I had been sitting in that airport jail holding tank for nearly 3 hours just running over the situation in my head.
Immigration officer: "Hello and welcome to United Kingdom. What brings you here?"
Me: "I'm here to see the sights and then start my new job."
Immigration officer: "I see, and did you chat with the British High Commission before coming?"
Me: "Yes, and they said because I am a dual citizen all I need are these papers."
Immigration officer: " But you traveled here on your Canadian passport."
Me: "They didn't tell me to do any differently."
Immigration officer: " Well, I am afraid I can't let you in the country. You'll have to come with me.
AHHHHH! I am now freaking out. I am trying to make the biggest move of my life and instead I am being hauled off to airport jail. How did I get here?
Okay, so paperwork is the devil. I had all my paperwork in order for my big move to England but because I showed up on the wrong passport I was locked up in the immigration holding tank for 9 hours awaiting what I was told was an "immediate deportation".
I spent the first three hours thinking the situation out in my head, swinging from angry to scared to bawling my eyes out and back again. After emotionally exhausting myself, I came to the conclusion that I couldn't do anything to change the situation in that state. This, my friends, was the first time I stepped onto the boat I now so frequently visit.
In that moment, I pictured myself on a catamaran in a calm cove off the coast of some tropical island. The air-conditioning now served as a cool ocean breeze blowing by my face. I could feel the sun shining down on me even though I was in a windowless holding room. I took a deep breath and opened my eyes.
In the hours that followed, I knew my outlook had changed. I was a calmer, more clear thinking person. Even when I was being taken to get my fingerprints and mugshot taken I was able to laugh about the situation with the officers. They let me make some phone calls and I was able to speak to the head of immigration and plead my case. I negotiated myself a ten day pass into the country so I could secure my job and living arrangements, but still had to return to Canada and go back on my British passport, bureaucratic and silly but a compromise none-the-less.
Thanks to my boat, I was able to get through the situation and now have a hilarious story about how I spent 9 hours in airport jail. Since then, I have visited my catamaran and sailed the world over. Whether I am stuck in a job I hate to pay the bills or worried about receiving those results that could change my life, I know I can face the world.