we are so excited…..today is our anniversary of a DECADE in the USA!
here’s a small but hopefully poignant and uplifting flashback:
august sixteenth, 2001: london, england
team gloria (before we became team gloria but there were definite signs of it, even then – we had our first writer’s pseudonym, “henrietta clarke”, at nine years old) dragged two heavy (and sadly NOT chic) black bags across the floor and got into a cab. these contained our only possessions that were emigrating with us to the United States. on arrival at Heathrow (call sign HTW) we blagged our way into a seat at the front of the plane by being not only downright charming but rather manipulative “we’re emigrating!” we told the entire flight crew of the Virgin Atlantic plane “ruby tuesday” and they upgraded us, nestled us into a seat 2A, we believe, and gave us a large mug of tea……….
eleven hours or so later (it’s a long-ass-flight when going direct from london) we arrived in LOS ANGELES.
the sun was so bright. we couldn’t find our sunglasses. we were jet-lagged (and heart-broken but that’s quite another story) and we took a cab to Westwood (because we’d seen LA Story and learned a little of the Other Coast lingo and had rented a studio – sight unseen – and bought a bed which had – hopefully – been delivered already).
the cab drew up. it was a Very UGLY building (even then, when we were poor, a bit chubby and rather hopeless, we Didn’t Do Ugly) but we followed the emailed instructions and dragged the two (not chic) cases up to the double gates.
OH JOY! the POOL was REAL!
a little blue-blue kidney-shaped swimming pool – RIGHT THERE – in the building We Now Lived In, In LOS ANGELES.
a charming man (surfer dude type, if you’re casting this in your mind, you want Keanu Reeves, with blond hair, as your visual image) waited at the glass doors (we would later see him in court when we lost our job, our work visa for the USA and couldn’t pay rent and moved in with a friend in silverlake while driving around all the Hollywood Studios looking for a job – but that’s Another Story – which is called Releasing Butterflies and is a novel and a much better screenplay and rather fun – so again, we’ll wait to share that with you another time…)
he gave us the keys to our studio.
we dragged the bags down the hallway (we stopped calling it corridor because we were in AMERICA now) and struggled to open the door.
it was pretty much a padded cell of the nicest variety.
tiny – white walls – white shag carpet (we ADORED that bit, so Sixties L.A) wall to wall – built-in closets (we didn’t call it a wardrobe because we were in AMERICA now) and french windows – cracked and sadly patched up and dirty – that looked onto the street. our bed HAD arrived. and we had just bought two sheets with us from england. nothing else.
but it was home. our first home on our own (definitely Another Story) for a long time. and it was in Los Angeles.
we swam in the pool. walked up to Westwood by the university (UCLA) and bought a phone to plug into the wall and went to the local cafe to ask how you got phone service. the lovely waitress sat team gloria down at the counter, ordered us a large CALIFORNIAN salad (and a mug of tea because we were a tiny bit freaked out and jet lagged and wondered what the hell we were doing and English after all) and became our guardian angel for all questions american for the next week.
then we went home and prepared for the first of MANY jet lags.
it was amazing.
we’d made it.
to LOS ANGELES AND THE USA.
yes – a decade later and A Lot Has Happened……..jobs lost, jobs gained, work visas lost, gained, still no green card but down to the final year we HOPE, many – ahem – romantic entanglements, two years running a rehab type facility, during the dotcom crash, for young americans – yes – that’s in Releasing Butterflies too, and a drive-on pass to Paramount Studios, working at 20th Century Fox lot on a Movie With Meryl Streep (grin), baby-sitting Frances Bean Cobain (definitely a story for Another Time), Hollywood Hills, movie stars and their mothers, driving to Malibu listening to Fleetwood Mac en route to the office for a year (bliss), switching to Burbank to a sound stage and driving up from the beach (less bliss, but fun), and THEN the MOVE TO NYC – and global travel, the Big Day Job, five screenplays, three novels and numerous bits of copy during one job for a meal-replacement bar (yup, you read that right, and we never ate it and the client was Not Happy) and speaking at conferences in our RL persona and then Tobias and his sisters, the tumors and you know the rest (or if you’ve just joined us, do read on, there’s Lots Here).
and here we are a decade on.
we woke up this morning, made coffee, ate half a grapefruit and will be heading off to the swimming pool in a few minutes (it’s seven AM in NYC now) to swim lengths and then off to the Day Job.
happy ten years in the USA team gloria!
grin. big. fat. happy. grin.
don’t forget to write…