Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Didn’t want to write too much today (I think I may have gotten the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome from my last post) but I did want to mention that I GOT ON THE FAST TRAIN TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That means I made it home by 7:20pm....the earliest I have gotten home EVER!!!!
I usually get home just after 8pm, so today was a real treat!! I just checked my emails, followed up on a couple of potential flats (I hope to see these two great ones this week)....and basically isolated myself to CHILL!!!
Today was CRAZY at work, there were sooooooo many people in and out of the office because they are doing a mass hire. It felt like there was around 50 people crammed like sardines into a 20x20 office today...hot and because it is in the basement....claustrophobic!!!!
BUT I CAUGHT A FAST TRAIN TODAY....YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, September 20, 2010
I woke up Saturday morning with a mission - I HAD to go visit Notting Hill. Not only had the movie inspired me (which I obviously watched a week before I moved to London), but every time you mention that area to someone around here, they say that it is a cute area, with beautiful homes and nice shops....I was soo excited to look around myself!!
I checked out of the employee long term housing facility, got direction from the receptionist...and headed towards the famous Oxford Street. It’s like Times Square in London!! The street is lined with really fun shops...obviously I had to stop into at least ONE!!! So I went into a store called TOPSHOP (it’s all caps...I’m not yelling again). It is soooooo crazy in this store!!!! It has a cafe that is kinda like a mini super market, a hair salon, eyebrow/waxing station, nail salon, and whatever else was in a hidden corner. I was seriously getting light headed being in there. There were a MILLION ppl, a TRILLION things to look at....great my head is spinning again just thinking about it!!! BUT THE CLOTHES!!!! Oh the CLOTHES!!!!!!
-- my heart goes weak --
This store is soo cool...I love it. They even have a sparkly cupcake area....heaven!!! Now why hadn’t I thought about this?? I could have been a GAGILLIONAIRE by now!!!
So I got a call from one of my coworkers asking if I had plans for the day - and I did - Notting HILL!!!!!!!!! She agreed to meet me there.
The night before, a bunch of my coworkers and I went to a pub across the street from my work. It was a Friday night and a perfect time to have my first Fish and Chips in London too!! I got it with some ‘mushy peas‘ - a typical side with F & C’s.
When I arrived at Notting Hill Gate Station, it was CRAZY!!! People were milling in and out, you could barely move!! Saturdays are the days when Portobello Road is filled with people, vendors, and best of all - an outdoor market!!!
We spent hours walking slowly, checking out all of the knick-knacks and taking in all of the sights, sounds and smells around us.
It was just as I thought it would be....pastel houses sat side-by-side along the street, the aroma from the fresh bread stand filled the air, the colours that make you want to smile beamed from the flower stands. It was a perfect day. Sunny, warm, relaxed...I feel like I’m on vacation...and in a way, I am!!! The many places around me that have always seemed to be so far away are right in front of me now!!
We first stopped at a cute coffee shop that had people bursting out of the door...all waiting for their expresso or cappacino’s. I got a London Fog...my second favourite drink...and man did they make good!! I didn’t ask for non-fat milk...and I think that made ALL the difference!!
Next I bought this great Chirozo soup with chickpeas that I could smell from a mile away - literally. It was simmering in a HUGE pot where all of the ingredients finally met after being cooked till perfection in individual skillets (will definitely include my pics here too)!!
We found a cute street off Portobello road, to the side of all of the madness, and ate on someone’s doorstep. The sun was shining down on us and the food was warming us from the inside. I could only eat half b/c I HAD to save room for some pastries!!! I got a pain au raisin....which was bigger than my head, and sure enough, it was gone in moments.
We moseyed back to where we had begun, with a belly-full and a grin on our faces!!!
The receptionist at the employee long term housing facility held my bag for me, so I went back to collect it before heading back to Reading. The tube was nuts because a lot of the bus service was closed due to the Pope being in town.
