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

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

GOOD TIMES

On Monday evening, Arpen and I trekked up (ok, schlepped up) Primrose Hill for what I was promised would be a spectacular view. And, my goodness, was it ever! Look!



On a very warm day I imagine that being one of the nicest places to be in London. And, after my incredibly depressing Sunday, this was a very welcome event. 

Last night, I went and saw Marilyn, Brett and Breanne and then took Brett out for a night in London. Tuesday nights in London are useless! They stop serving at 11 pm in most places but we went to Storm in Leicester Square and had some beer and free shots. Came home, finished a bottle of wine and Skyped with Sara and Kyle. Odd thing, two sets of swapped best friends Skyping.

And I also have my month long temp job starting tomorrow! Proper income, yay!

I am much better about The Boy now. It doesn't hurt and I can imagine actually being able to talk to him. Steps forward :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

ON TO HAPPIER THINGS

I got to see the infamous Inferno's this weekend and what an experience! Sara was back in London for one night only so I decided she must see this place as well!
I do believe she will never visit me again . . .
The place is disguuusting but so entertaining! The floors are plush red carpet and it resembles a casino the way it is lit. We have no pictures from that night as there was nothing we want to remember about the night!

I spent a lovely afternoon in Gants Hill with Aiysha and Jabir. The house looks like grown-ups live in it! It's very strange . . .

Tonight, Arpen and I are headed to Primrose Hill for some celebrity and London gawking! Updates on how that goes soon!

And tomorrow I start a month-long temp contract! Up, up, up :)

MY HEART BROKE IN LONDON

In the 3 short months I have been here, I have seen a lot of London. I have seen a little bit of Europe. I have made some wonderful friends and bonded even closer with people I already knew. None more so than The Boy . . . who became The Boyfriend and who is now The Ex-Boyfriend.
While I'm the one who instigated the actual break-up, it wasn't something I really wanted to do and it is hitting me especially hard now - 3 days after the moment we separated.
The loss is immense for me and I can feel it in everything I do. We only went out for a few weeks but we have been so entrenched in each other's lives this past year that it feels like we've been together for much much longer.
While I feel good about the reasons behind the break-up, it is losing him as the best friend that hurts the most. I know we can be friends as there is no animosity between us but we probably can't be friends the way we used to be. I haven't spoken to him since Friday night but it is not without a struggle. I am fighting the urge to call him just to see how he is, just to have a quick chat about our respective days or just to hear that pseudo-American accent. If I call him now, I will cry.
So, despite my dislike of drama, I actually do feel heart-broken. I have to remind myself of the reasons I decided to let go but those reasons feel so trivial right now.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

TROUBLED

When I left for London, I had high hopes of making it here. I also had deep fears that it would all go wrong and I would end up back in Toronto, my tail between my legs but none worse for the wear.

That's the worst part: returning home not because of some emergency but because I had simply failed at my task.

I'm not a competitive person and my ambitions are life-oriented versus being money or career-oriented and so I don't mind losing on ocassion (except at word games. I cannot lose gracefully at word games!). But, here, in London, on my own, building my dream, I don't want to lose either.

I have gone through my savings far too quickly. Between two holidays and reckless spending on entertainment, I'm left kicking myself. The simple fact of the matter is that if I don't find permanent employment or a long-term contract I will have to leave for Toronto in Otctober.


Goodbye dream, goodbye friends, goodbye boyfriend, GOODBYE LONDON.


Please, not yet . . . not yet.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

CATCH-UP PART III: BARCELONA!

After a lovely couple of days in Paris, we headed to Barcelona for some beach time! Also, high on my list of sights to see was Sagrada Familia and other Gaudi creations.

We spent our first two nights at the Equity Point Gothic in the Barri Gotic (hence the name). The hostel was quite nice but a bit quieter than we thought it would be. We used these first nights to catch up on some sleep and just take it easy. We were still in relaxed Paris mode I suppose!


For our 3rd night, we moved to Kabul off of the famous La Rambla. The street is a tourist magnet and pickpocket heaven. We got very lucky throughout our entire trip, though, as we didn't get pickpocketed or lose anything!


