"There are those who say fate is something beyond our command. That destiny is not our own, but I know better. Our fate lives within us, you only have to be brave enough to see it." - Princess Merida; Brave.
My name is Bryia, I am a Canadian by birth but my heart belongs to Scotland.
5 years ago, I met the man of my dreams through a chance meeting over the interwebs. Before we met, I was lost. My life was without direction. That was, until I found John. He showed me his beautiful world, and through the eyes of a lens, I was inspired. I grew more and more in love with him and this magical land of Scotland, which he called home. Within a few hours we decided that we should meet in person. There wasn’t a day or night we didn’t speak with each other, each conversation was more infatuating than the last.
Naturally, there was doubt from family members. They figured this was just another crazy idea, never to come to fruition. But with hard work and dedication, I got my passport and was able to book a ticket. I took a leap of faith and said goodbye to my family and friends to begin this new chapter of my life.
When I finally arrived in Scotland, I was overcome with a sense of belonging. John and his family welcomed me with open arms and gave me a new outlook on life.
Reflecting back, My first 6 months with John were like living in a Utopia. I was shown the world in which John grew up and when he introduced his friends and family, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. I grew very fond of his Granny, between her wit and welcoming nature, I always looked forward to Sunday dinners at the cottage. One day, during the first week of experiencing my new life with John, we picked blaeberries on a cliff face, a stones throw away from a beautiful waterfall - but not before being chastised about my city slickin’ footwear not being appropriate for hillwalking. I still have the wellington boots Granny gave me for the journey. On my Birthday, John took me to comb the shoreline for shellfish and sea glass. We found many whelks, razor fish and John even found a monstrous crab! I will never forget the bonfires on the rocky shores of Loch Duich and of the first night we held each other, by the waters edge. The loch was a plane of glass, reflecting every star in the crisp autumn nights sky. With the looming majesty of the 5 Sisters of Kintail watching over us.
It was a very difficult time returning to Canada after experiencing this life, which is the polar opposite of the life I had lived, not knowing when I would be able to come back.
I couldn’t wait to reunite with my true love. So with careless planning and a lot of faith in the immigration system, we booked another ticket to Scotland for the day before our anniversary. After a 19 hour flight, I was ready to envelope my man. But tragedy struck when I was then pulled off to the side and detained by the London immigration officers. You see, I was told in Canada that Canadians did not require a visa when visiting the UK. But the Immigration advisor I spoke to didn’t know my travel history and that I had already been to the UK just 6 months prior. So when I landed in London, I was corralled into a cell and it felt like my rights as a human being were stripped. Although John was only a few doors down waiting for me to enter the gates, we were not allowed to see each other, even for a brief goodbye. Devastation washed over me and I fell into despair. I spent the next 24 hours, aching, waiting to be sent back. Just as I was about to fall asleep in that cold 24/7 lit room, I was taken without warning to a different facility across the airport. The only “kindness” I was shown was the infrequent offering of a hot beverage whenever I spoke to an officer. I have to say that this is the single most distressing experience I have lived through to this day. Never have I cried so much.
Now determined more than ever, I made it my mission to do whatever it took to get back to the loving embrace of my life partner. Another 6 months went by but this new plan of action gave us two years to plan our future together if executed properly.
So diligently, we gathered the mandatory means to acquire the Youth Mobility Visa and off I was back to the land of wild roaming haggis’.
Again, however. We faced another misunderstanding of the rules within the arguably archaic immigration system of the UK. In regards to the ‘proof of maintenance’ requirements for the next visa in line, the tier 4 family visa. I won’t bore you with the details, as they are exactly that … boring. In short, we missed our chance to roll on to the next visa by a fine margin. Due to technical reasons and not being able to combine various sources of income. We are now, once again, facing a long distant relationship. And John is left entirely on his own to meet the required income to prove that we can support ourselves and that my being with him will not be a drain on the system of the British government. We need help. Now, during the world’s climate, more than ever. We have so much to offer but this inability of being together is really holding us back from achieving our goals. We desperately want this visa chaos behind us and all we need is this one last push. Whereafter I can re-enter the UK with the right to work. With our previous experience and knowledge of the visa system, we can then meet all the requirements for future applications and finally put this visa chaos behind us.
Thank you for reading our story, with your help there will be much more to come.
- Katie MacDonald
- Saffron Dilly
- David Newton-del-Campo
- Alan Hills