I started the year off by turning myself in
The day Chak left for Vancouver, I left for Torquay, home of Quicksilver and Ripcurl, a surfer’s paradise located 97km from Melbourne. A little while after we dropped him off at the airport, we started the drive towards Will the Botanist’s beach house. It was windy and the trees along the coast of the ocean were all slanted. Caution: if you have sensitive eyes, shield them now because this post contains pictures of very white men.
This was no Western Australia but it was sufficient.
|Warm baths on the beach|
This year’s NYE celebrations were probably the tamest I’ve had since I was 16. Minimal drinking with no one puking (just an indication of the fact that I am indeed ageing). Most of the party went to bed by 12:30 but the cool cats stayed up to take what could potentially be considered as the world’s ugliest series of pictures.
|Lachy picking up the phone|
I woke up on the first day of the year ready to surf in pouring rain. No wetsuit? No problem. I’m Canadian after all.
|Chihiro and Masa|
|Martin, Gus, Lachy|
So how does the title of this post fit into my tame new years?
Turns out, my student visa expired on the 23rd of December. I was in Australia illegally. I spent the holidays as an “unlawful”. (This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten into trouble with the law in the state of Victoria but I’ll save the other 3 times for another post ;))
I went into the immigration office to explain to them my situation, that I had one more semester of school in Australia to go and that the university had already given me an acceptance letter. The lady at reception gave me a contact and told me that if it was crucial for me to have a valid visa before I could leave the office. This was the day that I was leaving for Torquay. I couldn’t be fucked. CBF. Ceebs. So I slipped out of the office to roam the streets of Melbourne as an unlawful.
Today I went back to the immigration office again to sort my situation out. I had to get a bridging visa that would allow me to stay in Australia until I either obtained another visa or departed the country. The guy who processed and approved my visa was a total angel. He gave me the application form which I struggled with because I had 2 choices, both equally appealing. I called the only man in my life who I could trust to give me the best advice - my papa. With his approval, I checked all the appropriate boxes, handed my application back to the guy at the counter, and awaited his decision.
While I was waiting, I eavesdropped on the conversation that was happening beside me. A young man had allowed his student visa to expire, dropped his studies, and decided to remain in Australia for 9 months as an illegal resident. He was told that he would be barred from obtaining any sort of temporary visa from Australia for the next 3 years.
"Did you try to apply for a visitor’s visa at all?"
"Well, that was honest. What do your parents think about you dropping out of your studies?"
"I don’t know."At least I’m not that guy
, I thought to myself.
At the sound of my name, I approached the counter hoping they had come to a decision in my favour.
"Normally we give people one week, but I wanted you to take advantage of the weekend. You have until January 13."
As I thanked him and collected my documents, which included my new approved visa, he said “have a nice flight” and I responded with “you too… wait no, I mean have a great day!”
In summary, I’ve decided that I no longer want to extend my student visa. I’m taking next semester off to live and travel in Australia. To apply for a working holiday visa, I will need to be offshore. I have 10 days to book a flight and leave the country. The biggest question now is… which country should I apply from?
Fuck, I love my life.
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