It's a winter wonderland out there today; big snowflakes waft down past my window, blanketing every surface that last week's sunshine exposed. Inside the cat sleeps to Leonard Cohen and Nina Simone. I lost all of yesterday to a migraine; I lay in bed avoiding daylight, munching on ibuprofen and codeine between sleeps. Today I emerged from the cocoon, grateful that the miniature climbers who spent all of Sunday scaling the walls of my head with crampons and icepicks have finally left. Today all the curtains are open and the whiteness of it all doesn't faze me.
I've been grappling with a decision that is proving difficult to make. Anyone who knows me will know that I'm hopelessly indecisive at the best of times so when it comes to something important I'm a mess. I have a plane ticket from New York to Sydney on March 9 - the return leg of my ticket. So I haven't got long to change the ticket to May, when my current visa expires. Unfortunately the change will incur a fee of around $250 plus the difference in fare to secure a new flight home. And I don't have a spare $250 right now. I don't even have enough to pay my rent this month. Much of my work has been postponed or in some cases, projects have been cancelled or had their funding cut. One of my government clients is being investigated for fraud and another has recently retired.
If I let the ticket go, and instead stay here in Montreal, Fred and I will have to apply for the de facto visa - where he sponsors me as his spouse - but this will cost us almost $1500 to apply. It will still be months before I can (legally) get work here. If I go I won't have enough to get back here for a long time and Fred won't be able to cover the rent. I'd also have to get to NY (rideshare maybe...) and travel insurance for my computer and other work things I'll need wherever I go. No choice strikes me as being the better one.
Maybe it's time to get that lottery ticket!
There's a curious sense of freedom in not having a clearcut answer, knowing that I could go anywhere in the world really... no one place has a clear advantage over another; anywhere I chose would/could have the same struggles, the same opportunities.
I've been clicking through rental listings in some of my favourite places: the Blue Mountains, Melbourne and here in Montreal too (with lower rents!) I could browse Brooklyn or Reykjavik or some tiny country town somewhere in the middle of nowhere. As long as it had an internet connection or a dire need for graphic designers...
Where would you go if
you had nowhere to go,