When I got back, I heard some great news...the son of the family I am living with was on the radio with his band...they were being hyped up HUGE by the radio announcer, it was amazing!! They are such a talented group that success is imminent, inevitable and a dream come true for such hard working people!! You should hear their music...you’d think they were superstars already!! If I get permission, I will include a link so you can listen..they are soo great!!
The daughter had her going away ‘leaving’ party that night too...so it was a busy day!!! I also did all my wash and cleaned all of the things that were piling up since I’ve arrived. It felt good to get that all out of the way!
Sunday I went for a jog...and got lost...obviously. The roundabouts made me run in circle I think, well I’m not even sure where I went because after going into a convenience store to ask them where the heck I was, I entered the subdivision at a different side than when I had left it....I was sooo messed up!!! My knee was KILLING me...at one point I had shooting pains that made it feel numb (that’s never happened before) and it SUCKED. I walk/ran the rest of the way. I was listening to my iPod and heard a song that reminded my of my boyfriend and made me at first shocked to hear it (the songs were on my iPod from my sisters playlist and I hadn’t thought she would have uploaded a song by that artist) and then feel sad too because I made him a scrapbook for our anniversary with the lyrics of this song quoted throughout it. I couldn’t help thinking of my sisters too when Jack Johnson came on =( Thank GOD the rest of the songs were ones I didn’t really know, or else that jog would have been a sob-fest instead!!!!
I took my time getting ready and then we all went out for a family dinner (I am a honourary member) at this super ‘posh’ (I find they use this term a lot to talk about really fancy or glamourous places) Indian restaurant. It was soo yummy!! The rest of the day I Skyped my family, boyfriend and friends...it was great!! I also planned out all of my outfits for the week and ironed the things that needed to be ironed.
Today - Monday, was a day filled with looking for flats and having people trying to scam me soooo hard. The response back from these people who I had sent an email to regarding their flat was soo long-winded and filled with lies so that I would feel sorry and would send them money through Western Union, as they had requested. YA RIGHT....seriously people???? No problem, let me run to WU and wire you 2000 pounds...that’s like $3500 - PUHHHH-LEEEEZZZZZ!!!!!
After work was done I came home to a wonderful stir-fry and the best part - the guy I’m living with was on the radio again!!!! I swear, he will be soo famous and I will look back and be soo happy I knew him during this pivotal time in his life!!
I feel like I wanted to include something else, but I forget....
It’s 1:40 AM....I NEED to sleep!!!!! Waking up in 4!!!
I will post pics this week - I PROMISE!!!
Miss you all!!!
PS- I LOVE reading your comments, please add them below!!!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Sorry for not posting in a bit, a lot of things have been going on over here!!!
1. The girl I live with just got a job at Disneyland Paris!!!!!!!!!! She is going to be Belle and Jasmine (don’t tell the little kiddies)!!!! She has been dancing for many years and is using her gap year to do something fun with her talents!! For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, a gap year is year that students take ‘off’ to travel or work before they start university. I think it is such an amazing way of refocusing and taking time off from what most go through for a 19 years...straight!!! Why the heck aren’t ppl in North America doing the same thing? It’s a year to work and make a ton of money to off-set the cost of university, or a year to just travel the world (as most of the kids do here). I love how my housemate is doing both all in one!!! She had to go to an open audition where they asked her to dance for x amount of time but every minute (I think) change the type of dance she was doing to reflect the moods the judges were telling her to portray. Out of almost 600 ppl they asked 22 ppl to stay so that the make-up and hair team could dress the potential mouseketeers up as the characters they thought would best suit them. Since the judges were really stuck between the 2 characters for my housemate, they decided to pick here for both!!! I am soo happy for her, she REALLY wanted to get selected!! I curled her hair the night before so she was all set to go for the next morning. She is leaving for Paris next Friday (one week from tomorrow) and I will be soo sad to see her go!! She is the best cupcake maker, ever...and you all know how much I LOVE cupcakes!!!
