The Big UK Explainer

A lot of you are probably wondering why I am in the UK at all. Those of you who know me but whom I haven’t talken to in ages probably think something along the lines of, “Hey! It’s that guy I met in spanish class/theater camp/a foreign city, once/school/other school/yelling somewhere! I thought he was in Turkey forever!”

Yes. This is true, people! I was in Turkey forever. And then there was a coup, and then the expat population started fleeing the city, and then Harriet and I realized we didn’t want to be doing unchanging English jobs for the rest of our natural lives. Istanbul is great for many reasons — including the ability to get entry-level employment and a living wage without requiring impossible qualifications, like in many big western cities right now — but working there becomes a treadmill at some point. You might accellerate, but you don’t actually get anywhere.

Harriet and I wanted to move somewhere English-speaking for awhile, just for funsies. New York was a top choice since a bunch of our Istanbul expat friends absconded there in the past few years. But therein lies a hilarious modern challenge of international dating: how do you get both parties in a bi-national relationship to get full residence and working permission in the same place? It’s a head-scratcher. In the USA, it’s just marriage. Green card marriage. We talked to a lawyer (several times!) and he informed us that was basically our only choice.

I’m going to spare you the details, but since Porsidarnt Trungo’s election immigration has unsurprisingly gotten much harder. Harriet was interrogated at the border by some clueless homeland security employees who told her she had an “unstable life” (ironic, since out of everyone I know in Istanbul, she’s had the same job for the entire three years she’d been there) and said they didn’t understand why anyone would want to live abroad (also ironic, considering we were going through the “pre-clearance” border in Ireland, and the American employees questioning her all lived in Dublin. )

Our lawyer told us the plan would still work, but it was going to be much harder and we’d pretty much have to stay in the US forever and ever. That sounded bad. We panicked for a few months, spending time at my dad’s house in Boston, and on Anna’s/the Doshaches’ couch in New York, and eventually decided to move to London.

I am confused. How is it that you can move to London and work?

Yes, it is confusing. My mom is Canadian by technicality of birth, and so that means I’m commonwealth and can live as a “youth” in the UK for two years, despite being nearly 30. Harriet’s got the same permission as a New Zealand citizen. Plus, London is dope.

Why would you want to go there instead of New Zealand? Isn’t it all idyllic hobbit houses?

True, but getting a residency card there for me would have taken at least eight or nine months of separation and paperwork, and that sounded bad. The UK visa could be taken care of relatively quickly, cheaply, and buy us two years of time before our next stop.

So what on earth have you been doing?

After two months in the states, Harriet flew home to New Zealand to apply for her visa. I stuck around in the states another month for Christmas and spent the holiday in Colorado with my uncle Erik & Co. We played a lot of ping pong and spent a lot of time drinking in the sauna. Pretty ace. After that Harriet’s parents sprung for a ticket for me to join her in New Zealand, which I will forever be grateful for, and then we flew to the UK in January. Now we live in a neighborhood neighbourhood called West Norwood in South London. Our roommates are all cool.

But like it’s halfway through May now. What have you been doing?

Welllllllllllllllllllll finding a decent job in this city is a bastard. So I’ve been writing a lot, exploring the city with my no money, and trying to make new friends. I am in an improv class. I have a bike, which I bought with my first and only paycheck from the escape room (that is another story altogether), and London is really flat, which makes it great for biking.

Thank you for updating me. I feel enriched by knowledge of your life.

This is what I endeavor endevour to do. Stay tuned, I might actually try and post here regularly.

1 comment
  1. Annie Route said:

    Keep writing and sharing your adventure. Can’t wait to hear more about your escape room job – your last post about it sounded soul-sucking.

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