This year is the first year J and I will spend Christmas together. It is also the first year for me to not spend Christmas in the UK with my family. So it’s a year of firsts, a year where we can forge new traditions which are ours and we can be just the two of us and think about the future and where we want to go.
It is also a year where since we are not spending it with others we are avoiding a lot of present buying. For example this year we’re not buying each other Christmas presents. I have bought gifts for the nieces and nephew but my sisters, parents, in-laws, etc no gifts.
It’s rather wonderful. Not only do we save money but so do others and we also save giving and getting stuff which is nice but not needed and thus fills up either ours or someone elses house.
Don’t get me wrong, I love buying gifts, well chosen, thought out ones, but I like having time to do this. Hence why I enjoy buying birthday presents, they are thankfully a little more spread out throughout the year. But presents for presents sake is something I’m a lot less on board with.
Partly perhaps it’s an age thing, I have most stuff I really need and I don’t have kids so I don’t have people to really get excited about the gift giving bit of Christmas. Partly it’s also that I have been trying a little this year to limit my spending so much, to avoid so much general consumerism and to be a little more environmentally friendly. Still no way near enough I’m sure but every little helps.
I’m sure this will change so this year I shall enjoy a Christmas focused on spending time with my loved one, contacting other loved ones round the world and stuffing myself silly.
This working malarky is good, don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying being productive, using my brain, earning money again and all that. *But* early mornings, one hour commuting each way and adjusting back to working does not allow for blogging, reading blogs or twitter. Which is to say I miss you guys, I truly do.
As of yesterday I am officially allowed to work in the USA, woohoo! This is both exciting and terrifying news. Exciting because I can meet new people, get out of the house, earn money and hopefully really experience what it’s like to live here.
Terrifying because that actually means getting a job. Finding something I want to do, can do and in a company that will employ me will not be an easy feat but never say never.
Wish me luck! (or even better if you know someone in Washington DC who is looking for a lovely Brit to come work for them, do let me know)
I always knew the move was going to be a challenge, that with it would be emotions I’d not previously experienced and it would be an opportunity to grow and to learn about me, my husband and my marriage. So far that’s proven true. Since the moment we learnt that this whole idea was real we’ve discussed it and worked out how it would work.
One area which I’ve always been concerned about was finance. Let me give you some background here, J and I have been together 8 years, of those 8 years we have been living together for 5, of those 5 years we’ve had a joint bank account for about 3 years. However our salaries were still paid into our bank accounts and then we paid for shared household expenses into our shared account and it worked. It worked because we were both earning, we’re both good with money, we don’t fritter or spend when we shouldn’t and we both had access to the joint account. This seemed to me a great solution, we earn our own money from which we both contribte to the household account and then everything else we buy for ourselves and you don’t have to worry. If I had spent too much one month that was my problem to sort out and I could go into my savings or pay the credit card fees. Or I didn’t have to feel guilty about buying some news shoes…
Then it changed, I moved to America out of choice, to take advantage of an opportunity I felt it would be foolish to miss. And I therefore gave up my job and my earnings. It also means that due to visa restrictions and bureaucracy I have to wait 90 days from this week for my application for employment authorisation to be processed. That’s 90 days from now having stopped earning on 30th September 2010. And so now we come to the crux of this post, how does your marriage change when your finances do?
Admittedly J has been wonderful, I have a named credit card for his account and can spend on it, we speak about all his money and how much there is and how we will work it out. He has told me not to worry that his money is mine. But I can’t help it. It’s different in my mind, spending his money, so instead sometimes I spend mine, of which the pot is rapidly dwindling. It has changed how I think about money. Perhaps for the better as I now think longer about potential purchases be they joint or otherwise. I feel like I have lost my financial independence.
I don’t know what would make it better, partly it’s probably just me coming to terms with this fact, that it doesn’t matter if I have lost my financial independence we are still financially viable as a household and I have a husband with whom I can talk about these things (something which I certainly don’t take for granted). But it also alters the balance, does this make me less equal? I know stupid question probably but I feel I have to ask for things and that I bring less to the table. Which is kind of tough. I used to earn a lot less but at least I earnt, at least I contributed.
And back to the change in the relationship, will it change how we are as a couple? Right now I don’t know, I also know this is a temporary time without my income which will hopefully be no longer than necessary but in that time will we have a different way of interacting. I hope not and I will work at it being not but you never know. Thoughts and overanalysing can do funny things.