Today is 1 November, which is the amended date for the start of my PhD programme in Scotland. Yet I am still in America.
But, much like when I told you of the silver linings from my missed 1 October start date, I have a silver lining for this one, too. And that lining is that I received an email today stating that my UK visa has been issued.
I’m not completely celebrating yet because I don’t actually have my visa in hand, but I am pretty happy. I mean, as happy as someone can be when they’re thinking about the madness that the next week will entail.
So, what happens next?
Well, I need to determine a small timing glitch with my start date first. The date on my sponsorship certificate is 1 November and states that I must register by 9 November. The odds of that happening are extremely slim as I still need to wait for my passport to be returned before I can book travel. But I’ve made enquiries into that so will hopefully have some information early next week. (I’m hoping for a week’s grace period, giving me time to get things wrapped up here and to unpack there!)
Once my passport and visa are in my possession, I will book my flights. I’m hoping that all happens in less than 10 days – although I know it will be rushed no matter when it happens.
In between now and then, I will be frantically packing and visiting with as many of my nieces and nephews as possible. After all, I don’t know when I’ll see them again!
Upon arrival in Scotland, I will jump straight to action for the various administrative bits I’ll need to sort out for my PhD: Registration, student ID card, a new railcard, setting up meetings with PhD supervisors, and settling into my office.
Also upon arrival in Scotland, I will have to make my friends head out for drinks. After all, I’ve been missing my Deuchars IPA something fierce!
So… that’s a happy little update to start the month. Expect a few progress reports over the next couple of weeks, and maybe a melancholy post of two about the emotional conflicts of expat life! (But I’ll try for mostly happy stuff. I promise!)
[Image note: That’s a drawing of thistles I made in 2011. Thistles, you may know, are the national flower of Scotland.]