Progression

Things are moving along, slowly….

Jean is, officially,  employed at a company in Edgware (which is vrek far from where we are) as a contractor for 2 months, which could become permanent.  I’m sure he wants it to be permanent though. I am hoping to receive an offer from a recruitment company for a IT security headhunting position, although I have an application in with the first company I interviewed with, for a slightly more senior position,  which the chap I met with told me I would be more suited to. Holding all thumbs and big toes for that one.

Last week was spent at the Holiday Inn in Bexley doing an Inventory course for some part time work, which I would like to do – it was very interesting and far more detailed than I expected inventory management to be.
Friday, I was off to Bracknell in Berkshire for a second interview (refer aforementioned offer), for which I had prepared a power point presentation and the like. I was dying in my skirt suit, as last week was the hottest in Britain this year. The humidity was killing me – and there I had to stand, in my long red skirt and blazer, with leather heels on my sweaty feet. It was not pleasant,  to say the least.  I couldn’t bare to put my takkies back on for the train trip home, so I bought a cheap pair of plakkies (which are flip flops, for those not familiar with South Africanism’s)

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Mooi skoene

When I arrived back in London,  I took a walk down to South Bank and lay on a shady patch of grass, while listening to the performers and buskers do their thing. It was such a relaxing moment.
I, then, caught a tube to Edgware to meet Jean for his trip back home….the long, arduous, hot, sweaty trip to the homestead, which met us with a massive electric storm. Although I was all for a walk in the weather, Jean was more apprehensive and insisted we take cover in our local, The Bull Inn, until the storm had passed. Poor judgement on my part and good suggestion on his because the storm that followed a few minutes later was rather spectacular.  East Farleigh was thrashed from top to bottom by wind, rain, thunder and lightning. 

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Our local pub, The Bull Inn

My step dad picked us up on his way home from the British Open, after we had been exiled from the pub, due to closing time.

Yesterday, we took a trip up to Stonehenge. I wish I could, accurately,  explain how I felt standing in front of those rocks. All the years that I have known about them, what I have read about them, when we have spoken about them. The amount of history, the theories, the mystery…it was utterly a amazing and humbling. I’m not a religious person by any means, but I felt a connection to the history of Stonehenge, for whatever purpose it served.

* Edit: what is up with all the people jumping for pictures in front of the stones? I think I missed the memo on that one, but I did walk around shaking my head at all of them for being social media slaves** – because, you know, it’s cool to be quirky, right? Okay, thats my judgemental bit for the day done.

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Stonehenge

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Jean and I in front of the stones

We, then, teetered off to Salisbury (which is, apparently,  pronounced “Saulsbury” – get your language right, England) for a spot of tea (see what I did there!?! :D) at the King’s Head, followed by a stroll to the Anglican Cathedral, which has the highest spire in the United Kingdom.

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The canal next to the Kings Head

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Its a con-spire-acy!

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The dudes on the walls freaked me out a little bit

Yesterday was one of the best days I have had. I can’t wait to have more like them….onto Castles next (and I don’t mean the beer).

Today…well, the hunt starts again.

**okay whatever, I’m a social media slave too, but I don’t jump.

The hunt for employment

Tomorrow marks 2 weeks that we have been in London town. I thought I’d be a little homesick by now, but I feel not an inkling of longing for Cape Town. Either I am not a homesick type of person, or we were just in the correct frame of mind when we left that both of us realise that there is no going back.

Of course, I do miss my friends and family, but the internet kind of makes it less terrible, because I still chat to them all the time.

The only non-person thing that I do miss is having a job. I miss working, people. You know when you are having the shittiest of shitty days at the office and you feel like burning everything to the ground? I long for those days. I long to wake up at the crack of dawn, put on my bid’ness shoes and my power clothes and march off, with the throngs of people, to the office, to make a buck or two and stress about the 500 unread emails that I’ve received from clients.
Okay, perhaps not the best description of a work day, but mine was always something along the lines. Stressful, but a stress that I thrived on.

