Love & catastrophe

It’s a funny world we live in. No, that’s not quite right. Actually, it’s an amazing world – it’s the age we live in that’s ‘funny’.

The age of a ‘traditional’ beginning to a relationship is just SO far behind us. We are no longer limited to meeting someone in our neighbourhood any more, or finding a connection only through our immediate ‘real life’ network of friends and colleagues. The internet is so deeply intertwined in our work & social lives now that it has become a socially acceptable dating tool. I’m not entirely ashamed to say there was a short period of time I had a profile on a ‘dating’ site. I had been single 5 years and, although mostly that was a great thing at the time, it became fairly  depressing.

Now we have things like ‘Tinder’ – the really pre-fabricated off-the-shelf fast food version of cyber-love. I’ve watched people using it, flicking people away… I spend more time choosing an avocado at Woolies. I can’t say a single nice thing about it, but I’m sure it suits the needs of some out there. Personally, I can’t fathom it, but I’m old and am more likely to enjoy a night in and weekends with no plans than out bouncing at the discoteque (they’re still called that, right?). Tinder wasn’t designed for me, and I’m very comfortable with that.

Yet somehow, with all of these resources, finding the right ‘someone’ to love is difficult  in this funny age we live in. I feel like, perhaps, we just meet a lot more ‘wrong-ones’. Which makes the following fact even more amazing – I met my ‘someone’ online.

When all this scribblegraph stuff grew online as it did, I met a hell of a lot of people in a small amount of time. A staggeringly huge amount of people wanted my attention, most of them looking to see if they could make a bit of cash out of me and what I was ‘achieving’ on social media. It was hilarious to me, because none of them realised I wasn’t making any money, and I wasn’t really trying to. A small number of people ‘got’ what I was trying to do, which was just to enjoy drawing and spread a bit of joy around the world. One person in particular really got it, and that was Flea. We met on Google+.

A very long and dreamy love story follows, with lots of international flights, Google Hang-outs and icky romance. We have now been together over 3 years, and Flea has relocated from London to Perth without issue or complaint (except for those relating to the bone-melting heat. She really loathes the heat). Flea will have been living here 2 years in February.

That is: if she’s still here.

Last week I was in Sydney for a bit of a mixed work/R&R week when Flea called to let me know her application for residency had been refused. We experienced the first 12 months of our relationship living apart; that was barely survivable. Not being together when we got this news was completely shattering. She received a simple email with “REFUSED” in the subject line, followed by instructions that she should be out of the country within 28 days.

The provided explanation was brief and required a lot of follow-up work before we fully understood what happens next. There are several paths and avenues open to us, none really more positive than the other. We are lucky to have very supportive family around us who will do everything they can to help. We know there are a lot of people around the world cheering us on (thank you!) – particularly those who know us from Google+. We have countless offers from people to write comprehensive stat. decs. for the review process we’re undertaking. It is helping us stay sane, knowing that there is so much support & love out there.

ash & flea

So – that’s pretty much where we’re at. Catastrophe. We’re only ‘fairly sure’ she won’t have to leave in a couple of weeks, and then the appeal process can take months. AND we’ve been told to expect that to be refused, with near certainty. It just buys us time to find another solution.

The whole point being: this ‘funny old age’ we live in hasn’t caught up with itself. We can find love pretty much anywhere, but it’s so bloody hard to keep it in your life.