Friday, 22 December 2006

Happy Dance & Merry Christmas/Solstice to Me!

Just got notification that my visa for Australia has been issued!!!

Happy Solstice

Once again, it's the shortest day of the year. I vaguely remember posting on this last year, although not sure, as that was also the day I flew out to Ireland for my xmas holiday. Two days later, I met my beautiful boyfriend, who I am soon to celebrate one year with. We had a total of 16 dates (most of which were longer than one day as we did weekends and trips) before I moved in with him. The first and second were in Ireland, the 5th in Amsterdam, the 8th in Paris and the 9th in Prague. A charmed first 8 months, and although we were together 24/7 after only seeing each other for brief periods every 2-3 weeks, I think we've done pretty damn good...and are lucky to be planning ahead strongly...3 moves in the next 7 months. Poor boy is over-stressed at the moment over all there is to do before we make our next move, to Chicago, in about 9 days, and as usual, I am what others would consider to be ahead of schedule---big pile of things to ship to Australia on the lounge, and one suitcase almost packed, while everything unnecessary has been binned or given away. I'm so excited with all that's going on I can barely sleep properly. Tomorrow is my last day at work and there are only 3 full days left until Christmas!

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

What I'll miss most about England

List to be modified until departure:

Cappucino at work in the morning. I always find myself glancing around for my coffee cup, only to realise with disappointment that it's been finished and the cup tossed (the action which motivated me to begin this post).

Walking down the residental streets in our neighborhood knowing that 100 years ago, people saw the exact same site...almost like stepping back in herstory.

Friday, 15 December 2006

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Sliding at the Tate Modern




New installation...I took a slide down the littlest one and was still scared (you go down fast!). The tallest one (on level 5 of the museum, I believe) is said to be a very physical experience. No thank you...

Monday, 11 December 2006

Surprise visitors



Now, I know that the English have a tendency to drop over without ringing first, which is a difference in culture I'm told I'll have to get used to in Australia as well...but it seems the neighborhood cats have the same characteristic. This little guy came right on in when we opened the door the other night, then stuck around until we literally had to shove him out the door.

Sunday, 10 December 2006

Our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree




Got this last week at the local Homebase. Not easy to get a real tree here; this one was $20 and came in a planter, and it's only about 2 foot tall. The ornaments are edible;)

Friday, 8 December 2006

The Advantages to Working in England

So three of us just got back from our local Sainsburys for a typical lunch shop.

(side note: I was jonesing for a bagel with cream cheese and my co-worker piped up with 'Get Philadelphia'. They don't call it cream cheese here; I bought the generic, which was Sainsbury's soft cheese.)

Anyhoo, the checkout lady seemed in a particularly good mood...calling everyone sweety and honey and whatnot, smiling away, then noted "Don't mind me. We just had our Christmas meal (wink wink). I can't believe they put me back on the til after three glasses of wine! I'll be lucky to make it til 3:30!!) Oh well---at least they get to work sitting down...

Thursday, 7 December 2006

Bullying boys

I can recall two instances in junior high in which I had to ‘bully’ boys into giving me money. That is an extreme description however, as they were only giving me what was owed. One day on the way home from school, Tim Kelly grabbed my earmuffs and ripped them to bits in front of everyone on the bus. He was all puffed up and pleased with his act of male aggression at the moment, but all it took was a stern threat the next day to tell on him unless he forked over $3 to get not only money for a new pair of earmuffs, but also an extra bit of cash in my pocket. (New muffs only cost about $1.50.) Around the same time, Tom Noonan decided it would be great fun to scribble over all the drawings on my nice pink leather pencil case. If I recall correctly, I got about a fiver from him and used an old pencil case I had at home for the rest of the year. When it comes down to it, most boys are wusses. When a female friend in her 20s broke my digital camera, I never saw a penny, but the boys always seemed to quiver in the boots when a threat was issued. Perhaps we remind them of their scary mothers, or they know they can’t use brute force as a show of aggression with us, but on the whole, they’re much less likely to mess with us.

Saturday, 2 December 2006

Trash Bird

I was having a conversation with a co-worker today about the differences between our countries (she's a Brit who's lived in NY) and all of a sudden she made the comment that she 'posted a lot of rubbish' in the States. I almost ignored it, as it made no sense, only to look up and see her looking at me, waiting for me to take the bait, so I asked...

She recalled how she's complained to a classmate about what a nuisance it was to have to go the Post Office every time she wanted to mail something, and why didn't they have post boxes in the US. The classmate then pointed out to her a few of our big, blue mailboxes. I would assume a look of shock and horror crossed her face right before she spoke up an announced that she'd been throwing her rubbish in those bins for the last six months.

I quickly did a google search for her and asked her what she thought the outline on the boxes was, a trash bird. Not to mention the times of collection listed inside the opening, to which she recalled the McDonald's bags and leftover Chinese noodles she'd inadvertently dumped all over the mail. The poor postman...

