Take A Chill Pill

21 02 2009

2461004983_113e222ffa_mIt’s been a long time coming, but I think I’m finally getting over the “OMG, I’m homeless, jobless, friendless” phase and beginning to enjoy life here.  I got a job offer today working at a swanky office near Buckingham Palace.  Who could ask for more? I can go visit the Palace on my lunch break and come back with time to spare.  Fo’ shizzle.  The pay isn’t bad either – it allows me to budget for more than a cardboard box in terms of accomodation.  Right now my wonderful friend Jaclyn has graciously opened her flat to me to crash in until I find a place of my own.  It is AMAZING how much you appreciate the little things again after living in a hostel for over a week.  A shower that has pressure? WOW! Laundry machine! Woohoo! A toilet that flushes? Score.

Slowly but surely I am starting to readust to British life.  I am more comfortable using the Tube now.  Buses, however, are a different story.  They are soo cheap (£1), but I am scared that I will never find my way home – so I have only braved it once so far.  Turned out in my favour, so it can’t be all bad.  I’m still finding that I have issues crossing the roads though.  Either I find myself looking the wrong way, or assuming cars will stop.  Bad idea.  They don’t.  They also drive like maniacs.  I threw up after someone drove me home.  Did I tell you that already? Gross.

In terms of living accomodations, we are SPOILED in Canada.  Uber spoiled.  Laundry rooms are unheard of.  The washing machines (and dryers if you’re lucky – most don’t have dryers) are in the kitchen under the counter like dishwashers.  There is this huge electrical looking thing with lots of switches on the wall in the kitchen, and thats the “On” button for the appliances.  So, if you want to use the stove – you have to flick the fuse for the “Stove.”  Energy conservation thing I’m assuming.  I miss “on/off” buttons.  The hot water you have to click little switches as to what time you want it to be available  – still haven’t necessarily figured that one out yet.  And electricity is in most times paid through a metre (but not a parking metre as I originally imagined).  Also houses our size are just unheard of I think.  Space is limited, so they build up instead of out.  The building are tall and usually have multiple floors – but sometimes with only one room on each floor.  Its a good workout regardless.

I am starting to chill out a bit more and take in all the sites.  My feet are hurting from all the walking.  A friend and I went to see St. Paul’s Cathedral and the London Museum the other day.  Both free and both amazing.  What London takes from you in living expenses it makes up in sightseeing.  Most of the museums and attractions are free, and if not it doesn’t cost a whole lot.  We also visited Platform 9 3/4.  For all of you who are not versed in Harry Potter literature, it is at Kings Cross and is the Platform Harry must run through in order to board his train to Hogwarts school.  It actually exists.  Not in the sense that you can actually run through the wall there and board a train to Hogwarts, but in the sense that there is a 9 3/4 Platform sign there for giddy tourists like me to take pictures of.  There is even a cart that is sticking out the wall (hard to explain if you haven’t read the books/seen the movies – in which case – SHAME ON YOU!)  It was definitely a highlight.

So as per subject line – I’m taking a chill pill and one day at a time.





London To Date

16 02 2009

2292923840_056e8a4de5_mWell, I’m in England! Hoorah!

So far…

Times almost hit by car: 3 (caused by looking the wrong way when crossing)

Times gotten lost: infinite

# of Pints drunk: lost count…

# of friends made: a few :) (yay!)

jobs found: 0

flats found: 0

Bank accounts opened: 1 (whew!)

So far, I’m not doing so badly.  Been in the country less than a week and I’ve accomplished a lot of the “administrative” type tasks I needed to do.  The big things – like a job and a place to live – are still in limbo.  

I thought that I would have a job/flat as soon as I arrived.  I was going to be SO pro-active and accomplish all of these things. Nope.  The London Pub scene quickly took over, and the first couple of nights were spent doing nothing but becoming one step closer to an alcoholic. 

My hostel is literally right across the street from the Great Portland Street Tube so it gives me easy access to anywhere I want to go.  So far I have been – down South in Clapham, London Zoo, on the London Eye, seen Big Ben (from the London eye), I could go on and on.  So not a bad deal for 4/5 days, eh?

I am actually surprised at how friendly British people are as well.  Yes – you heard me right…I said FRIENDLY.  Not at all what I’ve heard from others.  They are not the bitter, snobby drunks everyone makes them out to be! Haha.

So even though I haven’t gotten around to accomplishing the 2 main tasks – I’m not necessarily in any hurry.  The hostel is great (and surprisingly cheap), I’ve met some great people and I’m having a great time.  

I haven’t made up my mind on how long I plan on staying here.  Originally, I thought a year.  It could be less, it could be more.  Its still kind of hard to say.  We, as Canadians, are quite lucky in that respect because Americans are only allowed to stay maximum 6 months on the same type of Visa.

Regardless…

I’m safe, I’m well, I’m happy, just maybe going a bit broke.





Leaving On A Jetplane

9 02 2009

2108604304_c4d4bffe3fWell, its been a while  since we’ve talked, eh?  Thought I would start it off with a bang: I’m flying to London tomorrow!  Can you believe that? After all of the ups and all of the downs, I’m finally doing it.  I can’t say I’m not scared, and I can’t say I’m not going to cry, but I can say that it will be an experience of a lifetime.  With some of my closest friends scheduled to visit me in the April/May timeframe, I’m actually getting excited.  

Obviously, there will be some administrative things to take care of upon arrival (bank accounts, living accommodations, etc), but I have no doubts that it will all fall into place.

