Still Keeping Ground

mm_0783It’s been such a long time since I’ve posted anything. A lot has happened in the past year and a half but at the same time, there wasn’t really much to talk about, or much I wanted to talk about. There have been plane flights, back and forth between the US and the UK for visits, 2 weddings, lots of work, and waiting. Waiting, waiting……….. and more of the same.

After we left the retreat center, we decided to travel to the US. Megan had never been, I was eager for her to meet friends, and see where I lived. After visiting our friend Suzanne from the Abbey in L’Anse St. Jean, QuebecIMG_3852, we went to New York City, took a little road trip through the midwest and landed in Chicago. I was fortunate to get my facilities manager job back at the Hyde Park Art Center (HPAC) and my cooking job back at the newly re-opened Kaufman’s Deli, so I was very quickly back to work while Megan fearlessly explored the city. Within a month and a half, I knew I didn’t want to be apart from her. We were staying in the visiting artist apartment through HPAC, making dinner together, going out with friends, talking about things that happened in our day, and it felt like home.

We consulted with a lawyer to see what our options were, how could Megan get a visa, how often could she visit, what was the timeline for all these options etc. etc. Full disclosure, Megan had never wanted to emigrate to the US. She never had any desire to visit really, much less live here, and she certainly wasn’t prepared to stay. As a US citizen, you can apply to bring your fiance to the US and once you are married, apply for permanent residency for your spouse. That’s one option but I thought, ‘Why bring you as my fiance? I know I want to marry you and be with you now. Let’s get married and you can come back as my spouse.’ IMG_3981With hindsight, this decision might have caused a longer separation than the fiance choice but I was (still am) in love and wanted to be with her. That’s it. So we got married in Iowa, which was our best option as Illinois had passed marriage equality but was pushing off actually doing it for 6 months. That’s us in the hotel room before heading over to the lawyer’s office to get married.

Long story short, what we thought was going to be a 6-9 month separation has stretched to 14 months and counting. I shouldn’t complain. Had we met 2 years ago the wait time would have been never and I’d have sold my house at a huge loss and be living in the UK right now. I’ve managed to fill my time, still working maintenance. There is the usual unclogging toilets and urinals and pulling paintbrushes and glitter out of the sinks. It was the 75th anniversary of HPAC this past year so there was a lot of sprucing up to do as well as getting rid of some of the accumulated, no longer useful, furniture. They have a wonderful teen program IMG_0270and they must have been inspired by the Magritte show that was on at the Art Institute of Chicago because I came in one day to find this in the parking lot. It’s too clever to even be mad about.

I have been back at my printing practice too. This time, I made some posters and larger images specifically to bring positive energy to where I live. I even started another blog to solely address that project. It’s called The Intention Generator. Feel free to visit that site if you are interested in knowing more about my artwork. There was a wonderful artist IMG_0283visiting from Mexico, Nuria Montiel, who does community based and inspired printing work. She came to Chicago and worked with different groups, creating spontaneous letterpress prints. We went wheatpasting together, even got caught. She talked our way out it and her prints are still gracing our abandoned buildings.

That about brings us up to date. Megan and I had a big wedding ceremony at her Father’s home in Somerset in August. I was able to meet almost everyone who is important to her and spend some good time getting to know them. We just got the letter from the National Visa Center (like, 12 hours ago) notifying us of her interview date. It’s March 31st. Fingers crossed everyone. It seems that process is coming to a close and the process of building a life together will begin. If we are fortunate, because none of us is guaranteed tomorrow. Although we’ve been waiting, we haven’t been static.

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