Friday, July 30, 2010

I Should Really Get Out More

Since Laura and Tom flew to the US, I have been left to my own devices here in Londontown and it hasn't been too bad.  I have been doing quite a bit of walking which is nice since I was home for a month and was back to driving everywhere. I find that walking around in London is really enjoyable.  I won't lie and tell you there aren't some areas that totally suck to walk through because of all the tourists, but I'd much rather walk than take a bus or the Tube. Because the area where I live doesn't have a Tube station close by I am taking the bus pretty regularly. The buses near me are great too because they go to places that I frequent like The Globe, Sloane Square (Kings Road area), Oxford's great.  Im sure that will all change when the weather gets cold but let me tell you, they don't have any weather controls in the Tube so right now with the weather being so warm the Tube is sweltering and I can't imagine it's going to be any different in the winter.  In New York in the Summer the trains are always freezing and I usually always had a cardigan with me, just in case.  In the winter though, the heat is on and there you are bundled up and you get on a hot subway train, with 100's of other people and you feel like you are going to pass out from the heat.  I can imagine it's going to be something like that here.  Although, I still thing that I will do more walking.

The past couple days I have been concerned with being bored or lonely but I have been doing pretty well.  Yesterday I met up with my friend Lisa for coffee and some chat. Lisa is a fellow American living in London, she married a Brit and has been living here now with her husband, son and pets.  She has been such a useful source of information and so helpful with getting me settled before I even moved over.  We met back in April when I was over visiting and she told me all about places to look, what websites are great, she helped answer banking questions and phone questions.  She's be great! Today I met up with Cate who is another fellow ex-pat who moved over here for love.  She is married to a Brit as well but is originally from the west coast. Cate is the editor-in-chief of Bitch Buzz which I highly recommend you check out!  Cate and I met through our mutual friend Laetitia back in April as well.  We sat and had tea and cupcakes and this really quaint little bakery called Ella's Bakehouse in Covent Garden where we paid £2.60 for a cup of tea and a cupcake...can't go wrong there! While we sat in Covent Garden we were assaulted by pigeons and tourists alike.  We were laughing though because although we live in London (Cate much longer than me) we could still be considered tourists! I have a feeling this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship :)

**excuse my writing tonight, I feel like it's very abrupt. It's been a weird night, with a few stresses that I'm working out and while all that happening I tripped a breaker in the fuse box, all the lights went out in the flat, I was using my phone as a flashlight b/c I didn't know where any were and I couldn't for the life of me find the fuse box.  Finally after about 5 minutes I located it and everything is back in working order, but I did have a moment of panic when it all went down. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Getting It Done

With Laura having been here last week she was a great source of motivation for me.  I mentioned previously how I had gotten my room in order, well I also got some more important things squared away as well.  I had made a list of things that I needed to do and needed to get and the only thing left on that list is a laundry bag or basket.  The 2 most important things on that list were 1. open a bank account and 2. get a UK cell mobile phone and I did just that.  Right now the phone I have as my mobile is a temporary phone that is a pay as you go plan but once I get my bank card in the mail I can go back and have my number transferred over to a contract plan.  Im a little lost without my iPhone right now though.  I haven't been able to unlock it to be able to use it over here yet, but I have been told by my friend Jay that the government just made unlocking legal so I should be able to have that all taken care of...I hope sooner rather than later.  If I can't unlock my phone I need to figure out what type of phone to I get a Blackberry again? Do I get some fancy new thing they have over here? Oh the possibilities!

That being said, I am feeling like I am getting quite a bit accomplished already.  Now onto the job...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Holy Hell I've Been Here Over A Week!