2. At work today, I was offered the opportunity to stay in a temporary living facility (pretty much a hotel that doesn’t get cleaned everyday) so that I could have a little bit of a reprieve from my commute to work. I was not provided with compensation for my move, but individuals in management positions or higher are compensated, and also given the chance to stay at this place until they can find a flat. The reason I ended up here, is that the one of our new employees cannot move to London until Saturday and my employers cannot cancel this already booked reservation. Instead of waisting the room, they were soo thoughtful and asked if I wanted to take it!! It is a really cute room, nothing over-the-top, but a much closer place to lay my head for a few nights!! My commute will only be 15-20 minutes as opposed to 2 hours!!! I really miss going back to my cute little family in Reading. They have been such a God send to me during this move that I feel, for the first time, loneliness. Will this be what it’s like when I finally get a flat...going to the grocery store right after work, making dinner, Skyping family and friends, watching tv, then going to bed?????????????????
3. I went grocery shopping for the first time for my own food!!!!!! Right after work I went to Sansbury’s they are a huge chain here in London and I got a lot of great things, I even bought a bottle of wine for only about $8!!!
4. As I stated in a previous post, the company I work for is re-opening the building I work in. My office space is still under major construction, as is the rest of the building!! The tour of the building has, thus far, been the best part of my work experiences so far!! It is sooo great to see - in real life - what I have been envisioning for months. The building is right in the middle of being conservative, and naturey!! They wanted to bring the feel of Hyde Park into the building. In every room you go into you want to touch something...from the leather paneling on the wall, to the sculpted plaster wall sculptures (for lack of a way to describe it), as well as the marble fireplaces and plaid window furnishings. The is still SOOOOO much that needs to be done, but the concepts are great!!
5. I feel like there is a sooo much more that I could write about OMG I forgot to say that I rode on my first double decker bus today on the way to this hotel!!!! I sat on the bottom level in the first row on the left hand side. I wish I could have sat at the very top...especially for the first time, but I was traveling with a co-worker and needed to pay more attention to the route to the hotel, not the beautiful scenery around me!! We passed by the legendary Oxford street where the worlds best designers line the street...my mouth was watering...literally. One day I will TEAR THAT STREET UPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!! In my mind I bought a little something from each place for each of you!!
Officially DYING of exhaustion...wish I could have included a lot more, but hopefully I will be able to do that this weekend
Note - it is true that Londoners do not eat good food at ALL!!!!! This hasn’t been good for my waistband. I have decided to do as the Londoners do (maybe that’s my excuse to eat my favourite thing in the world) and eat crisps EVERYDAY!!!!!!!!!! My ‘sweetie’ for the day was a Pain au Raisin for breakfast and my favourite vanilla chai latte (grande, non-fat, no-foam, extra hot, sleeve on, travel stick in) from Starbucks. We’ll have to discuss food in my next blog...there is too much to say, and I need energy to talk about that!!!!!!!!!
Have a great night/day/afternoon/whatever time of the day it is for you!!!!
Don’t forget that pictures and videos are coming soon...stay tuned!!
AND if you like my blogs, please become a follower =)
Monday, September 13, 2010
So I was up bright and early. Maybe not soo bright because I was up so early, but I guess bright because it was light outside.....................N E WAYS.....I was up early - and had to peal myself out of bed because I hardly slept...again. I think it was in anticipation of what today would bring, even the gravol I had taken before bed didn’t help!!
I had to be out of the house at 6:50am the latest in order to allow for enough time to get a ride to the train station, take the 7:08 train to Earling Broadway, change there to get to the underground to Bond Street, change again and to get to Green Park, and change a last time to get to Hyde Park Station. Today was a real kick in the pants (oh - and pants means underwear here..hehe) because I went to get a week pass at the train station, but I didn’t have a passport sized photo so I had to get another day pass....and SINCE IT WAS HIGH TIME FOR TRAVEL I had to pay £27.50!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wanted to DIE!!!!!!!!!!! That’s close to FIFTY DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHH...it’s still killing me now...n e ways again (having trouble focusing), I got to work....after getting super lost, but I was still 15 minutes early. Fasinating because it took me ONE HOUR and FORTY SEVEN MINUTES to get to work.
Non yelling now...
