Monday, 15 March 2010

Wife.Bride.Life – Revealed! Part One.

I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to write this post. It was at first a secret, then a non-secret, then not-so-common knowledge and then it became one of these things that was talked to death about and became a non-topic, as things do. However, it’s the idea behind this blog’s title so I think it’s relevant enough to bring up now.

So, I guess this could be interpreted in a few ways but the meaning of my title is fairly straightforward. You see, life is just life, but I was a wife before I became a bride. In short, I got married before I got weddinged.

“Whatchootalkingbout, Willis?”

Long story short, Dave and I tied the knot in a private ceremony at the Palais de Justice in Montreal on December 20, 2008. It was wonderful.

Long story long, falling in love with a person from another country and deciding that you want to be with them is tough. It’s hard in the sense that you are constantly thwarted from being with that person by immigration, exorbitant fees and lengthy applications. When I met Dave, I did something so uncharacteristic of me at the time – I just went with the feeling. I got to know him and fell in love with him. When it came time to inform JET about whether or not we were staying on for another year, we just knew we wanted to see where our relationship would go.

Near the end of our time in Japan, we knew that I’d be moving on to my 3rd country of residence to be with him (he looked at moving Canada to undertake his graduate degree but it was just too expensive). I applied for a working holiday visa, got it quite easily and quickly, booked my tickets to Glasgow, kissed my mom and sisters “à bientôt” and met Dave in Scotland for phase 2 of our relationship. We drove down to Nottingham and moved into a well-situated but dreadful ground floor flat where we navigated the sometimes tricky terrain of living together. We got through our growing pains while Dave studied and worked a variety of shitty, low paid jobs and I temped my way into a UK career. Six months after Dave carried me over the threshold of our first flat, he proposed in our tiny kitchen and I sobbed out a yes.

Life continued amid our plans for a wedding and Dave finishing his post-graduate degree. We had a lovely time in Nottingham, but were on the road again when Dave successfully landed his first full time career-related gig which would bring us (back) to his hometown of Kirkcaldy. This all happened in a year. And at that point, I had worked for close to my maximum work allowance on a working holiday visa. Our final wedding date was locked in for July 9, 2009. We looked at applying for a fiancée visa which would be valid for 6 months but wouldn’t allow me to work and we needed money to fund our little wedding. My moving back to Canada to work and to wait out our wedding date wasn’t going to happen as our little separation while I was waiting for my initial visa (nearly 2 months) nearly ended me. Long distance just wasn’t an option.

So after a lot of research, cost-benefit analyses, discussions and sun dances, we came to the conclusion that we should get married before we got married. We were planning on visiting Montreal at Christmastime anyway and even with our flights and the cost of the marriage application, it still worked out cheaper than faffing with the UK system. It was convenient for us and really, it would be just several months before the big hoo ha in July, so it wouldn’t be a big deal for us. Our parents understood (my mom filed my paperwork) and it was done. Shortly after producing the marriage certificate, I applied for my visa allowing me to stay and work in the UK for a further 2 years.

At first, we explained this to our friends as best we could, but let’s face it, if you’re not in the situation, it’s hard to wrap your head around immigration issues. We found ourselves repeating the same story and the same rationales ad nauseam and it just got tedious. Everyone we spoke to were behind us 100% and no one twisted it to turn it into something it wasn’t. And that was that. We are on our way to being Ms.N and Mr. B forever.

I’ll explain how we got there in my next post.

Friday, 5 March 2010

YouTube Friday

I'm usually in a great mood on Fridays, and today is no exception. I'm feeling particularly musical today and wanted to post two YouTube videos that made me happy today:

Oooh, Buffalo Stance brings me way back. Love it.

This little chou is so adorable. I love the sound of her voice. Minou, t'es bien cute! I became a fan on her Facebook. Happy weekend!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Ye Olde London-shire

Last week, David and I made our great escape to the Big Smoke, London. Now, London is not really a place you would go to if your looking for a bit of R&R, but amidst the running around, shopping, sightseeing and eating (oh, the eating!), that's exactly what we got. There is something to be said for just getting the hell out of your familiar surroundings.

