It's been more than a year since my last post, and I am frankly a little surprised my this blog still gets hits. But what can I say, doing a PhD punches the wind out of you, so much so that you only have a vague memory of what life was like before that.
Right now it seems like there are only two phases in my life - PhD, and pre-PhD. The strange thing is, it's not that I've been buried in journal articles and papers for the past years, just swimming round and round, drifting aimlessly as I do so. It's more the little things, that bury me, where I'm just swimming round and round, drifting aimlessly as I do so.
It's like instead of being on the "where is the next conference" and "when is the next journal due?", we get questions like these: "how am I going to register my son in his new school?", "how many hours teaching am I doing this week?", "have I filled in the timesheet yet?", and "when am I ever going to get this FRICKIN visa?!"
Which brings us the visa application process in New Zealand. My student visa recently expired. Immigration NZ graciously gave me a 2-year student visa, when it was explicit that my course would run for 3 years, and that within those 3 years, all my expenses were covered.
Seriously? But why?
Well, because they could. And also because I had a few health issues, none of which were life-threatening or infectious, but were present nonetheless. My glucose tolerance was a bit low, and I had hypertension. But were all under control.
But they wouldn't hear any of that. In NZ, it appears that if you have any sort of health complication whatsoever, you were a leper. And because of that they gave me a 2-year visa, leaving a big hole of "bloody hell what's going to happen if I don't get the visa" in my studies. Seriously, what would happen? Would they deport me, even when I am in my final year of studies? Will they come by in the middle of the night with a death squad, rounding up my family and take us to a field and put us under the firing squad? What would they do? And what could I do, if my application belly-flopped like a fat man after eating a double quarter pounder at Macdonald's? So many questions. So many uncertainties. All of which drowns the spirit, and the will to stick to your guns, trying to finish the PhD.
So I applied for the student visa, as per requirement, two months before the expiry of my visa. Immediately after I submitted the application I got an email, requesting for medical tests. A long extensive list of medical tests. So I did the tests, one by one, until I felt like I couldn't give another drop of blood, or pee into another cup again. No, not another cup. I would get hysterical when my wife poured tea into a cup. No more cups. And so I waited, calling NZ Immigration every two weeks to follow up on my visa. The answer was always the same - "We're sent your medicals to the Medical Assessors, and they are still processing it".
By three months, my visa, along with the visas of my family had expired, and they issued us interim visas, which would last for six months, or until they had decided to deport us or let us stay. And we stayed put, like criminals in jail, waiting on death row. We didn't even have our passports, as NZ Immigration held them for visa processing.
Finally after more than three months, and after countless hours of calling Immigration and pestering them about the progress of my application, they finally sent an answer. Requesting more tests.
See I told you - I was a frickin leper.
And so more tests it was. Of which I have done four. And require another specialist. And it looks like another specialist might be called in, once I sent those in.
All I wanna do is finish my frickin PhD, and get out of this place.
All the love I felt for this country, especially after being here throughout the duration of its worst earthquakes, where we supported Christchurch, bled for Christchurch, and almost died for Christchurch? What love would you hold for a woman who you have given everything for, and she ends up spitting in your face?
Is that love?
Is this how you treat people who put money into your economy, and become fully integrated members of community? We don't take your handouts (because you don't give any), we work and pay taxes, and still this is how you treat us?
You can keep your mountains and lakes for all I care.
I just want to get my PhD.