Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Separation Anxiety

We've had a lot of stress in our household recently. Between finding out that Li doesn't qualify for a UK passport, to buying our new car (which we finally were able to do after a week of constant trouble!), to trying to get Li a visa so that she can remain in the UK. We've had what seems like a constant stream of problems come through our door and Nic and I are trying our damnedest to not let it get to us. It's hard to try to be chipper and excited about stuff when it seems like your whole world is falling apart. I've always said that no matter what happens, as long as we're together I'm happy. Well, we'll have to see if I can be happy when we're apart I guess... I have to at least give it a shot.

The latest news in the quest for Liara's visa is that we have to have 533 pounds extra in our bank account for three months to prove that we can support her without any public funds. Um, hi... who has an extra 830 dollars just lying around each month? I know we don't between paying all our bills here and the US. We may not have that much extra money each month, but we do pay all of our bills without asking for anything from the government in terms of assistance and have been doing so for the past 6 months. Doesn't that say anything?! Isn't that proof enough? Had I known we were going to have to prove this, I probably would have moved some money around to make sure this happened, but we only found out because I had e-mailed the UK Consulate General to ask some questions and clarify some things that I've been told about the visa process. I would have been super pissed off if I had applied for her visa and then been denied based on this little clause. So, anyway... because we don't have that in our favor, she's not going to be given her visa most likely (I'm still trying to figure something out...) she won't be allowed back in the UK for now. So, as of right now, the plan is for Liara and I to stay in the US for the three months necessary to prove we can afford our child (ugh) and get her visa sorted... then return to the UK with Nic. Nic has to go back to work, so he'll be coming home alone. I hate this. I hate this, I hate this, I hate this. I'll say it again... I hate this. I don't want to be separated from my husband, and more importantly, I don't want my daughter to be separated from her father. I can't even think about it without crying... I'm having a super emotional day.

I am so beyond upset with this whole process... especially due to the fact that she was born in this freaking country, and now they are making it so incredibly difficult for her to remain here. We aren't asking for anything... just for the right to be together. It makes me regret moving here in the first place. I have so many bitter feelings about living over here that it's ruining this whole experience. While I have really enjoyed living here, the way things are being handled now have made me want to move my little family back home as fast as we can. ALL of us.

I know that we can do this, we can live apart from each other... we've done it before (when Nic and I were still dating). However, I don't want to do that again. Not with Liara. I'm broken hearted and am going through serious separation anxiety issues and it's not even time for us to be apart yet.

At least this time we'll have skype and facebook and whatnot to keep us a little more connected to each other. I'm pretty good at updating facebook with pictures every week, I guess I'll have to be better about it (by the way... if you aren't my friend on facebook and want to be- here's my profile: http://www.facebook.com/#!/jen.alvarado. I keep it way more updated than this blog!).

I'm off to spend some quality time with my hubby... I'm going to soak up every second I can while I can!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

FUMING!

Ok, so I need to vent because I'm about to lose it. I'm so glad that Li is upstairs sleeping soundly, because I'm sure I'm mumbling explicatives under my breath.

As soon as Liara was settled for her nap today, I called the UK Border Agency to discuss her status here in the UK. I needed to figure out what needs to be done to secure her visa and be assured that she would be allowed to remain here with us in the UK. Here's what I found out:

1. She definitely does need a visa to be here legally.
2. It takes anywhere from 4-14 weeks to get said visa (leaning more towards the 14 side, so says Steven, the guy I talked to).
3. If I submit our application by post (it's pretty much a given for the 14 week timeline), it is 475 pounds.
4. We can submit her application in person and the process is much quicker... however, the only office in Scotland is in Glasgow. Oh, and if you do it in person it's 730 pounds (yes... $1,000).
5. If we leave the country and she does not have a visa, she will NOT be allowed back in, even if we say she's just visiting.

So here's my problem: we leave for the US on non-refundable tickets on the 6th of August. That's definitely only 16 days, not 4 weeks. So most likely, Liara won't have her visa ready in time. Even if we pay the extra amount and go to Glasgow (I've made an appointment for the 27th, just in case), there is no guarantee that we'll get her visa in time. So, do I wait and just see if I can get her a visa in the US and reschedule flights, or should I try to get it done before we go... apparently it will be pretty much the same cost to do that.

I'm absolutely furious. We've already paid like 200 pounds for her passport (that she wasn't granted) that we aren't getting refunded... now they want 730 more?! I seriously want to go home and stay there. I don't want to be here anymore. The fact that they have rejected her hurts me more than I care to admit. I have the most amazing little girl in the whole world, and they don't want her here. I just want to go home.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Rules Schmules

It took us about half a day to get Liara's US passport (including a quick trip to Edinburgh to drop off paperwork and sign some documents at the US Embassy), so I figured that her UK passport would be as easy... right?! WRONG.

For the last five months or so, I've been communicating back and forth with the UK Identity and Passport Service in order to apply for Liara's UK passport. Turns out, after five months of talking on the phone, writing letters back and forth, sending documentation, etc., that it was all for nothing. I'm so frustrated that I could scream and am having a hard time keeping all my thoughts straight. They are not considering Liara a citizen (or even a resident for goodness sake!) of the UK, even though she was conceived, carried, and born here. How are you not a citizen of the country you were born in? That's just crazy to me.

