You’ve no doubt heard the saying “the best-laid plans of mice and men“. If not, we need to talk about your serious gap in western canonical literature. Anyway, the saying ends with “often go awry” which is how I have felt about the pre-planning and ideas of how this going off to study Shakespeare in another country has gone. My plans have not aligned with those of the powers that be in charge of the actual timeline that I should have been using to make plans. SOOO, my plans of having us head over in early August has had to seriously shift to “we’ll get there when we get there” which has not set well.
I get that countries set parameters around entry times, etc. It doesn’t mean that I have to agree with them, especially during a time of pandemic when timelines are all sorts of askew and there are closures and holdups within an already long process. I had hoped to get over in time to quarantine, find a full-time let, and get my daughter settled into school at the start of her first term. However, our timeline is my timeline, meaning that since my course work starts at the end of September the earliest we can enter is up to one month prior to the starting date of my course. This would be tight but doable. However, the fact that offices are closed or only taking one appointment per day makes the wait to get in time much longer than usual so now the timeline for us getting in puts us at mid-September rather than the end of August. Sigh. Disappointment. Frustration. And then eventually resignation that I am not in control and we just have to buckle up and just let the ride happens as it happens. It has felt like one of the amusement park roller coasters that has lots of twists, turns, loop-the-loops all of which I avoid with determination and steadfastness when it comes to park rides.
But there has been movement. Mum left ahead of us to start quarantine and then go out and find us a full-time let for the year. She took off yesterday with masks, gloves, personal air purifier, and a great deal of fortitude. She said the hardest parts were the areas where people have traditionally pooled – other side of security where people have to gather their belongings have been scanned and at immigration where physical distancing was made difficult by impatient people in line wanting to get through. The flight, she said, was fine. The plane was not full and she was able to move so there was an empty row in front and behind her and she had a row of seats all to herself. Wonderful! She did warn me that the snack/lunch may be rough on me as it was a chicken slices on salad with lots of red bell peppers. I can’t eat bell peppers of any color, they won’t digest so I just say I have an allergy. However, with the pandemic there aren’t really food options like there have been in the past where I could say “no bell peppers” and be okay. So, I’ll hope that by the time we head over the menu has changed and I’ll be able to eat and not have to figure out how many snacks I can get into my onboard bags.
At any rate, she got there, got through immigration and finally ensconced in her air bnb in Stratford-upon-Avon. She has a nice little space and they have given her another adjoining room so she has some movement for her quarantine. She did find out that she can go out for a short walk daily but must be appropriately masked, which she would do anyway. There’s a Marks & Sparks (Marks & Spencer for those that don’t know and think Macy’s but with a grocery attached) close by where she can pick up a sandwich or sticky toffee pudding if she wants. I’m am grateful that she has a place where they are helping her in these first weeks. It’s very different experience than we could have imagined even at the start of February. But here we are – Pandemic 2020 – and living through it as best we can while trying to allow life to move forward, to move forward.
Now it’s on to the next step, biometrics for me and the girl. We’ll go into D.C. and do this. We might have had to go into Boston or NYC, though Boston is a bit far it would be do-able but NYC is currently not letting outsiders in so it was not an option. Having closures makes “normal” things more complicated but things are moving. When we were first looking into all of this only 15 locations were available in the entire USA and only dealing with 1 appointment per day! So we are lucky that there have been new openings and a few more appointments allowed in these days of slow and necessary precautions of the current days. All-in-all, life is actually good. I am learning to go with the process and not fight it. I’m not sure how much good it would do anyway. I mean, I can’t open things by getting loud about my frustrations. Everyone is doing the best they can, at least I am trying approach things as if people are, within the given set of circumstances. I am grateful that my program is still trying to make things work and we just have to go with what we have. In some regards it feels like that step of faith Indian Jones takes in “The Last Crusade” as he’s trying to save his dad by going after the holy grail. I just have to keep going and hope it all works out like I trust that it will. Otherwise, why have we made it to this point if it’s not all going to happen? Don’t answer that! I’m trusting that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing and I’m going with that.
I am grateful to know more than I did before. Who knows how I’ll be able to use what I’ve learn about the visa process in the future, but at least I am better equipped to be prepared for whatever may come next.
So now we wait. Fingers crossed I’ll know more after Monday about what happens next and when.