As lovely as it is to wake up at 9am, do washing at my leisure, sip tea while typing a blog post with a view of English countryside just outside the window, it does get old after a while.

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View of the countryside (read: a hedge in this case), while sipping tea

I’ve been for one interview this week and had three phone interviews – the gentleman that I met with on Wednesday was lovely, he told me that he would give me the job if I weren’t so overqualified (it was an IT procurement role), he said I should hang on as I would go far in London and that I was a very strong candidate that could, clearly, do my job well. He also gave me some tips for my CV. It’s not a job offer, but it certainly made me more confident about finding a decent job. One phone interview was a definite “No”, as I didn’t have much experience with the product and it was far more business development orientated than I have experience with. The other two were quite positive, and I am waiting for feedback on these.

Jean and I both have interviews on Monday morning,  on opposite sides of town, and then we have enrolled ourselves in an inventory clerk training programme for 4 days next week with my step dad’s company,  as a bit of a fall back option – to earn some extra cash in the side (if anything, to pay for the ridiculous travel expenses in and around London). Deity-bless my step dad – one of the kindest people I know, for he has helped me out a few times in the last few years and, always, of his own accord.

En route to my interview on Wednesday morning,  I caught the tube with husband and mom in tow,  as we thought we would have a day out together instead of all sitting at home. Mom and Jean hopped onto a packed train, with mom pulling my arm to get me on, but as Jean had his backpack on his back and this other bat had a massively large bag with her, I couldn’t get in far enough and was in line for a door crushing, so I hopped out. Just as my mom turned to do same, the doors closed…and there I stood watching my mom and husband whoosh away without me.
Thankfully, we had had an “in case of….” conversation 2 minutes prior to this, so they disembarked at the next station, and were waiting for me when I arrived 2 minutes later.

Speaking of thise tubes…they have no railing or any form of preventative barriers next to the track, so if there are enough people on the platform, piling up to get on the next tube, and you happen to be in front of the “queue” with the open track looming before you, it is very easy to, accidentally,  be pushed onto the tracks. I don’t know if it has ever happened, but, as I was standing in front of a crowd of people with the track looming in front of me, during rush hour, this is what crossed my mind. My palms got a bit sweaty. Won’t lie.

Well, that’s my week for you.

Oh, one more thing, I do miss something from Cape Town a lot…my cats.

Recount of week one

As you may imagine, we spent our first week doing what tourists do best – being total tourists.

My moms friend, Lance, picked us up from Heathrow last Saturday morning at 8am, after the easiest  immigration procedure ever. We were asked, literally, if this was our first time to the UK and how long we were staying for. Stamp and IN!
Lance took us on a driving tour through the city, showing us the mandatory tourists sights – Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Parliament, Big Ben, The Thames River, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square. All of which we saw again on Monday during our walking tour.
We then braaied at Lance and Adeles place with my sister and her boyfriend, Doctor Dave, who we met for the first time. After that, Lance drove us home to Maidstone, which is homebase at current.

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Trafalgar Square

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In front of Buckingham Palace

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St. James Park

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Coffee in a dark Alley

We spent the next morning in Bromley, which is a beautiful suburb (and somewhere I wouldnt mind living), then caught the train back to Maidstone and did some High Street shopping

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Our local High Street

Wednesday, we walked into town from East Farleigh (our suburb in Maidstone) to Town, again, which was an hour and a half walk.

Thursday saw us back at Piccadilly Ciircus to open a bank account. If I never see Piccadilly Circus again, it will be too soon. We did, however, attempt the Tube for the first time – which was easy peasy, as far as I am concerned.

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Kak-a-dilly Circus

Friday was the best day!  Caught the tube to Camden and met my sister, who was off to have a tattoo done.
The market – O.M.GEE!!!

