Day 57 of the Shoe Challenge – Ten Year Anniversary Shoes

These shoes have been worn for the first day today in ten years.

In the last ten years there are many things that I half remember, things I have almost erased from my memory and things that I will never forget.

Things that I half remember:

In January 2000, my husband and I left our jobs, sold our flat in Glasgow and got married in that order.

I remember getting married very well. There were a lot of tears.

I only half remember the date though – there was so much else going on.  Unless my mum emails me to remind me I always make the mistake of thinking that we got married on 25 January (Australia Day) when in fact it was the 21 January.  Or was it?  Our wedding certificate along with our wedding photos is well stashed in a huge cardboard box in the garage. Somewhere beneath another huge cardboard box or two.  One of these days I will find them and post one for a laugh.

What I can remember is that we had about a two months to organise the whole thing – the ceilidh band, the catering, the bar, the Registry Office, the dress and the shoes.  For once I actually chose the dress before the shoes.  I wore a floor length silver grey silk dress covered in thousands of tiny little glass beads.

One of my favourite fairy tales is The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson. The glass beads represented the shards of glass scattered throughout the world contained in one dress.  It was virtually impossible to find a pair of shoes to match.  After an incredible quest and two other pairs purchased for me by my shop loving dad (See Day 10 of the Shoe Challenge – Wedding Shoe Diaries Part 1 and Day 11 of the Shoe Challenge – Wedding Shoe Diaries Part 2) I found these. Not the most perfect match by any means but I couldn’t find a pair of glass slippers anywhere in Glasgow in January.

I half remember arriving in Sydney at the beginning of March 2000. The preparations for the Olympics were in full swing. I had been sponsored on a temporary 457 work visa to work for a big Sydney law firm. One of the legal secretaries on my floor was rowing for Australia in the Olympics. It was humid and it rained a lot.  We felt like we were on holiday. We were coming to Australia, a country that we had never visited before. A country with no relatives and only a handful of people that we knew.   Most of them, it would transpire, didn’t want much to do with us when we actually arrived.  Perhaps they thought that we would not be staying long. It was all new and strange and exciting.

Things that  I have (almost) erased from my memory:

The pain of looking back at my parents as I headed into the departure lounge at Glasgow Airport on a cold grey morning in March 2000 and seeing how still they were, how distant already.  I cried non-stop all the way to Heathrow.

Losing my job, my visa and with it our right to stay in Australia when I was 6 months pregnant.

Hearing my husband sobbing and rocking in the middle of the night when he got the call from Scotland to tell him that his father had died. Seeing his face three years ago after his last ever conversation with his mother.

The combined shock, pain and disgusted fascination of miscarrying a baby at three months.

Things that I will never forget:

The look on my husband’s face when he saw each of our children for the first time.

The first time those children smiled at me.

Finding out that my mum’s cancer was gone, possibly for good.

Migrating is always a leap of faith in the darkness and, like parenthood, it is much harder to live through than anyone can ever prepare you for.

Although there were no glass slippers and we never managed to get a honeymoon in and I can never remember the date we got married it’s been a bit of an adventure the last ten years.

Maybe having pulled all this stuff out with these shoes today, I should just wrap it all up, bung it back in the box and leave it for the Minx to come across afresh in another 10 years. By that time, I may even have found the wedding album.

13 thoughts on “Day 57 of the Shoe Challenge – Ten Year Anniversary Shoes

  1. Oh yes, a tear or two from me as well. How brave and adventurous you were / are. Distance can be tough. And freedom. And creating something of your own. All at once.

    • Was it bravery or reckless stupidity? Sometimes I wonder. What is done cannot be undone though and it’s impossible to step through the looking glass. Migrating is never easy but I am luckier than most, at least I did so voluntarily. Three Russian asylum seekers committed suicide together jumping from an apartment building in Springburn Glasgow last weekend http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article7054793.ece. Those people knew what true suffering and isolation was like. Thank you for your kind words though x

  2. When I wrote the other day that it was my favourite Caveat Calcei post, I didn’t know you were going to write this! You certainly have captured something of the heartbreaking adventure that is migration, which is inextricably mixed up with all those other life events. Well I must say that I’m glad you ended up here.
    And I hope you do find that huge box soon because I’d really like to see those wedding photos.

