After my travels the strongest and most overpowering thing I will be feeling is simply how poor I am. I will be broke, broke fucking ass broke. I’ll need work, my first job in over a year (urgh) and have opted for sunnier climes than good ol’ Blighty. Even though London is and always will be my favourite city on this planet; for all its marvellous flaws, and all my wonderful friends habituating there. But in order to save up the £1million I will need to move back into my old flat in North East London I would have to move back in with my Mum,and that is just something I am not prepared to do.
Applying for the Visa, although time consuming happened very easily with a cigarette in one had and a rum and coke in the other. The next process; the health assessment. Unfortunately as I have been out of the UK for more than three months consecutively I had to prove that I’m not harbouring TB or some other unpleasant/life threatening grossness. The entire process although expensive would have been an absolute breeze without this irritating necessity. For that week I was (figuratively) shitting out money as if I’d been recently diagnosed with cholera. It was painful, painful but necessary, and I did not make life any easier for myself-
1. I do not speak Spanish.
2. I had been partying in a Gay Club the night before until 6am.
The good think about waking up drunk the day of my assesment was that I was not remotely phased by the day. I sauntered down the road listening to music and fuzzily walking through the market in Valparaiso having one of those moments when you just ‘appreciate thing’- I know, sorry. Even better though, I was absolutely nailing Spanish in a way my sober self could never achieve. So so confident, so so fucking drunk.
I sat down on the bus to Santiago and passed out and that’s when my day really started to nosedive. Some old guy sat next to me and started playing very loudly what appeared simply to be adverts on his phone. So loud they were almost blowing the fuse on his hearing aids. God I really hated that old bastard.
Arriving at Santiago station I hoped a coffee and a completo might make me more competent to get my very important jobs done. As I sat in the Internet café staring at Google I would’ve settled for anything less than brain dead, which is exactly what I was. My hangover had kicked in and rendered me basically redundant as a complete human being.
Jobs to do-
Print off VERY IMPORTANT DOCUMENT from Australian embassy. I cannot stress to you how very important this VERY IMPORTANT DOCUMENT was. I was so hanging I could barely spell my own name, I had no idea how to fish out this single file from the mass of emails and attachments I’d received from them. Eventually not being able to function at all, I started to get stressed and just opted to leg it to my health assessment and hope for the best. At this point I reverted straight back to my I’m running late for work so I’m gonna clip the back heels of tourists in the tube to get them to hustle faster. Basically I was acting like a complete cunt.
I successfully made it to my health assessment albeit empty handed. I started my first terrible Spanish interaction of the day; which literally translates into me making a complete tit of myself. The ‘I don’t have the correct papers and my Spanish is really bad’ part went by with very blank and confused faces from all parties. But I definitely paid, so I quietly sat down staring down at my receipt that glared back in giant red letters ‘cancelado’ which I chose to quietly ignore for the foreseeable future.
*At this point I feel it’s important to mention how dogshit rough I looked.*
Some time later Dr. Lily called my name to my utmost relief. As I walked into her office she stood there door open, arms open. I approached in near slo mo not expecting this absolute curve ball; am I suppose to kiss my doctor? I wish I could have seen my face to describe it, because it would have been fucking hilarious. So hug and kiss my doctor I did, and strolled on in to start embarrassing interaction number two of the day. Have you ever had to translate PEP Smear into Spanish with a very basic knowledge of that language? Well I can assure you, you don’t want to; it is not fun, FOR ANYONE.
Moving on, Dr Lily is listening to my heart, ‘murmur, do you have a murmur?’ she asks, ‘do I have a murmur?’ I responded, ‘do you have a murmur?’ she replied, ‘do you have a murmur?’…this went on for some time. For my own peace of mind I’m going to pretend this conversation didn’t happen and that I do not have a murmur. We finished up, and she took a photo of me for my application- if I ever see this picture again I will immediately set fire to it and anything else it might have touched.
One test down, two to go. Unfortunately the X-Ray man was on holiday; I didn’t know at the time how much of a gargantuan pile of shit this was going to add to my day. But I was already committed and before I knew it I’d kissed Dr. Lily goodbye and was on my way to the nearest hospital with two pieces of paper; one saying chest X-Ray, the other urine sample.
I wasted several minutes having a recovery cigarette. I got lost and eventually arrived at the hospital not even dishevelled; I was dishevelled at 10.00am, it was now 6pm and I was not in a good way. I boldly walked into the hospital and attempted to find my way to radiology and blood work, conveniently located at opposite ends of the hospital. I managed to decipher the information lady’s Chilean Spanish telling me to go outside, over the road, and at that point I lost her. So according to her guidelines I entered a building and reached a language barrier brick wall. I resorted to finding my own way, which regrettably translated to me just walking up to strangers and pointing at a piece of paper that said urine sample, great. I don’t even know how but I ended up in the right place and not just getting straight up pissed on, because let’s face it that’s kind of what I was asking for. It didn’t even matter because it was closed anyway, so I reluctantly moved on to radiology.
The Radiology Department in the University Hospital of Santiago has a very confusing double ticket system- there was a lot of lost girl wandering and an absolutely non-eligible conversation with the receptionist. I eventually sat down looking at the number 7603 on a piece of paper. At this point I could count only up to 10 in Spanish, I could not recite or recall seven thousand six hundred and three. I decided to just give up, remain seated and hopefully the Radiologist would assume the non responder was the stupid Gringa in the middle of the waiting room who looks like she’s about to burst into tears. Eventually this did happen and I was escorted in to start the bumbling process of changing into my gown, leaving my bag in the wrong place, walking out of the wrong door etc etc etc.
I assumed the position with my chin in some hideously uncomfortable clamp and was informed by the nurse’s acting that I was required to take a deep breath in. Do you know the Spanish for breath out? Me neither. When I finally left the hospital in a state of delirium and shock and started making my way back to the bus station I was a broken woman. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and hungry as I was I just couldn’t do it anymore. Saturated with bad Spanish I just had to throw in the towel and walk back quietly.
I returned to Santiago two days later for a successful urinary transaction and the approval of my visa. Thank you Australia, I’ll be seeing you…