Sorry I have been "rubbish" at blogging all week, my friend Laura was in town and it's been a busy one. Laura arrived on Wednesday morning and we mostly just stayed around the area.  Since she was on a red eye from Boston it was going to be a long day for her if we did anything crazy so I took her on pretty much the same tour Tom took me on my first day.  We walked around Battersea Park grabbed lunch at a place in the park right on a pond and enjoyed the weather.  Later that night we met Tom after work and went to dinner at Rocket, which happens to be one of Tom's favorite places to eat at in London, it's on Lancashire Court which is a Mews Street in London.  The food was delish and the dinner companions could not have been better!  Tom and Laura clicked right away which really made me happy!  The rest of the week Laura was a Godsend! She and I went around and got me some new bed linens to make my room my own.  Tom did a wonderful job with the room but it needed a bit of a woman's touch to make the place my own. I now have some organizational stuff as well as new linens and I need to finish the room off with hanging up photos in there.  I will be sure to post before and after photos when the room is complete.  I really and truly feel at home in my flat.  I was telling Tom that at first I felt like I was just visiting.  I was a little apprehensive about going through the cabinets and such but now I really feel like I live here.  Its great.  I think having Laura here really helped break the ice totally!  On Friday Laura and I took the train to Straford-upon-Avon to meet up with Nick, a colleague of Laura's who works at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.  While there he took us on a VIP tour of Stratford and we saw where Shakespeare was born as well as buried.  We were able to view the Folio while there, we also got taken on some "behind the scenes" stuff in Stratford, it was pretty amazing and hilariously funny!  Nick was a wonderful guide and we had a fantastic day.  Again any day you laugh as much as I did those days are always great days! Tom went home to his family house on Saturday afternoon after we had a great breakfast in the neighborhood while Laura and I went to a birthday party for my friend Michael that night. Laura also knows Michael and some of his friends which was great, but even if she knew no one I know we would have had just as much fun! Sunday was another Shakespeare filled day when we ventured over to The Globe Theatre to see back to back performances of Henry IV part 1&2.  I can't tell you how much I love that place and seeing shows there!  I think I might take myself to see Anne Boleyn (a new play written) for my birthday as it's playing on Friday and my b-day is Sunday.

Today Laura left after we took a bus tour of London. I enjoy those tours, I have been on a few here, one in Dublin and one in New York.  I find them interesting because of the tour guides.  Our guide was a little clueless which made the tour very funny.  After the tour we headed back to Battersea and grabbed Laura's things to head to Heathrow Airport. I was really sad to see her go, not only because she is a little piece of home, but because I have the best times when she is around.  I laugh like I have never laughed before when she is around and this trip was no exception!  Tom and I are already trying to get her back here for the 1st weekend in November for Guy Fawkes Day for a party and fireworks in the park.

Not only did Laura leave today, but Tom left today too.  He is coincidentally flying to New York for the week for work and then has the weekend to play in the city!  So here I am all alone in London.  It's a little lonely especially since I've just had a crazy week and I've only just moved in.  This week entails getting more done to my room I hope as well as pounding the pavement for work...if anyone has any leads let me know!  I am also hoping to meet up with my friend Lisa (a fellow ex-pat) as well as meet up with my uncle as well.  So I hopefully wont be as lonely as I am thinking.  It's bee a crazy couple months and I haven't really had much time to breathe since the beginning of the maybe I will be able to over the next few days.

And if anyone wants or needs a new I am :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Humble Abode

I decided to upload a little video of my flat b/c I love it so much.  The photos I posted in this entry don't really do it justice, not to mention you don't get to see what my room looks like now that I am living in it.  I've never made a video before so bear with me and my lameness but for all those who miss me you can hear my voice and laugh ;-) I hope you enjoy it!

Today I headed over the bridge into Chelsea, it's a nice walk over and I would've walked back but I am lacking in the shoe department and I didn't wear the best shoes.  But as I was saying, its a nice walk over the Thames on the Chelsea Bridge and I headed to the Kings Road to hit up Boots for a few more toiletries I needed.  This evening I have tickets to go see The Comedy of Errors at The Globe Theatre and tomorrow morning my dearest Laura arrives!  Once she arrives we have 5 days full of fun planned.  I can't wait for her to see my new place of residence.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I'm A Londoner!!!

