I’ve been bad at keeping in touch with all my friends around the world, so this year I decided to atone for my sins by writing a letter to include with this year’s Christmas cards. If you don’t know me, this won’t be very interesting! But I wanted to provide an on-line version with references to other articles here at nonfamous. Read on if you wish.
Sorry for the mass mailing, but I’ve been lax in keeping in touch with everyone. You know, busy busy busy and all that! Anyway, if you haven’t heard from me in a while I’m very sorry. And to make things even trickier I’ve been moving around a bit lately. (I’ve had three addresses in the last year.) So this letter is to get everything straight. Hope you don’t mind.
First, the big news: I’m getting married! As you might recall I met my boyfriend/partner Jay Porter in July last year (2002 — seems so long ago now), and we’ve been together ever since. Things have been, well, kind of eventful ever since then. It might be easier to tell the story if I divide it into episodes…
EPISODE 1 — THE RUGBY THING
On our first date, Jay and I had a drink at one of the local bars. I’d been playing rugby for a couple of months then. How’d I get into rugby, I hear you ask? I’m not quite sure, to be honest. I think I might have had a masochistic streak after the break-up with Gary. In any case, it turned out to be a great thing: I really love playing, and I’ve met many of my closest friends in Seattle through the club: Seattle Quake RFC. Anyway, while out at our first date we bumped into John, the then-coach of the team, and of course chat-chat, you know. John had some photos of a recent tournament, and showed them to Jay. Jay seemed interested. (But hey, it was our first date and you gotta show interest on the first date, right?) Then somehow Jay had agreed to attend the new player orientation that was happening the next weekend (while I was away on a pre-arranged holiday in Newfoundland for Jon and Zoe’s wedding). Seems he liked it — Jay’s been in the club ever since, and was even on the board for most of this year.
EPISODE 2 — IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH
Shortly after I got back from Newfoundland I got pretty sick, with a very severe throat infection that had me bedridden and hardly able to move for about 2 weeks. Jay was an absolute darling and took great care of me all of that time. I did eventually get to repay the favour in some small way, though — a few months later Jay would snap the ACL in his knee at a rugby match, and was in surgery in February. We’re both all better now, although there have been some lasting changes: I’ve managed to keep off most of the 10 kilos I lost while I was sick (and it was quicker and cheaper than Weight Watchers!), and Jay’s not yet back on the rugby pitch but hopes to be by the time of the Bingham Cup in London next May.
EPISODE 3 — SURVIVING BALI
In late September last year (just after my recovery) I went to Bali on a pre-arranged trip to visit the family (Mum, David, Rebecca and friends), and had a great time. I’d only been home a few days and was showing the photos of the trip to Jay when we heard the news. While looking at a photo of the Bounty bar, we could see the ruined shell of that and all the surrounding bars following the terrorist bombing on CNN. We’d just got out in time. It’s the second time I’m missed a bomb site by a couple of days (the first being the bombing of the Admiral Duncan in London in 1999). It certainly gives you a strong sense of mortality, not to mention the senselessness of it all. I hear Bali is like a ghost town these days, which is so sad. It was such a beautiful and friendly place, and there was no right for it to be embroiled in such atrocities.
EPISODE 4 — OKLAHOMA!
Jay and I spent out first Christmas together with Jay’s family in Oklahoma. Now, there’s not a whole lot to do in Oklahoma City except relax, eat and meet nice people, and that’s just fine with me. I was stuck by how similar Jay’s family is to my own, with their easygoing attitude and sense of fun. Judy in particular reminds me a lot of my own Mum. I’m looking forward to when the two families get to meet next year. We enjoyed it so much that we’re spending Christmas there again this year. I hope it snows again!
EPISODE 5 — WORLD TRAVELLERS
Jay and I have managed to get a in fair bit of travelling together. Our first trip was down to LA, when Jay appeared on the game show Jeopardy. (It’s a long story.) In May, I was heading to Europe for a work trip, and as Jay was conveniently between jobs at the time (he’s into branding and PR type stuff) we decided to meet there. He had some time in Moscow while I had meetings in Berlin and Basel, and we met up in Paris and it was as romantic as it sounds. We spent the weekend in London, catching up with Woody and Sara before returning to Seattle.
