Almost a Bajan

Almost a Bajan

Recently I received a letter from Barbados’ Immigration and Passport Department that reads in boldfaced type – underlined – all in caps –

NOTICE OF APPROVAL OF STATUS.

I am an American. I married Greg, a Barbadian citizen, two years ago and applied for citizenship six months ago.  I was excited to keep reading  ….

Crane Beach Barbados Jane Shattuck

Greg and me, almost-a-Barbados-citizen, on Crane Beach, February 2011.

The letter read, “Under Section 6 of the Barbados Constitution ….. I am directed to inform you that in the interim, the Minister responsible for Immigration proposes to grant you the status of Reside and Work, under Section 13(7) of the Immigration Act.”

I danced around my apartment and called Greg at work to share the happy news. Yippeeeee, I was on my way to becoming a Barbadian citizen!  “Reside and Work” status allows me to stay in Barbados instead of requiring me to leave every 30 days; it also allows me to get a job here.

Waiting for Greg to pick up my call, I continued reading the letter: “However, prior to the grant of this permission to Reside and Work, you are required … to pay a fee of $1000 … within twenty-eight (28) days of this Notice, otherwise the grant of this status will lapse.”

As quickly as I’d been elated I was crushed. The 28 days had already expired! I had been required to pay the fee even before the letter had been sent out!

Jane Shattuck Barbados

Me, loving life amongst the banana crop – and everywhere else – in Barbados. Jan 2011, photo by Sharon Steenveld.

Greg said, “Don’t worry.”  I was, though.  I got off the phone with Greg and called Immigration …. the phone rang and rang. No answer.  I tried again and again and finally someone picked up. (They’d been at lunch.)

A very nice person at Immigration told me not to worry, to just bring the thousand bucks.

Ahhhh, government agencies .. gotta luv ‘em.

I am now in possession of a lovely piece of paper with a big stamp on it noting payment of the fee and granting of Reside and Work status in Barbados.

I am happy.

I’m glad citizenship isn’t easy. I’m glad it’s not a given. If everyone who wanted it was granted it, there’d be 10 million citizens of this paradise.

I am honored. (Hm, with my new status, will I have to start spelling this honoured?)



17 Responses to “Almost a Bajan”

  1. Stephen says:

    You’ll need to speak to your neighbours and your call your favourite colours…

  2. Greg says:

    Yes, I keep telling her she has to learn the Queen’s English, not the President’s. Next, have to teach her Bajan cuss words!

  3. Stephen says:

    She’ll know those words already, from driving around Barbados!

  4. Haha, I guess I do know “those words” from driving .. mostly from other drivers shouting them at me!

    If all these Britishisms are required, then colour me happy; I’m happy to start spelling ‘organisation’ and pronouncing schedule without the hard ‘k’ … just don’t ask me to eat souse – that’s a bridge too far for this Yank!

  5. Stephen says:

    Don’t forget to change your keyboard from US English to UK English! It’ll put the @ and the hash key in the right places…

  6. Stephen says:

    The things you do for love… wasn’t that a song from 10cc back in 1976 or something?

  7. Changing my keyboard is a No Can Do, I’m afraid! When I’m in Europe using a hotel’s keyboard my e-mails are quite odd indeed.

    Good memory re music! You know what they say about the ’70s, you know: if you can remember the ’70s you weren’t really there …

  8. Rainy says:

    Great news for you Jane. One step closer. Are you keeping your American Citizenship too?

  9. Oh, yes, Rainy, I’m an American through and through and will always be.

    Hope you’re well and happy!! Thanks for your note :)

    xx Jane

  10. […] Head on over to Planet Barbados and read Jane’s Almost a Bajan […]

  11. AnimalFlower says:

    $1000…!?!?! I am glad I got mine a year ago when it was “only” $800. That 2.5% VAT increase seems to just keep on growing ;-)

  12. Jane says:

    AnimalFlower: Yep. Don’t even get me started on the gas prices … up and up and up they go! The price of living in paradise, right? xox Jane

  13. HoneyB says:

    Sorry to make you go back so far to read this response, lol. but… I am beginning what will hopefully be a transition to Barbados within the year. Your story may only be specific to YOU, but it is helping ME along tons! I have to make a point to go back and catch up on all that has happened in your journey (I first read the “Neither Easy Nor Quick” entry). Your blog keeps my spirits high! THANK YOU FOR SHARING, Jane!

  14. Wes says:

    You have to be kidding me, Greg. Jane should already know those cuss words. Anyhow, I’m very happy for you Jane – see you soon.

  15. The more I drive, the more cuss words I’m learning … or maybe my driving is just enabling Bajans to sharpen their cuss words! xo Jane

  16. Janice Shattuck says:

    So happy for you Jane and you still look gorgeous !
    Island life fills the soul and warm the heart.
    Would love to see you one day :-)8

  17. Thanks, Janice. Yes, island life is very good indeed. I hope you’re well and that the kids are happily living their lives as grown-ups … goes by fast, doesn’t it?

    Take good care and thanks for dropping by my much-too-neglected blog .. !

    xxJane

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