Monday, October 26, 2009

here comes the bride...

I bought my wedding dress last weekend! I am so excited, I can hardly contain myself! I am getting married in four months, moving in a week and a half, and....




Uhhh...yeah, it's been a while since I spoke to you people, hasn't it? When last we met, this TeDiouS girl was having a nervous breakdown and was prepared to scratch out the eyes of the next UK Border Agency Officer I happened to run across. Preferably in a dark alley. While wielding a sharp instrument. Well, here, let me tell you the tale. Or, even better, let me summarize so we aren't here for another month.

My Guy, supreme being that he is, did manage to get permission for us to marry in the Anglican Church and arrange a wedding date* for us in the short space of an afternoon. All while so sick he could hardly stand up straight. Honestly, it was almost a blessing that he was so terribly ill, because I have no clue how he would have managed to get all the things done that needed doing if he had been stuck at work. The Lord works in mysterious ways and all that.

So, I toddled off to a friend's house that same night to get the papers from the church that My Guy had sent me faxed in. (Can I pause a moment here to have a very minor shrieking bitch-fest over how idiotic it is that my only means of communication with the Border Agency was via fax? FAX!? Who even owns a fax machine or has regular access to one? And why could I not just email them back? They obviously have computers and email...they emailed the wedding proof demands to me after all. Which I then had to fax back. From my mom's friend's house. Because she is the only person I know on God's green earth who actually has a fax machine in her home.)

I waited, terrified, to hear back from the UK Border Agency. When the email finally came in the next afternoon I swear my heart nearly stopped. I was sure that this time it would be good news. I gave them what they asked for, everything should be fine, right? Right?

I will never learn.

I opened that email with every hope that my Visa had been approved and I was about to be told it was on its way to me. Instead, my heart dropped into my shoes as I read the note from the UK Border Agency. Followed swiftly by my stomach. And possibly my spleen. I couldn't even understand the email at first I was so confused. It said that my proof of a wedding date with the church was not good enough. They needed proof of a civil ceremony. With all kinds of snotty italics and bold letters just in case I missed it. They gave me another couple of days to supply this, along with also requesting that I send them my intended travel date. Which I did in the original document package I left with them in Toronto. Along with photocopies of my plane tickets and itinerary. So good to know they were paying attention.

My fiance and I began trying to figure out what they were asking for. How could we show them proof of a civil ceremony when we were getting married in the church? If we got married in a civil ceremony, we couldn't also get married in church. Surely they couldn't be telling us we weren't allowed a church wedding? That had to be illegal, right? The more we read, the more confused we got. The Border Agency's own website said that only those already living in the UK had to show they were registered for a wedding, as you CANNOT register until you are in the country with a valid Visa. Which is what they were supposed to give me! Plus, a ceremony in an Anglican church has every bit of authority as one performed at a registrars office, also reiterated on their own site.

Completely baffled at this point, with them seemingly expecting the impossible, I wrote up a letter explaining exactly why I couldn't give them what they wanted. I quoted their own site, gave links to the pages I cited, quoted from the registrar's office site as well as from an email My Guy got back from that office when he made enquiries about what they were asking for. All of it telling them they were asking me for something I couldn't possibly give them. Oh, and I also repeated the info on my travel plans they asked for, which was all exactly the same as I had given them the first time around. I made another trek to the almighty fax machine.

And then I waited through the longest weekend of my life. It lasted at least three thousand days. I swear.

My Guy and I were watching something together online when I got a blip.

I had mail.

Oh, my God.

I nearly swallowed my tongue. But, you see, I had finally learned my lesson. And while last time I guess I may have been excused for my ray of naive optimism, this time I knew it could be nothing but bad news. I had, after all, pretty much told the Border Agency officer handling my case that they didn't know how to do their job. I may have even allowed a little bit of anxiety-induced terseness to creep into the tone of the letter I had faxed in. As my shaking finger moved to click open the email, and my body tried to remember how to make my heart beat, I regretted every last speck of that terseness. What if I was banned from the UK for life? What if I had to start the application process over again because I hadn't been able to somehow provide them with impossible documents? What if it was all over?

The agony of it! Waiting for that email to open, My Guy and I on the edge of our seats and our sanity...and then.....

I slapped my hand over my mouth. Oh. My. God. Oh my god, oh my god, ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygodohmygodohmygod....

Five words.

Your Visa has been issued.

My heart suddenly slammed back to its more usual location in my chest. I was moving in a month. I was going to England. I was going to get married! It was all actually going to happen!

It has been a few weeks and I am still in a state of shocked disbelief. It hardly feels true to me, and maybe won't until I step off the plane in England with My Guy standing there waiting for me to rush into his arms. Or hobble over and fall down at his feet. One of those.

So, I hope you people are all astute enough to pick up on the lesson to be learned from all of this. I mean, yes, I am sure there are things to be learned here about never giving up, and persevering, and true love conquering all and leading you through in the end, and all that. Yeah, sure, that's all lovely and sentimental and *sniffle* and whatever. But the real lesson learned here...?

Sometimes telling someone in authority they are being an idiot is the way to get the job done.

*nods soberly*

Now, stand there and tell me that didn't just put a ray of light into your soul! :o)





What now?

Oh, right. The wedding dress. Do you mind if I tell you about that next time? I need to just sit here and smile happily to myself for a bit. Again.

*the wedding date is 27 feb/2010, for those of you dying of curiosity.