Recovering from the “Valley of Despair”

He said:

I once took a course that taught various management models. One was called “change curve.” The idea is you’re moving along in life, and a change happens. Immediately, you begin to go down hill… attitude, productivity, overall outlook on life begins to plummet. Eventually you reach a low point — the “valley of despair.” Then, if the change is successful, you begin to rise up again, and ultimately regain some stability at a point higher than you started.

Our change curve kicked into high gear when we submitted our visa applications. We were supposed to get our visas in 5-7 business days. Fifteen days later, I received a message from the UK Visa office. It said something like: “You dumb American, you checked one box on the application form ‘yes’ that you should have checked ‘no’. Visa application invalidated — go to jail, directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200. You have to start the process over — pfffft!” Well, the actual message was a bit more professionally worded. But the result was the same. My application was invalid. Go start over. (Oddly enough, not a word about my wife’s application, which was tied to mine.)

So, after some consultation with my company and their visa specialist, we determined the problem and how to fix it. I submitted a new application, and again went to the visa services office to submit my biometrics. This time, within a couple of days a message arrived – your application has been received. And, surprisingly enough, a couple of days later, both of us received a message – “your visa application has been processed.” Not specifically that it was approved, but processed and being returned to the visa application center. Finally, another message – your visa application is successful and your visa is being returned by courier. It took another four days, but our visas arrived – safely inserted in our passports.

Overall, the error in the original application cost us about a month delay, and the cancellation of a trip to Paris and another trip to London. But we’re now back on track. We’ve made it past the Valley of Despair and are moving back up the change curve. Of course, we still have to sell our house, most of our possessions, find a flat in London, figure out how to move ourselves and our 3 cats… the list goes on and on.

But at least now we have moved beyond the visa impasse, and we know we are legally accepted as UK residents for 3 years. There are many challenges ahead. We are again moving in the right direction, and we can begin to tackle the remaining tasks to get us to London.

She said:

“They held my passport hostage for a month!!!”