I bought a beautiful vintage leather jacket for 10 pounds…oi, my luck. Along with two pretty frocks, a jersey, sunglasses and a tweed blazer for Jean. I could have blown so much money there, but instead, spent time milling in and out of stalls and shops.
We spent the latter half of the afternoon chilling under the trees in a park behind Camden Lock before we left to go back home.

Today, I lazed in PJ’s (as I am actually sick) and then went with the parents to Ikea in Croydon…..few words: HUGE and sore feet.

Tomorrow, we are off to pick up a bed bought via eBay (totally loving the eBay idea for furniture shopping – for when we have our own place. Quality stuff for less) and then to Blue Water Mall….in somewhere that I dont remember the name of.

Overall, I am digging the London vibe, as is Jean. We are both craving the stabilty of a permanent job though – which we are feverantly searching for.

Hold thumbs for us – no so much “funemployment” anymore.

En route

8 hours into the flight and I am bored to tears. I shall refrain from what series and movies for a while after this, as I have had an overload of Emirates “Entertainment”…..and only another  hours to go after our brief stop in Dubai.

Saying goodbye was terrible. My stomach started turning from the moment we left home, after having not slept well last night (which, I was hoping, would mean I could sleep on the flight, but after a 1 hour nap, Im WIDE awake…of course). Anyway.the butterfies calmed down after we checked in, but the tears started almost instantly.

As difficult as it was to say goodbye to everyone, it brroke my heart to say goodbye to my step mom and, escpecially my dad. I can still tear up about it now as I write this

Emirates has been decent thus far…some of food was over-salted, but iit wasnt the end of the world and they have, otherwise, made it as comfortable as an economy class seaat in a large noisy Boeing can be.

My cousin*** has meandered down from Business Class to visit, as have I, thinking I could stretch my legs. I couldnt. Not really.

Keep letting my mind wander back to Cape Town and think about how life haas carried on.

***My aunt, uncle and cousin ended up on the same flight as us for the first leg of their vacation.

In memory of Nigel

You never think that the last time that you say goodbye to someone will be the last time you ever speak to them.

On Friday, as I left work for the last time as a dg Store employee, I looked around for the last person I had to say goodbye to – one of my favourite collegues, Nigel. He was, apparently, out to lunch and I accepted the fact that I may not get to say goodbye. As I walked out of the office, i saw him walking down the corridor, and ran over to hug him and wish him well for the new position he would be starting this week. We had a chat, a laugh and wished each ther well. That was my final goodbye.

Nigel, sadly, collapsed and passed away yesterday afternoon at the age of 46.

I wish I could articulate the way I feel about this. I cant stop thinking about it, about Nigel, about what would have been. He was so excited to start his new postition at the company, and he would have done so well. You see, Nigel was a people’s person.He could have a conversation about anything and didnt have to try hard to make people laugh. He was the essence of enigmatic and only ever showed me kindness and friendliness.

You never think that the last time that you say gooodbye to someone will be the last tim you ever speak too them – and I am so glad I hung around long enough on Friday to say goodbye to Nigel.

You will be missed by so many people, Nigey, and will remain, forever, in our hearts. The world is a poorer place for having lost you.

R.I.P forever and never forget xx

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Reality bites…

…and the bite is harder every day.

We spent our Sunday hiking through the mountains at Harold Porter Botanical Gardens in Betty’s Bay up to the top waterfall where my dad and step mom got engaged nearly 20 years ago. I haven’t been hiking with my dad and brothers in such a long time, so it was quite lovely to spend the day building rock bridges to cross flooded paths across the river (we didn’t succeed at this by the way, we gave up eventually and just walked through the freezing water, soaking our shoes and feet in the process).

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The waterfall was as magnificent as I remember it – slightly colder though, as we had never climbed up mid-winter.

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Once we were back down in the gardens, we parked on the side of the walkway and enjoyed a little picnic, all while talking and joking as we usually do – pelting each other with biltong and popcorn, laughing and being silly. It was the one of the best last days I could have asked for.

