Quick karma.

I am not a religious person, but we all believe in something (or believe in nothing), and we choose exactly those theses that are most suitable for our worldview.

I believe that everything in the world is energy (this is even proven by science), in reincornation and karma (this is not proven by science). And I believe that you need to pay attention to the signs and clues that life gives you (but I am not attentive at all and never see them).
In general, I try to live in such a way as to maintain inner harmony and calm.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work. If my concerns are related to something that I can’t control, then I have to accept it. But if my concerns are related to my actions, then I choose to adjust my behavior.

So, a couple of days ago I was in the store and was unreasonably annoyed, rude and harsh with the staff (two girls).
I didn’t say anything offensive, but my facial expressions and mannerisms weren’t nice. By the way, I’m not a scandalous person at all, it’s just that I have a keen sense of justice. And that’s why I decided to go back to apologize (on the same day).

And the whole day was very sunny and pleasant. Except for a small gap when I was on my way back to the store. That’s when the downpour suddenly started, I had nowhere to hide and I got totally wet. As they say “karma is a bi*ch”, especially quick one.

But I took it positively, went to apologize, received punishment and now my karma is clear again and my conscience does not bother me anymore.
Do you believe in karma and have you ever experienced a quick karma?

Refugeenotes: how I found my first place to live in Belfast.

So, my plans have changed. I walked out of the Home office with my luggage in the middle of the day and started looking for a place to stay soon.I didn’t have many options. I did not know anyone, I did not have enough money to rent a room (everywhere they asked for a large deposit and a contract of at least 3 months), hotels were expensive. And the only suitable option for me was a hostel.

It was a cheap room for four (men and women together), but in a nice neighborhood, almost downtown. Unfortunately, the prices for hostels are not stable and on weekends the price rose three to four times.

Hostel room, but this picture looks better than reality

Like I said in my previous articles, it was one of the hardest periods of my life. Therefore, even though the hostel is not the best place to live, it helped me at that time. Because this is a place where there are always a lot of people and it is impossible to be alone with yourself and your thoughts, and this is what I needed then. By the way, I still keep in touch with some guests of that hostel.

Since the conditions were not the most suitable for me, I continued to look for more comfortable housing for myself. But I’m still grateful to that place for forcing me to socialize.

Do you remember your first independent housing?

Love is for everyone 🙌

Last month there was a pride. A celebration of the diversity of love relationships and freedom of expression.
I grew up in a culture where this is not just reprehensible (until now), but still forbidden. I know for a fact that 100% of all men I know from my culture and the vast majority of girls are disgusted with same-sex relationships.

Even here in Northern Ireland, I’ve met people who disagree that people of the same sex can be together. Since Ireland is a very religious country, the local people argued their position by the fact that “it does not please God.

I totally disagree with it. What I can’t understand:
-How can adults, independent, self-sufficient, healthy people limit the choice of partners only to people of the opposite sex
-Isn’t it clear that it is much better to live in a world of happy people who give their love to the one they want.
-I don’t believe that God could be against same-sex love. As the Bible says, “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him”. And this means that feelings are more important than the gender.

I am very glad that I am in a country of such freedoms. Where love is not forbidden and it does not need to be hidden. For some reason, it was clear to me since childhood, even despite the atmosphere in which I lived. Love is for everyone. And I’m the biggest supporter of it.
But what is your opinion?

Refugeenotes: Inside the Home Office.

It was after I finally found myself in the Home Office that my story of being in the UK as a asylum seeker began.
I came there with all my belongings, which were taken from me at the entrance for inspection.
I was also searched, after which they gave me a paper to write down my name. After a while they:

  • called me for the first interview, provided with an interpreter (via Skype).
  • took my passport, checked the visa and offered to return at its expiration (in a month). I refused.
  • took my fingerprints and my picture.
  • gave me a lot of different documents.

After that, I was allowed to leave. Usually, people in my situation are sent straight from the Home Office to social housing, which is what I was hoping for. But since I had previously worked in the UK and had savings, I was told that I could apply for social support after I had spent all my money.

I was offered some kind of hotel that was quite expensive for me, but I preferred to find accommodation on my own. I was notified that I needed to be frugal by spending my money and provide all checks and bank statements. After that, I took my belongings and left to explore Belfast and myself.

How often in your life events do not happen quite as you would like?

My anxiety

When I first moved to Belfast and realized that I’ll be living here for some time, I urgently began to look for different activities. I was very afraid of falling into the stage when you don’t want to go anywhere, to do anything, but just hide from the world in the bed (because it was the only thing I wanted to do those days).

Besides, I am painfully worried if I don’t do something that I think is useful. I believe that I waste time, and it flies and life passes me by. Therefore, I artificially create different activities for myself.

At first, I searched for them online and attended almost all the free events in Belfast. Then I chose the ones that seemed most interesting to me and went there. In addition, I began to volunteer and almost enrolled in the gym. I started making friends and meet new people, so now my schedule is filled in for a week ahead and this despite the fact that I am not working. So I’m really professional of keeping myself busy.

