2 Month-aversary

Today, 28th August, marks the 2 month anniversary in the fair lands of the Greatest of Britains.

I have, never, experienced so many new experiences in 2 months, as I have in the last two months. And to recap, in but a few words — 

I saw, and marveled at, an ancient bunch of rocks 

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I saw a Palace 

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I’ve experienced living with my parents as an adult

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I’ve driven into a hedge to avoid by smooshed by a truck driving towards me on a narrow, country road

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I’ve participated in the great British past-time of Parking

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I’ve become gainfully employed at a technology company in the transport industry, which I am finally, after a week and a half, starting to grasp (the work, that is)

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The sun goes down at 10pm in the height of summer; the people are polite, but impersonal; the speed limit is so low; it takes an hour to get anywhere (except to work!); when it rains, it rains non-stop; navigating is impossible because there is no mountain!

I could, literally, go on and on about the vast experiences I have had in England, but really, i would have to write a list like this every week.

Every day is new experience in one or another and I can, honestly, say that this has been the best decision I (we – Jean and I) have made, after marrying my sweetheart (a close third would be the decision to listen to Creedence today :P).

I miss my people in South Africa, but I am loving England (for the most part) right now.

So, this was a bit of a nonsense post, sure – but life too serious to be serious all the time ;)

 

 

 

 

Back to the Daily Grind

…kinda.

Friday marked the end of my first week as a working, tax-paying, economy-contributing individual in England. I guess it was what any first week should be – mass amounts of confusion, menial tasks (such as filling in employee detail forms, tax forms, creating user accounts for millions of internal company sites), loads of not knowing what to do with myself, loads of not wanting to ask certain questions for fear of being labelled as the idiot in the office (and then, eventually asking them anyway because these things are the things one needs to know – or, at least, I need to know), especially when you are the only person in the Operations team who has lady-bits and you dont want to be perceived as the “chick-who-knows-nothing-so-why-is-she-here?”. I dont think I am that person (I do, actually, know some technical stuff, okay), but I, certainly, want to avoid having that stigma, regardless of what I do or dont know. Know what I am saying?

Anyway, it is, at the very least, very nice to have a job to get up and go to every day. I am, most certainly, the type of person who thrives on routine. Not only does working give me routine, it turns me from a workless slug into a productive human.

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Jean went back to work for his previous company (he left because the travelling was getting to be too much – two to two and half hours each way). We have agreed to find our own place closer to his work as soon as we are both paid at the end of next month – it takes me 15 minutes to get work from my moms place, where we live at the moment. The idea is to move to an area in the South East of London somewhere that will afford us, both, the kind of place we want (1 bedroom with a garden – because our kitties deserve a garden to frolic in, after living in flats for so long) and a short-ish commute for both Jean and I. 

Otherwise, ol’ Mud Island is getting chillier and chillier by the day – no more are the 27 and 28 degree days of sunshine, but instead we have days of rain, and days of no rain, that are cool enough to warrant a jersey and closed shoes. Oh hail the end of summer. The central heating has started switching itself on in the evenings, and I have used the heater in the car once or twice on the way to work. I believe people when they say that we are in for a wake up this winter, because the end of Summer in England resembles a mild winters day in Cape Town – it’s gonna be interesting, folks. Especially because I dont own the right kind of clothes to cope with this impending cold.

Lastly, despite my claims, after my wedding, of never wanting to plan a wedding ever again, I am most excited to be involved in the planning of (one of) my best friend’s wedding. I really think I missed my calling in life, because I love planning these types of things – actually, I love planning events in general. The feeling of seeing everything come together gives me a feeling of immense fulfillment. 

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Anyway, the emails have started flying back and forth (My BFF is in New Zealand, I am in the UK – obvs, and her family is in SA, where the wedding will be held), so the amount of coordination is going to be hectic, but that makes it all the more exciting. Yay for wedding planning! :)

Well thats me for this week!

PS – I went to check out a kickboxing gym this last week, in Chatham (which is where I work) – is it no Takedown, but the owner and coach represented England at the World Chaps in Croatia in 2012 and claims to still fight as often as he can, which is a good thing as far as I am concerned – why not be trained by a champ and active fighter? The gym is a bit grim, but it has all the right equipment, which is really what matters, so I may be back into my boxing as soon as. The only problem at the moment is the schedule (classes end at 8pm)…I’ll have to have a think around this and see what happens. I just really need to get myself back into an exercise routine….see, its ALL about routine!

Over and out!

Moving swifly along

Much has happened since I last posted, which is, in part, why my blogging has been so scarce, but here I am – to tell you all about it!

Firstly, I smashed the cars passenger side mirror. All I can say is: narrow roads, a lost tart in a huge white merc and oncoming traffic make for a smashed up  mirror.

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Whoopsie daisy

In order to make myself feel less like the worlds worst driver (I also lost a wheel trim in the car’s first outer Maidstone trip – and the mirror of my Peugeot suffered the same fate when I smacked it against a pillar once. Okay twice.), I now drive around with an eye peeled for smashed car mirrors. I have deduced that smashing car mirrors is a fairly common thing in England (which is why all mirrors fold in?) – why else would Halfords have the pre-cut glass for most car mirrors precut and readily available?

