Winnipeg New Year

The End of (a Paperless) January

To date, this has been my favourite January living in Canada. Warm and mild and full of snowy walks along the river. Johnny and I had a lot of quiet evenings over a bottle of red just enjoying each others company. I was almost sad to see it go. Almost. I’m never too disappointed when one of the coldest months of the year comes to an end and it’s safe to start daydreaming, just a little, of our distant spring.

2015 was bonkers and I only started to appreciate just how crazy it was when I stopped to reflect on the year in December. We dealt with family deaths, visits from overseas family, alcoholic relatives, selling our house, moving downtown, travel, career changes, sick cats and even an outdated Australian tax return error that bit me in the ass at the beginning of the year. I think I earned all the bubbly I consumed in the lead up to the year’s end.

But for all the crying (and sometimes yelling–though not at eachother) there was also a lot of laughing. And of course heaps and heaps of paper work to keep our mind off any day to day drama occurring in either of our lives at any given moment.

The first half of the year was filled with the paperwork for Johnny’s Australian visa which we had finally decided to just bite the bullet and resubmit. Ever since Johnny and I met 6 years ago, one of us has been in visa limbo. We have been forced to keep every scrap of evidence that shows we are couple since a measly marriage certificate doesn’t count. Mail order brides ruined that years ago.

Before we got married we used up every available visa option to us from student visa (me) to working holiday visas (him – once, me – twice) to the weird and wonderful bridging visas which I’m still not sure are quite legal.

It was such a relief to finally have Johnny’s Australian permanent visa granted, right before NYE, and close that chapter of our lives. For now anyway.

My turn for paperwork came around in the second half the year when I decided it was time to renew my expired Swiss passport. And also not to renew my South African passport which expired last year. The story of why I have a Swiss passport and why I let my SA passport expire are best saved for separate posts. Either way, renewing my Swiss passport is something I had put off for a long time and after reading the Happiness Project, decided that it was something I couldn’t put off any longer.

Part of me regrets opening that door. I breezed through the application process, thrilled by the Swiss efficiency and fact that I wasn’t required to pay anything until my passport was approved. I even had the consular representative in Montreal personally e-mail me when I had forgotten certain documents. Dealing with the Swiss was a dream come true after six years of Australian and Canadian immigration.

Of course, nothing is ever simple. As soon as I mentioned a change in my marital status the Swiss were all up in my business. I have now spent the past several months going between them and Vital Statistics in Winnipeg getting together Evidence of Our Marriage. January was the first month that I had a lull in my application as I waited for Vital Statistics to send me my last piece of outstanding paperwork: a copy of our marriage registration. (Seriously, what is the point of marriage certificate?!)

The registration certificate arrived this morning and thus ends (fingers crossed) my pile of Swiss paperwork.

There is a sneaky little law that requires Swiss nationals to take their husband’s surname. But I will cross that bridge when I get to it. Wish me luck.

visa celebrations

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