If any of you think I’M  brave, I just found out my good friend Barry (shout out, hey!) is jumping on a plane to Columbia for 2 weeks with some Columbian (?) guy he met at a bar.  I’ve been told that 1. It’s not a gay thing and 2. Apparently this Columbian guy is a fantastic Salsa dancer – which is really bad news for my dear friend Barry, because we have been Salsa dancing together…and…ummm….well, I love him anyways :)

Anyhoo…my bags are packed. I am definitely ready to go. I even did the early on-line checkin, so there really is no backing out now.  

ALSO, I heard England got some snow.  I’d assume it’s all melted by now, BUT apparently it was a big deal.  Some of my UK friend posting pictures of their cars drizzled lightly by a little snow.  I heard that not only were snowshoe sales up in the UK but people were buying canned goods to prepare for hibernation.  I don’t know if any of that is true, but all I have to say to that is…Grow some balls England!  Wait until you spend 45 minutes cleaning your car of snow and then another 2 hours shoveling your driveway.  And then you wonder why we all drive such big SUV’s and trucks here.  Hahaha. 

Watch out England, Canada is coming!





Chin Up

21 01 2009

129436005_ee68df44db_mHello,

It is with great sadness I write this post.  My flight to London, UK took off Jan 14th at 7:45 pm.  Without me.  Unfortunately, a family emergency has forced me to delay my trip.  But fear not! I am still going! …Just not right now.

I can’t really express how disheartening it is.  All the build up, all the preparation, all the planning, all the excitement, all the tears and the laughs…  

I definitely shed a tear on that dreary Jan. 14th at 7:45pm.  However, I will smile 3 times for every one tear I cried when I finally arrive.

As Gillian says to me all the time – “Chin up.”

Anna





New Years Resolutions

29 12 2008

2158400152_b53b55da9d_mWell, its that time of the year again! The time we all (at least I do) get  excited about a ‘fresh start!’ The time we take bets on how long the resolutions will last…

2008 was supposed to be my lucky year according to the Chinese Calendar since I was born in 1984.  If an outsider looks at the past year of my life they probably wouldn’t say it was so lucky.  However, when I look back on it in retrospect, I think it was.  I made the biggest decision of my life this year – I decided to move to London.  If none of the other things in 2008 resulted in anything good – I know this decision will, and I can’t really ask for more than that.

Which brings me to 2009.  What are my resolutions? Well here they are in no particular order (except for #1 – it seems to be on the top of the list every year…)

  1. Get rid of ‘the last 10lbs’ (ugh!)
  2. Eat healthier (or at all, depending on how my London budget crisis will go)
  3. Take up Pilates (need to get that flexibility back! It currently hurts to bend over)
  4. Stress less! (Deep breathes…1…2….3…4…5…)
  5. Be more selfless (I have what is known as “younger sibling syndrome“)
  6. Travel more (yessssss!)
  7. Write more …and write better!
  8. Meet a nice boy (mmm accents)
  9. Save more (this one is ultra difficult when you’re a big geek like me and have a huge gadget addiction)
  10. Take up kickboxing again
  11. Walk more 
  12. Learn to cook (thank you Nintendo DS for coming up with “Personal Trainer: Cooking” – much love!)
  13. Make great new friends in London (although I’m hoping I don’t have to make this an actual resolution – kinda hoping it will just happen in London)
  14. Be more confident in my decisions (thats a biggie)
  15. Make amazing new memories!

Although I’m sure there are many more, I don’t want to bore you – and I don’t want to over-burden myself. Haha. 

Anyways, I wish you the reader, and all of my friends the best of luck in the new year! May it be the best one yet!

What are your new years resolutions?





Let It Snow!

21 12 2008

p1000386This is a photo of my street.  This is a photo of the day after a huge snow fall (after its already been plowed).  This is right before we got ANOTHER huge snow storm.  There is currently a snow pile on my lawn that is taller than I am and that could cause an avalanche.  It will definitely be a white holiday.

All I have to say it thank goodness for out 4×4! Otherwise I would still be stranded in my driveway.  The snow storm is still going (all I can see is a white blur outside my window – we are expected ANOTHER 30cm today)  It was finally time to take the winter parka out of my closet! It was -15C yesterday. Brrr!

Surprisingly enough, I will miss the snow.  I like the feeling of curling up under a warm blanket, sipping hot chocolate and watching movies like Home Alone, and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.  Even though I don’t celebrate Christmas, I still enjoy the season!  Who doesn’t?!  The skiers and the snowboarders are probably ecstatic right now! (I’ve only been a handful of times – I’m a poor excuse for a Canadian)

Anyways, I need to be at work in 6 hours – so I should start shoveling my way out now if I want to be there in time.  I love Canada.





I’m Homeless, but I’m Happy

10 12 2008

399985221_f07aa41989_mWhere am I going to live upon arrival? That is the ultimate question everyone seems to be seeking an answer too – my parents, my friends, my coworkers and obviously myself.  The answer is simple – I dunno.

I have spent countless hours searching countless sites for places to live in London.  But truth be told – it really doesn’t matter! It’s not like I can drive over and look at the place to see if I like it.  I can’t really reserve it either since I’d have to pay a months rent without even living there  – I arrive Jan 15th, 2009.  Also, I want to find a job first, so that I can narrow my search options around it.  So, the reality is – I’m homeless. And?

I’m still happy!

I get to go on this great adventure I know I’ll never forget! I’m not necessarily worried about finding a place – I know I will.  A hostel will suffice in the meantime.  Living in a hostel for a week or so will be more than enough motivation to help me find a place faster! They aint cheap!

I understand why everyone is worried – especially my folks – having to send their youngest daughter away to a foreign country, jobless, homeless and friendless.  I even understand the curious/crazy looks I get from friends when I tell them I have no idea where I will be living or working.  The point is I know I WILL be working, and most of all I WILL be living.








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