2012 has been one of the most significant years of my life. For the Chinese, most of 2012 was the year of the formidable Dragon (often seen as an auspicious sign) whilst the first 22 days still remained in the realm of the peace-loving Rabbit. Let’s take a look back at the highlights.
After a whirlwind romance involving a volcanic start and thousands of air miles, my then-fiancé and I tied the knot on the 10th at a civil registration in Malaysia.
Our registrar couldn’t pronounce his words properly and we could barely understand him. Watch a hilarious video of the ceremony.
Putting in the paperwork to get my spouse visa was a lot less amusing — the preparation was such a lengthy process that I wrote a guide to marrying a British national in Malaysia (if you’re Malaysian).
I celebrated a birthday milestone, and that’s all I’m saying.
April and May
Oh, the horror during this time, compiling the documents we needed for my visa application. Fortunately (or unfortunately for some) I am a fastidious planner and had been prepping for awhile, so it was a matter of ensuring everything was in order. Armed with thick stacks of official paperwork, I approached the visa application counter certain that all would be tickety-boo.
“These documents can’t be dated more than three weeks ago,” I was told. What? It took almost that long for letters to even arrive from the UK.
“If you want to submit your degree certificate, you need the original,” said the officer. Uhh. I already had an official letter from an authoritative board certifying my qualification, for which I’d paid good money (both the letter and the degree, come to think of it).
These spanners delayed my application by a few weeks.
On the plus side, processing my application was far quicker than I expected (probably because it’s a STRAIGHTFORWARD CASE) and I received my UK spouse visa in less than two weeks! Huge sighs of relief all around…
Perhaps it was the stress or just terrible luck that knocked me out with a seemingly never-ending fever. After burning for a week, I checked myself in to a hospital with inefficient staff — only two nurses could draw blood properly, and some of it that had spilt was left next to my bed for well over a day.
If you think that’s bad, the nice but questionable doctor couldn’t quite diagnose my problem and kept insisting it was a throat infection, despite my telling him that my throat was the only thing that wasn’t burning. Finally on the fourth day of my stay, he informed me that I had pneumonia.
Not the best news when you’re about to move to another country, particularly one that’s generally 20 degrees colder.
After the drama that left my mother-in-law wondering if I’d ever make the move, I finally arrived in sunny England on the 13th with three suitcases (not bad, right?) and a mother filled with trepidation.
I didn’t realise then that eventually I would miss my beautiful Malaysia so much. Oh, and the glorious sun.
My husband and I got married again, this time in front of his family and friends in a highly-personalised service by a humanist celebrant named Victoria Denning.
Life is like the English weather, you never know what you’re going to get.
That’s really what Forrest Gump should have said. We were incredibly lucky that the 15th was a sunny day.
For our honeymoon, we spent a magical week in Venice and Florence. A-may-zing.
My parents don’t celebrate Christmas, so it was nice to get into the spirit of the season with my new family for the first time. It’s hectic and tiring, a lot like how the Lunar New Year is for the Chinese. But the prese — I mean, spending time with family more than make up for it.
I also had my first UK interview for a job that I really wanted. Somehow I had convinced myself that I was the perfect candidate and they just had to hire me. Nope, life isn’t like a Hollywood film. With my head hung low and my tail between my legs, I realised there was plenty I should have done differently, but that’s hindsight for you.
A good friend of mine, South African Peter, assures me that 2013 is my year. I sure hope he’s right.