In other news, I had my first real, live chav experience. Those bitches are scary as shit. Went to visit my sister for the weekend last weekend and, while tubing around Londom central, encountered an escalator, as one does, with a blond tart standing on the left hand side. WHO DOES THAT? Anyways, I curtly said “excuse me, please stand to the right”, which was reiterated by the tarts boyfriend.  What followed was a manifestation of poor manners, a possible inferiority complex or just terrible upbringing, but you could have sworn I told her that she was a grotty tramp with hobbit feet, because this chick went totally, well, chav on me. She started screaming at me, asking me who I thought I was, she screamed at her boyfriend (you stand to the f###en right, you d###head!!), that bitch walking down there deserves a slap on the back of the head, the one shaking her head (because I was. I was also laughing). We then left the escalator, only to be followed and mouthed off at again (something about a weirdo – assumingly because we’re not local), and then stomped off in front of us, still mouthing off about the fact that I asked her to move. My sister, actually, made us hang back a bit because we could hear her carrying on all the way down into the depths of the underground tunnels.

Sufficed to say, I wouldn’t want to be caught in a dark alley with broken glass around with that chick.

Most importantly,  I got a job! I start on Monday! Yay! Champage, champage for everyone!

I have been employed as a technical account manager at a Swedish-based company called Icomera, and will no longer be in sales! Whoop! Although, there is incentive to bring in new business, I will mostly be dealing with existing clients and assisting with technical matters. The company, in a nutshell, supply wireless infrastructure to the transport industry worldwide – so like wireless on national rail, or a greyhound bus? Yeah, thats it.

I will also have to pop over to Sweden for some training and to meet the people up there at some point in the foreseeable future – am rather stoked about this.

The only thing Im slightly apprehensive about is the fact that, from what I have seen, there are not many ladies in my office, and definitely none in my team. I am not the type of person who is daunted by such a thing, but, being a technical role to which I am very new, I will have some self-proving to do.

My last thought for the day: London has, finally,  lived up to its reputation – it is summer, it is raining, it is chilly.

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Thatisall.

Just one little update

The fact that I have been MIA for so long will tell you how busy I have been.

In the few days since I last posted, I’ve been to numerous interviews, scheduled as many, been working part time, bought a car, took a little roadtrip into London,  experienced the “Great British Pastime” called “Parking” and decided to celebrate Jean’s 30th in Ireland with my sister.

I have a second interview tomorrow for a technical account manager role, which I am so keen on because of the fact that it is technically based and because I will have the opportunity to move out of sales entirely after a while, and should I wish. This, coupled with the degree of technical-ness thrills me endlessly.  Hold thumbs, yall, because they are, apparently,  super keen on me too.

Last week Wednesday,  we bought a little Ford Focus 1.8l to run around the countryside in.

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Of course, I took a trip to Surrey for work on Friday, hot a pothole, and lost a hubcap. So annoyed. Also, while I’m talking about things that annoy me: Google maps is on my list, and so is the Maidstone road plan. I drove around for the better part of an hour trying to find an accessible petrol station today, because every time I saw one, I was in the wrong lane to get to it…and then the roads loop you around to the other side of town…while I was running on fumes. I sure  gave google maps a piece of my mind while driving ( F**********KKKKKKK YOU GOOGLE MAPS!!!!!!!! I screamed at my tablet).

Yesterday, we spent parking in Regent Park with a picnic and a frisbee, which was pure bliss. We strolled up Primrose Hill on the way home, which gave us a panoramic view of London,  which was so stunning. Spent the rest of the evening at my sister’s place chatting and nomming serious Mac & Cheese.

We also decided (well, actually Jean did because it will be his birthday) to trip up to Dublin, Ireland and spend a few days for Jean’s 30th birthday.  Totally excited for this, especially because we don’t need to get additional visas! Win!

Okay, I have to go and fetch the husband from the station.  Apologies for the lame post, I have no creative flair today.

*Skaam*

The fact that I have been MIA for so long will tell you how busy I have been.

In the few days since I last posted, I’ve been to numerous interviews, scheduled as many, been working part time, bought a car, took a little roadtrip into London,  experienced the “Great British Pastime” called “Parking” and decided to celebrate Jean’s 30th in Ireland with my sister.

I have a second interview tomorrow for a technical account manager role, which I am so keen on because of the fact that it is technically based and because I will have the opportunity to move out of sales entirely after a while, and should I wish. This, coupled with the degree of technical-ness thrills me endlessly.  Hold thumbs, yall, because they are, apparently,  super keen on me too.

Last week Wednesday,  we bought a little Ford Focus 1.8l to run around the countryside in.

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Of course, I took a trip to Surrey for work on Friday, hot a pothole, and lost a hubcap. So annoyed. Also, while I’m talking about things that annoy me: Google maps is on my list, and so is the Maidstone road plan. I drove around for the better part of an hour trying to find an accessible petrol station today, because every time I saw one, I was in the wrong lane to get to it…and then the roads loop you around to the other side of town…while I was running on fumes. I sure  gave google maps a piece of my mind while driving ( F**********KKKKKKK YOU GOOGLE MAPS!!!!!!!! I screamed at my tablet).

Yesterday, we spent parking in Regent Park with a picnic and a frisbee, which was pure bliss. We strolled up Primrose Hill on the way home, which gave us a panoramic view of London,  which was so stunning. Spent the rest of the evening at my sister’s place chatting and nomming serious Mac & Cheese.

We also decided (well, actually Jean did because it will be his birthday) to trip up to Dublin, Ireland and spend a few days for Jean’s 30th birthday.  Totally excited for this, especially because we don’t need to get additional visas! Win!

Okay, I have to go and fetch the husband from the station.  Apologies for the lame post, I have no creative flair today.

*Skaam*

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.