The Christmas movies I'll miss this year

Majority of the DVDs I own at home are xmas films. Not that I have a very large collection, but I'm going to be missing these this year:( I don't know what will actually be on the tele this year (other than the queen's speech), but if it's anything like the daily line-up of documentaries, nature shows, and reality tv, it's gonna suck. I will shore be packing these to take to Australia (poor Steve will have to get used to cartoons at the holidays)...

And my all-time favorite....

You'll shoot your eye out kid!!

Friday, 1 December 2006

How to prepare for a move to a new country

When contemplating a move to a new country, it's easy to just think of basic, practical things. When taking into consideration the basics, which range from looking for a good mobile plan, setting up a bank account, finding somewhere to live, getting the proper documentation/visa, finding a doctor/sorting prescriptions, looking for work and places that might provide work ahead of time, working on your CV (no longer called a resume), finding inexpensive phone plans for those at home to call you and vice versa, and all importantly, saving up enough funds to support yourself until you find work, there is the social side to consider. Once you leave behind the friends, activities, hobbies etc you enjoyed at home, where do you find your identity. Best to plan ahead of time on those as well. My boyfriend thinks I'm very organised, but little does he know this is a necessity for survival once we arrive, and will benefit him almost as much as me;) So far, I've found a great literary journal which I'd eventually like to subscribe to, called the Australian Book Review. I found this through a literary blog, which I found through a personal blog, which I found through a list of blogs on Adelaide or by people from Adelaide, which I found on page 10 or 12 of a google search for Adelaide. This made me think to look for some book groups/clubs, of which I found two through yahoo groups...one based in Adelaide which is mainly a book exchange and another that is simply Australian. Both seem very friendly and sociable, so there is one need met, hopefully. I'll be sorting out a place to go for yoga (er, which I did for England as well, both Leeds and London, yet have never been). I've been networking on on-line groups for Americans in Australia, just to get info, as well as to potentially find some people in Adelaide to go have a coffee or pint with. I've got ridiculous amounts of web sites bookmarked, on things from general info on Australia, to what to see and do in Adelaide, where to buy books online since amazon.com does not have an Australian component, to Australian recipe sites....

Monday, 27 November 2006

Something to balance off the vent


We had a great turkey day meal yesterday, minus the turkey;) Turkey was sold out at the grocery store, so we bought a pre-seasoned chicken in a bag for £2.99 (you actually cook it in the bag and it turned out perfect, tender and juicy). Made green been casserole for the first time, which I loved. Couldn't make any pie, as I don't do my own crusts and both fellas I asked at the grocery store looked at me like I had two heads when I asked where pie crusts were (they literally didn't understand what I meant). Don't know if they have this in the States, but we got a bottle of Bailey's with mint...yum...had a nice Bailey's (instant) coffee with the package lemon meringue pie we bought in place of the oatmeal pie I was going to bake, which was surprisingly tasty.

Unrelated, but here is an interesting article I found on New Zealand.

Is this a new workplace trend or just England?

qWarning, this is a vent. I quite detest working in London, especially on a Monday, and particularly going back to admin work, which is inevitable at this point due to the shortness of my time here. I'm tired of being someone's bitch all the time, and I think Londoners, when commuting or out in public in general, are some of the rudest people on the planet. Last weekend, a woman purposely hit me and Steve both, separately, with her pram while we were walking along the sidewalk! This morning I got off the tube and the one woman waiting to get on just stood in front of the doors. They all do this...never moving aside to actually make space for people to get off first!

Perhaps I'm just an unfriendly witch, but I hate this open plan work space thing. I like my walls and whereas before I would look at a row of cubicles with a certain amount of distain, I quite miss them here. All of our desks are fitted together in a bit of a rectangular shape and I actually have to face other people while working, which means I can't eat my lunch without comments about what it is and being told it smells good. ('Oooh, smells like din dins---what have you got!')

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Laser hair removal and Tasmania

Last night I went to get laser hair removal on my underarms in an effort to become less of an Amazon;) Spent 10 minutes going..."Ouch, ow, stop, it hurts!! Next time please tell me you offer Lidocaine ahead of time!"

Upon receiving an email back which stated: "Yes, we have received your Step 2 documents for your Australian work holiday visa and on Friday, we will be sending them to Tasmania." I busted out laughing. Visions of cartoon characters danced through my head, but yes, it is a real place.

Factoid: Almost twice as many people in the US will be traveling over this Thanksgiving weekend as live in Australia;)

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Only 6 weeks left!

Less than 6 weeks until we arrive back in Chicago. I think I might actually miss the UK, and will definitely miss Europe, as the somewhat frequent trips I've been able to take here over the past few years are at an end for now. On the other hand, I won't miss the rainy English winters, and summer for that matter, and am actually looking forward the cold, (sometimes) sunny, snowy Chicago winter days. My Australian work holiday visa is in progress, and the New Zealand visa paperwork waiting to be sent off. New adventures to look forward to;)

Friday, 10 November 2006

How being an expat changes you

Been reading this fantastic book of short stories/memoirs of expat experiences. A recurrent theme is how being an expat changes you in that your perception of your home country changes. You move to get away from it, then find yourself becoming defensive of it (moreso for Americans perhaps as no one likes us!), seeing movies you wouldn't step foot in the cinema for previously, and craving products you didn't necessarily have a huge taste for beforehand. I was so excited to see Grape Nuts in the nearby Tesco this past weekend that I bought a box. Upon pouring myself a bowl this morning and taking a big spoonful, I remebered two things: 1) Grape Nuts aren't actually all that tasty and 2) They take fucking forever to chew!