So now we are back to square one as far as her status as a legal resident here goes... We are going to have to apply for a visa for her to be here (although we have yet to find any documentation about what to do if you are ALREADY in the UK and are required to have a visa). To find this out two weeks before we leave to return to the US for a visit is a little discouraging, especially since it's very possible that they won't let Liara back into the UK once she has left, until her visa status has changed. What this means to me is that we might have to stay in the US a little longer (to be honest, I wouldn't mind that!) but it also means that we'd have to pay for flights again (which we don't want to do since they are 700 pounds a piece! OUCH!). I really don't want to be separated from Nic either (as he'd have to come back for work, and I'd probably stay behind with Li until it was sorted). This all is just such a pain!

I'm so sick of how things work here, the hoops we have to hurdle through all the time. Nothing is simple or convenient, and I'm in a constant state of frustration. Our friends here ask me all the time why I don't refer to this country as my home now and think it is sad that I don't consider it one... but THIS... this sort of thing, is why. Why would I even think of considering a country my home when they don't accept my daughter?!

Maybe it wouldn't be a bad thing to be stuck in the US... I can tell you, I'd feel a lot more at home!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Goodbye Sexy Lexi...

So after much thought and discussion, we've decided to sell my Subaru and get a more family oriented car. We've been thinking about doing this since we found out we were going to expand our family, but just loved Lexi too much to really consider it. For those of you who know us, you'll easily understand why we've deliberated for so long... for those that don't- we're semi-obsessed with Subaru's and absolutely love both of our cars (Nic owns one as well, I bought him one for Christmas in 2008). While we'll still have his STI, I'm going to be sad to see Lexi go... she's been a great car for us. However, we've been cramped on the trips to Wales, have paid out the rear end for road tax (425 a year! OUCH!) and insurance, and petrol. Sure, we could drive more economically, but who wants to do that when you've got the power and that lovely burble in response? Anywho... we spent today car shopping for a replacement and finally found one that we both could agree on (since Nic still takes my car to work every day, he had a big say on what we'd be getting... or should I say WOULDN'T be getting. Lol).

We've pretty much decided on a 2007 Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TDI SE. It's a wagon which is really nice, since there is a ton of room in the boot/trunk area for all of Liara's gear... even after you get our large stroller in! In the trunk right now, it's a bit cramped once the Quinny is in there, but in the Passat there is room for loads of other baggage too. The backseat is super roomy too... I can actually stretch out my legs and there's really room for another person, not just another child. It's pretty good looking too. The one we found is silver and does have a large scratch mark on the front passenger door, but they will be repairing that before we drive it home, which is nice. Plus, that doesn't effect the warranty (which still has a year left!). Since it is a diesel, we'll get awesome gas mileage (40-60 mpg... hooray!) which will be a huge help, especially on long trips. We were looking at the size of the fuel tank as well and it turns out we could get to Wales and back on one tank! That's super nice.

On top of all the perks already stated... we're getting it for the same price as what we pay for the Subaru, but it will have cheaper insurance, cheaper road tax (ok.. I've already mentioned that), cheaper fuel costs (that too...) AND they're throwing in GAP insurance and a sealant for the paint and interior of the car (good for 3 years), as well as 2 years free servicing. Nice. PLUS, what is really exciting is that we aren't upside down in the Subaru! They are actually giving us 600 pounds more than what we owe on it. Woo Hoo!

I'm excited! I loved Sexy Lexi but I have a feeling I'm going to love this car too... now all I need is to sign the papers and come up with a name! :)

Sunday, 11 July 2010

My Sweet Girl...

Poor Li has been teething for a few weeks now with the white gums, rosy cheeks, excess drool, mouthing everything, and diaper rash. The only thing she's been lacking is the inability to sleep well and the moodiness. However, those persistent teeth are starting to wear her down and she's had a bit of a rough day. Even though she's exhausted (especially since we went to a birthday party yesterday), she hasn't slept well and her teeth are hurting so she's been a little grumpy. I've tried to be as patient as I can with her and I think I'm doing a pretty good job, but man, am I tired. I've been spoiled by my sweet baby who has been sleeping through the night since she was like 8 weeks old. I feel so bad for her, I know she is trying her best to be her usual self, and that her mouth really does hurt. I hope these teeth (it's her two front teeth on bottom and an eye tooth and the right front tooth on top) hurry up and make their appearance soon so she can have a little break.

Other than that, she's the perfect angel. She's still wonderful, even when she's grumpy (her definition of grumpy is just wanting to be held a little more and being a little quicker to get frustrated). She's so good at sitting up now! She sits up perfectly straight and has great balance. She reaches for her toys, plays her little drum, and can even turn herself around without needing any sort of support. I am so proud of her! She's getting pretty good at trying to crawl as well. She'll get up on all fours and rock back and forth. Sometimes she'll actually pick up her knees and hands but she doesn't go forwards yet, only backwards.

Sorry if I'm not making a whole lot of sense or if it seems like I'm rambling, I'm knackered! I'm going to head to bed before she wakes up again... G'night!