But lately, I often wonder that I’m doing this in order to run away from myself and not to be alone with my thoughts and anxiety. Because such activity really takes my time, but it doesn’t always bring me innerl pleasure. I feel like I’m walking in a vicious circle and I can’t do anything. I can’t be at home, but the same time I don’t always enjoy my activities.I don’t feel like I’m evolving and I’m afraid that after a while I won’t be able to be proud of myself and my achievements because I’m on a constant search. But I really don’t know what I’m looking for.

Are you happy with how your life is going and how you feel your life?

Refugeenotes: how to find the Home Office.

So, I made the decision to apply for refugee status. And, it would seem, the heaviest is already behind, but no. It turned out that being in the country I did not know where to go with my request. I lived in a small village called Moy and visited the capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast, a couple of times. I never went to the local government agencies and didn’t even know where they are.

You may say, so what’s the problem if you have the internet and you can speak English! And you’d be right. Exactly until you start looking for information about where to go. And you won’t find it. I spent the whole day looking for any information and found nothing but charities, red cross numbers and free legal advice. The nearest Home Office on the map was in Glasgow, Scotland. Naturally, going to Glasgow was far, long, expensive, doubtful. So I spent the next day calling all the numbers. And didn’t achieve anything either 🙈

All the organizations I called gave me new numbers that I had to call again. No one could help me, some advised me to go to Glasgow or to local police station. But I couldn’t believe that there was no organisation in Northern Ireland that handled the cases of asylum-seekers. So I kept calling for the next couple of days. And in one organization, I was given an address where there may be a Home Office, “but not for sure”. Finally I decided to go to Belfast and ended up with these options:

1. Check the address of the Home Office and if it is there, request asylum.
2. Seek help from the Red Cross in Belfast.
3. As a last resort, contact the Belfast police station.

It was incredibly hard for me to leave my home for nowhere and go to Belfast, I felt as if there was nothing left of my life. Fortunately, I found the Home Office in Belfast at the exact address I was given. That was just the beginning of my path..

And you often give up if you do not find information, or continue to search?

Can I write about it?

You know that my blog now carries a certain topic – it is about the process of obtaining refugee status in the UK and all the emotional difficulties on the way to this. Yes, I write not only about this, but in general this is the main line of my articles.
It’s both a big plus of my profile (that there is a certain topic and people understand what I will talk about here), and a big minus. Let’s talk more about the minus..

The biggest and probably the only disadvantage in my writing I see in the fact that I do not understand what I’m allowed to write about. I mean, this is a pretty serious topic and it involves discussing not only my thoughts, but also the specific actions of official government agencies such as Home Office. I receive officiall letters from the Home Office, undergo interviews, use public services, live on benefits. Can I talk more about this or not?

On the one hand:
-It’s a free country with freedom of speech.
-I didn’t sign any non-disclosure documents.
-I write about my experiences.

On the other hand:
-My articles can help someone prepare for an interview or somehow influence on smb’s decision to apply for asylum (if I start writing more about it)
-Maybe I signed a non-disclosure document and just don’t remember it because I was stressed 🙈
-Home Office may decide that by starting to write I pursue some other goals and benefits.

The last point was suggested to me by a friend, because I have no idea what benefits I can get from my articles. So far, they only help me to structure my thoughts and get rid of anxiety. Yes, if in the future I manage to somehow develop a blog and write articles in magazines, I’ll be glad, but I also don’t rule out the idea that I’ll quit writing after a while. My paralegal said I was the first person to ask about it and she needed to clarify, so I still haven’t gotten a legal answer to that question.

Thus, I decided as follows: I will write as much as possible in as much detail as possible, but I will minimally touch upon official moments ( such as what questions were asked during the interview, what documents were requested, what documents were sent). What do you think I’m not allowed to write about?

Refugeenotes: steps for becoming a refugee.

Refugee status is an official status that allows a person to legally stay in the country and later apply for citizenship. However, it is quite difficult to get this status. You need to prove that you can be in real danger in your country and you can not return there. The process of obtaining this status is quite long. Here are the main steps (if you’re already in the country):

1.Find the nearest Home Office.
2.Take a first quick screening interview in Home Office
3.Take a second screening interview by phone (couple of months after first)
4.Take a third last big interview with officer of Home Office (I don’t know how long do you need to wait for this interview, I’m already waiting for 2 months and I know people who are waiting for 8 and more months)
5.Wait for results (I thought it takes not longer than a month, but my lawyer says it possible to wait up to six months 🤷)
6.If the result is positive you may start doing documents for residence. If negative you need to go to court (up to six months of waiting, without guarantees of a positive decision), or return home.

All the time, from the first point to the last one, you are not in the status of a refugee, but in the status of an asylum seeker. This means that you don’t have the right to work (at least the first year being in the country, then in some exceptions they may allow you to work, but they have a list of jobs you may do) and you are under the supervision of the authorities.
Here are the main steps if you’re not in the country yet:

1.Get a visa. Often people cross the border illegally and they still can claim asylum. But this fact may affects on the decision of officer or court. Both in the refugee case or the case of giving you a citizenship. 2.Do not cross the border, but at the registration desk at the airport, at the land border, say that you want to seek asylum. It’s usually enough to say “asylum” or “refugee” to be understood.
3.Wait for the officer. An officer will come up to you and organize all the necessary arrangements to transfer you to the Home Office, then just wait first short interview and the rest of the stages are the same as if you were applying in the country.

