Hi guys. So a while back, after getting amazingly nasty comments after starting this campaign and the stories that came out about it in both Scottish and Canadian newspapers, I reached out to Amanda Palmer. If you don't know who she is, she's a musician, married to Neil Gaiman and funded one of her last albums through crowd funding. This lady knows what it's like to have awesome people support and help out, and to have people actually tell you to go fuck yourself for daring to even ask. So much so, that she wrote a book about it- The Art of Asking, and our story is included. It's just a paragraph or so, but the fact that she took the time to talk to me and included our tale in her book is pretty special.
Never be afraid to ask, never be afraid to help, never be afraid to fail.
Hi guys. Thought I'd drop in with an update. Some of you already know and some of you don't. Yes, Jon and I made it to Edinburgh. Then things got very, very real. Here's the whole story.
Hi guys. Sorry the updates have been so few, but things got a little fucked up. I hope you have some tea or are sitting somewhere comfy cause this is gonna be a long one.
The four of us got to Edinburgh and settled into the hotel. After the first night of making sure the kids were okay (they flew like champs!) and me throwing up, we started making calls to look at flats. Turns out the rental market there moves fast. Like lightning. We saw a few places, but they were either too expensive, totally gross or already gone before we could even call or they simply went with other tenants. We saw one place that seemed perfect towards the end of the week. This was good because we were running out of hotel room very soon. We had money, but it needed to go towards lots of rent up front in place of immediate jobs. We offered 6months rent up front and were more or less told that the place was ours and we would get a call the next day to sign a lease. When the phone call came, suddenly the person we had talked to wasn't the actual owner- his sister was and wasn't comfortable renting to us without jobs. Despite the fact that the lease was for a minimum of 6 months and we were offering that all at once. I begged and pleaded, but they wouldn't budge. We looked at other places, but they were unliveable. The only place who would even consider renting to us was basically a room with a toilet. No cooker, no fridge, just a sink in the "kitchen". We didn't know what to do. Pet friendly hotel rooms are expensive and we would be fucked if we spent all our money on hotels and have no rent money to front. Finding a job is tricky, too. You need a national insurance number in order to work. To get the number, you need a permanent address. The hotel address would be unacceptable. We couldn't even borrow an address because we know no one who actually lives in Scotland and Irvine Welsh and JK Rowling were not returning my tweets. And of course, to get a flat, we needed jobs. It's a cycle and we needed one of those things to break. In the meantime, we'd already extended our stay at the hotel, but we couldn't stay there forever. Plus, there was the added bonus of lack of time. If we were going to pack it in and come home, there is a seasonal window in which airlines will fly pets. Once it's past, it doesn't open up again until the spring. And that window was closing really soon. So what do we do? Do we stay on, spend a months rent every week for a pet friendly room and keep trying and be totally stuck until the spring, with the possibility of having to come home anyway with no money, or do we bail now before that window is gone with some money left to start our lives over again? We love our kids, and in the end, they had to come first. As heart breaking as it was, we chose to come back to London. It is the most horrible decision ever. But it was necessary. We are mourning it like a death because it felt no different. We just couldn't risk the kids and the possibility of being homeless with them, and if you don't think there are a lot of homeless pet owners in Edinburgh, I suggest flying in yourself.
We are determined to go back though. Once the kids are gone. Hostels are vastly cheaper and we won't have to worry about anyone but us.
Despite all our research, there are things we only could have learned once we were there. Edinburgh is huge and glorious, but also fast and vicious. Trying to emigrate anywhere with a fur family is insanely difficult unless you have A LOT of money.
Anyway, there's more details and whatnot, but I think that's enough for now. Please understand that the reason we didn't update everyone as this was happening was because we were embarrassed. Deeply. We felt like such huge failures because it all went so bad so fast. We felt phenomenally stupid in the face of everyone saying how brave they thought we were and all the wonderful things everyone did for us like our going away parties and everyone's help with whatever. Plus all the emotion. It felt like we made everyone sad (you know, assuming you'd miss our stupid faces) for nothing.
Not sure what else to say. Just thank you, and please know that everything you did for us and said to us still means so much.
Holly, Jon, Kinoko and Taiki.