Well it's official, I live in London!  Can you fucking believe it? Yesterday I got off the plane, cruised through customs and waited for my extremely heavy bags to come out.  I'm not going to lie, I was really nervous about getting the bags off the carousel and onto a luggage cart but with the help of a man to stabilize my cart I was successful.  I was then greeted by the smiling face of my uncle. It was great to see him when I got out there since I was stressed out a bit earlier on.  We drove to my flat and where Tom welcomed me with presents...I LOVE presents.  He bought me a cute London key ring for my new keys, a touristy book of London and a great Space NK travel set of soaps, candles and toiletries.  He is so so so sweet, I kind of an in love with him...well you know what I mean.  He "whipped up" an eggs benedict breakfast for us after we got my bags in the flat and the 3 of us sat and chatted for a while.  After Frank went on his way Tom and I just relaxed on the sofa and chatted for a while before I got my room unpacked.  As a welcome distraction from unpacking he and I took a great walk around Battersea Park which is just across the street pretty much.  We also enjoyed a Mr. Whippy (which is much like Mr. Softee for my NYC friends) and then we ate oysters in the park.  Battersea Park is gorgeous and Im so fortunate to have it on my doorstep.  Later last night we went to a bar in Soho where I met some of Tom's wonderful friends and made quite a few aquaintences (I say that since it's only the 1st day) I have to say, I was a trooper last night! I was out, without a nap until 2am and I was going on about 3 hours of sleep.  We had a blast but was equally excited to go to bed.

This morning Tom and I sat at the kitchen table and had some great conversation before we headed out to a quaint restaurant for breakfast in the area.  After a delish breakfast we walked over the brigde to Chelsea (so convenient) and did a lot of window shopping to get some ideas for my room.  After leaving Chelsea we met Tom's friend Katrina and sat in her back yard chatting and laughing before we went home to prepare for more friends, Rupert and Andrew, to come over for dinner.  Tom made an amazing chunky tomato *pronouced with a short A* soup followed by chicken and a great couscous romaine lettuce and veggie salad. Then ending with strawberries and lemon sorbet.  It was not bad at all! Not too shabby!

Today was full of a lot of laughs and a lot of banter about my accent and how I pronounce
words or what I call things, like a sweater is a jumper, a vest is a waistcoat, a band aid is a plaster and a robe is a dressing gown.  I'm learning the "language" Its been great so far! But now its late and I am tired!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

At The Airport

Here I am at Logan Airport. I will be boarding my flight in about 30 minutes.  My whole family came out to see me off and after a bit of frustration at the check-in window I was all checked in and my bags were sent on the conveyor belt. We hung around the airport (American Airlines terminal at Logan is VERY boring) for about 45 minutes before I went through security.  Here I thought the hardest part would be saying goodbye to my nephews but I lost it when I said goodbye to my mom.  Don't get me wrong I am very excited to be venturing off on this journey but I can't believe I am moving across an ocean, 3500 miles away from all my friends and immediate family. I'm going to toot my own horn for the moment and say that I am proud of myself for doing this.  I have talked about moving to London for 11 years (since I came back from my summer semester in 1999) and here I am doing it.  I never thought I would move out of Massachusetts and I moved to New York and now I am moving to London. It's really very surreal.  Also I am proud of the fact that I set my mind to do this and followed through on it.  Excuse me while I pat myself on the back!

I don't know what else to say other than I am excited to do this. I know I have said this before but now that I am actually doing it I am ecstatic! I am sad that I'm leaving but I know this is something I needed to do.  I just can't believe that it was almost a year ago when I decided that this was something that I was really going to pursue and it seemed like it was so far away. And now it's July and I am on my way.  Sorry if I am repeating myself I just full of so many emotions right now.  I think I am going to go and the next time I write I will be in London!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Taking a Break: T Minus 36 Hours

I fly out in 36 hours...holy shit!

Right now I am taking a break from backing up my life.  It's really overwhelming and stressful and I feel like I am getting nowhere but I have been assured that I have gotten quite a bit done.  Yesterday my friend Erin R (who I went to college with and lived with for 4 months) drove up from Connecticut to spend the day with me and she helped me pack up.  My mom came over as well and we got 1 of my ginormous suitcases packed.  According to the American Airlines website I am allowed 50lbs but "any bags between 50-70lbs are subject to $50 fee" When we weighed my bag it was 54lbs so my mom shoved more stuff in since I had about another 15lbs to the limit.  I am currently packing the other ginormous suitcase the more of the clothes I am bringing as well as some of the other personal stuff I want to bring.  Its really shocking that I am packing "my life" into suitcases and moving tomorrow night!

