Moments.

There are moments in my life that I will always remember.

My brothers and I playing in the park as children.

Walking to school with my mum, holding her hand, chatting and singing.

The day I first saw Ed.

The day I got married.

When my daughter was first passed to me wearing a hat.

and that moment, when I came home, blissfully happy after being at a friends house all day, 7 months pregnant, huge, happy and in need of sleep. That moment, alone when I saw the email, when I opened it…

and saw; visa rejected.

The strength left my body, I fell to my knees and moaned a guttural cry, the heartbreaking pain seared through me. I held my stomach, my baby and the prospect of bringing her into this world alone. That moment crippled me.

I sobbed.

My husband rushed home, picked me up off the floor and looked so incredibly sad.

Yet we were the lucky ones, we had time to reapply to the home office, even though it meant I had to wobble over the Thai/Cambodian border to extend my visa for the extra 2 weeks in Bangkok.

It resulted in costs of over £1,000 and all for a 6 month tourist visa to the UK, so my husband could be there to hold my hand and see the birth of our daughter.

Here I am exactly 2 years later, alone. Experiencing more moments.

Like the moment I found out mum has breast cancer.

The moment we decided I should move back to England, with my daughter, to be with mum and without my husband.

A moment I never expected. A decision I should not have to make, between my precious mum and my dear husband. More on that here

I am sorry darling daughter that you now see Papa on the phone, I miss him, I miss our little family together, I miss seeing you play with papa and going on adventures to chat up the neighborhood. I am trying so damn hard baby girl and using every, single ounce of my strength to hold onto love, faith, hope and a future with us all together defying the odds.

I just hope it will be ok and although I have no idea of the next moment when we will see daddy.

That moment will come.

IMG20170423173639

Pure Love

 

 

 

The price of Love

On Monday I had decided to stop checking Facebook everyday as it is distracting me from my studies, but this week it exploded with pages I follow and the impending verdict from the Supreme court ruling on the minimum income requirement for a non EU spouse.

Read more here

Wednesday I found out Buzzfeed wanted to interview me to appear online and BBC 5 live would like to feature me talking about the verdict. To say I felt overwhelmed and nervous was an understatement.

So I appeared on Buzzfeed with Eddie on our wedding day looking blissfully happy, I really was. My face ached from smiling that day, I was on the island with my friends who had all brought a dish, I had H&M dress that I bought with mum for a tenner that hid my growing belly and Eddie was my husband. I was and still am completely and utterly in love with him.

screen-shot-2560-02-26-at-15-03-16

He is from Thailand

I am British

Had I any idea of how hard it would be for us to have the freedom of both countries, none whatsoever, as do most people I talk to. Yes he is my husband but he has no rights to be a family with us in the UK unless I earn £18,600.

This is not a problem for me fortunately being a Londoner although according to the facts, there are estimated to be over 41% of the working population who would not be able to meet this threshold.

I mentioned this on the radio, but what I didn’t mention was that there are other ways to get home.

  1. £64,000 in savings we could ‘buy’ a spouse visa. So if we were rich then Eddie’s foreigner status would be ok. Smell a Tory government much?
  2. I could use my salary here for 6 months pro rata- although I have a shortfall or £3,000 a year. So we need £16,00 in savings to make up that £3,000 but wait there’s more, there exists a really great calculator that someone dreamed up of how to work out my salary here and the shortfall which would mean we actually need £23,500 yep £23,500 to make up the £3,000 and I would need a contract of work upon touchdown in Heathrow.

What I did mention was after an emergency C section I was unable to go back to work without my husband as he had to leave when our daughter was 3 months old. I remember that day vividly, standing by the kitchen sink holding onto the side for support as my world crashed around me. I knew that pain well as I had it previously kneeling clutching my bump when Eddie’s first visa was refused, I was 7 months pregnant. We had been refused on the basis of not having an itinerary, to have a baby… (I’ll just leave that there)

I feel punished by my country and yet I still feel desperate to be back there, something about becoming a mother, wanting to be with my mother drinking a cup of tea in Holland park. Some may wonder why I don’t just put the babe into childcare, get the job and get on with it, because I want my daughter to be taken care of by either me, my husband or her nanna.

Emma Barnett asked me on the radio (1:40 minutes in) about chain immigration, a term I was not familiar with and if I had been my reply would have been something along the lines of hahahahaha (laughing) Eddie’s parents are both deceased, sadly and his brothers run successful businesses with families in Thailand with no desire for a UK visa. So that squashes that idea Emma.

So I will do my best to find a job for £18,600 so that we are in no way a burden to the UK taxpayer GOD FORBID (even though I still pay voluntary NI contributions and have done the 5 years I lived in Thailand) My husband does not want benefits either, but he has no access to them for 5 years anyway on a spouse visa. These are all facts that get ushered under the carpet (he cannot access public funds) so the public are happy there are no more immigrants taking their precious tax money. There is good new tax payers of England as a family we will spend about £7,198.29 to the Home Office during the years to get Ed a visa. Yey.

We are still left as family wondering how will we manage and facing a separation, the home office wants 6 months of payslips and then with processing time and Eddie’s English test looks like we’ll be apart a year if I’m realistic. This is why many women are staying in Thailand and hoping for a change.