So now that you know, here's where you need to tell me what to do. All the donations that you all so generously gave have remained untouched. I didn't want to dare spend any of this money until I knew for sure that we were settled in our new home. I still owe you all a reward, and I feel bad that we were unsuccessful. So I leave it to you. I can give back the money, or still make good on the rewards...they just might be slightly altered. Photos and drawings can still be of beautiful Edinburgh, but the postcards will have to come from Canada. Whatever you decide, we are still determined to try again after our cats have passed on. It will be easier being just the two of us, and we will be able to support ourselves while we look for work much longer without the expense that went into preparing, bringing there and bringing back our kids. We have re-thought our plan of attack and know better now where to look for a flat that will be bigger and more affordable, but still close to where we want to be.
Thank you all so much for everything, and as soon as I know what each of you prefer, I will make it happen.
Okay, brain is obviously not functioning at full capacity because in my update of a few seconds ago, I forgot the most important thing; THANK YOU! To those who have donated either money and/or support, and to those who may still, thank you!
Hi guys! So our move date is coming up fast. Like super fast. Like, 12 days away fast. Holy shit. It feels crazy. Unreal. Exciting and utterly terrifying. I just wanted to let all the wonderful people who have donated so far know that I have not forgotten about you. Once we get to Edinburgh and we have settled into a flat of our own, I will get started on your rewards. I know for some of you this is a long time coming, but I hope it'll be worth the wait. For anyone else, it's never too late to donate. Every little bit counts. :)
Hi kids! Sorry it's been so long since I've given an update, but a lot of things have been happening, and as a result, I've been stressed to the max. We sold our house. We sold a bunch of our stuff. We got our visas and we bought our plane tickets. The kids have been microchipped and the vet is preparing their international health certificates. They are in excellent condition and spirits for their ages, so I'm more confident that they will make it through this okay.
That all sounds great, doesn't it? Big adventure coming our way, nothing to hold us back, so we should be fucking jazzed. And we are, but we are also scared. Completely terrified. Vomit and pee everywhere.
A lot of people, including our parents, don't get that. We understand that for them, watching us leave isn't easy, but staying is so much harder. Jon and I aren't super young anymore. Our 20's are behind us, and it's time to get going. We need to start really living our lives, otherwise, what the hell are we doing here? I need to see something else, something different. I've lived in this same city since I was 6. That's long enough. I've gotten everything out of this place I possibly can, and it's time to move on. Same for Jon. There is more out there and no one is going to bring it to us. We have to be willing to put ourselves on the line to get what we want. Adventure, better opportunities, different experiences.
Still, I have a hard time wrapping my head around this. I need to talk this out with friends, but schedules are making this difficult, plus, I'm not sure they know just how terrified I really am. I haven't really been making a point of this though because I have *other* friends who I have confessed my feelings to, and they're all, "WHY???? YOU SHOULD BE SO EXCITED!!!!" Okay, don't get me wrong, I am totally excite, but Jesus Christ, this is huge. I don't even know where we're going to live. No one will rent to us until we're actually there and can see flats with our own eyes. Once we get on that plane, we will technically be homeless. That's scary. Jon and I talk about this endlessly, but we need an outside view. One that isn't clouded by fear, panic, sadness, excitement, and fear again.
Sorry we were gone for so long. I'll try to update more regularly in the time we have left. Only 18 more days of work left to go, then two weeks to blitz through what's left to do, then we're gone. Don't forget, it's not too late to help us out! Any and all donations are fully appreciated and may help with our future therapy bills.
Another sweet donation today from someone I'm a big fan of. (And not just because she helped us out. I was a faithful minion long before this.) Sign yourself up for some good karma and toss a couple of bucks (or pounds, whatever, we're not picky) our way. The more you donate, the less I fill your newsfeed with updates or tweet you for retweets. Just sayin'.
Hi there. Spring is finally here, and I think the perfect way to celebrate that would be to donate to our awesome cause! We have about 6 months to go, and at this point, I don't think we'll be reaching our $7000 goal. I'm actually a little tempted to contact the Scottish media again because despite the flood of nasty comments, it also provided us with the majority of our donations. Hmmmm. Open up that can of worms?
Hey there, boys and girls. Well, we are still stagnating at $445.00 or 6.36% of our goal. To those of you out there who have helped, thank you, you are awesomeness itself. To those who haven't helped...boo. Even if you don't care about our goal, you could potentially score some cheap original art. An original drawing for $50.00? A signed and matted photograph for $100.00? That's a *deal*, guys. Seriously. Look that shit up. Plus, think of the resale value of that once I bite it. If anything, I'm giving money to you. You're welcome.