Winter is always tough and it's always right around February that I start to crack. So it was great luck when in November, Dave got an email alerting him to the £9 fare deal. Yes people, for £18 round trip, we travelled 550 km to a place where multiculturalism, diverse cuisines and loads of things to do and see are around every corner.

I've been to London around 3 times prior, and this by far was the most kick ass time. This probably had a lot to do with the fact that Dave and I stayed with one of his best mates, Sir Hugh (above) and his lovely wife Gemma in a cool part of London, Whitechapel, right around the corner from the famous Brick Lane. I tell no lie - it was the first time I have nearly peed myself laughing in such a long time.

Over the course of the week, we were out everyday, even in the horrendous rain because London just does that to you. In the pic above, we went to the Tower of London. To be honest, I wasn't super excited about visiting this tourist attraction, but in turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. Learning about the gory history and seeing the crown jewels were so interesting, but the best part was the guided tour with a Beefeater named Shady. This guy had a way with storytelling and he was entertaining as hell. The only downside was the admission price. Like most things in London, it was expensive - £17!

We indulged in a lot of hawt meals in the big city. We ate out nearly everyday - Indian, Jamaican, Vietnamese, Japanese - our food choices rarely failed us. I think my favourite meal was the curry mutton, rice and peas and fried plaintain from a stall at Spitallfields Market. We took our cheapo meal to the picnic table set up in the indoor market and loved that meal all the way to our lower intestines. We also had a fantastic lunch at a BBQ place I can't remember the name of that was right around the corner from the Tower of London . I had a sirloin steak burger well done and it was so damn tasty. It even had pickels! I don't remember the last time I had pickels on a burger here. Divinity between two buns. The pic above is the door handle for the restaurant - a gold coloured pig hoof!

Can't go to London without a little stroll thorugh Chinatown. We didn't eat here because it tends to be overpriced and rubbish, but it's nice just to see the lanterns. It's also a short walk to Soho, the gay district and the garment district. I got a bit of eye candy and some fab fabric. Can't beat that.

Bunnies! Outside the market where I bough my fab leather purse (handbag). What's more to say? I love random sculptures/installations in public spaces. London has this in spades.

This mosque has been nicknamed the disco mosque due to it's shiny minaret. Everytime I wanted to yell "Call to Prayer!!!" in one of those house song voices. It was pretty cool. I forget the history, but this current mosque was previously a church and a synagogue with the neighbourhood changing to reflect the house of religion. I thought this was pretty cool.

Dave and Hugh - brothers from different mothers. I have to hand it to these two. They set themselves the task of doing the Monopoly board pub crawl. This mean feat entails visiting a pub at each Monopoly place on the board. There are 26 places. They also had to have a drink in each pub. They decided to go for a half pint rather than the file point. They set out at 10am with grim determination in their eyes, and stumbled home some time after 11pm, rather glassy eyed and jovial and stinking of booze and fried chicken. But they were proud of accomplishing their goal. Hugh even took notes! What a pair! What a day!

At Hugh's behest, I had to visit a Jewish bagel shop because apparently they sell THE BEST BAGELS EVA! Now, being a Montreal gal, home of the best bagels in the world (and out of it), them were fighting words. So I moseyed on up to the very top of Brick Lane and bought a plain bagel with butter in it. Slighty sweet and super doughy, these bagels were aiight, but I was happy to have the opportunity to taste for myself. Now, I will continue on my self-imposed bagel fast.

Hubs and I also visited the very awesome (and free!) Natural History Museum. Dinosaur bones makes a very happy boy! We also had some nice soba (he had udon) at a kaiten sushi place and checked out the museum for a few hours.

All in all, we had a terrific time. We also hung out in Covent Garden (neither a covent nor a garden) and found some tacky shit, and saw friends and family we haven't seen in a while. *Sigh* Now, when's the next vacation???