    • Hi M – This was triggered very much by my conversation with your mum and with you on Sunday. There was something that really touched me by your loss of accent. You sounded so Australian but you still look so Italian. When I heard you and your mum it reminded me of every migrant that has made the journey to Australia, to the United States, to Canada to wherever. We all understand the Journey. So this one is for you my dear.

  3. I remember the day Chris and I decided to move to NYC. We had just come off the road after touring Peter Pan, and we had been in the final process of buying a house back home in Southern California, but we came to our senses in time. I say we “came to our senses” because you have to go where the work is, and in theatre the work is on Broadway. We knew only one person in NY working on B’way, a dear friend I had toured with on Jesus Christ Superstar. We blindly rented an apartment on 72nd St in the UWS, sight unseen, off the internet, for way more rent than I would ever again be comfortable paying. Thankfully, we had all that lovely house buying money in the bank, since we had decided not to purchase that home, so we had a cushion. Gradually, of course, we met people, got work, and can now say we have genuine friends in NYC. Still, it’s hard.

    When we left SoCal, first to go out on tour then to move to NYC, my nephew was 7 years old. He is now 15. My sister in law sends photos of Ian now, and he’s towering over her, looking quite grown up. I have missed out on key years in his life. When we make it home for a visit, it’s always a rushed affair. Trying to meet up with dear friends, spend time with both my and Chris’ family, and have a tiny bit of time to ourselves is almost impossible. I regret losing this time with family, but “you go where the work is”.

    My mum and dad moved to the US from Scotland. I am very glad they did. I had a pretty perfect life growing up on the beaches of Southern California. Mum and Dad were both dead by the time I moved to NYC. I know they would have supported my decision. How could they not, when they picked up and left everything they knew to move to a new country. I may still be in the US, but I am now 3000 miles away from everything and everyone I know as familiar and comforting. It was a leap of faith, a leap which has thankfully paid off both with doing work I love, and meeting friends I cherish.

    Every so often, when things are extremely trying at the theatre, or Ian is doing something amazing, or my friends back home are either getting married or having a baby, Chris and I talk about moving back to SoCal. We talk about it, but somehow I know my heart isn’t truly in it. I know that my life isn’t there anymore, at least not right now. Chris and I have talked recently about another possible life move, this time to another country, hopefully still “going where the work is”. Life is for living, life is about change, life is about being brave and going after what you need and want, regardless of where that may lead you.

    One more thing. When I was out on tour with Jesus Christ Superstar in 2003, I miscarried our baby. I was alone in Columbus Ohio. My husband was home in SoCal, of course, along with my brother and sister and all my friends. All the people I would normally have gone to at this time were unavailable to me. I remember going down to the hotel bar/restaurant, and sitting down next to Carl Anderson. Carl played Judas in the show, he was also Judas in the 1973 movie. I was not in the best place, still rather dazed. He put his arm around me, ordered me a sandwich, and let me cry on his shoulder without saying a word. After a while, he did speak, and I will never forget his words. He told me that I did have people around me who loved me. He told me that when you tour, you live inside a bubble. You’re protected inside that bubble because the 40 or so people who travel around the country, moving the show in and out of theatres week after week are your family. We grow to love (and sometimes hate) each other. We feel each other’s pain, we dry each other’s tears, we laugh until we cry together, and sometimes, we help each other through the loss of a loved one outside the bubble.
    I went back upstairs feeling better, I was able to do the show, and Carl helped me keep going until I was able to get home to get home for a break.

    I often think of Carl’s words to me. I may not be touring anymore, but I’m still living inside a bubble. My new bubble is in NYC. I’m surrounded by people who love me. I’ve cried on their shoulders, they’ve cried on mine. We’ve laughed until it hurts. We’ve looked out for each other.

    No matter where life sends you, there will always be a bubble around you, filled with the people you choose to let in. As long as you’re inside your bubble, things will be ok. Of course there will still be pain, and hurt, and sometimes fear and uncertainty, but there will also be support and love and security. When you understand that, it doesn’t much matter where you call home.

  4. The last paragraph of Moira’s post says it all. I migrated here in 1970, and for a couple of years ,compared Australia with back home. Then, as I settled into my job, got married, and became an Australian, I knew that this was where I wanted to be. I love this country, and count myself lucky to live here. I DO miss the Pommie pubs, though! Like you, I hate the humidity, but I don’t miss the greyness of day after day after day, of mist and rain.

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