24th December 2013 was my last day as Quality and Safety Supervisor at the Royal College of Anaesthetists in London. It was a job I relished and worked hard at. It was meaningful and I was proud of it, but life changes and I knew that it was time for it to end. Four days later Jim and I left the UK for California. At the time I didn’t know whether I would be there for six days, six months or forever. In the end it was a close enough to two years.
This is a quote from the blog post I wrote that day, almost exactly two years ago:
“People ask me often what I plan to do when I get to the States. My answers vary between the factual, lazy and ridiculous. The ridiculous are things like stand-up comedy, professional competitive karaoke, taxi driver and trolley bus operator.
Being that my visa is a non-working visa, innumerable people ask me if I’m looking forward to being a lady of leisure who does nothing but go out to lunch with her friends and be ‘kept’ by a doting husband. Sheer laziness pushes me sometimes to just say yes. I say that I can’t wait to just hang around doing whatever I like on a year-long holiday. Of course, this is exactly what I hope not to be doing. Wasting two years of ‘Golden’ opportunity doing nothing but spend money that I have not earned. I hope that the same laziness that prompts me to agree to this frippery does not seal that same fate, and that when I get to California I do not end up doing nothing but watching shopping channels in bed.”
It looks like everything I hoped for came true. I have a completed novel manuscript. I have a list of agents who will soon be receiving their pitches from me. I have a collection of short stories, some flash fiction, an ever-strengthening author brand and a host of literary contacts and friends. Most importantly of all, I have an entirely new picture of myself and what I want from the world. I have trained as a Barista, learned to drive, hiked mountains, been camping in a kayak and learned to cook a prickly pear. It’s been a helluva two years (I also have an American accent – joke!)
I am sitting in an Airbnb on Greatorex street in East London. I touched down at Heathrow three hours ago with an obscene amount of luggage and a brighter future than I had ever dreamed for myself.
He will never concede it as the truth but I owe it all to my husband Jim. Without him we would never have left London. But more than that, without him I would never have believed I was capable of doing any of those things. He has been my inspiration and support through it all. In his own oft used words ‘He’s a keeper’, and this blog post is for him.