fear is not a good reason to be a jackass

Dear universe…  I address this letter to the part of the universe in charge of foreigners and immigration. you have no idea how scary it is to not understand how things work. simple things become complicated. language issues, go through this door but only on tuesdays. if you’re late on your payment you cannot just send in the cheque late, you have to wait until you get a late notice from a different department at a different address. If you arrive for your visa meeting, the agent may ask for something not on the list. something they’ve never asked for in the last 5 visits you’ve had. they will make you feel incompetent and alone.

dear universe. i’m sorry for blaming my husband for the paper work visa issues. i’m sorry that he’s down there dealing with immigration this morning while i’m at home doing catering. i could have gone with him but i felt he wasn’t taking enough responsibility and i wanted him to share the stress. (my visa is fine, it’s always his that’s in question and requires more hoops.)

dear universe. he just called to say they’ve made him wait 2 hrs, looked at his documents and then they’ve gone for lunch. he won’t be home for hours. he has no news yet but he feels they aren’t interested in making him jump through more hoops. they were bored with his paper work.

dear universe. i told my husband last week that if he didn’t sort this out, that i could not stand the ongoing stress and we’d have to go home. but you know that i didn’t mean it, right? we’re not going home. i like it here. i want to never leave here. my worst nightmare would be to have to leave.

but please, universe, sometimes it’s so hard to know what to do. it’s like as immigrants we just make mistakes, and then we are corrected. and then we make different mistakes and are corrected again. i’m a smart girl. i cannot navigate this without a huge amount of terror. we do not want to leave here. but we live in a low grade continuous state of fear that we’re doing – or have done – done something ‘wrong’.

yes it will all work out in the end. yes moving wouldn’t be tragic. but really universe, i’m trying really hard here. i don’t have any of my regular crutches. i’m even blaming my husband. dear universe. i’m really crying for some good news today, OK?

in return i promise the following:

we will find an office for my husband outside the home. two years of both of us working at home in the same 450 sq.ft. apartment is long enough.

we will begin our paperwork early and have it filed better and we won’t argue about who’s in charge of which pieces of paper, and i won’t blame him when we can’t find the right corporate tax form from 2011 (we found randomly in his bookcase, argh.).

i will clean off my desk, get my paperwork and taxes and dental work and everything up to date. really. i’m tired of leaving things … i’m tired of procrastinating. i can’t be on vacation from my life any longer.

i promise i will not again buy champagne for a client event (like i did this morning) and cradle the bottle in my arms like it’s a baby. that bottle ain’t no baby. and that shit will ruin me. put the bottle down. grow up. turn and face your life. fear is not a good reason to be a jackass.

and i promise i will hug my husband when he comes home, no matter what the outcome.


I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • You are practicing self care Belle. I am finally getting what that really means. Love that you say, sorry he’s out there dealing with immigration while you are home catering, but you felt he needed to take some of the responsibility and share the stress. YES!! This is self care.

  • it will all work out. i’m so sure of this, that the thing that i most want to comment on is the cradling thing you’re doing with the bubbly. oh, belle, how i love you! kick that baby in the head…put it down and let it cry its eyes out and go to sleep, without you. 🙂

  • FEAR is no reason to be a jackass … by far, the best thing I’ve read here yet and one I’m going to remember, because at the root of ALL my negative behavior, including drinking is self centered FEAR. Thank you.

  • Oh balls, that can be unbelievably frustrating. My sister lived overseas for decades and there was always something to do paperwork wise. She began her family in usa but then went to Russia with four kids and her husband and a big old suitcase full of faith. She made it thru unbelievable experiences until a blood clot caught her lung at 49; I miss her tremendously and I always sympathize with expats and their paperwork issues.

    A big hug will always improve the situation-took me a few decades to learn that.

  • Sorry, no words of wisdom. I’ve not had to deal with immigration but I’ve had nail biting sessions with the airlines. Keeping my fingers crossed for you. It will work out. Tea and lemon bars makes everything better, and oh sunshine, how I miss it.
    F..ing Chicago!

  • I think it’s some kind of test that all expats have to face – that and getting/renewing your driving licence! You just have to accept it. There is absolutely nothing you can do about it. I had to leave one posting and move onto the next without a visa for my daughter despite having to wait for over 2 hours on 3 separate occasions in a stifling hot room, with no air conditioning and a 10 month old baby. On one occasion I queued in the baking sun for over an hour and then didn’t get through the door. I’m convinced they’re sent to try us. Nightmare.

    • thankfully I lived in a place with a ‘good’ drivers license, and was able to simply trade it for the local one… big gift that was. but you’re right. it’s a test. and I can pass it.

  • seconding your petition to the universe on your behalf. In triplicate. And ccing the Bureau of Administrative Affairs. what, you didn’t know you had to do that?! aaargh. administration sucks. you rock. you have karma in the bank big time, lady. sending you hugs xxx

    • I never really thought of having karma I could bank on. but really, it seems like a good idea this afternoon. as does mint tea and lemon bars. oh and it’s 11C and sunny. really, it’s a pretty good day considering …

  • Oh God, Belle. I know exactly what you are going through having lived overseas for 22 years. Even with the safety net of the government behind me, since they were my employer (and I know that makes your situation being “alone” so very much worse–I really understand), it could still be scary. The reason I retired now is because I just could NOT adapt to one more country. So, I admire and understand your situation completely. You have one big thing going for you–you want to be where you are living, so that makes a lot of difference.
    No, cradling the bottle of champagne won’t make your shit better, but it’s fine. As long as your lips didn’t make it to the unopened neck of the bottle, you’re ok. Mourn for the loss of your baby….it’s fine. We all go through grieving for our buddy, alcohol (that was actually the worst friend ever).
    I wish I had more eloquent words to share since you are so helpful to all of us “out here.” Just know that we are all thinking of you and praying for you(even if you don’t believe, prayers can’t hurt–right?!). And, oh, yes…..organization is a good idea!

  • Aggggg, that sounds fist-bitingly frustrating. Hang in there. And that champagne is not a newborn baby, you’re right. It’s a vampire baby.

  • Sending positive thoughts “out there,” hoping the universe is listening. Good thought to think about – a vacation from my life / what I need to take care of.