I haven't posted anything lately because other than my cancelled flight back from Perth, that added copious hours and a red-eye with stopover (Melb!!) and of course copious amounts of pills, life has been rather ordinary since leaving Cassia in Esperance, and that made it difficult to find anything remotely interesting and/or funny to write about.
So last week Joseph's brother Tom and wife Elizabeth came to stay for a few days before driving off into the sunset in our van. They are gone for a couple of months - north, then east and down the coast all the way back to Adelaide. They are seasoned campers/travellers/combie-vaners so they will have fun and hopefully the hot/humid weather up north won't bother them. It was great to have them visit and take my mind off the saga that is Joseph's return to Australia. As of today (Tues Oct 8th) we have been officially notified that his application for a Resident Return Visa has been denied.
BUT … before we start picketing outside of the Australian Immigration office in whatever country you live in, here's some background … read on if you really want to know - or skip to the last paragraph ...
Back in 1976, a year after we were married in Ottawa, we decided we should go to Australia so that Joseph could meet my family and get to know Australia (then finally, we would have something to talk about!). He was poked and prodded and finger printed by the RCMP and finally received a Resident Visa - a permanent one (we thought!). Then we did what anybody who is leaving N.A. and travelling to Australia to live (forever?) would do - we went to DisneyLand. (Somehow Joseph managed to add another column (Disneyland) to our saving's plan for Australia, that mean we could rent a car, with unlimited mileage, and drive from Ottawa to Orlando Florida with a side trip to Kennebunkport Maine (to say goodbye to Alexander) in 10 days because back then, when you lived in Australia, Disneyland was just a dream.)
You should know that we didn't have a lot of money - so we packed our teenie tiny possessions into 15 million small boxes and shipped them to Australia at "book rate" (Joseph worked at the Nature Canada Bookstore) and drove to Toronto and (as part of the very cheap plane ticket) took a van to Buffalo N.Y. with some other poor sods, and flew to HongKong with a two-hour stopover in Anchorage Alaska in the middle of the night (on this flight I learned that Kosher meals are served first!) and spent a week in HongKong buying a stereo and having clothes made for Joseph and then after being off-loaded (I don't think they can do this anymore) in Singapore for two nights and a day, (where Joseph went birdwatching and I bought paper under garments because our luggage was NOT off-loaded), we finally landed in Australia. We whizzed through customs (if your luggage arrives a day before you it sure speeds up the process) and they stamped his passport and let him into the country without blinking an eye.
There's seven years worth of stories in between when we arrived and when we left in March 1984… We built a house in the hills, Mischa was born, there was a bushfire and the house in the hills nearly burned down so we took my parent's only grandchild back to Canada, is the short version. There's a whole chapter on the trip back from Adelaide on planes, trains and automobiles, via Melbourne, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Kennebunkport, Montreal to Ottawa to live for the next 28 years. There's a whole book about those 28 years; we had another baby, we had jobs, we lost jobs, we lived in four different homes, we started a business, we retired and along the way we made friends to die for, met people you only dream about and of course Joseph's family and Mrs. Dafoe turning 100. But I'll skip all that except to mention that on that fateful day in March when they stamped Joseph's passport, if we had known what we know now, we should have mentioned that we MIGHT be back (to Aus.) to live and it would have been a different stamp and maybe just maybe we wouldn't be in the predicament we are in now.
Here's the predicament:
Having decided that, with both children, a grandchild, an ageing mother and all of my family here in Adelaide, we would turn our holiday into an extended stay. We knew Joseph would need more than his one-year visitor's visa so we did what anybody who wanted to know about visas would do, we went to the Immigration Department to find out the correct visa to use.
We mentioned to the Immigration person - I have no idea what they are called because they are NOT Immigration Agents (you pay them) - that Joseph had lived and worked here for seven years as a Permanent Resident. We told the person we knew Joseph was 'in the system" because Medicare could see his name and yes after much searching he (with some help) found some kind of record of Joseph's name in their (Immigration) system so we were advised to fill out a Resident Return Visa. More discussion with the person giving us the forms about whether he should apply within Australia or in Canada, but given that all of the supporting documents needed were in Canada (and Joseph had to do his (oops our) taxes anyway) we decided he would go back to Canada as planned, submit the Visa request and come back at the end of October on a one-way ticket with Visa in hand because really … it is pretty obvious where he should be.
Alas! It's the Spousal Visa, along with $3,000.00 and FIVE more months that we should have submitted!!! We've wasted FOUR months on the wrong visa!! Cassia, who declared it the wrong visa in the first place, will help us submit the new one (she has to her credit , successfully applied and received Pablo's PERMANENT Resident Visa) and we hope that once the application is in the works, he can come out on a visitor's visa while the big one is being processed.
Then of course life will go back to being mundane and there will be nothing to "blog" about…