Speaking of work, I’m still with the same company as before and things have been looking up there recently. Work is fun again, and we’re actually working on some exciting things instead of just treading water, as we were for a while. And the economy seems to be improving, at last.
EPISODE 5 — DOGS CAN’T FLY
Just before we went to Europe I moved into a new apartment. My lease was up, and the rental market in Seattle is pretty depressed, so I negotiated with the nasty landlady to get a 6th-floor loft apartment in the same building for cheaper rent. Just after that Jay and I got a neurotic puppy. It sounds like a disaster in the making and you’d be right.
Dozer is an Australian Cattle Dog (or Red Heeler for the Aussies). He was about 5 months old when we got him from a stock-dog rescue place 100km North of Seattle. He’s a cute little bugger but he’s a little … shall we say … neurotic. It’s a long story, but he managed to jump of the balcony of my 6th floor apartment (about 50ft up) not long after we got him. Luckily he’s also a sturdy little bugger and survived with hardly a scratch (a minor fracture of the pelvis, and he literally blew the air out of his lungs). He’s OK now, but it was a scary moment for us.
Dozer continues to keep our lives interesting with his antics. You can read all about his escape adventures and generally neurotic behaviour on our website. But we still love him.
EPISODE 6 — MAUI PROPOSAL
We’d been dating for about a year when Jay suggested a trip to Hawaii last July. We had a wonderful time, and then Jay had an appropriately wonderful surprise for me: on a moonlit beach in Maui, he asked me to marry him. It was an absolutely perfect moment in the most amazing setting, and of course I said yes. You can read the whole story on our website.
We decided to get married in Canada in the spring. Since Canada now recognizes same-sex marriages, and allows non-Canadians to marry there, this would be a fully legal marriage … in Canada’s eyes, at least. The US doesn’t see things quite that way, though, and it’s unlikely to make any difference to our status in the US, in the short term at least. We won’t be able to file joint tax returns or join each other’s health system tax-exempt, for example. But Vancouver is a lovely city to get married in, and it’s great to be able to do the “real” thing somewhere at least.
Wedding preparations are feverishly underway, and we’ll get the invitations out early in the new year.
EPISODE 7 — THE NEW HOUSE
With the engagement, it made sense to move in together — until them, we’d been living in separate rented accommodations. (Unbeknownst to each other, we’d both been planning that move before Hawaii anyway.) Getting a house together seemed like a good idea, and in pretty short order we’d found ourselves a wonderful 3 bedroom 1904 farmhouse in a nice suburb of Seattle just 10 minutes from the city center. We’ve been there since September, and it’s been wonderful. We didn’t have to do much to the place before we moved in — a bit of plumbing and painting the bedroom (it was shocking pink when we bought it). We’re slowly getting the place together, but it already feels like home.
EPISODE 8 — IT’S THE MEDIA, DARLING
Since mid-year Jay’s been running a personal weblog at www.nonfamous.com. Weblogs are a great way to capture all those interesting things you find around the web; instead of emailing it to 50 people, you can just put it up on the ‘blog. (That’s one of the reasons I don’t email so much anymore.) We’ve been doing that together and several of our friends contribute as well.
Since weblogs often appear in the results of search engines like Google, some of the articles we’ve posted have been referenced in the media. We’ve had mentions in the New York Daily News, the International Herald Tribune and BBC News. We were even featured in the New York Times, who even sent a photographer to our house for an article in the Circuit section.
We’ll keep nonfamous.com updated with our comings and goings, and it also means that I now have a permanent home email address which I check regularly (we’ve got broadband internet at home, with Wi-Fi so we can roam around the house with the laptop). So if you’re interested at what we’re up to, just check out the site or drop us an email.
EPISODE 9 — CHRISTMAS AGAIN
So that’s the story of how Jay and I got together, and now we’re coming up on our second Christmas. We just got back from Australia where Jay got to meet the family and he fit in just as I expected he would. We had a great time down there, and I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to catch up with everyone while we’ve been travelling.
I miss all of my friends overseas: in the UK, in France and in Australia. Thanks for all your postcards and emails and everything through the year.
Have a great Christmas and a happy new year!