First day of work was great, people were amazing, I work in a basement, I got to answer a lot of calls and help a lot of people....did I say I work in a basement!!?!?!?!? I think they conveniently forgot to mention that in the application process!!!!! It’s not too bad though, aside from the constant sawing and banging that is going on above my head at all times, it’s relatively quiet!!! Hahahhaha...I just have to laugh because I am delirious right now...but it is quite funny!!! Thankfully I wore flats today, there is cardboard on the ground everywhere, and with my clumsy nature, my heal would have dug in for sure and I would have gone flying in the opposite direction!!
I should have prefaced this by saying that I currently work in a construction site....no I am not doing any sort of ‘constructing’, but the building I am working in has been closed for business for a few years in order for some massive remodeling to be done. It is still not completed yet (due to open again for business in late December) so right now it is all dust, concrete, some areas are carpeted, and minimally furnished. It’s actually kinda cool being there during this time, seeing all of the progress being done, it’s fun!! I get to have a walk through the building on Wednesday to see what it looks like and I’m really pumped about that!!!
My coworkers are really great and my boss seems to be such a great guy. I also work with this really cute English girl how is already making me laugh every time she talks!! I have purposely been trying to avoid calling ‘trousers’ ‘pants’ because if you say ‘pants’ it means underware. This girl kept said PANTS all day under her breath and I want cracking up!!! I guess it’s slang for ‘crap’...but super funny to me non-the-less!!!
Since I don’t have a flat yet, I have been told that durning work time I can search for a flat online or make outbound calls as it relates to a flat inquiry. I thought that was soo kind of them!! They are also allowing me (and other new hires in the same situation obviously) to go look at flats during work hours if it can’t be done at other times. Since I have been freaking out about this, I am so happy they are doing this!!!
After work, I hopped on a train which took me North to St. John’s Wood station...pretty close to work...really cute neighbourhood, etc. to see my first FLAT!!!! (pause here to allow your excitement to dwindle) Although I loved the flat - it was tidy, furnished nicely, ready to move in tomorrow - the 35 year old Spanish woman who would be my flatmate told me that there was a third bedroom that had been rented out to a Moroccan guy and he moved in this past weekend...what the HECK (sorry for the yelling) I don’t want to share with a GUY!!!! And there is only 1 bathroom for all of us to share!! How weird...maybe some people could do that, but I wouldn’t want to live with anyone else besides my super sweet family or my amazing boyfriend. I would feel so awkward all the time. And this lady said he is a musician who keeps ‘unconventional’ hours. GREAT. Just what someone wants to hear!!!!!! So as I was peacing out of there, another guy was waiting in the hallway for his turn to see the flat. He can have it!!!!!!!
By this point it was 7pm, I only had a sandwich, fruit salad and a rose flavoured lemonade for lunch (note I had not put one thing in my mouth till 12:30pm), so I was super tired, hungry and still had a 2 hour commute back to Reading.
Tiredly I sat forEVER on the subway and got picked up at 8:48pm. At home I had a fajita, curled my housemates hair and wrote this blog.
Now I really want to sleep, but want to say I miss everyone!!!!!!! Today is my grandpa’s 83rd birthday =( I couldn’t be there and that sucks. The worst thing about this move is missing out on people’s lives. Missing my best friends 3 month old peanut grow up, not being there when my mom get’s a sweet new job and I can’t give her a hug, not being able to yell down the hall to my sisters room and tell her that she’s amazing for going back to school for her second degree, not being able to visit my other sister and have my head get all banged up from her stupid headboard, not being able to cheer my boyfriend along as he takes a step in his schooling career (as he always does for me)....it SUCKS!!! Sitting on the train for 4 hours does that to you...messes up your mind, blahhh....and I was doing soo good!!!!!!!!!!! Crying now, I have to go to bed.
Goodnight and blahhhhh......waking up in 5 1/2 hours.....
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Yesterday was BUSY!!! You are not going to believe what I crammed into one day!!!
I woke up super early (around 7am-ish) and was sooooooo tired!!! I only had about 4 hours of sleep and had to DRAG myself out of bed. I had to get up early because I had an appointment in Reading at 9am at the bank...and you all know how dead set on getting a bank account set up I was yesterday!!
