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My wife is a wonderful woman.
She is kind, caring, beautiful and smart … however a word that few would use to describe her is brave, and yet that is exactly what she is.
I don’t mean it because she married me – though that would be a fair point – I mean it because she has had a life of turmoil and challenge and yet she has come out the other side while maintaining her warm, positive and infectious personality.
While I readily admit I don’t know how she does it, I admire it … almost as much as I admire her attitude to happily step into the unknown.
I met Jill a few weeks before I was moving to Singapore.
I really liked her and hated the idea of leaving her, but I didn’t think she would ever want to move countries for a man she hardly knew.
It was thanks to my lovely friend Kristina that I asked her – because she pointed out to me that I couldn’t make a decision for her, I could only give her the option.
And I did. And she said yes.
I’d love to think I’d be that brave but I don’t know if I would be … not because I didn’t care enough, but because I’m a fucking wimp.
Obviously it worked out and since that fateful Saturday on Sept 4th 2004 where I met her for the first time in Balmain, I have dragged her to multiple countries to basically start all over again, over and over again.
Each time she has to start from scratch.
And yet each time it happens, she gets on with making our life and home as happy and secure as quickly as possible and doesn’t ask for anything in return.
Whereas so many other wives rush to embrace an expat lifestyle – full of helpers, lunches and shopping – my wife shuns it all.
All she wants is to experience the adventure of her new ‘home’ with her husband and cat. To her, nothing else matters.
In all honesty, she’s a bloody inspiration, not to mention – as Andy likes to point out – way too good for me.
I do try and do my bit.
I try and ensure she feels loved, happy, safe and secure – but compared to how she makes me feel, I definitely get the better end of the deal.
Even moving to China – a place that challenges every aspect of your lifestyle, beliefs and values from the very second you land – didn’t phase her.
OK, so there were a few weird moments as we tried to organise phones, homes and food – not to mention get over some of China’s more ‘unique’ aspects … but in what seems the blink of an eye, she has done a load of projects for a bunch of companies – including China’s biggest milk company [who make Coca-Cola look like a local corner shop] who literally ‘adore her’ – learnt Mandarin [the most fucking fucked language in the entire universe], developed a group of friends, helped out charities, done some courses and now set up a high-end cake design company called Stir.
Me? I have just about remembered the W+K security door code.
This is what I mean about my wife being brave.
Despite being a successful designer and living in a country that has a knack at making every little thing an adventure [read: difficult] she decided to go off and train as a cake designer and set up her own company.
In just a short period of time, she has made a 7 tier wedding cake for the uber-poncy Peninsula Hotel in Shanghai … a bunch of corporate cakes for brands like Converse … a whole host of birthday cakes for Shanghai’s local and expat communities … got PR coverage in a number of local media and is now about to start her own ‘cake design’ training courses.
Just like that.
Whereas some people take 3 years to decide about their ‘brand pyramid’, my wife has gone off and made stuff happen.
And she’s happy.
Happier than happy … which is genuinely the happiest thing to see.
So thank you Jill for being so brill and brave and inspirational and may as many people ‘like’ Stir’s facebook page as possible because then you’ll get even more orders and I can give up work, spend my days in front of the telly playing Xbox and – possibly an even greater motivation for people who read this blog to sign up, beyond wanting to support the greatest cake creator in the entire Universe – stop writing this bloody blog.
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