We adopted our sweet little mama cat one year ago today! Continue reading “A Year of Pancake”
5 years and a permanent resident
On Mother’s Day, we got the best news: I was granted my hella goddamn PERMANENT RESIDENT VISA. Continue reading “5 years and a permanent resident”
So, last week sucked.
But that’s ok, sometimes shit sucks. I’ve written it off and I’m moving forward. Last week, I did nothing at all productive. I’m not kidding – absolutely nothing. Continue reading “Catchup.com”
This may look like an ordinary photo – but look closely.
Can you see ALL the dirty dishes I used to make baked spaghetti last night, the wrecked stove top and counter top, or the piles of recycling I wasn’t able to take down because of the rain? Nope. Neither can I.
There are few things better than coming home after a hard day to an already cleaned house. Especially when you made 99% of the messes. Oh, and delicious treats left for you on the counter – not bad.
Cleaning up without asking and leaving treats you’ve been talking about all week are little things, and I believe in the little things. A random sweet message via text. A surprise treat at the end of a bad day. A un-prompted back scratch. A handwritten note. Remembering to serve ice cream with a little spoon, because they don’t like the big spoons with ice cream. Tucking in the bed sheets because you know they love it. A simple “I’m sorry” after a misunderstanding. Hell, the fact that I can even bring it up when my feelings are hurt is a little thing that I think is the biggest thing.
I live for these sweet gestures. Faults and cracks in the little things have been my downfall in the past. And now they just make me grateful to be where I am, and who I’m with. I came home wanting to eat my feelings. Now I’m gushing about love.
It’s the little things.
On Visas and Anniversaries
Yesterday, we got the big news we’ve been waiting for since… basically the moment in 2013 that we decided to live together.
I GOT MY VISA!
All the stress, all the worry, all the paperwork, all the days off from work to stand in line at various government agencies and all the thousands of dollars spent, and it all came through. And in possibly a year (not the 2 years I originally thought) I’ll be granted a Permanent Residency – and we’ll never have to worry about my visa status EVER. AGAIN. The fact that we don’t have to worry about it anymore has brought so much relief – but the idea that now we have more security, it makes planning for the future so much easier.
Like, it’s not insane to think about buying a car, now. And I can arrange for my books to be shipped here. And maybe we can get a pet. You know – the important things in life.
I thought that there would be a lot more pomp and circumstance when I found out – with all the effort that went into getting the visa, I was at least hoping for a kangaroo holding to deliver the visa in the form of a bronzed plaque and a hand full of balloons saying WELCOME!! Instead, it arrived in an innocuous email that I at first thought was asking me for more information. Ah well, however it happened, I’m glad that it did. We thought we were going to have to wait until July at least – if not December, before we found out. And that we found out Monday when our third anniversary was on Saturday – that’s just sweet timing.
Also it gave us another excuse to celebrate with cake. And that’s basically why I do everything in life – for the possibility of cake.
So happy days – happy visa-ing, and happy anniversaring. Joel, there’s no one I could ever imagine doing this with… every day, you show me that I made the right decision. Thank you for always going above and beyond, for listening, for counselling, for making the best punch drunk chicken this side of the meridian, for always knowing. I love you more than I love sweatpants. Even if you do love Suspect Zero more than you love me.
What’s the plan, Stan?
On Christmas night, Joel and I were beached on the couch in a combined food and Netflix coma. All week I’d been thinking how I was half shocked that the end of the year was almost here, and half shocked that it took so long to get here.
2015 went by in a blur. Until about mid-October, I went through the year like a slug, hitting salty patches and shriveling, and then taking a while to… un-shrivel? The beginning of the year wasn’t the greatest. I spent a lot of time trying to convince myself of a bunch of different things: that I wasn’t homesick; that it wasn’t hard to talk to my parents only once a week instead of nearly every day; that it wasn’t hard to not see my siblings and my friends; and that I wasn’t having a complete resurgence of near-crippling social anxiety. Trying to live in denial was exhausting, and it started to wear on Joel and me. With a lot convincing and talking, Joel helped me work through the hardest parts (with one or two crying phone calls to my mom on my lunch break – sometimes I’m a scared 7 year old). Things got better around March-April, but then I was faced with a job hunt. And the final steps of our visa application was hair raising. And I went through another difficult 3 months after getting a new job when I was broke and really struggling to stay positive.
SO yes – a few of downer moments, a few of meh moments, but that wasn’t all that happened. 2015 definitely had HEAPS of awesome. Joel and I rang in the New Year laughing, and I can say that it carried on throughout the year. Living with Joel is so much fun, that I’m always having a good time – even when I hate myself. It’s been a year of sweet gestures, laughing til we cry, lazy late mornings sharing comics, shared goals and support, learning how to cook, learning how to bake, many (too many, if you ask my expanding waist) wonderful Chinese take out meals, lots of little adventures, coffee dates in the park, Netflix binges, home building, and plan making. Joel even taught me basic photoshop magic and more tricks with my camera.
