On Wednesday evening I arrived in London. Ahhh... another new beginning! Everything went without a hitch. My luggage was not over weight. (Small miracle!) The British Airways hostesses were incredibly nice! (Slightly bigger miracle.) The plane landed over half an hour early after a perfectly smooth flight. Once I got off, Feraz's cousins Z and S were right outside of baggage claim to pick me up. Everything was perfect! We drove to the house that Feraz and I will be staying at. The place is so amazing! It is artsy and scholarly. It has a great guest room with a fireplace. The whole house has tons of character. The kitchen has a retro floor. The garden has a line with pins to dry our clothes on. There is a small, cozy study that is wallpapered in books where I envision writing brilliant revelations on gender theory. There are political posters on the walls and the owner's marvelous paintings are all over the house. There are so many biographies for me to read! I love everything about it. Everything is going so perfectly that I feel like I am in some wonderful, spectacular dream. Seriously that is exactly what I thought to myself. "Wow, this is such a dream life I live."
But as we know, all dreams must come to an end and I got a rude awakening when I went to LSE to register the next day. It turns out that you can't get a student visa once you come to Britain. You have to have it before you come into the country. And you can't simply leave the country and go just anywhere to get the student visa processed, you actually have to go to your home country. When the lady at LSE sat me down to tell me this I literally felt in shock. Like the baby I am, tears welled up in my eyes. There was no way I could afford to go home and back and still make it in time for classes. I couldn't imagine how much a ticket to leave three days later would cost. From what I was hearing, I basically would not be able to go to LSE this year.
As I headed back home I tried to see the bright side of things. I could go back to Istanbul and work or I could just start at my firm at a more normal time or I could travel all around the world. Although all these options seemed incredible, they weren't what I had mentally prepared myself for. And worst of all, in fact the deal-breaker was that they did not include Feraz. After this last month without him, the idea of leaving him for any significant period seemed too impossible to consider.
So, it was time to brainstorm ways to still go to LSE. Essentially I had to have a new Visa letter issued, fill out my new Visa application, fly back to the US, preferably to Chicago where I could get a same day turn around, get a biometrics appointment and get my actual Visa appointment and hope that it all gets approved. Uh...yeah. I reconsidered how much I wanted to pursue this Masters... Enough to go through all this. So on Monday I will fly back to Chicago and spend the next seven days there trying to sort this little mess. Please pray from your heart of hearts that all this works out!
On the bright side, Feraz flies in tomorrow and I am so excited to share the magic of this place with him. We'll get a full two days together before I have to shoot off but hopefully after that we can just settle in and enjoy Glooorious Britainnnn. And when I get to Chicago on Monday, I get to spend a full week with my brother. Something that has not happened in the last decade! Hopefully I'll also get to see a bunch of my friends and maybe even drive up to Michigan on the weekend and see my family!
It is strange how life never plays out how you expect it to. When I left the US in August I was sure that I wouldn't be returning to that soil for a long, long time. One year ago, you couldn't have paid me enough to believe that I would be living between Istanbul and London in the circumstances I am. And yet, here I am. And it feels that this is exactly how it was meant to happen. And even in all its imperfection, somehow it is perfect.