Lastly can I mention how much I am enjoying the pressure of all of this. That it doesn’t keep me awake at night at all, add to my homesickness as we have 0 freedom, shape decisions that we make and leaves me feeling utterly miserable and disheartened, not one little bit.

More on Buzzfeed about my reaction

I am a teacher and a mother… 

 

Mama, I see your baby 5 days a week.

In my class they are barely 4 years old and I see on your face that you can’t quite believe they’ve grown up so fast as you watch them at the gates with their backpacks on.

 

Don’t feel bad when your baby cries and clings to your legs, it’s ok. That shows your child adores and is securely attached to you, that is not a bad thing. I promise to never make you child feel guilty or weak because they are crying but try to cuddle them, if they want or just smile at them so they know I care.

To the mothers I see outside the classroom trying to get a glimpse of your baby girl or boy, I hope you can see them, I hope you can see how they try everyday to be brave and strong in what must seem like a very difficult, buzzing and noisy place without any of their familiar comforts.

To the mothers who worry, I know, I understand and empathise that your child is your external heart and that you love them in a way that is impossible to articulate. I will always primarily keep them safe and happy before I worry if they know their A,B,C.

To those Thai mothers, I am from the UK and there it is seen as ok to express of how you feel, you could even cry, I wouldn’t mind. I would probably join in as I miss my baby at work too and know that one day I will face the same heartbreak leaving her at school.

I will never tell your child to stop crying, be strong, get over it, even if you do. I will always try to encourage them to be gentle with each other and with themselves. I promise to ask if they need a cuddle or some help and respect their space and personal boundaries.

I am a mother and a teacher, I believe these are the two hardest and most valuable jobs that exist. I am lucky to experience the feeling of being brought to my knees with exhaustion, fear and frustration but with that comes such incredible joy, uplifting beauty and sheer happiness every single moment of every single day.

Suzi logo

Boobing

IMG_6252

Drink and express milk products

Boobing refers to Breastfeeding for those unfamiliar with Milk Meg an Aussie boobing advocate who tirelessly blogs/writes/shares inspiration and supports mamas milk. http://themilkmeg.com

Going back in time to those early days, boobing did not just fall into place for me. There I was expecting myself perched on fluffy clouds with my newborn nestled into my bosom. Instead I had challenges from the medical professionals, who at one point, I kid you not, made me show my naked boobs while they confirmed yes one was bigger than the other resulting in a lack of milk production. WTAF. These  were the tongue tie ‘professionals’ at Kings Hospital, London (name and shame) They sent me home and I vividly remember; baby in sling, rush hour train from Denmark Hill and feeling like a total FAILURE as a mother and a woman. I wept on a packed train.

I now know they were WRONG! At it sickens me because I was so close to giving up. Her birth had been taken out of my hands (emergency C-section) so I was determined to breastfeed. I put myself on a 2 hour schedule. Every 2 bloody hours, feeding or expressing and when not doing those I did skin-on-skin, bathing together and she slept on me. I never knew quite how determined I can be, how quiet 4am is and the beautiful sunrises we get in London.

I threw formula in the bin and I fought for my boobs and very slowly she gained weight.

As it transpires after many weigh ins, her birth weight was wrong. Well come on a 9lb baby? A mixed Asian female baby and I weighed 7.7 at birth, ridiculous. They weighed her and added 2 extra pounds, 2!!! Do I sound angry? I am still.

Back to the topic. Boobing. Cut to 9 months later and we are still boobie mates, more than ever I am grateful to the milk magic my body produces, it has helped a transition to Thailand, where it is not always easy to find clean water and sterilised bottles. It helped on car journeys that she hated with a passion. Yes you can lean over a car seat and pull out a boob, it’s great after the pool and on the beach! It gives us a closeness that I adore and now more than ever with my return to work.

We reconnect via my boobies.

I am fortunate to live near work so after our departing boob in the morning I can make it home, when I get fed amazing Thai food by hubby for lunch and give a boobie desert for baby.

IMG_6255

Curry with sprouted something. Tofu with veggies, fried fish and brown rice (Yummy)

She gets one on my return home and I express when I can. Although I have a Medela breast pump https://www.medela.com/breastfeeding/products/breast-pumps/swing

I have found hand expressing way more effective and weirdly satisfying, although I have to be careful with the right boob as it tends to spray a bit far! I do feel like a cow but have really got the technique down and it’s quick. I get a cha yen, Thai iced tea made with condensed milk as a treat too! (pictured above)

I always make sure there’s a stash in the fridge so the extras I express at lunchtime and afternoon make up one she can drink in the afternoon on the next day with hubby who takes care of her. I’m sure she will drop that feed pretty soon but happy for her to have the comfort. She refuses a bottle so has a sippy cup, I can see she mimics an open mouth similar to breast feeding. We found our rhythm as many mother’s told me we would.

I have also found she eats more in the day and that has resulted in a 6 hour constant sleep record-whoop! Again though I feel I’ve returned to the boobie fight as it is far from easy being a working boobing mum, add in sleep deprivation and a new job but motherhood is a balance and I keep reminding myself ‘this is just a period in time’

Suzi logo