The impromptu trip I took to Bali the other week was bliss in more ways than one. Not only did I love playing the role of ‘digital nomad’ in Canggu and Ubud but I’ve loved losing myself writing up the stories since.
I went to Bali because I wanted to be able to bring fresh content to this site (and those I write for) but also just because I could. I had exactly 1 week left on the Bridging Visa I was holding that allowed travel and I felt like I needed to travel right up to the day they took that permission away again.
But also I was running away. Procrastinating from organising 2(ish) weddings, putting off completing yet more forms for the partner visa process and trying to let off steam before I entered this crazy month I’m currently trying to get through. Let’s break it down..
I wrote in February about why I haven’t been able to travel overseas as much lately. You can check out all the grizzly details via the link but the short of it is I’ve applied for a Partner Visa in order to live here in Oz with the groom-to-be. After applying last April ‘15 we received the exciting news in February ‘16 that my visa is now ready to be processed. This usually would be excellent news but what it meant in reality was a mini-break down for me when I realised there were additional forms I now needed to fill.
One was an Australian Federal Police check as I’ve now lived in Oz for more than 12 months. This turned out to be no big deal – 1 form, $40 and 5 days later and I had clearance.
The medical was a little more stressful. That involved 2 hours of urine testing, blood testing (for HIV), a chest X-Ray and a full medical assessment (which means you get stripped down to your knickers and bra and someone listens to your lungs and pokes your abdomen). It cost almost $400 to be told I have small ears, a scarred belly button (from a regrettable piercing aged 16) and a swollen right tonsil. (These are all genuine comments from the Doc BTW!) But in less than 5 days I was given a clean bill of health and Bupa informed the Department of Immigration I was good to go.
The Form 80, however, was another story. I filled out A LOT of forms for the partner visa 12 months ago and I can guarantee you this one was never mentioned. So I was more than a little surprised to spot it on a checklist the night before I due to fly to Bali.
For people like myself who travel a lot the Form 80 is a b*tch. It requires you input everywhere you have lived and worked since the beginning of time AND everywhere you’ve travelled for the last ten years with NO GAPS (the Department’s emphasis not mine.) Needless to say I wept and said goodbye to a Sunday trying to get this one over the line.
BUT I got it done and was thinking I was nearing the finishing line and that maybe I will have my visa approved before our wedding – until the Department informed me otherwise. I got an email last week saying I’m in the batch to be processed by the 30th June, which again would be totally cool if I wasn’t getting married overseas in 3 weeks. So off I trot to the Department Of Immigration (for the 3rd time) with a different form and $140 in order to apply for travel permission. I applied on Monday and some kind soul must have realised this bride was getting seriously stressed as they approved my request 2 days later. Which means I can officially go to my wedding – yay!
I don’t know why I’m calling this a wedding update as I know I’ve not really touched on the subject on here before. I think that’s partly because I didn’t know for sure whether I could go until this week – it certainly causes an interesting strain of anxiety to plan a wedding you don’t technically have the approval to attend – and also because I am ‘the procrastinating bride’.
Whilst I can’t wait to get married and start wedded life with JM, I must admit I have not enjoyed the wedding process one little bit. From searching for a location that both our UK and Aussie family and friends could get to, to discovering many of them couldn’t anyway, to the dress shopping (don’t get me started!), it’s been a bit of a nightmare really. So I’ve just buried my head and done things like run away to Bali instead.
This week, though, I’m starting to feel it. Aside from the issues with my dress (maybe one day I will post about this let down – it’s too raw for now) I’m starting to feel on top of the plans and to get really excited for them. In case you’re wondering Justin and I are having a small ceremony with family and friends in Khao Lak, Thailand, followed by a honeymoon in the Maldives (my dream since I was a little girl – still can’t quite believe we’re going here!). When we get back we have to do the legal bit here in Sydney so we’re having a ceremony under the Harbour Bridge with 2 witnesses to cross the T’s and dot the I’s in this pretty city we live in. We lodged our Notice Of Intended Marriage this week so shizz just started to get real!
I will write more on the topic of planning a destination wedding in due course (if you’re interested!) but I feel it’s something I need to see through before blogging about it. I’m sure all the stress and sagas will feel irrelevant after the fact so I hope to write about it from a rosier/saner standpoint then.
Earlier today I was reminiscing fondly about the times I used to film weekly vlogs about my orderly freelance weeks. Pah! They soon went to pot as soon as a visa process and two(ish) weddings came into play.
The past 6 months have probably been my busiest ever in terms of freelance work and they needed to be – after all we have 2ish weddings and a partner visa to pay for! But it is times like these that make me miss a stable monthly salary. As I had a set amount to save each month I found myself taking on more work than I probably should have in order to meet the savings target. Then every time something wedding or visa related came up I had a mini-meltdown as the more time I spent on them the less time I spent doing work that paid the bills. It’s like a freelancing bride-to-be’s Catch 22.
Justin also launched a new business here in Sydney and with both of us working stupid hours it’s no wonder we’ve been pants at organising this wedding. Each time I would go to do something wedmin related I’d get the guilts that I needed to do more freelance work if I ever wanted to pay for it. Similarly I didn’t want to disturb Justin from his important late night conference calls, so we’d find ourselves blocking out Sundays in our diary to get stuff done and even (this happened last night – for reals) scheduling time to have conversations – with each other! I realised last night that as we each had conference calls on separate evenings we hadn’t spoken since the weekend and not even discussed the fact that I now had permission to come to the wedding. We blocked out 10 till 11pm to chat, after which he tried to wind down with an episode of House Of Cards and I found myself scrolling through pictures of barefoot sandals (seriously how cute are these?).
Anyway, for the next 2 weeks I’m attempting to get 4 weeks worth of work done in 2 weeks so I can take some time off over the wedding and not be broke by April. (That whole no holiday pay for freelancers thing sucks huh!) It’s going to be a hectic couple of weeks but I know it’s going to be worth it in the end. I can’t wait to touch down in Thailand with a lovely bunch of people and marry this great bloke who is crazy enough to want to spend eternity with me.
Stay tuned for some (hopefully cheerier) wedding and visa updates in the next few weeks…
Update: A mere 2 days after I wrote this a nice little surprise appeared in my inbox. Find out more here!