I've had a great week, on Monday I had my farewell dinner with my 2 best friends Barrie and Emilee.  I don't see the girls all that often but when I am able to get together with them I have such a great time and am so sad to leave them.  Its really bittersweet, especially b/c they both had kids and I feel like I am missing out on such a huge chapter of their lives.  Then on Tuesday afternoon I met up with my dear friend Laura for lunch and coffee but right now it's not farewell since Laura will be coming to see me in London next week! Tueday night I went with my sister to see Eclipse (Go Team Edward!) and as I said Erin came to visit yesterday. Today is mainly just packing.  I don't think I have anything else planned other than that.  Unless anyone wants to save me from my own personal hell :)

Ok, I have to get back to folding laundry and I have a couple projects to take care of to alleviate the bulk of my stuff...wish me luck!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

An ExPat Observation

So maybe I am not yet and expat, but I will be soon.  However, this is what I have noticed when doing some "research" online to read about other people who have made (or are making) the move to London...lot's of people do it for LOVE.

I feel like I am the only person making the trek "just because" and I'm a little jealous.  I mean, don't get me wrong, this has been something I have wanted and talked about for 11 years and now I am finally doing it!  But it does make me a little sad that I don't have the love of my life over there waiting anxiously for me to arrive.  My friend Barrie is convinced that I will meet someone over there, but who knows?! Only time will tell, as you are reading this, you will find out what happens on my London adventures. I look forward and am opening myself up for anything to happen when I am there.  Here's to new adventures and to see if love comes my way too :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

In One Week

Ok, this is getting to be a little crazy, I move in 1 week...actually less than 1 week since my flight is on Friday! I really need to get my ass in gear and go through my stuff, I can hear my sister now "yeah you do!" I got back from being in Florida yesterday for the week and when I was down there I picked up 2 gigantic suitcases that will hold the contents of my London life.  These cases are the largest ones I can buy without getting charged oversized fees.  I also have my big ass backpack that I bought for my last London trip that I am going to take with me as well, so my life's contents will be in 3 bags. I know I can always ship things over when I get there but as of right now I need to figure out what I am taking with me and what I am leaving behind.  Today I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond to get some space saver vacuum bags to make more space in my cases...I am a terrible packer.  I wish I knew what to bring really.  I mean I have so much stuff, clothes, shoes, makeup, jewelry, accessories, photos, ugh to think I have to whittle it down to only a few things is stressful.  I don't like stress.  However I know that this is all going to pay off.

I also have my transportation from the airport set up, my uncle Frank will be meeting me next Saturday to help me with my life in luggage :)  God I am so excited, Tom and I have been emailing each other a lot and are really looking forward to finally moving in together and getting to know each other more.  The other really exciting thing that I am looking forward to is that the week after I move Laura will be arriving for a week.  She flies in on 21 July and is there til 26 July.  We have tickets to see Henry IV parts 1&2 at the Globe (I also have tickets to see Comedy of Errors the night before she arrives) and we are going on an adventure to Stratford-upon-Avon to meet up with a colleague of hers that works at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.  He is going to take us behind the scenes of the Royal Shakespeare Company and take us to see the Folios!  In true Shakespeare Geekdom we get to touch them...something the general public does not get to do!  I think I peed myself a little when she told me this!

God I have so much to look forward too. I am also really looking forward to reconnecting with friends when I am there be prepared :) Now it's time to weed through my stuff.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My Flat...It's Official

Today, after quite a few email's between Tom and me, I was able to send my deposit off via wire transfer...that means that the flat, although we agreed on it already, it officially mine! I am so excited to be moving to Battersea and into this flat.  Tom has sent me some photos of the place and my room has been freshly repainted and he is in the process of getting furniture in there.  It's all very exciting.  We've been talking a little about decor and we're both looking forward to being able to do some decorating in there together. I can't wait to be able to do some things to it, I am thinking of getting some nice white Christmas lights to hang.  I also have some photos to hang up and make it all my's very exciting!

Right now I have gone through quite a bit of my packed stuff to see what I want to take with me, what's going to be hard is the shoes and clothes.  I really have to weed through all my personal items and see what I truly need and what is practical.  I can always have stuff shipped over too.  We're trying to figure out what is more cost effective, to pay for the extra baggage and check it on my flight or ship stuff in a box over.  I do need to get a larger suitcase, which I will be looking for next week at some luggage outlets in Florida.  It's all starting to come along.  The packing up part I am really dreading though!

Here are photos of my new flat...

The Living Room



My Bedroom (Before)

My Bedroom Freshly Painted (After)