I woke up with a really bloodshot left eye that was watering profusely...not sure if it was from allergies, or from lack of sleep...but it took me 3 times to get my makeup on without it totally smearing all over my face.
I ate 2 pieces of toast with a huge glass of milk and got a ride to the train station. OH PS - a ‘train’ is an above ground subway, and a ‘tube’ or ‘underground’ is a subway. I had to take a train to Reading for my appointment but got a quick Starbucks before heading into the bank. It was soo funny because when I walked into the bank the bank concierge (for lack of a better term) was like ‘Ms. Tullio, so happy to see you again...blah blah blah’. He only knew my name since I had been in there sooooo many times!!!!! My fourth attempt to set up a bank account was a success!!!!!! YAY!!! FINALLY!!!! Now time for a phone....
I walked into a few phone places for the second time, but since I won’t be getting a debit card until it is mailed to me (hopefully by Friday) they wouldn’t let me sign up for a phone. Apparently they need to charge me £1 by swiping my debit card to make sure the card is active - an account number would not suffice. Hopefully by week end I’ll have my debit card sent to me so I can buy a phone, I’m dying without one!!!
Next I went to the Reading train station and got a day pass for £19.50 (that’s $31) so that I could go into London for the day....soooo expensive!!!!!!! It took me over an hour to get there, and 2 tube changes. Everything was super easy to get around, had no problems navigating my way around the underground which was great!!! I did find out that it’s going to cost me £85 a week for a week pass....blahhhhhhhhh. I had taken the train to Paddington station, which is a huge interchange between trains and subways. Then I went to Nottinghill Gate station, then to Marble Arch. When I got out at Marble Arch I placed my feet for the first time on London soil!!! It was a great feeling, I was smiling from ear-to-ear, all by myself, looking like an idiot!!!! But I didn’t care, it was great!!! Everything is soo beautiful here, the people are so nice, I have no complaints so far!!
I walked along Hyde Park, this super big, super famous park in London that is bustling with cars. After looking at this park sooo many times as a reference when looking for a flat, it was so surreal to walk beside it!! I walked to the place where I will be starting work tomorrow to meet my future boss. When I arrived I was greeted so warmly by my boss and my coworkers. It was so exciting to put faces to names and to welcome with such open arms! My boss showed me where I would need to go when I started work and made it all seem very relaxed.
Next, I decided to go to Buckingham Palace!! I have always heard about it or seen it in movies, and the thought of being so close to it now (only a couple of kilometers) I just had to go!! I walked through Green Park to get to there and was sooo excited when I saw it!!!
I stayed there for a bit, walking around, taking pictures for people, etc and then went back home. In the tube station I went to use the restroom and had to pay 30 pence to use it...crazy!!!!!!
I arrived back home to eat only my second meal of the day (we won’t count the Burger King fries I picked up along the way). We ate dinner at the neighbours house (they recently redid their backgarden - that’s what you call a backyard here)..and it is stunning!!! They have this sunroom now that has glass panelled walls that fold up so that you are sitting completely outside...soo cool!!! We went in their hot tub, had many laughs, it was really fun!! Got back home late and hit the sack around 3am again...I HATE jet lag!!!
This morning I work up at noon, had a great bbq with the family and organized all my luggage, ironed and laid out my work clothes for the week and watched the season finale of Big Brother UK (which is the hugest show ever here).
Great weekend, great food, great sightseeing, soo excited for my first day of work tomorrow and after work I’ll be going to look at my first flat!! It is located right near Abby Road (the famous Beatles stomping ground which I will have to go visit too tomorrow)!!!
Will let you know how things go tomorrow!!
Friday, September 10, 2010
After having ZERO sleep by 7am this morning, I decided to take a Gravol and hit the sack. PLUS my stomach has been terribly sore, so I thought I would kill 2 birds with one stone! I slept until 1pm and got ready for the day.
