Friday, September 29, 2006

A little of this, a little of that

I've had a delicious 12 hours ...

Last night, Gert and I wandered over to Cindy's place in Brussels. She was cooking Tex-Mex and had promised margaritas at the party she was having before flying out to a warm place for the winter ... wise woman.

Meanwhile I'm staying put and hoping my first bone-chilling winter in Belgium was extraordinary ... the winter of 2005, the one where I learned to quiver in my boots when I saw a weather mass coming down from Russia.

But back to last night ... we were fed stunning Tex-Mex food and drank rather superb margaritas while meeting new people ... it wasn't a bad end to a day where I had been struggling with the idea of all that had happened while journeying towards my immigrant yellow card status.

Losses and gains ... if I were an accountant how would I balance the sheet of my life as an immigrant. I asked myself yesterday if I would do it again ... knowing all that I know now about moving countries in the 21st century.

My conclusion was 'possibly not'. Turkey was far more civilised and humane in its expat/immigrant policies and much as I love my European man, I had no real need of this Fortress Europe I have been granted special status keys to.

One of the oddest things about my new life has been a complete loss of control of my Self. I was reduced to pieces of paper as a form of interim existence while 'in process'.

I was forbidden the most basic of things ... things that we in the 'west' grew up taking completely forgranted ... the right work, to drive, and the freedom to travel in and out of this country I was 'in process' in. It's a catastrophic loss of independence that you really must prepare for if you're ever considering moving countries in the way that I did.

I was unfortunate ... I fell in love with a Belgian after two years of living and working in Turkey. I had no country to reside in while applying for residency here, and the Belgian Embassy in Istanbul wanted nothing to do with me ... they said I should go home.

Back in New Zealand my home had been lost to the marriage and anyway, I had enough money for 3 months in process ... one year later and I dream of all the things I will do now that I'm almost in business.

It's the little things that sometimes bring me to my knees for a few hours ... yesterday one of Gert's colleagues was frustrated with me mocking my appearance . She said, 'Do something about her self-esteem' in Dutch to Gert.

I raised an eyebrow later and said, 'Tomorrow, please explain that pre-Belgium, I was used to a certain quality of life ... I worked, could buy clothes, streak my hair, have my eyebrows shaped, but most importantly, I was free and independent.

My comment about my appearance today wasn't about self-esteem ... anyone who moves amongst the groups I mix with as easily as I do doesn't have self-esteem issues, it's only that I know what is possible and what I lack in these days as an immigrant.'

So yeah ... that's me. A mixture of the highs and the lows that have been difficult to control over this year as an 'in process' immigrant. Sometimes I see myself as a fluffball of angry kitten and Gert feels my scratches ... other times, I'm a bundle of fun, absorbing all that is new and exciting about this strange European-based life of mine.

No matter ... I have so many good times, superb times really and Cindy was the latest in a long list of good people I've met out here in the world.

Thanks for inviting us Cindy. It was lovely to meet you.

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