Norway, Iceland, Australia said best places to live

Seems I'm moving to the right place;)

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061109/ts_nm/un_development_index_dc

Friday, 3 November 2006

Becoming Australian-ized

You belong in Australia
Ace! Sunny, upbeat, and cute
You make the perfect surf bum
Now stop hogging the vegemite!
(courtesy of Blogthings: What English Speaking Country are You)

...or should I say -ised. Either way, crap. I'm reading something my grandpa had written and in the bit about his 1st wife, he says: "Further discord followed my mate's conversion to catholicism." I'm sitting here wondering why he's suddenly begun to talk about his friends...doh;)

Wednesday, 1 November 2006

Tonight...

I'm going to see a movie alone for the 2nd time. It's called Ten Canoes, and is an Australian film that is part of the London Film Festival this year, so only showing tonight. If you'd like to know more about the film, click here.

Tuesday, 31 October 2006

Things I'd like to do...

Learning how to cook better lately has motivated me to compile a lost of other things I'd like to do/do better:

  • Yoga
  • Take a photo class
  • Re-learn French, and do it better this time
  • Take up gardening (landscape, plant some herbs & veg)

Sunday, 29 October 2006

Halloween in London



Here's my gorgeous boyfriend, carving his first halloween pumpkin. He always gets shy when I call him gorgeous---rolls his eyes and calls me blind, silly man...

We went to a Halloween party Saturday night (my costume above). It was a bit lame--bunch of peeps making some attempt at costumes which ended up being none too creative, but I guess you can't blame them. Little did I know before coming over here that Halloween is essentially an American holiday, as far as being celebrated. The Australians, much like the Brits, don't do trick or treating or carve pumpkins much (at least Steve never has; the younger generation here are beginning to), therefore the peeps at this Halloween party didn't quite have the spirit of Halloween that we do. I don't think it is as 'magical' for them as they don't have the childhood memories to fall back on. It was more like a big drunk-fest, where, like everywhere else in Britain, the floor was covered in beer and everyone was staggering around by 11pm:(

Saturday, 28 October 2006

British Workplace Oddities

1) The kitchen is labeled 'Tea Point'.

2) The fire hose closet has a sign on it which says: 'Do not enter. Asbestos closet'.

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

What's on the shelf

I haven't read anything good for a long while, so decided to pick up a few books, to learn about Australia and expat experiences in general. Here's what I'm reading:

Could also do with some recommendations, so if anyone has any... I'm also considering taking on a project---gathering short essays from expats to Australia and editing a book. Not sure it is something I could get published, although I have seen and read similar things for other countries. I'm still working on the criteria for submissions and I have to figure out how to even start going about getting something published. It would most likely be a couple of years before it would be finished, partially due to the fact that I need some time in Australia myself before I can do this credibly!

Thursday, 19 October 2006

What I'm doing tonight...

"Ever feel like you’re constantly queuing for overpriced lunches that taste bad? What about being apologized to by a machine? How about turning up to a 24-hour supermarket, which is closed on Sundays, to find no bread on the shelves? Welcome to Brokeback Britain.

Australian Pete Jonas and American Erich McElroy moved to the UK with high expectations. They never imagined that the once mighty empire of Great Britain would be so, well, broken."


http://www.thecomedytree.com/brokebackbritain/

Thursday, 12 October 2006

Movies

I've seen five movies in about the last month; a new record for me.
  • Volver (New film by Pedro Almodovar. Not as fantastic as Talk to Her, but a definite thumbs up.)
  • Clerks II (Exceptionally crude at times, but hysterical. I'm not sure the Brits in the cinema quite appreciated the humour, but I was roaring.)
  • Children of Men (Not out in the States yet. For some reason, this dismal and uneventful film is coming out on xmas day. Two words: don't bother.)
  • The Notorious Bettie Page (Interesting, but it would have to be of interest to you ahead of time.)
  • The Queen (Eh, so-so. Kind of like a tabloid paper turned into a film.)

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

Who would have thought...

of bbq sauce and chili powder in pasta sauce. Fantastic! I've just finished my 4th meal in 2 days of pasta with meat sauce...or spaghetti bolognese as they seem to refer to it here, which is on about every menu around. Anyhoo, this was no take away or restaurant meal, but something made from scratch by the man on Sunday. I ask again---why do I cook?

Being a tourist in London


So, I was reminded this past weekend of a horribly annoying little song I learned while in Girl Scouts...something to the effect of:

'Make new friends but keep the old
Some are silver and the other gold.'

Lame, ain't it? Anyway, one of my best girlfriends ended up coming to London last minute for the weekend. It was the most time we've spent together in many, many years...and we got to wander around as tourists during the day and have drinks altogether including our men at night. No one can replace an old friend...

