When Life gives you lemons... (AKA the visa struggle)

Hi Everyone!

I've got some great news!! After 6 months of trouble, I finally got my one year work visa! I just spent so much time dreaming about it that now that I have it, I can't really believe it! But here it is, the victory sticker is in my passport, and the end date is April 20th 2019! Gosh it feels so far away! What a relief!

I recently wrote a blog post (in French) to chat about how long it had been since I wrote in here, and that I was actually thinking it had to do with the fact I was seriously struggling here to get this damn visa. I also said that as soon as I would get this sorted, I would write a post to let you guys know what I've been through. Here we are.

Let's sart by the beginning. For whoever is new here, and doesn't know anything : in december 2016, I got myself a Working Holiday Visa (WHV) for one year (Ironically super easy to get) and flew to New Zealand. I travelled a little bit, then decided that I wanted to settle so found a job and a flat in Auckland.

In May 2017, I started a new job in a Household Linens shop close to where I live (exactly what I was doing in France haha!) Even  if retail is not really my thing, I happen to have a lot of experience, and to be good at it, so I chose the easy way. Everything went fine there, and as I was approaching the end of my WHV I asked my boss if she would be ok to sponsor me for a Work Visa. She said she had never done it before, but that she was happy to give it a go. Great, I then started to gather the documents.

Mid October (approximately two months before the end of my WHV), I was about te start another day at work and just opened the shop, when three people dressed in black, holding folders under their arms, came into the shop. That's not very usual, and something in my brain started to panick. Good call: they were from a liquidation company, and came to tell me I had lost my job and that my boss was closing her company. I could either go home and cry over my miserable existance, or stay there and work for them as they sell the stock. I was shocked, I will never forget this morning, and the way I learnt I lost my job. I had no call from my boss, not before, not after, and not even a text. Nothing. As cold as Antarctica. 

Obviously, I needed money and time to find a plan B, so I accepted to work for them. It was no way I would go back to France, as I love this country so much, and plus I met an awesome guy here, that I fell in love with. So you got it: no way I'm leaving. What I needed now was a new job, that is ok to sponsor me right away, and to send my application before mid December (the end of my WHV). Pretty hard, but not impossible.

As I'm usually pretty talkative, and as it's quite therapeutic to get rid of all the frustration, I told my story to almost every customer, but I also gave my number to some of them, that might be able to help me in any way.

It was so much more helpful than I thought it would be! Within not even three weeks, three people called me. One high end fashion shop that needed a salesperson, one furniture shop that needed a manager, and one woman who has her own online company and needed help as she's very busy. Over these three options, the last one was definitely the most appealing to me, as it's something very different from retail and I got along with her very well. But unfortunately, as I was under time pressure, I accepted the one who gave me the job the fastest : the high end boutique.

I started there at the beginning of november, and almost directly, we started to gather all the documents for the application. As it was a pretty tricky situation, and because of the time pressure, they hired an Immigration Adviser to help us. Long story short, the Immigration Adviser told us we didn't have enough time and managed to get me an extra two months to get everything sorted. Ok cool.

Two weeks before the end of these two extra months, yup two weeks, and after completing almost all the application, my manager told me that they won't pursue and give me a contract. After all what they did (hiring the Immigration Adviser, and getting me another two months to get everything sorted) they dumped me two weeks before the end. I seriously will never understand this, but whatever.

I'm sure you can easily guess le level of panick I was experiencing. We were the 14th of February, and if I couldn't find a plan C, I'd have to leave the country before the 2nd of March. Pressure level : the highest! I tried as best as I could to calm down and said to myself "Alright, calm down, and try to be rational, what are my options now? " 1) Try to find another job that would sponsor me and send the application in time, I had only two weeks, it was litteraly Mission Impossible, 2) Try to get a visa based on my relationship, which was quite new, but pretty serious. We hadn't been together for a year, it was a very risky move to try, but I gave it a go and applied for a partnership visa.

We managed to send everything in time, around the end of February. After that, the only thing I could do was to wait. Here in NZ when you send an application just before the end of your visa, they give you an Interim Visa until you get an answer, which has the same conditions as a Tourist Visa, so you are allowed to stay but you can't work. But as I also had to send my passport to Immigration and it's actually the only valid ID I have here, I couldn't even go out in bars (I look less than 25...) or buy beers at the supermarket! 

Anyway, I spent two never-ending months waiting, quite stressed, and not being able to do a lot, but I survived! And eventually, after all these troubles, this waiting... I got an answer on the 30th of April! My visa got accepted!! What a relief! So now I'm not only granted another year in this beautiful country, but I can also work wherever I want, because I'm not attached to any job who would have sponsored me!

The lesson I learnt from all this is: when you really want something, but life keeps on fooling you, just don't give up, it may be for the best! Or, as a better known quote : "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade"! Lesson learnt.

Fun fact : I'll start my new job tomorrow, and guess where I'll be working? Yup, for the woman who has an online business! Seems like life's giving back to me now.

 What about you guys, have you experienced something similar, where you wondered if life was testing your motivation by making things so much harder? Tell me about it!

À bientôt!
 ♡ Love, Eloïse ♡ 

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