Of course, I sat at the dining room table last night, looking at pictures from the day, and started feeling so sad. I realised that, that day was the last day I would spend with my dad and family for a long time – even now, it makes me teary.

The thought of emigrating becomes steadily more and more scary as each day passes – not because I am worried about what awaits us (which I am, but my optimistic side keeps me ever-jubilant), but because of what I will miss when I leave. I’m not a sentimental person, at the best of times. I don’t miss places because of how they look and I don’t miss people the way I think other people miss people, but, the thought of not seeing my dad, step mom and brothers for a while makes me rather sad, because I enjoy their company so very much. I think it’s a bit hard to explain because, I re-read what I have written, it doesn’t convey exactly what I mean to say about how I feel.

I suppose that I just felt an absolute sense of finality when I looked at the pictures I took.

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My family are not the only people I feel this way about – I just haven’t had the sensation sweep over me at any other time, besides last night. I think that I will feel more “dreadful” once I actually finish work and have a few hours left in the country.

One thing that is strange to see is how it is affecting our friends – I think, in this situation, everyone is concerned with how the people who are leaving feel, that no one stops to consider how it affects those that are left behind. It seems that you could swear we were being sent to our deaths – but then again, uncertainty being what it is, I suppose it does seem like we will never see our friends again – which we will…we just dont know when.

Excuse the mixed up thoughts, it’s a bit like a train station in here.

Leaving on a Jetplane…Actually, its an Airbus

And what emigration would be complete without a tablespoon of drama? 

We booked to fly out on June, 27th (landing at 7am the next morning into Heathrow, and despite the protests of family members) because our flight cost us just over R9500 each and is an 18 hour trip. Our other choices included:

  • Flying via Nairobi on Kenya Airways (did you know they have been bombing a lot of stuff there lately?)
  • Flying via Adidas Ababa on Ethiopian Airways (Which requires you to have a Yellow Fever injection before leaving SA)

(These were the R10K-region flights)

  • Flying via France (29 hour flight, R13K plus)
  • Flying KLM (R15K plus flight and also 20 plus hours)
  • Business class on Emirates

Not forgetting we still need to buy luggage for out trip and pay for our animals to be shipped over – it leaves our savings feeling rather raped.

As for the family drama – well I had a bit of a pow wow with my mother today – over whatsapp (not exactly the best way to have an argument, innit). Perhaps, also, not the right time, either, but you know that straw..the one that broke the camels back…? Well, suggesting that I lug 5 bags over 6 trains for 3 hours across a city I have never been to, without the help of anyone with London experience….well, that was the straw.

Without airing too much dirty laundry, I will simply say that I am the type of person who tries to go out of my way to help my friends and family – whether they deserve it or not and, as I am generally a people-pleaser, I do so without complaint. The problem is that people tend to walk all over me (because “ag, Nicole will understand” and “Nicole won’t mind”), and because I don’t say anything about it, it carries on and on until I reach the point that I reached today where I go balls to the walls and explode.

What drives me nuts is when I am dismissed as being over-sensitive and assumed to be over-reacting because the person I am arguing with thinks that my whole issue is about one thing, when it is a multitude of things, which has culminated into one eruption of emotion, that they wont see. And sure, perhaps I was being a bit over-sensitive (I was balling my eyes out), but everything that I said had merit in my mind and, at the end of the day, a feeling is a feeling, and feelings don’t magically appear from nothing.

In the mix of all of this, my sister is doing her best to say, without saying, that she doesn’t want us to stay with her the night that we arrive in London. Am wondering how the husband would react to the suggestion of staying in a hostel (or something) for the night – simply because I actually have no idea what else to do.

I also have to go back to the dentist tomorrow because the pain in my upper jaw is getting worse and he doesn’t quite know what it is. More money to fork out….

Anyway, that was my vent – and, since this is my creative writing space, I think I am entitled to a vent – while doing my best not to air all of my dirty laundry.

Well, that’e me.