Kabul was a lot more fun, especially because we joined the hostel on a night out at local club Hyde. Our bunkmates were also great: 3 Egyptian boys and 2 Yorkshire brothers, each only there for the same night we were. I think we definitely made the most of that.


We spent our last 4 nights at Equity Point Sea, which is on the beach. Now, this hostel was supposed to be a bit quieter but we got put in a room with 5 boys from Basingstoke. 5 loud, drunk, smelly, FUN boys! We also met 3 German girls and so we spent most of our last days drunk with them.


We did manage to get sight-seeing done as well. We rode cable cars to Montjuic which is the mountain which houses the Olympic stadium that served the 1992 Olympics. We also went on our own building tour of Gaudi's work via the Metro (which, if you've mastered New York and London, is a breeze!). And, lastly, the most important thing is we both managed to get excellent tans!

CATCH-UP PART II: PARIS!

The day after I got back from the Saleh wedding, Sara and I left for our Continental adventure. First stop: Paris! We stayed at Hotel D'Espagne in Grands Boulevards. The hotel manager took a shine to us and invited us back whenever we wanted for a free upgrade!

Paris gets a lot of flack for being a snobby city but we found it to be quite the opposite! The people were lovely, very friendly and more than helpful when we asked. We have the slight advantage of understanding French and being able to speak it a little as well so that may have helped. Also, we're girls.

We took a Batobus tour (highly recommended!) which is the same concept as those hop-on hop-off tours you see in all major cities. The difference here is that this is a boat tour on the River Seine. It was only 13 euros for 8 stops such as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Champs Elysees and so on. We got to see most of the city this way.

The highlight for us was the evening we spent under the Eiffel Tower watching the light show. It sparkles once an hour every hour after sunset. So, we took our cheese and wine to the park and just enjoyed the night!




I absolutely loved Paris and am ready to go back already.

CATCH-UP PART I: A SALEH WEDDING!

Sara is here!
Sara arrived Friday July 30th and we literally hugged for a minute at the airport. I teared up a little because she smelled like home and it made me want to get on a plane and just go back to Toronto (a recurring feeling for the following two weeks). We spent the day together, mostly with her napping as she enjoys her sleep. In the evening, we hit a pub or two.

The next morning, I had to leave for Jabir and Aiysha's wedding in Birmingham. I set off to Watford to Jayne and Ste's where Qas met us and drove us to Birmingham (attentive readers will click in that this is the boyfriend . . . surprise). Sara opted not to attend the wedding and so I left her to explore London with a tube map, suggested sights to see and my Oyster card.


We get there, check in and are told that there is no soap in the hotel - lovely. I also realize I have forgotten to bring shampoo and so will have dirty hair for the next two days. No problem there though as I have brought hair spray and pins to hide the mess!


The reception was at the National Motorcycle Museum, a very cool place to have a wedding I think! There was great music, delicious food and moving speeches. Aiysha's sister's speech made me realize that at some point in the next couple of years I might just be doing one at my own sister's wedding. 

Friends


The next day, the Valima was at Akbar's and, once again, we were treated to delicious food and a very cute poem by the younger Saleh's. I am very happy to have been asked to be a part of the festivities.


Legendary flatmates!


Jayne, Ste, Qas and I head home at about 4 pm (an hour later than planned) and then I have to mission home from Watford. It takes ages and is frustrating because tube lines are down all over the place. It puts me in a terrible mood and makes me miss being in a place that I just know. 

In Toronto, you can put me anywhere in the city and I can tell you where I am and the many options available to get somewhere else. In London, I am slow. I have to think constantly about the best way to get from A to B. I'm not used to that. Sometimes, I get tired of being in an unfamiliar place and The Great Adventure no longer seems fun. So, every once in a while, I feel like going home to where it is safe and easy and comfortable. Then I turn a corner as I come out of a tube station and see, for example, the London Eye or Big Ben and it makes me realize that I love this city and I want to learn it. So, here I am still.