Sorry for the long overdue post, but things have been pretty hectic the past few weeks! This trip has been such a whirlwind of emotions right from the very start. Firstly, can I just say a huge thank you to all of my closest friends and people in my life that has been supporting, helping and comforting me through this very traumatising journey! (Ya’ll know who you are <3). Now let me enlighten you on the dramatic story that is my life.
So a few days before our trip to Budapest, I realized I had lost my BRP. For those of you who don’t know, a BRP (Biometric Residence Permit) is basically a card that contains my visa to remain in the UK as a student. Without it, I will not be able to re-enter the UK if I leave the country. I was freaking out the whole weekend, not only because I wouldn’t be able to go on the trip but also because I lost a very important piece of my identity here and the process to get another one takes 8-10 weeks which means I won’t be able to go home for Christmas 😦 I spent the whole weekend looking EVERYWHERE but to no avail, so I could do nothing except pray for a miracle.
So this is when the exciting dramatic part begins. On Tuesday afternoon around 4pm, (keep in mind that my flight was on that same night at 8pm), I had given up all hope of my BRP being found so I went to the police station to file a report and start the process. While I was at the police station, I got a call from my friend telling me to COME HOME NOW because they had found my BRP in the mailbox?!?! (To this day, how it got in the mailbox and who returned it remains one of the world’s greatest mystery). So obviously, I started freaking out like a chicken, told the police to cancel the report and rushed home. I arrived home at 5.30pm and we had to leave to the airport to catch our flight at 6pm. AGAIN, AS I THOUGHT I WAS NOT GOING, I HAD NOT PACKED AT ALL. SO I HAD 30 MINUTES TO STUFF EVERYTHING INTO A LITTLE SUITCASE, RUSH OUT THE DOOR AND UNBELIEVABLY MADE IT ON THE FLIGHT.
Whew, just re-living it is giving me the horrible flashbacks. It was the most dramatic moment of my life. Oh, and if you think the story ends there… you are dead wrong. It only gets more dramatic, but first let’s get into my trip in Budapest.
I’m going to start with the second day since the first day basically consisted of my melodramatic traveling and we only arrived around midnight in Budapest so we just passed out. Nothing exciting haha!
So the next day, we woke up bright and early to explore the Buda side of Budapest first as it was the furthest from where we were staying. (FUN FACT: Budapest is divided into two: Buda & Pest which is split by a bridge in the middle). As we made our way over, we stumbled upon a huge flight of stairs which we had to climb up in order to reach these attractions and I swear my life flashed before my eyes. Despite almost passing out at the end, my unfit body and I made it to the top. The climb was definitely worth it as the architecture and views were incredible. So we spent the rest of day just exploring the Buda side of Budapest.
TOP TIP #1: GETTING TRANSPORT TICKETS – you can get multiple bus tickets at the bus stops around the city. We got a pack of 20 and these can apparently be used on any bus/metro/tram so we didn’t have to keep getting different tickets for different modes of transport which was really convenient!
Later that evening, we decided to go to a rooftop bar to watch the sunset.
TOP TIP #2: BE PREPARED FOR COLD WINDS! Since the weather turned pretty cloudy in the evening, the sunset was not as colourful as it could’ve been which was quite dissapointing 😦 It was also absolutely freezing at nights but thankfully I had a really thick, warm coat so my best advice is to invest in a WARM COAT!
The next day, we decided to explore the Pest side! Our first stop was to find the Vajdahunyad Castle, which I was obsessed with after seeing photos of it on Instagram #noshame
We then went for a late lunch at this hidden gem of a food market! Although quite a bit of a walk, it was so so worth it as the food was absolutely amazing and inexpensive as well! The highlight was definitely the deep fried cheese burger. I mean, can you get any better than DEEP FRIED CHEESE in a burger? They also had many other stalls so there was a wide variety of food, it was basically food heaven!
As it was was our last night there, we then decided to walk over to Chain Bridge (the bridge that separated Buda and Pest) to watch the sunset.
That basically concludes my short trip to Budapest! Since our flight was in the early afternoon, we just slowly made our way to the airport and waited around for our flight.
TOP TIP #3: CHECK THAT YOU HAVE GONE THROUGH IMMIGRATION AS SOMETIMES IMMIGRATION MAY BE AT THE BOARDING GATE! We made the mistake of completely forgetting about going through immigration until the very last minute! Some airports in Europe have their immigration checks AT THE BOARDING GATE itself instead of before security checks (which was why we somehow assumed we already went through it). We sat around in the food court for ages until 5 minutes to boarding, and as we made our way to the gate we saw a LONG line for immigration. We were so so confused and then it suddenly hit us that we didn’t even go through immigration! So we impatiently waited in the line as the airline kept making announcement for ‘final boarding calls’ for our flight. We made it in the very last second and were one of the last people to board the flight (any later and we would’ve missed it completely!) SO DON’T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE!
Now, if you recall (or if you read the intro to this post), I had lost my BRP but found it again right? Well. The BRP saga continues.
As I arrived in Manchester Airport, I had to go through immigration checks as per usual. When I gave the immigration officer my BRP, he puts it through the machine and then turns to me and says “UH OH, THERE SEEMS TO BE SOMETHING WRONG”. At this point, I was so done with life and mentally/emotionally drained from everything that has happened to me in the past week so I legit said “what now?”. He told me that my BRP had been cancelled by the home office and is now invalid. At first, my brain could not comprehend this because it didn’t make any sense to me. The only way it would’ve been cancelled by the home office would’ve been if I had contacted the home office when I “lost” it but I never did! So someone must’ve contacted them for me and my BRP was now invalid. I was then held hostage at immigration for the next 2 hours as they couldn’t decide whether or not to let me back into the country. Finally, after having many deportation scenarios in my head, they finally let me through but WITHOUT my BRP because it was now invalid so they had to discard it. They told me to reapply for a new one (which will take around 8-10 weeks) and until I receive it, I will not be able to leave the country 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
So, thats what has been going on in my life for the past few weeks. I have been making arrangements to cancel all plans to go back home for Christmas as I can’t leave the country, my family are now coming over to the UK to spend Christmas with me here and I have been going through the brutal and unnecessarily overly complicated reapplication process for a new BRP.
This whole BRP saga is pretty funny now that I think about it, but the question of the year still remains: who returned my BRP AND who contacted the home office to cancel it?!
Thanks for reading ❤