Happy new year beautiful people! And damn, what a year it has been. As I look back on 2016, I am in awe of how much has changed. It was the start of a completely new life for me, a very exciting one that not many of you knew about.
In late 2015, I immigrated to Denmark to live with my Danish boyfriend and we started a lengthly process regarding my residency permit. During this period we had to put down a deposit and it was illegal for me to work or study as it would of conflicted with my then visa application. You can literally only exist in Denmark once your application is processed and the normal waiting period is usually around 3-5 months. Depending on the visa you applied for and your nationality however, it can take longer. I applied for a family reunification visa on the basis of a cohabiting partner which was a little bit more complicated as you had to meet some tough requirements and prove many different things.
In the beginning my first thought was, yaaaaaassss! Having to wait and hang out in a European city close to so many other amazing countries-are you kidding me? My second was: travel. I had savings from South Africa that I had not used and I knew it would come in handy at just the right time. Initially I had no idea what traveling would cost from Denmark but to my surprise and great enlightenment, it was actually pretty cheap. Of course once you considered currency exchange and what you wanted to do the result could still be costly but flights from here within the Schengen area my darlings, were CHEAP.
Easyjet and Momondo became two of my favourite apps and wanderlust became my middle name. At first, it felt like a dream come true. I had the world at my feet and the pages in my passport filled up quicker than I could say bye Felicia! I know what you are thinking: I should probably shut up at this point as no one wants to hear about such first world problems but be that as it may, after 3 months, this feeling started to fade.
As the beginning of 2016 dawned on me I started to feel quite lost, doubtful and unsure of so many things. Is this what I really wanted? Was I doing the right thing? Why am I traveling so much and not saving money incase my application was denied? I had not received any feedback from The Danish Immigration Services and by law, they can’t update you on your pending application. All you can do is wait, basically. Whoever came up with the saying: patience is a virtue, really damn well meant it. Despite having some amazing travels ticked off my bucket list, I couldn’t help but wonder what was going on with me.
Another 3 months went by, still no answer. Total time lapse at this point: 6 months and counting. Ugh this was tough! The more I waited, the less purpose I felt I had. I honestly had no idea that I would of felt this way, or why I felt this way, but I don’t think anyone does until they are in the situation. You don’t have the comfort of your family or close friends near by, you are in an unknown territory with people from a different culture and no matter how much support you have, you still feel somewhat lonely. I had actually immigrated to a new country. What did I know about immigration? Nothing. Was I born and raised anywhere in the EU? No. Was this a big thing? Yes!
I have never been the type to sit around and do nothing. I started working from the tender age of 16 right up until my very last days in Cape Town. Traveling was one thing, but putting my life on hold and not knowing the outcome was another. If I had the option to work or study in this period yet didn’t want to, that would of been a different story, but i didn’t and time didn’t stop for anyone either, never mind me.
On a more positive note and after 10 long months, lots of mixed emotions and sleepless nights, I finally received the amazing news that my application was accepted! I don’t think I have ever come that close to having a heart attack before, but I did on that day. It was an enormously overwhelming feeling mixed with so many good emotions. I can’t explain the weight that was lifted off our shoulders and how much doubt dissolved in my mind.
On 1 June 2016 I woke up feeling like someone had inserted a drip filled with red bull into my arms. I had so much energy running through my veins I thought I was Pikachu. I was back!
I immediately enrolled into a Danish college in order to complete certain mandatory visa obligations. The first one was to pass a Danish exam. The second was to get a job if I could. There are two main exams and you are required to pass atleast one of them: The basic A1 exam which must be completed within 6 months or the advanced A2 exam which must be completed within 18 months. In my case I was able to receive some money back from the deposit we initially put down if I passed either or. A1=KR 20000 (around R40000) and A2=KR 31000 (around R62000).
By October 2016 I had just started my 3rd danish course and I was nearing my 6 month A1 exam deadline. I decided that I wanted to skip my A1 exam, which you are allowed to do as long as you passed your A2 exam in the same amount of time. I knew that is wasn’t impossible, but it did require a lot of focus and extremely hard work. At the end of October I wrote my A2 exam and in November 2016 I received my results back. I had passed my A2 exam in just under 6 months! Nerd alert…Surprised? In this period I also managed to join a new modelling agency and get a job at the best functional fitness gym in Copenhagen. Life definitely started feeling good again.
So, what have I learnt from you 2016?
Patience and perseverance. Sometimes you need to take risks and be faced with doubt and uncertainty. In the long run, you learn a lot about yourself even though at times it is very hard to understand. You tend to fight harder which in turn makes you a lot stronger and what is meant for you will happen regardless of your circumstance.
Progression is constant and change is what and when you make of it, remember that. May 2017 be a great year for all of you.
Happy New Year!