couldn't help it, this was my only chance to make my dream come true and... actually to survive financially.

I have had to act on faith in my new employer. I have been selling my belongings to fund my flights and living expenses until I get my first monthly pay in France. Next weekend the moving company arrives to take my personal effects to France.It will take months to get there so must be done now. I need to resign from my job at the council in a couple of weeks, I need to refinance my mortgage now. If I do not get the visa in time to take my flight to Paris I will end up with no job, no means of support, no belongings, no ability to stay in my home and what few books and key papers I have etc will be sitting in a warehouse in France charging me money.

I cannot suspend the process or I will not meet the deadline to leave NZ if my visa comes through. Madame pointed out the pile of folders in her in-tray and stated she didn't want any more work sitting there. This could take months, even years, she informed me. Eventually she softened. Was it the tears rolling down my face? Was it the fact they had given me the interview appointment against the rules? Eventually my biometric data was taken: 10 fingerprints, face scanned etc. All I can do is wait and hope they will not take a month or more to approve my application. There is nothing more I can do and I am not permitted to contact the embassy to enquire as to progress. If this does not work I am facing financial ruin. Madame then told me my french is very good. Well, if that's the case they must hear some pretty cruddy french. They have kept my passport,I can't go anywhere right now.

My friend Helen, whom I've known since the late 70s, texted me and suggested we meet up for a coffee. What a godsend. Great to see her but especially so when I was so stressed from my appointment. So the two of us munched our savoury scones and had a hot drink in a cafe in Cuba St and discussed my situation and her recent trip to England. It was helpful to have a friend to talk to and to hear of her adventures overseas.

She drove me to Wellington airport which was kind of her. After she left, the airport announced my flight was quite delayed. Great, but eventually I made it home, collected Laura from work and settled in with a takeaway, put the fire on and determined to assume that things would work out. It would be too cruel and a waste of effort if the universe didn't see this thing fairly through. I have no good choice other than to proceed to dismantle my life but I do feel as if I'm heading into a void right now, is it reckless to follow your dream like this, at my age?
The consequences could be magnificent or a disaster.

2 comments:

Liz said...

Hell's bells Frances. No one ever said it would be easy and it sure ain't! Still, my little Arian Goat friend, keep kicking ---and give Madame one up the derriere while you're at it!

penteco said...

Helen said
Hey you didn't mention you nearly lost your boarding pass in the loo

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