Dissatisfyingly and unhappily, I didn’t get to have the second weekend away for which I had dearly hoped, but me being me, my friends being my friends, and Wellington being Wellington, I managed to pull a good one together in town anyway. It involved buying three pairs of jandals and two new singlet tops, a very depressing and sort of predictable WWII drama directed by the same guy who did Showgirls, a drag show in the middle of the day at Te Papa in the company of two five-year old girls (“Those ladies are sooooo pretty!” they gushed), screaming my head off at a krumping show, a bellydance swap meet, Malaysian noodles, some actual sun, some crying on the phone, lots of texting and IMing, a couple of new gay boyfriends, a dinner party to which I brought some koko alaisa, my mom’s decision to come visit me for New Year’s again, a couple of new gay boyfriends, and an incident with these same new boyfriends and some GHDs which rendered my hair not so much straight as limp and flaccid, of which, thankfully, no photographic evidence exists. Oh, also, my work visa came in the mail on Saturday and I start my new job tomorrow.
Did I tell you what happened with the visa? How I had had an unofficial word from immigration, when I made the application three and a half weeks ago, that since I am a professional bleeding heart willing to work for next to no money (i.e. a social worker) that they’d probably get my visa through within a week? And how two weeks passed without my hearing a word? And how on Wednesday when I finally got a human on the other end of the phone, that human said “Oh, no, we don’t have any record of your application, which happens to contain both your credit card information and your passport?” And how I booked it down to Immigration—at which I have been something of a regular, enough so that I recognize the various employees there—physically shaking the whole way, wondering if it was actually going to be an administrative fuckup that forced me to leave the country, and how by the time I got there they’d found it, thereby causing me almost to vomit with sheer relief? And how one of the immigration case workers whispered “We’ll get this to you by the weekend, least we can do,” and how that is exactly what happened, much to my surprise? Well, yes. That’s how that went, and so my stint of unemployment is at an end. I hardly remember how to go to work anymore.
I am pretty terrified of this new job, actually. I haven’t been able to start there as a social worker but I was able to go to a work-related conference on Thursday, which was lovely and allowed me to meet many new people and confirm that yes, I do have a bit of an accent, but also convinced me that I am in waaaaaay over my head with this one. I haven’t done real hardcore in-the-trenches social work since…well, since ever, and I told them that at the interview and they hired me anyway. Everyone there is so crazily nice and supportive that I have no doubt that they will extend me a life preserver as I sink slowly and inexorably under the demands of the work, but it’s a little scary to think about how difficult it’s going to be.
Also, it’s scary to think that since the contract is only for four months, I have to continue to look for work to carry me through to August, which is when I have use my ticket back to the States. And I am starting to think that maybe I should…maybe I should just go ahead and start applying for residency. Because it would give me more options, because then I could really choose to stay or go instead of being compelled by my employability or by Immigration’s losing and then finding my various applications. Because I am not ready to go back to the States yet, and the longer I stay here the less ready I become. Because going away for one year was one thing, and staying away for another year, and maybe another year after that and another after that is quite another, and I have no idea what the ramifications of even thinking seriously about all this, now that I’m out, if only temporarily, of the realm of hypotheticals. Something has been changing in me since the day I got here and I feel it gathering speed now, hunching its shoulders and getting ready to leap.
So it’s a new chapter opening up tomorrow. It ends on February seventeenth, and your guess is as good as mine as to the kind of entry I will be writing on that day.