Yes, it would seem nothing complicated, but in fact it requires a lot of emotional costs. Especially waiting (the hardest thing for me, I’m very impatient). Would you ever be able to take such a step?

Why is it hard to be good friends with locals 🇬🇧:

In a recent post, I wrote few tips about how to make friends in another country. And I still personally put them into practice.
I already have a good social circle in Belfast and some people, I hope, will be my good friends in the future. But between all my new acquaintances there is one pattern – almost 100% of them are foreigners. These are mainly people from Lithuania, Spain, Italy, India. And I know some Ukrainians and Russians either.

Nice Dock cafe place for chatting, Belfast

But at the same time, I am faced with a lot of moments that sometimes upset me. I will definitely get used or be able to adjust to some of them.
The main thing I wasn’t prepared for and that hurts me the most was the locals’ attachment problems and their inability to let strangers/foreigners into their emotional space.
Here are the main points that confirm my opinion:

1. It is impossible to understand from the locals what they think about you. Even if you ask them directly. They’ll say something like, “You’re soo cool, we definitely need to meet again,” which means “everything was OK, but it’s unlikely we’ll ever see each other one more time”.
2. Opening up in life’s details, they still have emotional distance. If for some reason you managed to meet 3-4 times and there was a deep long conversation between you, it doesn’t mean that you have become closer. Even if you think so.
3. No one will ever invite you home (like to have party or dinner with friends).
4. It’s normal here to make an appointment to meet and forget about it, not to come, not to warn about the cancellation
5. They are not ready for a long-term relationship. They make superficial connections. Both personal and friendly. They seem open and interested, but in fact it will be very difficult to break down the wall of emotional distance between you.

It would be much harder for me to put up with these points if it weren’t for my foreign friends who discuss with me the mentality of the local people and support me. So do you agree with my opinion or do you have something to object to?

refugeenotes: how I decided to become an asylum seeker.

As you already know, I arrived in Northern Ireland in November 2021, before the war in Ukraine began. I arrived in the country legally, on a 6 months work visa and planned to fly home after the end of the contract. But life has made its own adjustments.

I worked in a place where the most of the employees were Ukrainians. And even before February 24, we discussed the possibility of starting the war (that time the Biden administration announced Putin’s plans). I was one of those people who completely didn’t believe in such course of events and called these article a provocation. So as you see my naivety knows no bounds.

On the day the military actions began, we were all working and I could see the feelings of my colleagues. These people were broken, depressed, they were worried about their families, women were crying, no one knew what to do.
I was both upset and angry at Russia’s actions.
But I continued to believe that this was some kind of misunderstanding and it would soon be over. That Russia just wants to scare Europe, to show that world needs to consider its opinion, but it doesn’t want to bomb civilians, hospitals, schools, kindergartens, supermarkets, destroy cities and human lives, brainwash its own citizens, become a dictatorial state. I was wrong.

I continued to work, my visa was still valid, and I hoped that by the end of it the conflict would exhaust itself. But that didn’t happen. What’s more, I was fired before the end of my contract. After the beginning of the war, we were all under stress and the working capacity of the employees slawed sharply. We were warned that we had to do better and given a two-week probationary period. After that time, some people were fired, including me.

This happened in the end of March. I was allowed to stay in the house for another week until the end of the month, after which I had to move out. Thus, I was left without a job, without housing, with a limited budget, an expiring visa, without the opportunity to stay in the UK (yes, Ukrainians had their visas extended, but my visa was put into Russian passport).

I can say with conference that this was the most terrible period of my life. I would never wish anyone to experience it. I was desperate, depressed, at a crossroads. I was chaotically thinking about what to do next and I had these options:

To go back to Crimea.
But I didn’t want to be involved in the actions of Russia and I still believe that even being in the country and not opposing, cruelty is committed with your tacit consent. But the attempt to say something and protest is stopped by fines and imprisonment. And sorry, but I’m not ready to sit in prison..
To stay in GB illegally.
But I’m the most law-abiding person I know. Not because I think you can’t cheat, but because I’m a coward. I choose to tell the truth and live according to my conscience in order not to live in fear.
To claim asylum.
I’ve been thinking about this point all my free time. Between of all of the above, it is the hardest and most ambiguous. It takes a lot of endurance and willpower to live in ignorance and under the supervision of the authorities all the time.

I wasn’t sure until the last moment that this was my option. I was standing outside the Home Office and hesitant to enter. I really didn’t know what to do. But everything was decided by itself. Apparently the guards saw me standing with my luggage and lost in the territory of Home Office and came out with the words “come with me.” That was the beginning of my journey as an asylum seeker.

all my belongings here

P.S. To be continued… And! Which of these options would you choose?