Today I did what I hope will be the hardest thing I will ever truly have to do… I drove with my husband to the airport, I helped him check in his bags and I watched as he held our four week old baby and said goodbye. I walked with him to the gate, and I too, said goodbye.
Loving in a multi-cultural/bi-national relationship can be a challenge at the best of times, but when the forever frustrating visa war is creating the rules – frustration is the best of the emotions that one has to deal with. When my husband got his visa to come to Australia we were ecstatic, we knew that we would be together for the birth of our child, we knew that we would have the chance to share the end of the pregnancy and the beginning of this new life as a family. But when we saw the visa, and the 8503 clause on it we realised that this joy was bittersweet. The 8503 clause is a “no further stay” clause which means that the traveler is unable to extend or apply for a new visa whilst in the country. You can waive this clause, but after many long discussions with lawyers and immigration advisers we realised that not only did we not have the money to go down this track, the success rate is very small for the huge amount of money we would have to invest. Sadly we had to rule out this option.
So today my husbands visa expired, and he boarded a plane back to Indonesia. Tonight he returns to his homeland, to a land of chocolate sand and endless summer but he goes home a different man to the man I met at the airport in Australia three months ago. He will apply for a migration visa but the wait period is a minimum of six months. And in the light of this situation, our plans changed, my plans for the year changed dramatically.
For now we are separated in body but certainly not in heart or mind. When little Bo is cleared medically, we will go and join her father in the village where he was born and raised. A small village on the south coast of West Java, hours away from medical care, western facilities and the cultural safety of my own home. A little town with dense jungle on one side and sparkling ocean on the other, it’s beautiful, it’s remote and it’s terribly isolating. I have lived in this village for years, in fact I wrote another blog all about it… but living the simple life is a whole different story with an infant. But I am determined to make it work, to start her multi-cultural upbringing a little earlier than first intended and fight my feelings of isolation to give her the best start to life regardless of our location.
Today our new adventure began, we said goodbye, we cried, we held each other and we whispered promises of a life which will never tear us apart again. We looked at our daughter, and we both cried for her, for what her dad will miss in the coming weeks and for ourselves.
Now here I sit nursing my chubby baby girl in one arm and a broken heart in the other knowing that somewhere over Australia my husband sits on a plane feeling just as lost as I do. Hoping that tomorrow is better than today knowing that each day brings us closer to being together again.