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

How did this country rule the world?

I have no idea how England managed to have an empire at one point in history, given how inefficient things are run here, overall. I have just, after a month, gotten a long term temp assignment to last me through Christmas. This isn't too unusual, but the way in which things have gone with the temp agencies has been a bit mind-boggling. They tend to call me with a job description to see if I am interested, then if I am, put my CV forward to the company. If the company is interested, they will want to interview me, even sometimes for positions lasting only two weeks! Whether they want to interview or not, companies take up to a week to decide who they want for the positon(s). It's a horribly inefficient way of doing things. Thankfully, after registering with eight different agencies, I found one that works well and they found me something...working for an organisation which handles NHS problems. NHS is the socialised healthcare system here, by the way. Now, the problems I mention include surgeries in which the wrong leg or breast is cut off. Need I say more?

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

A call for recipes

Hi all! Still doing temp work and having some chances to explore London. Got to sneak into an Australians only gathering with Steve this past Sunday (free beer and meat pies...although to be honest, the whole meat pie thing befuddles me). Also finally found a semi-Mexican restaurant with fantastic margaritas and a unique cinema (a.k.a. movie theatre). Going to see a play called the Vegemite Tales; another Australian thing...hopefully I'll get the humour;)

I'm running out of interesting things to cook, so if anyone is willing to post some recipes for me....a
nything hearty, healthy, spicy or Mexican...or just plain good & simple...

Wednesday, 27 September 2006

I sure hope Enron had better shredders

I've jammed the shredder here at work about three times in the last two days. The last time I had only put 4 sheets of paper in. Took me a half an hour to un-jam it yesterday, using a pair of scissors.

There seems to be quite a bit of inefficiency in temp work here. The temp agencies send you on interviews with companies who are looking to fill positions of only two weeks in length! It causes a lot of slow down. I'm waiting to hear back on about three things from three different agencies, ranging from 2 weeks to 7 weeks in duration.

Thursday, 21 September 2006

Taxes and airline tkts

Well, I caved and sent in my P46. I was hoping to get away with not paying taxes based on student status but no go since I've already completed the program:( Tax time in England is in April, so at that point, I will be a US citizen, living in Australia, filling out income tax forms for England;)

We bought our airline tickets for Australia & New Zealand last night:)

Wednesday, 20 September 2006

There's nothin better than Starbucks

Boy do I feel guilty saying that. I was craving an iced mocha this morning. Never have I intentionally planned to go to Starbucks until moving to the UK, which makes no sense since they have fantastic coffee shops all over the place, many of which are independently owned. There is, however, a Starbucks on the way to work, so I popped in this morning. Coffee over here is fantstically better than that in the states, and while I try not to have it too often...as I think caffeine is a big no no, I occasionally cave.

This job may be over Friday, or may extend another week. I'm hoping to find something else, as it's only 32.5 hours a week and the rate of pay not as much as I'd like. I also found out I have to pay taxes, which I didn't expect as a student...you're normally exempt while working on holiday, but this agency won't accept my P38 (student tax form) as they think I am done with my program. Ah, temping...it's like dealing with car salespeople, honestly.

Monday, 18 September 2006

3rd weekend in London

The weather is still holding out here, amazingly. Saturday was a great day. Had a nice lunch out and braved an obstacle course of midgets, er I mean kids, at the History Museum, which was walking distance from home (long walk, but still...). Sunday I found out my boyfriend can cook a mean roast. My mouth is watering thinking of the leftovers. I don't even mind being back at work today the weekend was so good. Just doing a temp job that may end on Friday, for a charitable org. Nothing too difficult, but it's good to be busy and have money coming in. Hoping for something more perm soon;)

Wednesday, 6 September 2006

First few days in London

Back to having to use crappy internet cafes, but hopefully that won't last long. Had my first job interview yesterday with a temp agency, during which they had me fill out a form stating my marital status, religion and sexual preference. Bunch of wackos over here, hey?! Sounds as though I should be able to get work within a week or so though, fingers crossed. Just exploring the neighborhood and getting a few things done in the meantime. Weather is gorgeous:)

Wednesday, 30 August 2006

Last 2 days in Leeds


















I'm out of here Saturday morning. Hard to believe it was a year as of yesterday. Been saying good-bye to people, trying to fill time, and doing a few last minute things. On to London...with job interviews lined up:) Here's a few pics from a few last get togethers.

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

Boycott Ryanair

Ok, this compant just needs to be boycotted. I've flown them once; they're cheap and get you from A to B, which was just fine at the time. But their response to the recent terror threats has been infantile and unproductive. First, they threatened to sue the government over the new luggage restrictions and security measures, if they did not reverse them within a certain amount of time.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/airlines/story/0,,1853247,00.html

Now, they are charging passengers for the hand luggage they have to check as a result. Ryanair really needs to get with the program. Not that I'll have the opportunity anytime soon, but I don't plan to fly them again.

