Re: Frustration about testing
I too had a similar history in aikido. I started in one dojo, moved and then started in another, and then moved and started in another and moved again and started in another. Each dojo was in a different organization and although my rank transfered, my time in did not. Each time I had to start the clock again, so to speak.
What I can tell you from that experience is that I would not trade it. I have settled down at my current dojo (7 years) and this marks the beginning of my 14th year in aikido. The experience that I have in the art is both wide and varied. It has made it difficult for me sometimes to remember what the kihon waza (basic technique) is because I know at least four version of the basic technique, but on the other hand, it has given my a wide range of skills.
Did I rise in rank with my contemporaries? No. Did people "less experienced" then me get rank before me? Yes. Does it matter? No. In one sense rank gives you a measure of you progress, but in another its just an arbitrary sign post along the path.
Don't fixate on rank, but on progress. If you are improving and you ukemi is getting better, you are advancing regardless of the belt color. Don't worry. Stay the course.
Now, as I prepare for my sandan test, people seek me out to get alternative points of view and see technique that is not quite the same as everyone else.
Your curse is really a blessing. Make the most of it.