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.


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!