Wednesday, 9 August 2006

Ramblings

I'm becoming slack at this blogging thing. Perhaps that's because there's not much going on at the moment. Actually, that's not really true at all, but I'm just really sitting around waiting for things to happen. I have about three weeks left in Leeds, then I'll be heading to London, so I'm starting the job hunt while waiting for my advisor to get back from holiday so I can wrap up my dissertation. So, these days consist of watching telly and....erm, not a whole lot else other than getting ready to pack for the fourth time in a year. My 30th is on Monday, which means the summer is almost over, and we only had a couple weeks of real summer temps here in England (it's in the 60's this entire week...what rubbish!). It was in the 80's and the news was warning of heat wave problems (roll of eyes). Savouring the last few outings with new friends made this year, but looking forward to finally getting back to Chicago for a couple of months. Cross your fingers for a mild winter please;)

Monday, 17 July 2006

N'orn Iron













Just back from almost two weeks in Northern Ireland. Interviewed a few stakeholders in the tourism industry for my dissertation, then travelled around a bit. Anyway, here are some pics.

Wednesday, 21 June 2006

Happy Summer Solstice

Solstice, Midsummer or Litha means a stopping or standing still of the sun. It is the longest day of the year and the time when the sun is at its maximum elevation.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/paganism/festivals/summer_solstice.shtml

Better late than never...







...some pics of Prague

Tuesday, 20 June 2006

Monday, 19 June 2006

A brag

Gratuitous gushing, but...I'm convinced I've got the best man on the planet. My boyfriend has been sitting on a bus on a Sunday night for 5 hours travelling home from Leeds (and he's still got at least another hour left)...and when the bus pulled off, he was sitting backwards across from someone else, ugh. And I didn't even feed him properly before he left or pack him a dinner:( And it's already 10pm.

So, the next time any of ya'll ask me if I'm taking it slow or looking for a husband or anything along those lines...stick that in yr pipe and smoke it;)

Wednesday, 14 June 2006

This is what happens...



when you try to stay up til 4am at almost 30;)

Last night was night five of a string of kitchen parties to say farewell to people who are moving out and on and home. I believe the above was night one or two;)

I'm off home for a few days next week, then off to Northern Ireland to do my dissertation interviews, as well as some travelling for about 10 days in July.

Wednesday, 31 May 2006

My Friday night


This was last Friday night. Me and the girls...and four 20 year old Polish guys, who made us sandwiches. And fetched us beers. Ain't life grand. Wish I had discovered them months ago. I'm movin to Poland!

Tuesday, 23 May 2006

My day

Today I went to work...and no one was there. They forgot to tell me there was no work this week as they would all be out on-site surveying.

I went to the GP to get a prescription filled and asked for a repeat, as I knew I'd need a refill. They gave me a form to fill out and mail in with a SASE or fax in...I couldn't quite figure out how that worked (I mean, do they then send me another prescription?) so I asked the pharmacist, who told me I could sign up for some free prescription refill plan and then fill out my form (that the GP gave me), bring the form to the GP's office, and then the GP would send my prescription to the pharmacy. I don't get it...why can't they just do normal refills.

Next, I go to return a lipstick sharpener to a local department store. When I went to get it, I specifically brought in my lipstick pencil and they said it would be the right size; it wasn't. They told me they don't do refunds on cosmetics, so I argued until they spoke to three different managers and finally gave me my money back, in cash. I was about to threaten to just deny the charge with my credit card company, which I would have done. Not wasting $8 on something that I can't use. Anyway, when I asked for my original receipt back, they wouldn't give it to me. I give up.

Have I mentioned I love England?

Sunday, 21 May 2006

Expat-ing again

As I sit here contemplating future life direction and avoidance of working on my lit review, certain things dominate. Such as, topics on expat message boards, regardless of what country people have come from or gone to, seem to repeat themselves. Do you ever find this tough?/I'm homesick!, Have you had trouble making friends?, What is it like to be temporarily unemployed and depending on someone else?, Help, these visa requirements are keeping me up at night? How many emails, pictures, and letters of support do we need?, Where can I find 'real' mustard/pie crusts/miracle whip/dill pickles? There are the good ones too--- Whoo-hoo, the waiting is over!, I finally got my visa/citizenship/work permit!, I passed my driving test/got my license/drove around the block, Got a job and am no longer driving both of us nuts with boredom, Going home for a visit. How could life ever be dull;)

Friday, 19 May 2006

Off to Sting's hometown

A classmate and I are off to Newcastle on Sunday. It will be a nice break from the dissertation. I've been wanting to check it out since I got here, but just have never gotten around to it. How exciting---I get to go to my favourite artist's hometown. Of course, it sounds as though it has changed quite a bit in the past few decades and the accent may be one of the most interesting things about it...that and the beer!

