Just Frances

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Packing up—again!

This entry was posted on Sunday, August 18th, 2013 by Frances Ryan.
Tags: travel, scotland, sad, phd, ocd, moving, immigration, house, homeland, fear, expat, crazy

I am packing my home yet again and it’s filling me with a sense of dread and panic. It shouldn’t be so difficult, but it is—in part because I don’t have a clear path in front of me; I don’t actually know what happens when I leave my flat. For that matter, I don’t actually know when I’m leaving my flat!

You see, earlier visa glitches* mean that I must leave the UK shortly because I can only make my new Tier 4 student visa application from the USA. But I am also a bit stressed and worried that there will be further visa glitches that might mean I will get all the way back to America only to learn that I can’t get a new visa.

And if that happens, I will be unable to do my PhD in Scotland as planned, but it would also mean that my possessions are stuck in storage in Scotland whilst I am stuck in hell the homeland** without the bright future I have been hoping for.

The plan at the moment is that I will be moving into a friend’s house*** to start my PhD. I don’t know how long I’ll be living there—if it will be a few months, a year, or for the duration of my PhD studies—so I don’t want to get rid of all of my household goods.

My thought was that I would pack dishes, linens, and other “unneeded” items into boxes to store at another friend’s house (more space for storage) so that if I get my own place I don’t have to go through the cost of replacing things. These items will also be impersonal things that I won’t need/want if my plans go awry and I end up not returning which means that they can be taken straight to a charity shop if I don’t return.

Next, I need to pack up things that I must, must, must have back if anything happens. These are things like memories of my life with Paul, special pieces of jewellery, and a bit of paperwork. And all of those things need to be kept separate from everything else so that whoever gets the honour of sending stuff to me doesn’t have to go through everything.

And then there’s everything else. My clothes, my books, my belongings. Things that I will want/need when I’m living in Scotland but things that I will also want and kind of need if I’m stuck in America. After all, I really do like my clothes and I don’t want to start over with nothing but one suitcase of summer-y clothes.

Oh! And that brings me to the last bit I have to think about: What do I take back to America with me? I mean, it’s kind of like I’m just going on holiday, but if I end up stuck there then I need more than a bit of clothes. So, I need to figure out how to pack all of my gadgets and important paperwork and still have room for whatever clothes I may need for the “holiday”.

There are so many moving parts. There are so many “whatifs” floating around my head. There are so many uncertainties.

And there are not enough days left to do it all in.

It’s just another reminder that living between two nations—two continents—is difficult. It’s worth it (I think) but it can be very stressful at times, too. Especially when there’s not someone sitting next to you sharing the worries.

* I will give a full run-down of my emotional (and costly!) visa journey once I know the outcome of my Tier 4 visa. It will be a long and semi-ranty post. You’ve been warned.

** I do love my hometown, it's just that there's no future there. I have never truly been happy there and don't envision a happy life if I must remain there long-term. (I do love visiting, however, and I am proud to be from there. Really.)

*** A friend has offered me a rent-free place to stay to help make my PhD affordable. I’m very lucky to have such a generous friend but I have to be honest and admit that I’d rather not have to share space. I’ve grown accustomed to living alone since Paul died and have developed bad habits that no one wants to know about!

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