away we go

forgetting the plan

25052012

It’s been a while since I have written anything on here. There is no real reason for that other than being really busy with settling into new job/new city and spending most of the time in between that shuttling back and forth from Brighton on the trains to see Will. I’m not going to lie, I’ve found it pretty tough being away from my husband, particularly when you are both going through major transitions and are sort of homeless (for those of you who have ever had the experience of living in theatre digs, you know what a total joy it is). We have been keeping our heads down for the last few weeks whilst we handle it all. But with only 6 weeks to go until the end of Will’s epic job, it’s down to business and finding somewhere new to live. 

Last week I stumbled across this article. According to the charity Shelter, a family need to make £52,000 a year to make renting a 2-bed in affordable in London. We work in theatre and if you make that choice and you can’t live in Toronto at the moment, then London is pretty much unavoidable. I had accepted a long time ago that I would probably never own my own house. I’m actually fine about that and don’t spend my energy worrying about it. You accept, you move on and if something changes and someone gives you a house or you get rich quick, well then that’s bloody brilliant. However, not being able to afford to rent one makes me pretty furious and yet scarily, it’s not too far from the truth. The article itself is not particularly helpful and does its very best to plant the seed of fear into twenty-somethings like myself. Of course I know plenty of people (all our friends in fact) who are living happily in London on significantly less than that. Although the article doesn’t go into detail about what their definition of affordable is, I would assume they are talking about not living hand to mouth and having something resembling savings at the end of each month. 

I read the article last week. I laughed at it. I thought it was totally overblown and ridiculous and then I did some maths. Whilst I do not in any way think we need to be earning £52,000 to move back to London town, what we, as 26 year old theatre makers, can afford is pretty terrifying. So we are just having to let it go and do some pretty creative thinking about smart renting choices instead.

Coming back to the Uk has undoubtedly been frustratingly difficult. We feel massively displaced and a little like we left a great deal of ourselves across the Atlantic. If anything, it has made us more determined to beat the visa system but one thing is for certain, our three-year uphill struggle to live in Toronto is far from over. We have had to regroup, rethink and reach a point of acceptance that it is going to take some time and that we are back in England for now. Not easy at all.  I hate the term foreseeable future. Best laid plans will aways change and if you want to do big, brave things, you need to be fearless but also have the patient of saint and live with calm acceptance that it won’t all happen at once. I have a husband who is a master at this. Sadly for him, he married the most impatient girl on the planet who cannot live in one place for more than a handful of months. I’ll let you know how it fathoms itself out. One thing is for sure, it’s probably not going to be a 2-bed in Tower Hamlets. 

*Photo source thanks to Andrew Morrell Photography

THE NON NEGOTIABLES

17042012


In our household we talk a lot about the non-negotiables. If you freelance in the arts, you will soon realise that many things that most people consider normal day to day things might not exist for you. It is all too easy to moan about the perpetual job hunting, lack of regular income, monthly rent terror and awkward touring schedules and I am not about to start now. After we married we began talking a lot about the demand of our jobs, only to realise that we had never stopped to ask ourselves what we might want demand in return. This is how the non-negotiables came into being. These are the things we refuse to compromise on in our lives. These are the things which, regardless of what we do for a living, that we do not want to miss out on. They are things which, if given the choice, we would prioritise over everything else in our lives (careers included). The list is not expansive but I am not going to list them here for risk that they just read like a giant list of goals or one of those {age} before {next birthday} posts which have come to really annoy me. Anyway, for us they are more than that. They are the things about our lives together which might involve great sacrifices; the first of which we have just been through in leaving Toronto.  

I am not quite sure how it happened and I don’t like it very much but for the time being we are back in the UK.  Moving to Canada has been nearly three years in the making and waiting for these guys to get their act together (which by the way, they have not). We had gone out there on temporary visas, hoping that by the time they expired we would finally have the permanent ones in our hands. Little by little we realised that this was not going to happen in the time we had left so, for the sake of the things we want to make happen, we called time on this particular trip. It was by far the hardest decision we have ever had to make. What makes it a little easier is that Toronto did nothing but confirm to us that it is absolutely where we want to call home and that over the next 12 months we are entirely focused on finding our way back. It is of course, one of the ultimate non-negotiables in our life. 