Thursday, 11 May 2006

Tonight, I feel cute

I'm wearing short black velvet yoga pants and a tight black babydoll top advertising the White Sox winning the World Series. My hair is up in a bun with frizzy, curly wisps sticking out because I put it up so I could take a shower just to shave my legs. It's going to be about 72 degrees tomorrow and one of my classmates and I are planning to go hang out in the park. In preparation, because I want to wear a dress and get some sun, I shaved and painted my toenails, which are now sticking out of my Merrell flip flops. Despite not being much of a girly girl, I sometimes enjoy the grooming process...especially when it's in preparation of a weekend date...which I have coming up;) Unfortunately, the weather does not bode well for us, as the temps are to drop and rain without sun is on the make. I've got some summer food planned. Now all I need is a beach blanket so we can have an indoor picnic in my shoebox room;) Ah life! as my old landlady would say. All of my assignments are turned in and 2 semesters complete, which means I now have (when grades are in) achieved my Postgraduate Diploma. Seems like I arrived only yesterday. I am now in possession of proper career potential. I have to say, I'm a bit gobsmacked, thinking back to times when I (we, my friends...used to sit around and chat about) thought life would bring more contentment when: I had a better, more fulfilling job -and/or- had a good man to come home to -and/or- lived in a more appealing place. What seemed so far away on the horizon, with no clear idea of how to achieve, feels as though it has just happened quite easily at the moment....

Wednesday, 3 May 2006

Understanding women

Just back from seeing one of my fav films. A small arts cinema nearby was showing Talk to Her tonight only. Saw it years back when it first came out, and since bought it, so was really excited to see it on the big screeen again. There is a scene in it that I find interesting (well, the entire thing is thought provoking, but this one could generate some good discussion I think). A woman and her partner and out listening to live music. She is sitting and he is standing. The music brings tears to his ears and he walks off to be by himself. She shortly follows after, reaches around to hug him from behind, and the convo goes something like this:

Lydia: "Marco, I've always wanted to ask you, why did you cry the first night we met, after you killed the snake in my house?"
Marco: "It reminded me of another time I had to kill a snake. We were in Africa. She had the same phobia as you. She was terrified, and completely naked."
Lydia: "Is she the one for whom you slept on the couch?"
Marco: "Yes."
Lydia: "I hate that woman." (Kisses Marco) "What can I do to make you forget her?"
Marco: "Exactly what you are doing."

Hopefully that'll wet your appetite to rent the movie;) More background info re: the above:

Lydia ran out of her house screaming the first night she met Marco. He gave her a lift home. He went in to kill the snake, but she refused to enter the house again and went to a hotel. Part of the reason she didn't want to return to the house was that she just ended a relationship with someone she lived with there, it is assumed. He cried after killing the snake. He later told her he could no longer sleep in his bed after ending a previous relationship and slept on the couch for a week before deciding to buy a new bed.

When I was in high school, my bf at the time pointed out a former girlfriend to me who had hurt him. I can't really remember the circumstances, but i strongly disliked her thereafter. I disliked her even after he and I had split. I find it interesting that Lydia 'hates this woman'. He was hurt by her, but he ends up attending her wedding towards the end of the movie, and is finally over her, 10 years later. Anyway, any opinions on why Lydia feels this way...and what that says about the nature of women?

Friday, 28 April 2006

First job in England

Next week, I'll be entering license plate numbers into Excel for approx $11 an hour. Can you tell Suzer's coming up on broke?

Thursday, 27 April 2006

I'm a crap cook

I've decided I'm a crap cook. I must officially stop trying to cook bacon; I am a bacon disaster.

Tuesday, 25 April 2006

What you can get done in avoidance

I have one more essay to complete before moving on to my dissertation. Today was my day to begin. After completing a brief outline and realizing I didn't want to plunge in, I got other things done:

-worked on my CV and cover letter
-wrote a letter to Teva to send in with my busted sandals, which shouldn't have busted so soon
-went grocery shopping
-drafted a letter to send in to all who it might be relevant to, after completing my course, of 'concerns' i have about issues i feel they need to do something about
-wrote another story for that cookbook i mentioned some time back
-watched a movie and listened to music while having a beer break;)

Never envy...

highly organized people. We lose things too. And sometimes that’s the reason for our anal sense of organization. I sometimes hide files on my computer out of common site (in the off chance my imaginary roommate chooses to use my laptop without my permission). Well, I just went to look for a story I had written a few months back. It was a short story and recipe submission for a cookbook. It is nowhere to be found. If the book gets published, and my story in it, I’ll have it back. If not, it is forever lost in my memory.

Monday, 10 April 2006

Why America is a superior country;)

Facing the thought of coming back to jolly old england and a dorm room... There are definitely some things to look forward to, but you know what, America ain't so bad and I would choose it in a second over the UK these days. Everything costs less (well, other than heathcare, but at least you don't have to die waiting for procedures), the food is miles better, infrastructure rocks (really missed driving) and the houses are way bigger (the mcmansions, as my mom would call them, are ridiculous, but i'd take my mom's over a typical english house anyday). I can complain about things without being labeled an american, which is nice too;) Now, to get my redneck neighbor to take down the tattered american flag on the front of his house. What a disgrace! I mean, come on, some things are sacred...

