Chronicles of one girl's journey to London - from conception to eventual migration.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

PAY TAXES

In London, as anywhere in the world, they would prefer if you paid taxes into the country. In light of that, the fastest bureaucratic system in the country is that of the National Insurance number.
The NI number is the same as a social security number (Americans) or the SIN (Canadians).
Previously, I mentioned that getting a cell phone and a bank account here are near impossible. Not the NI number, however. I applied for it 2 weeks ago and received my number in the mail. No issues, no questions.

RIGHT, SO . . .

Let's see if I can fit over 2 weeks worth of catching up here. Seeing as I love lists, this might be the best time to utilize one:
  • Job: I am temping now, so money is coming in and that's great. I have also decided to temp my way through the summer in order to travel! Which brings us to . . .
  • Madrid: I am going to Madrid with Ste! We leave Friday July 2 and return Tuesday July 6. We will stay with his sister who lives there at the moment. Free accomodation, yay!
  • Rumana: The whirlwind known as Rumana swept her way through London last week. I stayed with her at her hotel by High Street Kensington. I am recovering from the ordeal very well.
That's the big stuff! 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

BLOGBANDONMENT!!

I will be back with updates shortly. It has been a busy couple of weeks!

Friday, June 11, 2010

SPONTANEOUS MOMENT ARE EASY TO COME BY WHEN YOU'RE UNEMPLOYED

So there I am, on a spur of the moment road trip to Manchester. It is 7 pm and Tez, Qas and I are on the road with Qas at the wheel of his trusty E-class (I know, we travel in style). The trip is only spontaneous for me: Tez had plans to visit his good friend Katherine and Qas is making an emergency work trip for some sort of property issue. Another one of his “meetings” :)
The plan is to sleep over in Manchester so he can do some work in the morning and then to go up to Whitehaven (news followers will know this as the location of the recent shooting spree) for some disaster that has afflicted a property he owns.
We reach Manchester at approximately 11 pm, drop Tez off with his friend and then head to the hotel. We are there by 11:30 which leaves us just enough time to sleep.   

The next day . . .
Manchester business is taken care of while I sleep and then by 9:30 am we are on our way to Whitehaven. The drive up is just breathtaking. Britain is known for its hills, the rolling majestic greens littered with sheep and cows. It does not disappoint. The mountains meet the clouds in perfect cohesion and I have never seen scenery like this. There are even signs to watch for horse-drawn carriages but unfortunately I do not see any!
Whitehaven is a lake town in the famous Lake District and is a quaint little place. It has been taken over by chains, though. There is a Costa Coffee (what I can only compare to a higher end Tim Horton’s) and there are other chain stores and the evil gas stations.


Other than that, it is postcard perfect. The houses are old, the streets are narrow and the people actually wave hello to each other when they pass. Honest, I actually saw this happen twice in the short drive off the main road into the city centre. It is charming in the way only an old English town could be.
If I were so inclined to live in sleepy towns, I would retire here. But, seeing as I have always been a city girl at heart and need life around me, I probably wouldn’t last longer than a couple of weeks.

I NO LONGER SPEAK THE QUEEN'S ENGLISH

Here’s a whole new post about the difference in the languages. I grew up in Dubai and we spoke British English. You know, where:
  • Elevator = Lift
  • Bathroom = Toilet, WC or . . . loo.
  • Gas = Petrol
  • Soccer = Football
  • Highway = Motorway
  • Chips = Crisps
  • French fries = Chips (though something to note here is that they DO have French Fries and they refer to the really thin cut McDonald’s style ones that apparently are North American and not very English. So, in light of this difference, they were given a different name, almost as if they are not authentic).
So, in a way the language isn’t really an issue and there’s no REAL barrier. But, I’ve lived in Toronto for 10 years where we spoke North American English and now everything’s all topsy-turvy.

Keeping up with the changing dialects is proving more difficult than I thought. I can understand everyone just fine, it’s remembering to use the same words myself that does not come easy.