So where does that leave us now? Well, actually in a pretty crazy position. I have a new job in Cambridge and Will is on tour in Brighton so at the moment we are both flitting between the two and if your follow me on twitter, expect to read about a lot of trains. In any case it looks like for the next few months Cambridge will be our home or if Will has his way, a houseboat near by. We shall see. If we have to live back in the UK then I am pretty much game for anything that we have not tried before. If anyone wants to way in on where we should live next, I am on the hunt for suggestions!

*photo source from the leptitpapillion via etsy


Courage my love

02032012

I think I have written and deleted this post a total of nine times now but it’s about time we finally fess up. I hinted that something was going on a little while back but its taken a little bit longer for us to get to grips with it all and make decisions and plans for yet another big move. Yep, we are off on our travels once again.


When you set out on your grand romantic adventure, its not very easy to turn your back on it so soon. January was pretty much the worst month of all time. People will (and have) assume that something went wrong. I am not sure I can take one more disparaging sideswipe without resorting to physical violence because nothing could be further from the truth. We like to think that it is not us but the visa monsters who made the mistake when they promptly changed our visa processing time from 12 to 72 months this Christmas (yes, if you do your maths that is six years people). So whilst we love our city, we cannot stay here at the moment;  not without serious ball ache or multi heaven/earth moving acts at the very least. 

So we are off to the seaside thanks to a well-timed and seriously sexy job offer on Will’s part and are going to be waiting it all out in Brighton (via Iceland) for the rest of the spring. Knowing us this will probably all change again quite soon but that’s the current plan for the coming months. After that who knows, maybe those trolls in London will get their act together and process our damn file quicker or maybe we will move onto somewhere else. Looks like in any case, we will be floating about for some time yet. Don’t worry Toronto, we will be running back to you as soon as the Canadian embassy stops playing God with our little lives.  On a brighter note, tomorrow is our 6 month wedding anniversary and so we are using it as an excuse to cheer ourselves up with multiple dinners and a whole day spent together in the best city in the world.

In a week

21012012


It’s Saturday morning. It’s snowing. Will made me soup and I made us bread. A week ago, this was our rhythm. A week ago we were plodding along. That was last week. 

There is nothing like a big, hard, romantic adventure and a foreign city to make you look things right in the face. I have not really written much about our lives here in Toronto but I am proud of the steps we have made in the time we have been here. Little by little we win our battles (like paying our rent or not crying at the price of vegetables for the first time) but how do you know if you are in the right place at the right time? Yes, we are broke (but we can fix that). But it is more than that. It is the ballache of visas and the heartache of friends and the right bloody jobs offered at the wrong bloody time. 

We have never been very good a settling. I have spent my whole life moving. We always seem to have some sort of battle on our hands. We cannot seem to just simply be. So whatever we choose (and that choice is coming hard and fast),  I hope that 2012′s project is going to be not having one. 

Its all happening

08102011

So, I got married. I am now living in a different country.
In fact, I have been in Canada for exactly 1 week already. There is a great deal to reflect on and an awful lot to do but there is time enough for that. For the time being I am simply enjoying tramping around my new city. So far I have drunk more coffee than I care to admit, been very confused by the coins in my purse, bought anything and everything cinnamon-flavoured that I can get my hands on and experienced the first true autumn I can remember. The colour of the trees, the light and the slight chill in the air are exactly what you would expect. Toronto is currently the dictionary definition of the season and walking around, crunch underfoot, is beautiful, inspiring and in an odd way comforting. Of course there are moments of panic and flashes of what have we done but then each morning these settle down because there is a sense of newness in the air and adventures to be had. Settling will come but for now I am enjoying having nothing but all the choices I could possibly handle.
*(Image via Charlene Precious )

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