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I won’t regale you with the story of a denied work visa or the 4 months it took to straighten it out, after the hell of getting everything put together properly. That’s my story. Instead I’m going to give a brief overview of the hell my coworker is currently going through. And we thought he was going to get off easy.

Tomorrow will be the 1 year anniversary of Felipe moving to the UK to help maintain HECToR. Which just happens to be the UK’s biggest, fastest, and most expensive computer, ever! Now we thought Felipe was going to get off easy because even though he is Brazilian by birth, his father was Hungarian. This means that Felipe is allowed to claim Hungarian Citizenship AND Brazilian citizenship. Since Hungary is part of the European Union that means he could just move to the UK, send the Home Office some paperwork to register and get a work visa. Easy deal. Which he did and all worked well.

Until….

Felipe’s wife moves to the UK a few months after he does, and she is only of Brazilian nationality. So, she now has 6 months to apply for a Residence Stamp on her passport. They fill out all of the paperwork in a timely manner and send it to the home office, WITH their Passports, which the home office requires. This was in February. So, for the last 6 months they have been living in the UK without passports and unable to travel while the home office fiddles around with their paperwork. They cannot rent a new flat, change banks, she can’t get a job, and they can’t travel because they are living in a foreign country with no passports. Oh, ya, and they can’t get their UK drivers licenses either. Which you only have 1 year from the time of entry to get taken care of, or you can’t drive. Felipe has parked his new Mini Cooper in his driveway and started taking the bus because he can no longer legally drive. They threaten a 6 month jail sentence.

Now, it get’s even better. After 1 year of residence in the UK and proof of working for that year, Felipe’s work visa changes to a permanent residence visa, similar to the US green card program. So, this means his wife now needs a residence certificate instead of a residence stamp. They received in the mail yesterday, wait for it, a denial for the residence stamp because his 1 year wait is up and now she needs a residence certificate and would they like to apply for one???? This after waiting 6 MONTHS for the home office to issue the stamp.

So, as of the time I write this Felipe can no longer drive, cannot change flats, change banks, or even travel because the home office has screwed around so long, holding both their passports the whole time, that NOW all the paperwork and applications are no longer valid, they have expired. And now want’s to know if they would like to start over with a residences certificate application. Which, by the way, IS THE SAME APPLICATION WITH A DIFFERENT CHECK BOX!

I know I like to complain about my situation, if I were Felipe I would take my Highly Skilled A$$ and go back to Brazil and tell the UK Govt to kindly shove their bureaucratic paperwork in a definitely dark place, right there next to their heads.

Sure a EU member citizen can move to the UK and work. Well, technically it’s possible, they will just bury you in paper work until you give up and go home. Nothing personal to Felipe and his wife, I imagine they treat all EU citizens the same way. Like lower class citizens.

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I’m sitting here at work reading a section of the “Programming Perl” book by O’Reilly, which is a really good Perl book, and going blind reading statements like

To dereference this scalar means to use the reference to get at the referent. Both referencing and dereferencing occur only when you invoke certain explicit mechanisms; implicit referencing or dereferencing never occurs in Perl. Well, almost never.

A reference can point to any data structure. Since references are scalars and you can store them in arrays and hashes, and thus build arrays of arrays, arrays of hashes, hashes of arrays, arrays of hashes and functions, and so on.

Now, if that makes perfect sense to you, well, GET A LIFE! Holy cow! (Sadly, it is starting to make sense to me.) One of the down sides to being self educated is I have to go over stuff like this again and again till it actually makes sense. Otherwise I end up with unknown holes in my knowledge that might burn me later down the line. Trying to figure out what is important and what isn’t can sometimes be difficult. Where having a professor just say, this might be good to know later, but ignore it for now, can save a lot of time.

Learning to program is really like learning a new written language, and then a bunch of different dialects of that language.

Perl, C, C++, etc all use very similar syntax. The underlying logic is very similar, a loop is a loop, a variable is mainly a variable. I suppose it’s like growing up speaking Spanish, then learning English, American English that is, then Scottish English, then maybe Welsh English, then maybe Indian English. They are all fairly close to each other in certain respects, but don’t mistake Pants in American English for Pants in Scottish English. Oh buddy will ya get a red face.

Languages I’m either currently learning or already know enough to hack in. Basic, Pascal, C, C++, Fortran, Perl, Korn, Bash, Expect, Ruby, Tcl, MPI.

And yet I can barely speak a lick of Spanish. Go figure. It’s time for a nap.

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