Wednesday, 5 April 2006

Welcome to the good 'ole US of A

The good 'ole USA where:

-people can't queue worth their lives, so it takes three times as long to board an airplane
-they lose your luggage than act as though you're bothering them when you ask them to look for it instead of just filling out a claim form

Ok, enough of the ranting. I got to sleep in my own bed last night, ahhhh. Mom killed the fatted calf and made steak, mash, spinach, guacamole and cheescake topped with cheeries. My kitty acted as though I never left and rolled all over my clothes when I unpacked, then took a sleep on my suitcase.

Wednesday, 29 March 2006

10 flights in 3 weeks!

Just realized, with three trips planned back to back, and no more than a day in between each, I'll be on 10 flights within the next three weeks. Not that I'm complaining;) The man is off to Paris for work, and invited me to join him for the weekend. I'm beginning to feel that I'm leading a charmed life. Wait....*suzer scratches chin contemplating the 2,500 word essay she must complete in 48 hours as a result of said trips taking up spring break* Anyway, life is good. My favorite day of the year has come, and we now have an extra hour of sunlight in the evening (it is a week earlier here). Back to HR and empowerment...

Monday, 27 March 2006

Another story

My second trip to Ireland, I sat next to a woman from Missouri and her husband of 40 years. She was hysterical and very friendly with an accent slightly similar to my grandma's; we chatted for about half the flight. The woman in the aisle seat across from me kept getting up to rifle through her belongings in the overhead compartment and at one point, the Missouri woman laughed and whispered, eyeing the other woman..."Hungry butt." I was like, what the hell. She laughed and pointed to the fact that the woman's underwear were...well, you know...so her butt was 'eating' her underwear. It was so funny. Then she told me how great her husband's butt still was after 40 years of marriage. He overheard and just looked at me kind of rolling his eyes but laughing. Anyway, I got to hear all about how great her husband was, what a wonderful 40 years they had had, child free, working together and living next to her mother-in-law, who she was crazy about! So I asked...what makes it all work...for that amount of time, with no kids, the focus beind solely on each other, etc. She stopped talking, looked thoughtfully pensive, then with tears in her eyes, said simply..."thoughtfulness and consideration". Some encounters, you simply don't forget.

Friday, 24 March 2006

Very cool

Didn't realize (or maybe forgot, knowing my memory) that Kafka was from Prague.

Saturday, 18 March 2006

Things I can't find in England

Cheerios without sugar coating and non-thong undies. I'll never understand the female fascination with underwear made out of dental floss;) Seriously, I have to do some power shopping just to find panties that cover my boo-tay.

Tuesday, 14 March 2006

Boycott the Salvation Army, not Target

There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about Target not allowing the Salvation Army to collect outside of their stores. I've always been in full support if this as 1) I don't like to be solicited by charities and 2) After working for a non-profit organization and seeing how much of donations are wasted and/or spent unwisely, in the future, I will only give time, and not money. It turns out, however, that part of the reason Target will not allow the Salvation Army to solicit on their property is that the SA is an anti-gay organization in that they won't allow any sexually active gays & lesbians to work for them. Go Target!

Tuesday, 7 March 2006

Cracking a mental block

I have been sitting in front of the computer for the last three days avoiding working on a presentation I have to give next week. It's been driving me nuts. Was just having a serious mental block towards the project itself. It includes a lot of marketing models that I find a have a hard time with, as they require some kind of brain functioning that just stops me in my tracks. So, last night (and this is cheesy) I took a post-it note, wrote "Just Do It!" and stuck it to my desk. I spent part of this morning procrastinating, but just started on it again now. I did have quite a bit of background work done, so it shouldn't be too hard. I find it very difficult to put a lot of work into projects here and only get mediocre grades back. The reward doesn't seem to equal the effort, and I'm not sure if it can just be put down to this being an entirely new subject area and way of researching than I'm used to or what. Anyhoo, back to...Tourism Australia.

Monday, 6 March 2006

What do you think?

Copied from a post on www.waiterrant.net:

"Nothing’s more dangerous than a girl under the age of twenty five. That’s not a misogynistic statement mind you. It’s just a fact. Ask any guy over thirty. For that matter, ask any girl."

Thoughts? Why is the age of 25 important? When did things change for you? Do you know what he means? Or is this the rambling of an old fill-in-the-blank?

Modified to add: I think this one much better, from the next post:

"Sometimes men and women get hung up on each other’s sharp edges.
But sometimes they get hung up on each other."

Things I'm looking forward to....

when I go home for a week in April:
  • Good food and American sized portions!!! Mexican, Ethiopian, and who knows what else.
  • A good haircut that doesn't cost me $80 and lasts more than a month
  • Driving:)
  • A nice hot bath
  • A proper pedicure in a massaging chair with a whirlpool tub (possibly...)
  • The usual...seeing friends, family and cat

Thursday, 2 March 2006

Dreams and holidays

Just woke up from a dream that a couple classmates and I hopped on a plane to go to Belfast for the day. I was really excited until I realized upon arrival that I couldn't find one of my shoes and for some reason couldn't get out of the airport (one of those immobility due to freezing type dreams). Anyhoo, the excited to be able to travel quickly to different countries part was pleasant. I have a list of places I'd like to go while here, although I know I won't have the time or money to do all. They include:

  • Prague (will be checked off the list in April)
  • Brussels
  • Paris (been twice, but it's a repeat visit destination for sure!)
  • Northern Ireland, including bits of ROI I haven't been to before, such as Donegal and the Aran Islands
  • Isle of Man (found a good article on it while researching a presentation yesterday...how I get sidetracked!)
  • Perhaps a quick weekend trip to Cornwall
  • Maybe: Spain, Greece (although these almost definitely won't fit into my time/budget here)

Happy March!

