After my terrible experience with the Pearson Academic English test, it's a miracle how I ever managed to get to the UK.
After I cleared the English test, Dear Hubby and I were overjoyed when we received an email from the UK visa processing office in Manila stating that my visa had been approved. We had been in limbo for almost 3 weeks, wondering when the whole visa circus would come to an end. It wasn't really the waiting that was depressing. It was that we didn't know how long we had to wait that was utterly depressing. Plus the fact that Connor and I were living out of suitcases and our lives had been totally disrupted. To make it worse, Christmas was coming and Dear Hubby was depressed at having to spend it alone in the UK without his little boy. And er... me as well... but more of Connor...
But now it looked like we could be spending Christmas together as a family. Hurray!
So you can imagine our despair when the very next day, Manila sent another email informing me that they couldn't issue me the visa as I hadn't sent them back my passports after borrowing them to sit for the PTE test.
What??? Of course I had! I'd sent them back last week to the KL agents for them to forward on to Manila! Boo!
Cue another round of emails, phone calls, faxes and a mad rush of a trip from my hometown to KL once again.
And then the next day - joy! Manila confirmed my passports had arrived and that the visa had been issued. Now to send them back to KL. Hurray!
Two days later, still no sight of passports in KL. Boo! We were watching flights to UK filling up rapidly as we prayed for the passports to arrive. I'd called the KL agents to check on my passports and received the standard "Ma'am, we will call you when your passports are ready okay." Yeah right, I thought. Since when has ANY customer service in Malaysia ever got that bit right. You think I was born yesterday izzit?
But guess what?
They DID call.
"Mrs Top Monkey (no, they used my real name!), your passports are ready for collection tomorrow."
I shouted down the phone line to Dear Hubby right after that. "BOOK OUR FLIGHTS! WE'RE COMING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!"
Two days later, my parents, uncle, aunt and cousin waved goodbye to us at KLIA. My son, blissfully unaware that our tickets to the UK were one-way and not return as usual, shouted down the whole of KLIA as we walked off, "Por-por, I love you! Bye! See you soon! Gong-gong, I love you!"
Some 18 hours later, we were hugging Dear Hubby in the arrival hall at Manchester airport.
It was cold, the skies were grey, the trees were all botak and gloomy looking but it was the most wonderful Christmas we'd ever had together.