Joey and I just had lunch together, as he finished work early today. We sat with our backs to a building, facing the train line, watching birds and sharing hot chips. It was good. :)
Just got an SMS from him - his bus home took him past Alkira, as always, but today there's something new there. Not only has there been a fence erected around the compound over the past couple of weeks, now there's a construction company banner too. I haven't uploaded my Alkira photos yet, but I'd like to do so before the weekend... I don't think Alkira will be around too much longer.
Tomorrow afternoon we're taking headshot photos for our friend Sarah Grey, who is going for an extras role in a Nicholas Cage movie shooting downunder. We're going to use the unfinished study for the shoot. It's surprising how useful an empty, white-walled room can be!
There's still no roof on the cat run, primarily because what I can do with a pencil is negatively balanced by what I can do with a staple gun. Having never gone through renovations before (as opposed to Joe, who never wants to go through them again), my ineptitude in this area is (mortifying) news to me. On the up-side, the cats don't seem capable of climbing the walls, though this could simply be because it hasn't occurred to them yet. We're letting them out into the run unsupervised a couple of times a day now, for ten minute to half an hour at a time. No escapees yet! I've been thinking it might be more practical, rather than roofing off the run, to just put a little inwards-pointing 'lip' (maybe corrugated iron or something like that) so that if they somehow do manage to reach the top, they can't get over the edge. I think some modern wildlife fences use this method.
My currently-developing long-term plans are shifting yet again. 'Til now the tentative idea has been to live with Richard for the next couple of years (if he can put up with us that long!), save like whoa, then buy a property somewhere and work on paying it off. There have been variations on that theme, like living with Richard longer and buying an investment flat instead, and letting the rent pay it off, blah blah, but a concern Joe and I both had was this: Where to buy?
Most Australian cities are very expensive now. They're also pretty alike. Joe doesn't want to settle permenantly in Brisbane and rightly enough, it's his hometown - if I'd stayed in mine (Caloundra) I'd probably be sick of it too. I don't particularly care for Melbourne and we both dislike Sydney. Hobart is supposed to be pretty, but provincial; the other major cities are basically big country towns.
So we thought about moving further afield, to another English-speaking country so that we wouldn't be at a disadvantage looking for jobs.
The US was out for a start - no offence, guys, but the pay is horrendous, I deeply dislike the rooted-in-religion politics and I don't want my kids running around in a place where there's such a high rate of violent crime. England was another possibility but the cold weather and cost of living put us off.
I know I've mentioned this briefly here before, but we've seriously been considering - and this is way, WAY off in the future - the possibility of Canada.
I've gotten along famously with every Canadian I've met, and apparently they're partial to Aussies over there in return. The fact that my coworker Johnny announced the other day that he was picking up and moving to Canada has been useful, because he's been able to pass on a lot of practical info - for example, how ridiculously easy it is to get a working visa.
I quite like cold weather (though I happily admit I've never encountered REAL cold, and reserve the right to change my tune at a later date) and researching it together, Joe and I have even miraculously been able to find areas that we BOTH like the sound of. The big cities like Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal are out because they're just as expensive as Brisbane, which defeats the purpose a little. Right now we're both keen on Nova Scotia, and houses in the area (and even in the major city there, Halifax) are far more affordable than those in Brisbane - basically half the price for what you get. Conversely, the Canadian dollar is worth slightly more than the Australian dollar, and wages are comparable, though perhaps a little less than I'm used to. All of this will require careful research and planning. Luckily we've got years...
- Lots of expense to heat the place in winter.
- Temperatures so low that my mum's Canadian boyfriend almost made the sign of the devil when he talked about it.
- Houses have basements for reals. Creepy!
- Difficulty and expense in visiting relatives
- Probable inability to take the cats with us?
- Legal difficulties in buying property without citizenship?
- Affordability of property
- Architectural style that is just so damn cute (except for... basements. *shudder*)
- Comparable wage levels
- Everybody will totes love our accents and whatnot.
- Healthy arts industry (with many animation studios, I hear)
- Reasonable cost of living
- Canada's society isn't batshit crazy, as a whole
- It's an adventure!
There's been talk of tengukun
and little Rowan accompanying us. :)