Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Testing, Testing . . .

Emigrating is very testing.

Take the medical, for example. I arrived at the Terribly Posh hospital (you can tell it's posh when you don't pass out on entry at the smell of sick, bleach and indeterminable stew) and sat waiting for over an hour before I was seen by the Terribly Cold doctor. 

First, she was cold of heart, firing questions at me about my medical and sexual history and then giving me a very perplexed look when I told her I was breastfeeding my son. "But, isn't he over a year old?" she said. I said he was. She gave me a kind of 'have you farted?' look and said: "I assume he also eats PROPER food?" At this point I had to make a quick decision: 1. Give the woman who is responsible for either passing me or failing me on the medical a long and passionate lecture on the benefits of extended breastfeeding; 2. say YES and move on.

I went with option 2 but gave her evils when she wasn't looking. After the questions, there was the strange "you go and strip off behind a curtain and I'll wait here" thing, which always strikes me as odd - I mean, she's about to see me in the buff, what different does it make if she sees me take off my jeans? I had a panic about whether or not I should fold my clothes neatly, and where exactly I should put them, and went for 'mildly folded on the floor just next to the bed', which turned out to be exactly the wrong place because it was where she wanted to stand, so there was an awkward moment of me reclining in my underwear while Doctor Freeze shifted my belongings out of the way as if they were covered in dog shit.

Then I discovered that she was also cold of hand.

Moving on... I was quite pleased to hear a fortnight later that I'd passed the medical, and it turned out that The Australian was thrilled because he'd been secretly harbouring dark fears about them discovering some rare and incurable illness in me while poking around. He's a little ray of sunshine usually so I don't know why he got so worked up. Maybe I'm looking a bit peaky these days. I suggested he send me to a spa for a week if he's so worried about my health. 

So, one test over with, but plenty to come. We continue to compile the evidence we need to prove that our relationship is 'genuine and continuing' so I can get my proper spouse visa. ('Spouse' - there's an attractive word.) I have gathered some photos together to show various moments of our time together, including a shot of a giant heart-shaped cookie I made him for Valentine's Day, covered in chocolate drops that spell out 'I Love You'. I will refrain from telling the visa people that he left it on the shelf to go hard and mouldy, and that I have still not forgiven him. Although that probably makes our relationship sound a bit more realistic, doesn't it?

On Monday, a test I wasn't prepared for. The Australian took me along to meet his personal banker - a Very Nice Man with almost no teeth - who was going to set me up an Aussie bank account. But first, some questions... What is your home phone number? Umm, no idea. (The Australian stepped in with the answer.) How long have you been a freelance writer? Umm, not really sure. (The Australian gave the month and year.) What is your annual income? Err, let me see . . . *panic look at The Australian, who provides the answer*. The Australian and I were secretly laughing at my hopelessness, but I was quite horrified at what a dreadful stereotype I am. I might as well wear a frilly pinny and spend the evenings darning his socks. Except that I only touch his socks with tongs.

But this morning I felt a lot better when The Australian, when presented with a tangerine to peel for The Girl, held it out and said: "Is there some sort of trick with these? Do I just, what, take the skin off somehow?"

Umm, sorry-what??

"Well, I've never peeled an orange before."

Thank goodness I'm here.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Trilby said...

LOL! The Doctor Freeze experience must be a universal...and I've had the exact same conversation with a personal banker (more than once, embarassingly - you'd have thought I'd have figured out my annual income by now). Best of luck with any remaining tests!

Nik's Blog said...

Ick! Tests didn't sound very pleasant. It'll be worth it though!


Ross said...

Mmmm... indeterminable stew. That's where our school camps must have got the recipe.
Surely two children together is enough evidence to prove a relationship is 'genuine and continuing'?! I wonder if our bureaucrats are worse than your bureaucrats....?

Anonymous said...

I can't think of an intelligent comment but I wanted to say I loved reading this, and I laughed and cringed in all the right places, and I'm thinking of you!

Oh, and I have also been known to question the peeling of a tangerine, so don't undervalue those skills! ;)


Emma K-F said...

Now, you see, the horribly chilly woman you describe is a prime example of just why - whenever humanly possible - I avoid doctors at all costs. Brrr!

Good to know there are no rare and incurable illnesses lurking, though! ;-)

Emma x

Mary Witzl said...

This is wonderful.

They need me around to operate the blender. They are in awe of my blending expertise, so God forbid they ever figure out how to get the thing going themselves.

When I first arrived in the U.K. with my husband, he was asked by an immigration official when our wedding day was. He could not answer and I cringed, but the lady just laughed and said that we had to be married; if he'd gotten it right, she'd have been deeply suspicious.