I can't believe it's time for spring to be appraoching. I've been in England six months today and while the time has gone fast in a sense, it sure seems as though I've been here a long time. It's been stressful on occasion, but the good far outweighs the bad. I don't think my life could be going better as I approach 30. I'm well on my way to completing an MA, I've made some excellent new friends and met a fantastic man, have travelled to a few new places, and more are on the way. Who knows what's next...other than sunshine and warmer weather!

And speaking of marching, our university's tutors will be going on strike next week, as will many others at other universities in the UK. At the moment, they only have one day of picketing planned, but who knows. The strike is over (lack of) fair pay increases and the students have the opportunity to go out and support them on the picket line, so a few of us will be there.

Tuesday, 28 February 2006

Blog etiquette and bowling



Was just about to post about Friday's night out bowling with classmates and tutors, and then thinking about whether or not it is ok to post pics of other people on your blog without asking them first. I guess in this day and age of technology, one would assume pics of themselves might end up on the net, but what is the etiquette around these things I wonder. Regardless, here are some pics...if anyone is sensitive about having their pic up, I'm sure they'll let me know;)

Finally got a good grade back. Got a 68 in Marketing; looking forward to having the paper returned with some feedback. That one was a real bitch to complete, so glad it was worth something in the end. As much as I say I don't care about my marks, well...it is nice to get a good one;) Also found out that some of my frustrations/concerns around my dissertation research may be unfounded and got some research done on a presentation due in a couple of weeks, so today ended up a productive day:)

Friday, 24 February 2006

What's the big deal anyway?

Ok, so a United Arab Emirates company who has bought out a British company will now run several port authorities, which were not even in control of the USA previously. Why does everyone have their panties in a bunch over this? It's a bit mystifying to me and smacks of paranoia and racism, to my mind. When are people going to realize that just because a select group of people from one nation, religion, etc commit an atrocity that this does not mean the majority should be punished or perceived as a threat? What are they going to do next, put all the Arabs in the US in relocation camps??

Thursday, 23 February 2006

Bugger

I'm itching to listen to a CD that has gone missing:( If you're not familiar with the Magnetic Fields, they're a great Canadian band well worth a listen. A bit folksy, a bit cheesy, but fantastic. Must remember to purchase vol 2 of the set I have when I come home (cheaper there!).

Killing time procrastinating on finishing my dissertation proposal. Oy vey, I think an MA in English lit would be so much easier than all this research on tourism. Give me Camus or Lessing over this any day!!!

Tuesday, 21 February 2006

5 dates, 3 countries




Got back this evening from a weekend in Amsterdam with Steve. Most of you should know he's the fella I met in Ireland over xmas, from Australia. So this makes three countries we have now had "dates" in, and five separate occasions so far we have spent time together;) Fantastic weekend, and a great city with a wonderful atmosphere.

Tired, so more laterz...

10 hours of sleep later, let's hope I can speak more coherently:) Amsterdam really is a wonderful city. The people are vibrant and friendly, many riding around on bicycles (they actually have bike parking lots that hold up to 2,000 cycles!). On our first night in, while trying to locate our hostel, we got directions from a nice older man and his grandaughter (?). He even took out his newly bought reading glasses and ripped off the tag so he could read the address I had and walked us over a bridge saying "follow me and then i'll tell you more." Everyone seems to speak English there, even if it is not fluently.

The weather was the most chilly I've encountered since being away from home, but that didn't stop us from enjoying some Haagen Daaz ice cream on Sunday. They had a fantastic posh shop (Aunt Liz, you would have loved it...will attach a pic soon!). Got some excellent food every day, really, from Mexican (finally...been missing that), Greek (seriously orgasmically good lamb in tangy yogurt sauce), to Irish pub grub, and even a great sandwich on the flight home. KLM is the bomb. Hmmm, I think the only Dutch food we tried, if I am remembering correctly, was baked goods:) Well, actually, we went to a local-ish pub the first night and had some nice meat and potato dishes.

As far as sightseeing goes, we did a lovely canal cruise and saw the Anne Frank house, and just generally did a lot of walking around. Good stuff and highly recommended...

Edited to add:

Ladies, the things we whine about but often take for granted... Fully enjoyed the fact that I could rely on someone else to figure out directions for how to get around the city while in Amsterdam. And had loads of help in planning the trip. Again, good stuff :)

And a funny...to point out more linguistic differences. Here, and in Australia I guess lol, jelly means jello. Imagine what some peeps must think when imagining a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That was a great laugh!!