Also, on a totally important
and not at all shallow note – I finally learned how to blow dry and curl my hair. And I learned how to apply liquid liner to my satisfaction in less than 7 minutes. I also learned that I will never wake up in time to do all three before work. Or get dressed properly. Or shower. I’ma do me.
So yes, while it doesn’t feel like I accomplished a lot, I did survive. Survival, employment, and a finished visa application. That’s what 2015 boiled down to.
So I was thinking about ALL of this as we were in the afore-mentioned beached whale state. And it got me thinking, “shit, there’s been a lot to distract me over the last few years.” Being lazy and easily distracted are my two worst traits. That and in my personal life, I can barely handle more than two things happening at once. There has been something significant to distract me from and to excuse me from achieving for the last few years. But I couldn’t think of what’s coming up in 2016. Like, what will distract me? What big thing do we have to plan or prepare for? So I brought it up with Joel.
“What’s happening next year?”
“What do you mean?”
“Like, what big thing is happening? In 2013, it was therapy and you + me and you coming to visit; in 2014 it was preparing to move and me finding a job in Sydney; in 2015 it was applying for the visa and us finding new jobs. What’s going to happen next year?”
“How about… we just live? Have good times.”
And I was all, #lightbulb – that’s a great idea.
How about a year with no excuses? A year of getting shit done. A year of working hard toward being who we want to be. A year of ta-da! A year to look back and be like, sheeeeeit. A year well spent. It’s been years since I’ve started a year with no Giant Thing to Plan Around in the forecast. I’m really excited to see what we can accomplish.
I just typed “but first, I’m going to take a nap.” and I deleted it. That’s how serious I am. But I will make a batch of the World’s Best Chocolate Chip cookie first.
3 Years Ago
Three years ago today, at 6:30 AM, I landed in Sydney for the very first time. My best friend Odie picked me up from the airport, and we spent the day galavanting around the city and seeing sights.
Later that afternoon, we were having sweat pants and beers time in the apartment, and in saunters this tall, quiet looking guy carrying a case of Victoria Bitter and asking “Who wants to watch To Catch a Predator?”
He sat down to join us, and it felt like the three of us had been friends for years. And that feeling never dissipated. Not in the two weeks that followed, and not in the three years since.
The instant comfort and familiarity that I have with Joel is one of my many favourite things about us. I feel like I’ve always known him. And I’ll never not be excited to see his name come up on my phone, or to see him walk through the door at the end of the day. And I’ll never get tired of writing super saccharine drenched entries just about him. He’s been a life changer, and I am forever grateful.
They say when you stop looking, you’ll find it. And it’s true. He’s my most favourite souvenir. Way to go, Universe.
me: Do you want to come downstairs with me and get the sheets off the line?
me: Oh, you never want to go anywhere with me.
Joel: No, I like going places with you. I just don’t want to do chores.
me: But I like doing chores.
Joel: I know, and I buy you The Simpsons. It’s an even trade.
it’s like he gets me.
6 months in
Six months ago, I walked off a plane with two very over stuffed bags, ready to start the life that Joel and I had been planning.
And it’s already been six months. Half a year. Where did it all go?!
I mean, I know time has passed, because I can throw my hair up in a bun now, and I couldn’t when I first moved here, but it’s still hard to believe.
But it still feels like yesterday that I was racing through the airport with those very overstuffed bags and two very overstuffed suitcases, running toward Joel and our new life. Running toward what my mom calls “our big adventure.”
This is the longest I’ve gone without seeing my family, my friends, and my pets, and that can suck sometimes. Let’s be real, that can really suck sometimes. But every day reaffirms that I made the best decision of my life by moving here. I knew it would be hard, but I also knew it would worth it. And it has been. These last six months have been more rewarding and challenging than I ever thought they could be. For the first time in my life, I’m thinking and acting like an adult instead of a pseudo-bohemian-malcontent-girl-child. Like, we have an actual savings account. With money in it. And we pool our resources and we have solid plans for our future and we talk shit out and we compromise and we support one another. It feels responsible and very Adulty. And it’s pretty awesome.
Before I moved, people told me that I was brave to follow my heart. I didn’t then, and I don’t now think it had anything to do with bravery. First, I moved from one English speaking first world country to another. Second, I moved in with Joel, whom I adore, but who is also one of the most hard working, caring, sincere, hilarious and loving men I’ve ever met. It doesn’t take balls to take a bet on a sure thing. And I’d bet the house on him all over again.
Happy 6 months, Sydney. I’m so very happy I have a chance to call you home.
Now it’s time to get that visa submitted, so I can hopefully call you home for a much longer time.
*I got my first grey hair when I was 14. And now I have a Stacy London patch that gets frighteningly more apparent the longer I go between salon visits. Thanks, Mom!