Without eating (didn’t want to upset my stomach any more), I went into Reading all excited that today was going to be the day that I got things started. My mission for the day was to do 2 things...1. set up a bank account, and 2. get a phone.
I went to the bank with my passport in hand (I was denied yesterday because I didn’t have it on me), and sat down to speak with a bank rep. He told me I also needed to have proof that I am working in London (something I obviously did not have on me). So off I went to search for a place that had a computer I could use to go onto the internet and print off my work contract that was in my inbox. We found a library a short ways away and had to have the person I was with get a library membership just so that we could use the computer for like 2 minutes. We went back to the bank and had to wait 40 minutes to see someone and because of the long wait they didn’t have enough time before the bank closed to set up my bank account. The new rep that I spoke with also told me that I didn’t need to bring in my letter of employment......
Soooooo I couldn’t get a phone either...but on the bright side, I did have a great walk through Reading, it’s such a cute place!!! Lots of little shops and tons of restaurants, a ‘cinema’, shops and tons of people walking around. There are no cars in this one stretch, so you can walk freely in the street!! And the streets are kind of cobble-stoney, which is soo pretty!!!
The weather has been great these past 2 days...around 65 degrees, a bit cloudy, but nice. There is a soft breeze that is refreshing and not too cold, just perfect for walking around!
For dinner I had an amazing leek, pea and goat cheese quiche that was amazing, over great conversation with the family I am temporarily staying with. I had scraps of some cake the daughter did not need for a cake she is giving her boyfriends twin sisters for their birthday tomorrow. I even got to lick the sides of the bowl after she was done mixing and pouring the cake batter into a pan!!! YUM!!
After dinner I went to a local pub in Wargrave which was super cute!! Very rustic looking inside with exposed wood beams, log fireplaces, comfy leather chairs...not your typical pub at all!! I was definitely expecting something more...how should I put this....grungy??
So now it’s 2:40am...still can’t sleep...looking forward to the day I will be able to go to sleep at a reasonable time!!!!
Tomorrow’s agenda: OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT!!!!!!!!!
Ta-ta for now!!!
Thursday, September 9, 2010
So far, I have been awake for 26 hours...forgive me if this doesn’t make sense!!!
To help you understand, when I woke up this morning I lived in Canada. Tonight, I am going to bed in England!
In that time, I have packed, gone to the bank, picked up contacts, said good-bye to my cat, visited my grandpa, rearranged all of my luggage at the airport with the help of my mom, sister and boyfriend because 2 out of the 3 pieces of luggages I brought were over the 70 pound max limit, said good-bye to them, took a plane to Chicago, then to Heathrow on a red-eye flight (and I have red eyes now b/c I only slept for 3 hours), drove to a place outside Reading on the opposite side of the street in the opposite side of a car, went to a grocery store, went to Reading to set up a bank account (didn’t have any luck b/c I took my passport out of my purse before leaving to go set up the bank account), went to get a phone (but couldn’t do that b/c I didn’t have a bank card to set up my pre-authorized payments), took the train back to Twyford all on my own, ate dinner, assessed the stuff in my luggage, talked on Skype with my boyfriend, sister and dad before my connection went out, took a hot hot shower (which felt AMAZING), and I am now all ready for bed!!!!
- When my plane landed in Heathrow and pulled up to its resting spot on the tarmak, to the very right of me sat 3 Air Canada planes - reminding me that I am not that far away from home
- An amazingly generous family (whom my parents knew from high school) took me into their home and are giving me a place to lay my head until I find a flat
- My mom got a Vice Principal position today
- I moved to LONDON, ENGLAND!!!!!!!!!
- I wasn’t able to connect with my mom to say congratulations.
All-in-all today was a great day! No major hiccups, no problems at the boarder, didn’t get lost anywhere!!!
Agenda for tomorrow:
- Set up a bank account (with passport, and ALL other documentation I can scrounge up)!
- Get a cell phone.
- Go view my first flat in the afternoon.
- Meet my future boss and some of my co-workers.
- Go to a bar-b-que at a neighbours house.
I wonder what other surprises tomorrow will bring!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? I’ll keep you posted!!