So, if you're thinking of kicking in a buck or two, or more, and want to see what you might get in return, check out my website at http://moondragonartphoto.webs.com/
Hi guys. So I've had a shitty couple of weeks. I don't want to get into all the gory details, but I've been diagnosed with depression and as a result, lost my job. I'm of course, looking for a new one, as well as trying to get my head together, but it's an uphill battle.
I know there are a lot of you out there who are going through the same thing, so I know you understand the stigma that comes with the words "depression" and "mental health". And I know you understand how scary it is. It's not just a "bad day" anymore. Just know that you're not the only one. I've taken a lot of solace in those words coming from other people.
Love and thanks as always.
Hi kids. Sorry I've not been here to give an update lately, but you know, work, stress, the usual crap. For instance, my oldest cat, Kinoko, got pretty sick. Stopped eating, and slept all the time. It took about a month, but she's back to normal. Eating, running around and beating up her little brother as usual.
Then around Valentine's Day, my dad had a heart attack. He's okay now, but it was frightening and stressful to say the least. Plus there was the added fun of my mom using the opportunity to give me some guilt about moving away.
After that, I got the flu. That, and the fact that this winter has been so long and hard. Unbelievably freezing cold and tons of snow for such a long time. It's made me lazy and completely unmotivated. Blargh. It's made me so depressed to see that while it's been -10C here on a mild day, it's been +5C or more there for ages already. That's how cold it's been here...I'm aching for tropical Scottish weather!
So that's the latest. Exciting, right? Well, if you want cooler, more interesting stories, maybe throw us a fiver and help get us to a cooler, more interesting place!
Love and thanks as always.
So a tv station in town called me a few days ago wanting to do an interview with me and Jon on our campaign. Unfortunately, I was sick as hell, looked like death and had to turn it down. But, that doesn't mean we've disappeared! Tell your friends, and as always, any and all help is greatly appreciated. :)
Another donation yesterday. Thank you so much, Marie!
Hi peoples! The media sensation may have died down, but we could still use your help. We are a little over 6% to our goal, and we'd love to break 10% by the end of the month. Big, huge thank-yous to everyone who has helped us out so far. Remember, no one achieves their dreams alone, and never be afraid to ask
Another 2 donations in the past few hours! Thank you, K and Calum!
Three more donations today! Thank you so much, Steven and Shirley.
So our little campaign was reported in Scotland, and as per the usual routine of the internet, only the mean and spiteful people responded. I'll not be addressing any of the comments except to say here that between my launching this and talking to the reporter, I have gotten a job. This does not however, negate what we are asking for. Any and all help is still needed and appreciated. If people would rather donate to a cause they feel is worthier, then please do. I know that there are a lot of people out there who need more help than us. But, our asking for a hand is NOT taking money out of anyone else's pockets. It is up to all of you out there who you choose to help, and if we aren't your pick, that's okay. I'm grateful for every single penny we get. Yes, I did the interview with the reporter to generate interest in our story and hopefully get a few donations out of it. I did not do it to be called "selfish", "stupid" and "foolish". We all have dreams, and very rarely does anyone accomplish anything alone. If you don't ask for help, chances are, you will not recieve it, and that's all we want...a little help from our friends.
Donation #2! Remember, any and all help is massively appreciated. Thank you!
We got our first donation! Thank you so much!
Almost 3 years ago, my husband, Jon and I had the opportunity to go to Edinburgh, Scotland. It was a dream come true and was the first place that ever truly felt like home. We resolved to save up, and move there forever as soon as we could. We don't make much, but we've been putting aside every cent we can spare and have plans to sell 90% of everything we own.
Moving to another country is a costly undertaking. This is something we want desperately, but we don't want to put it off any longer, either. We've been saving for this since we returned from our original trip. We are making progress slowly but surely, but a little help from you will make things that much easier, and get us there that much faster. I know it's a big ask, but if you can help us in any way, we would be forever grateful.
As an artist, I'm offering some of my original work at certain reward levels. For an idea of my style, and what you might get if you're awesome enough to help us out, check out my website; http://moondragonartphoto.webs.com/