This is turning into serial rants about immigration, but speaking of expats and immigrants, the Brain Family case has once again come to the forefront in British (and world) media. Their case fills me with despair, and a teensy spark of hope. I could easily be in their shoes. I am in their shoes in some respects – in the same desperate, futile situation where my whole family life is in limbo because of ridiculous UK Immigration policy which fails to recognise central London and the back streets of Dingwall are two very, very different places.
If you haven’t heard of the Brains, it’s all over the web, but lazywebs This is an Australian family who followed the same path I planned to – move to Scotland to study and then gain a “Post Study Work” visa and repopulate an area in decline. They managed to get into Scotland a few months before I did (because I was giving birth). By the time I emerged from post-baby fog and started preparing my application, the rules had changed. I’ve spent every moment since 2005 trying to find another way back.
It’s the Daily Mail (ugh), but they’ve found another family (Canadian this time) who are in a worse position than the Brains. This family sold everything in Canada to buy a flagging local store in the Highlands and revitalise it, and are now being deported on a small technicality (we’re talking £8000 a year) because they cannot afford to employ a 2nd UK person in their shop. Despite investing over £200 000 already.
I completely and utterly understand their frustration. I can feel their tears. I’ve travelled through and lived in the regional areas where they are. I’ve befriended the locals, employed some of them. These areas are desperate for new blood.
The only hope is that these high profile cases will lead the UK government to alter their immigration rules, introducing points for people who migrate to regional areas, or get immigration devolved to Scotland.
One of the perils of travelling is undoubtedly bad coffee. I knew the coffee was bad when I lived in Scotland because they let ME make it and I didn’t even drink the stuff. Since developing an addiction to it after having a baby I was a little nervous about how I’d cope for a month in the UK, but figured it’s been 10 years, surely things have improved?
Froth has no place in a latte people! Just like single shots need company if you’re going to serve them in a BUCKET of milk, and lastly (but most importantly UK), if someone tells you their coffee was served cold, it is never, ever, ever acceptable to put the whole thing back under the wand! Believe it or not you clown there is a reason the milk is added to the coffee afterwards.
I’m looking at you Princes St Waterstones in Edinburgh!
We have commenced our next Great Adventure, landing in Auckland on Thursday afternoon. Happily, and strangely (for us), we actually had someone to collect us from the airport on our arrival in Strange New Land. Ang and I were mates at college and caught up last year when we had our whirlwind tour of NZ. Matilda calls her Angelina Ballerina and this may have affected her childish memories of Ang as she whispered to me straight away “Is that the same Angelina?” and later that night was still confused about whether we were with the right person. The main difference being that last time Angelina had “yellow hair and a white face”. Strange. She still looks the same to me!
Air NZ flight this time, another exciting aspect for us as usually it’s Jetstar all the way. After the Tasmania Bag Episode I was keen to fly with anyone else and happily Air NZ were having a 4 day special that was well cheaper than any other airline right on the dates we wanted to fly. So, lots of ceiling height, our own tellies and free food, not to mention customer service FAR exceeding that of the budget airlines (allocating us 3 seats to ourselves, offering us extra drinks, asking if we require assistance, providing a speedy departure card so we go to the front of lines etc). I am a big fan and interestingly a lot of people I’ve mentioned this to also admit that their best flying experiences have been with the Kiwi airline, so yay for Air NZ and I hope I haven’t jinxed myself now!
We are staying at a Bible College, believe it or not. Ang works here and lives on campus and it turns out the guest room was available and about $40 where the cheapest hotel was around $64 (All Seasons, was Formula 1 in the CBD, where we stayed last time). Not bad considering we are here for a few days.
Anyway: I hid my Kiwi SIM so well after the last trip I couldn’t find it so our first task was to get a new one. Considering it only cost $NZ20 (about $AU15) it’s not a bad idea if you’re going to be in NZ for anything longer than a stopover. I went with 2 Degrees, like last time, as it was remarkably cheap. And once again, after surfing the net, sending a dozen texts to Australia and a few more to Ang in NZ I still had a little over $18 left. That would’ve sucked my prepaid credit dry with miserly old Telstra.
On that note, Telstra have been total barstools regarding the modem. 2 hours on the phone being transferred around India only to be told it would cost me MORE THAN THE PRICE OF THE MODEM to have the damn thing unlocked from the Telstra network. Apparently it decreases to $27.50 after you’ve owned the modem for 6 months (oh wow, how generous giant ripoff telco). Point being: I already OWN the bloody thing you wankers!! And it’s not even as though I am wanting to use it with another Aussie carrier (although I have a strong desire to do that NOW) – I want it to go overseas!! Anyway, bought one yesterday in NZ. Cost me $NZ99 ($AU80) and for the ironic icing on the cake: it comes already UNLOCKED. And the reception has already proved a lot faster/more reliable than crummy Telstra.
Definitely taking this one back to Oz to use with an alternative carrier.
Emerging from the swamp of uni assignments…still feel like i’m up to my neck in quicksand as I am in the midst of another al(most)nighter…final assignment for this semester though, hooray!
One of the positive things to come out of this week of all-nighters is that I have discovered Van Morrison.
Our current transient home is Mum’s, where the internet reception sucks – it only works well in certain places and at certain angles. One of these is (unhelpfully) in front of the TV. Trying to be good, I scanned and found the radio channels. A brilliant invention, by the way! ABC Dig Radio is my favourite, and I’ve heard the most random shiz!
For the past 4 minutes I’ve been captivated by this awesome song…thinking it was David Gray, only to finally google the station and discover it’s actually Van Morrison. Even MORE fascinating (yep, it’s late and I am procrastinating) is that Van Morrison is not the dude I thought he was. Now, given the low traffic on this blog I feel I can reveal the following idiocy: all my life, I’ve thought this guy was Van Morrison:
Yes, what an eejit, but it gets worse. When I googled Van Morrison and got this guy:
and realised my error, I thought, OMG all these years I’ve been thinking Jimi Hendrix is Van Morrison!! So I googled Jimi Hendrix, and imagine my confusion when this guy appeared:
Garr!!! STILL wrong!!! So then I’m thinking, who the hell is that half naked guy leaning on the door….