Musings of an Englishman who literally quit his life in Devon in mid-2012 to move to Tijuana to love a girl.
They ended up in San Diego where he became a TV anchorman (yes really...), they got married, and now they're living in England together.
Simple as that really.
Follow your heart, who knows where it will lead.

Crazy. Beautiful. Madness.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

California dreaming

PINCH me I'm dreaming.
I mean, I must be... Did I really quit my job, house and life in the UK to land a Latin fiancé and a TV career in California?!
In San Diego? An ANCHORMAN in San Diego...?!
I'm sorry but that shit doesn’t happen.
I currently find myself in the somewhat enviable position of having realized a dream.
A dream I guess I never dared to dream before.
Now, I'm not going to kiss my own ass and make out like “everything’s amazing, isn’t life great... la dee da...”
(Because everyone knows how the English hate someone who's found success and happiness), but wow... what a ride it’s been.
Today I can finally reveal the full detail of what the hell has been going on with me for the past 10 months.
As you all know I quit everything I’d known in the UK last June after meeting the beautiful Jacky.
I moved to Tijuana without even a hint of a plan, safe in the knowledge that ‘I’ had become ‘we’ (TJ team).
After two months of sitting in the house doing relatively little I dropped an email to the U-T San Diego (neighbouring San Diego’s biggest newspaper) asking if I could pop in to take a look at their set up.
The U-T had, at that time, just launched its own web and US cable television channel and as a result, fully integrated itself with web and TV.
It was something my previous employers at The Herald in Plymouth, had talked about doing but – for one reason or another – had not quite achieved.
So, out of pure curiosity, I popped over the border and visited the U-T.
And the conversation went something like this:
U-T: “So... um... remind me again why you’re here...?”
Me: “Well, see I met this Mexican girl and...”
*cue startled glance and paper shuffling.
U-T: Wait, wait, wait... hey... HEY GUYS... have you heard this? We’ve got a crazy romantic Englishman here... can we get him a job?! Do you want a job?!”
To cut a very long story short I met the U-T’s TV guys who asked if I could pop back the next day for a screen test.
I guess they must have seen something they liked because moments after the test I was offered a position.
And then came the visa application. And seven months of being in limbo.
Annoyingly everyone who has ever got a tourist visa stamp abroad thinks they are experts on immigration law and, at times, my head was spinning with conflicting information.
“You should have done this or that...”, “you should have changed lawyers...” “you don't need that visa you need this one..."
Okay... how about we play a game of f#ck off... and you go first.
So after seven months of providing US Immigration with everything they needed, about a month ago we finally heard that my O-1 visa application had been approved.
For a moment I was afraid that Piers Morgan’s views on US gun laws, and the resulting calls for his deportation from the US, had scuppered any plan for an Englishman ever to be shown the green light.
But thankfully not.
Three weeks ago I flew to Canada to get the visa stamp, which was an unexpected treat in itself. It also afforded itself its own hilarity.
On greeting me when checking into the Toronto hotel the guy on the front desk (who later turned out to be Argentine) said: “Ahhh... you're from Plymouth?”
Me: “Yes.”
“Aha, yes, your team is not very good...”
This man clearly knew too much about Plymouth and it’s football – or is that ‘socher’ team.
Anyway, sorry I digress... after a week in Canada I flew back to TJ, two days later I crossed over to San Diego, and a few days after that I started work officially.
“What the hell have you been doing for nine MONTHS in TJ?!” a lot of people have asked.
Well, I learned a bit of Spanish, became an expert in immigration law, got a bit of a tan, oh... and I got really good at playing Candy Crush.
So fully charged, SUPER excited, and still pinching myself that this is all actually real, I find myself sat in a downtown coffee shop having just completed my first week as a ‘show host’ at U-T TV.
Being in limbo for that length of time wasn’t good for the soul, but it just goes to show that sometimes you’ve got to leave your comfort zone to see what’s possible in life.
I mean, ME... a TV presenter?!

Crazy huh?

So now it’s a case of ‘ding ding’ round two.
I now need to source an apartment, a social security number, a car, a bank account, a phone (or is that ‘cell?’) contract or SIM, a TV, sofa, bed, other home furnishings, oh and of course a kettle... (that’s got to be easier this side of the border right?!)
Oh and I need to retake my driving test (theory and practical) because Californian state law doesn't recognize the international driving permit). Grr.
So I’m a British citizen, engaged to a Mexican girl, who is now living and working in America. Oh, and I flew to Canada to get the visa.
Officials on the Mexican/US border ask a few questions let me tell you...
We’re still working out the details of what exactly my new show will be about for U-T TV and it’s in development.
This week I’ve been finding my feet, explaining to my co-workers what the hell I mean when I’m saying things like I’m ‘cream-crackered’ (i.e. knackered... i.e. tired), and doing news reporting slots on U-T TV’s PrimeTime show.

A few members of the PrimeTime crew on set
In the next blog I’ll bring everyone up to speed with some of the crazy antics this past week has witnessed.

Where the magic happens...

Do you want to check out what The U-T San Diego and U-T TV is all about?
Those people that aren’t in the US can watch U-T TV live online by visiting Click on the ‘Watch Live’ link and you’re all set.
For now though I’m going to order another latte, breathe a little sigh, sit back in my chair, and carry on (California) dreaming.