So I just sent my application off to get my visa renewed. I have to do this every few years and I always hate it, even though compared to a lot of people who want to stay in this country, my path is pretty straightforward. And I’ve been lucky enough to have quite a bit of help getting everything together. Despite all the red tape I adore living in the UK and I still choose to stay. It would be very hard to leave behind all the friends I have made here.
And it is no great stretch of exaggeration to say that without the help of an Englishman I wouldn’t be here at all. Not just here in this country, but here on this planet.
The year before I was born, my mother was offered a high-flying job as a salesperson for a technology company. But, as she was pregnant with me at the time, she decided not to take the job.
So, there she was, having to say to this person who had offered her the job that unfortunately she wasn’t going to take it on, because of me. And he, annoyed by the news, responded nonetheless in an impeccably composed British way by asking if she knew anyone else who might be a good fit for the role.
And she said, “The very best salesperson I know is my husband, Jerry.”
Up until then my dad had been a textbook salesman for an academic publishing house. But Peter, the man who would have been my Mom’s boss, nevertheless saw something in my dad–a quality that convinced him that Dad could sell tech with equal aplomb to text. And my father went on to a thriving career at Peter’s firm, taking a new industry by storm.
And so it was: throughout my childhood I always knew Peter as Dad’s old boss (for Dad went on to become a toy inventor…more on that another time.) I had nary an inkling that it was Mom Peter first tried to employ. But this is only the start.
No sooner had Dad embarked on his new job that it became clear there was something seriously wrong with Mom–or more precisely, with me. I was over-eagerly attempting to enter the world too soon, landing Mom and me in the hospital while all the might of the medical establishment tried to make sure we were stable.
And things being as they are in the States, Dad’s new job wasn’t covering us for health benefits yet. We were in for some trouble.
But Peter took care of us–he took care of all of us, which is a good thing too because it turned out that when I couldn’t resist anymore and at last I did insist on joining the world, I became an emergency. I was an emergency, and my little life was nearly rounded with a sleep very rapidly indeed.
And yet I muddled through. (I started as I meant to go on. Hijinks all the way.) I’ve managed to muddle my way all the way here, where I am complaining vociferously and at length about the British immigration system.
Peter had no idea, I think, what a long-term investment he was making when he offered my dad (and mom) that job. Perhaps to him it wasn’t the most important one of his life–he has three daughters of his own, after all. And I didn’t know the whole story for many years. Nonetheless, it was a fateful moment for me–and I hope my adventures, which have strangely led me across the Atlantic to alight for the present on the banks of the Thames, have been a worthwhile return.
Thanks to Peter and to my parents for allowing me to share this story.