Approval In Principle

I got the email Monday night and the actual letter this evening when I got home from work: I’ve got the Approval In Principle for my New Zealand residency application. They want my passport and another three hundred dollars and, within two-to-three weeks…that will be that. Residency: affordable health care, ability to switch jobs without having to get a new visa or be deported, possibility of not having to stand in the “all other nationalities” queue when I go to Australia. More choices, more options—all the things I’ve been wanting for what seems like. Two to three weeks and that will be that.

How do I feel about this, you ask? I feel…weird. Really weird. When I got the email the other day I just stared at it and was like ”Oh. Wait, what? Okay. Oh. Okay.” After all the time and money and energy I’ve spent trying to make this happen, I couldn’t even really understand that it was real. I tried to think about starting this whole thing back in July when I had just returned to Seattle from Italy, furrowing my brows and filling out all the forms while sitting on the bed in John and Treasa’s room, having no idea what the application process would be like or how long it would take or how much damn money it would cost. It was only nine months ago but I can hardly remember it, I can barely even think about what I was thinking about back then. What was I expecting, out of all this? Will it make a difference?

Well, practically, yes, of course it will. I may feel strange about the whole thing at the moment but I don’t think I would have continued on with the whole mess if I hadn’t thought I’d get something out of it. What I’ll actually get, once the check for three hundred dollars goes through, is a sort of provisional residency, which just means that after two years I’ll have to make sure I get a returning residents visa if I leave the country. Aside from that, I guess it’s anything goes; I’ll be able to live and work here indefinitely. Were I to stay here for five years I’d be eligible for New Zealand citizenship—which is a whole other thing I haven’t thought about at all, actually, because seriously do you know where you’ll be or what you’ll be doing in five years? In fact, I haven’t thought much beyond actually physically getting that sticker in my passport (two to three weeks!). It’s seemed so impossible and so far away that I’ve been a bit afraid to consider the implications too much—I guess I’m still afraid, somehow, of jinxing it. Maybe even by writing this entry I’m doing that. I hope not.

I’m second-guessing everything I do, lately, every choice I make, whether it’s where to live or who to love or what to eat for breakfast or anything/i>. I want so much to be unreservedly joyous about this, about actually meeting this goal, about getting this done when it’s seemed so completely out of my control. I feel like I should be bouncing off the walls with excitement and potential, but instead I find myself sort of just gently, generally pleased—glad, relieved, grateful–but still hedging my bets, still waiting and seeing, still wondering what’s going to happen next.


  1. I hope you celebrate the accomplishment, even in a quiet, simple way because you did work so hard for this and, even if the next step is unclear, all the steps you’ve taken are HUGE.


  2. Well, now I just have no choice but to come and visit you, don’t I? CONGRATULATIONS!

  3. Great news, although I totally know what you mean about feeling “gently pleased” rather than the more expected elation… Everyone seems very excited though! :)