They’re still chips to me if they’ve been crisped and put in a foil packet. They’re French fries if they come hot out of the deep fryer. And it’s gas if it fuels your car.

I’m not too bothered though. London’s supposed to be a multi-cultural city and I’ve settled in quite well despite always asking for French fries and taking the elevator. It will all come together eventually.

One thing to note, however, especially during World Cup weekend is that it always has been and always will be football to me. Soccer is the sport that Americans play . . . and not that well I might add.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

MORE STEPS FORWARD

I had my first interview on British soil this afternoon :) I don't even care if I don't get the job, it's just positive news that my resume does get attention here. 

I also met with a temp agency to help me with a little extra cash in the meantime. I met them at 11 am and by 3 pm they already had a 4 week job if I wanted (I didn't, it involved cold-calling and I just can't do that yet).

Lastly, we saw a couple of places in Clapham today - neither one very nice. They're in an estate and so an excellent price but not in the area of Clapham I want to be. The whole point of living in Clapham was to be near the action and this place is miles from anything interesting.

So, on to more job hunting and flat hunting and things like that.
I miss Toronto right now. I miss my dogs especially.

Monday, June 7, 2010

ANOTHER LOVELY WEEKEND

Ah, it's Monday again! . . . And this means nothing to me as I am still without work, though not for lack of trying. I am certainly not disheartened yet though - it's too early for that. There have also been some better responses today.

Mondays are a good day for reflecting on the bad decisions of the weekend though. Lucky for me, I consumed very little gin :)

Friday morning I got a text from Monica asking if I wanted to join her for a day in Clapham Common. How could I say no to that?! I love Monica, I still love Clapham and it was a beautiful day. My only issue: I wore jeans! So my legs are rather pale compared to the rest of me. Oops!

Friday night was a chill night at Faraz's house where I ended up staying to avoid taking scary night bus home to Ilford. Really, the night bus home isn't that bad when you have company but no sane girl should take it alone because not only is the bus a bit scary sometimes but the walk home is just stupidly long from Ilford station that late at night!

Saturday a bunch of the Entourage went to Taman Gang, a fancy-schmancy club in Mayfair. I'm not kidding - 2 drinks cost me £23.50! Too expensive to get drunk but still a great place. Great DJ and I had my lovely friends with me.

Check out the sequined Buddha. Exquisite!

I saw Death At A Funeral on Sunday and it's not bad! Pretty funny actually but at one point they revert to the (my personal opinion follows) never-funny poop joke. Other than that, all-around OK! Still, not as funny as Four Lions which I saw last weekend and was just genius!

Anyway, back to Monday. Job hunts and flat hunts are well on their way. I hope to have some good news to post here in the near future.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

OH MY WORD, I CAN COOK!

So, coming to London was all about new experiences, right? And what is more new to me than *dun dun dun* THE KITCHEN!
For those not familiar, I actually hate the kitchen. Literally loathe it, to the point where it makes me a little nauseous.
I have never been a foodie (a word I hate as much as the kitchen) but now that I live far away from home and Mommy can't cook for me, I ended up eating out a lot as well as eating some frozen pizzas and Sainsbury's ready-made food. 
So . . . this idea slowly creeped into my head: Could I, perhaps, COOK FOR MYSELF?! I had to find out, being someone who believes she is capable of anything she sets her mind to. I know, ego much?
But, it turns out, I am not a terrible cook!

Yesterday, I went grocery shopping and then made the most simple thing I could think of: pasta and a meat sauce. But I made the sauce myself! Fresh ground beef, onions, tomatoes, tomato sauce and mixed herbs. It was actually edible and quite delicious.

Today, another easy dish: chicken fajitas. Once again, fresh chicken cooked in a garlic and onion tomato sauce with fresh onions and fresh veggies. And, once again, it was edible and quite delicious!

So, on Sunday, I am attempting a shepherd's pie! Wish me luck. And I welcome any other meal ideas. I feel brave enough to try now :)

Also, I have witnesses to these meals! Just saying . . .