An Unscheduled Break

So I’ve been quiet again, I know. I wasn’t sure what to say.  I still don’t know what to say, to be honest, but I feel like it’s not fair to leave you all hanging, wondering where I went off to. I’ll just do my best and hopefully you’ll understand.

I immigrated to Finland from Canada three-ish years ago because my wife got a terrific job offer. Of course I came with her. I love her more than life itself. I figured somehow I would come up with a job of some sort or get hired by someone once my Finnish was fluent enough.

I started this business of making swords and cool stuff because the landlord wouldn’t let me play with my noisy tools in my apartment and nobody would rent me a workshop unless I had a registered company. So register I did. Inkblade Studios was born.

To be allowed to work in Finland as an immigrant, you need to have a valid residence permit. When you arrive, typically you’re granted a one-year permit to see if you like the country and can acclimatise to life in Finland well enough. Then, three months before your one-year permit is set to expire, you must submit a request to have your permit renewed. I did that with ample time to spare because I don’t like leaving such important things to the last minute!

The next permit you’re granted is supposed to be for four years and you don’t have to worry about it for quite awhile. I simply marked in my agenda the date I received the new permit and made a note to make another renewal appointment three and a half years down the road.

Only, there was a mistake. They didn’t give me a four year permit. They gave me another one-year permit. And I didn’t notice that the expiry date was wrong.

A full six months after the residence permit had expired without my knowledge, I got a letter from the federal health insurance bureau letting me know that I wasn’t covered. I was very confused and it took a couple days to figure out why I wasn’t covered anymore. I was furious when I realised I’d been given the wrong permit. Furious and worried. I’d had no intention of letting the thing expire.

What would happen to me now? I wondered. And why in the name of all things good had they not sent me a letter telling me that I’d missed the renewal date?! They have all my info including where I live, how to contact me, what I paid on my last income tax (because yes I have been paying my taxes like a good boy), and also exactly when I was granted my last residency permit. I still don’t know what happened, guys. I don’t know if I misunderstood something, or they told me the wrong thing, or they changed their mind for some unknown reason, or maybe they made a mistake and thought this was my first permit instead of my second? In any case, mistakes have been made and I am not a happy camper.

Without a valid residence permit, I’m not permitted to work in this country until they have made a decision on my case. The immigration officer I spoke with told me it would be “a few months”. … yeah. Not allowed to work for “a few months”. While paying for a workshop I’m not allowed to work in. Not allowed to do the thing I love. I’m trying to distract myself with other things but … it’s not good. I’m not good right now guys. Work is good for me. It keeps my brain occupied so it doesn’t do its hateful little anxiety-depression dance. I don’t know how I can hang on to my sanity for “a few months”.

I was going to be releasing my new line of Clariel swords this month. I was hoping for the first or second week of February and holy moley was I ever looking forward to finally getting paid something after all this investing money into my company and time and patience in research and development. It’s been a long time coming, and now it’s going to be even longer. It seems like every time I get too close to success, something has to come along and stop me.

I just want to do my job, pay my taxes, and be as close to normal as my fruitcake little brain will let me. Is that really too much to ask?