Monthly Archives: May 2013

Two years of London

I’m sitting in my back garden blogging on a very nice Friday afternoon. I should be working, but I have had a lovely headachy/migraine for most of the last 24 hours. It made me feel quite ill last night and into the morning. I’ve only just now at quarter to 1 felt ok to eat some toast. So I’m not working today but instead going to work tomorrow, Saturday. A tree girls’ work is never done. I don’t have anything on this weekend so it makes no difference to me which day I work really.

Any who, it just occurred to me a few minutes ago that today completes my second year in the capital city. This year has slipped away particularly quickly. Everything seems to happen in overdrive in the city and I just try to keep up and keep surviving. By surviving, I mean pay my bills on time! This year was much harder and more of a struggle than the first, but I am looking forward to the next year here. This third year will really start a new chapter for me. Like literally. I just committed like 2 minutes ago to taking my job on a permanent basis. Exciting, scary, overwhelming. All those things. I was a bit on tenterhooks this week cause I didn’t know if I could take on the role for multiple reasons (or if I wanted it), but as of right now everything seems to be fine. There’s really no better place for me to be working and learning in the city. And I feel pretty lucky this opportunity opened up for me. When I was hired back on as a temp 6 months ago I had no idea what was going to happen to me in a few months. And it continues to be the case that whenever I put myself out there in life, try to take a jump that I’m not sure I can make, I am rewarded.  No broken bones on my leaps of faith (yet). Sometimes the reward isn’t always clear straight away, but I get it in the end.

I went to a pub quiz fundraiser last night. It was a good reminder of how lucky we are here in the West. There were some people in from Kenya speaking about what the kids in their village have to do to get by in life. (The fundraiser was for them) They have to work in the quarry at a young age if they aren’t able to pay for school. What a shock really. And the money we were raising that night went to sending kids in this village to school and making sure they had clothes and such. I felt a bit glutinous sitting there in the pub eating, drinking and laughing about knowing the Doogie Howser MD theme song, knowing there are people struggling to make it in the world. It makes me want to do more for others.. And that we shouldn’t waste all the opportunities we get here. We are so lucky. So I think with that in mind I will work to do more for others in my 3rd year of living here. I’ve got something in mind for next February/March. If I can save up some money to do it, I will. And I may be pestering all of you to help me out as well. Details on that to come.

If there is one thing I do need in this next year it is to have more visitors than I have in the last 9 months. C’mon everyone. It’s not too bad over here. I may even be able to offer you a place to stay at my house. Wouldn’t that be nice? We’ve got nearly everything there is in the states. And then there’s some weird English stuff too. It’s pretty neat to be here. We can ride bikes. Can that happen please? Thanks.

On that note I’m out. I’m going to read my book about America, watch Piccadilly and the guinea pigs eat grass and enjoy this super fabulous afternoon in London and hope my headache goes away soon. Peace.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

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It’s a possiblity, but I’ll need to know more about you.

I was looking at my blog reader stats (yes I have those) and saw that one person found my blog under the following search term: Image

That’s awesome. I googled for myself and I was like the 4th search result. Not too shabby! So, who ever you are, I am single at the moment and looking to get out of my single rut. I wouldn’t totally rule you out at this point. Thanks for letting me know there is hope for dating men again in the future.

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finding a space

It’s been a drunk, tiring, beautiful and anxious bank holiday. Maybe a little forlorn as well. That’s a bit of a random mix of words, isn’t it? But 72 hours can be an awfully long time. Lots on my mind about the future and how things will ultimately pan out at the end of this week……

Latte by the sea

Latte by the sea

I know one thing for sure: I drank a LOT of Dark Star Hop head on Saturday after a 19 mile cycle from Brighton to Partridge Green. It was an “organized” ride from Brighton to the Dark Star Brewery. We’ve been fortunate to have 3 glorious days of weather squeezed between loads of rain. I was happy to see the sun on Saturday for our bike ride. The beer was great, the bbq was amazing. And it was good to see a little bit of Brighton. We were able to ride a bit along the promenade. I learned that a 23kg Pashley is not a practical bike for cycling over the South Downs. I was happy that we weren’t going the other way over them as it seemed a lot steeper. I would have died. I ended up wussing out and walking a bit of one of the hills. Sista just isn’t used to cycling over hills. Thanks to my cycle partner who mildly put up with my slow cycling. Although I’m happy to report I wasn’t the slowest.

This was when we were slightly lost and teamed up with some other cyclists.

This was when we were slightly lost and teamed up with some other cyclists to find our way to the brewery.

Bike parking at the brewery

Bike nation UK style.

It was a great day at Dark Star, one of my favorite breweries here in the UK. I think I had 7 or 8 pints? I lost count. But it was balanced by overdosing on the best BBQ I’ve had since being here in the UK. I had ribs, a boar burger and a beef brisket roll. Plus slaw and a cupcake.I think that and a lot of water lead to me not being hungover on Sunday. Good work by me keeping at an even keel. Although when I think about having 8 pints in a day, it seems like too much. But so did the alcohol I had the Saturday before. Let’s be fair. It was too much. But somehow I’m ok. My liver is likely thinking something very different from my brain though.

Beer! And beer bike!

Beer! And beer bike!

Yup so lots of fun. Sunday and Monday haven’t been as fun. Someone left their St. John’s Wort at work on Friday. I’m going to blame that for all my over thinking and anxiety this weekend. I tried going out and being social yesterday, but failed miserably. I just sat there feeling out of place at the pub, thoughts thousands and thousands of miles away. Today was even worse. I just need to make up my mind about what the rest of the year holds for me. Whether I stay here or go and when that will happen. I’m not giving up on London. My heart just feels like it needs some familiarity again. Like friends and family who mean so much to me. The ones I’ve been kind of neglecting since living in England. It’s a hard thing either way, but not bad either way as well. Both good, but I don’t like having to decide between the two. Can we move London to the US of A and then everything could be fine?

Any ways, I’m going to try to rest my brain. Back to the grind tomorrow and it would be nice to actually get some sleep tonight unlike last night.

Hope all is well in your world! Peace.

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Get busy living

Woah, I have no idea where the last couple weeks have gone. It’s been a whirlwind of events, parties, gigs, drinking, tennis and work with little time for me to catch my breath. I’m trying to use my free time this weekend to catch up on all that’s been going on with life while I’ve been out living it. It’s noon and I had a decent night sleep, but I’m still struggling to keep my eyes open. It seems like all the weight of the last few weeks is finally getting off my shoulders. My mind is still not sure about being here. London though is throwing itself at me trying to get me to stay here long term. It’s doing things like making me look at stuff like this:

Shiny glass and steel London on the South Bank.

Shiny glass and steel London on the South Bank.

C’mon London. That’s not even fair. You know I can’t resist buildings and sun and stuff. You can’t even see the top of the Shard the sun is so lovely. And then this too?

The city!

The city!

Pretty nice. I was lucky enough to attend an awards ceremony at City Hall this week. The “living room” is an amazing venue and you can walk around outside around the perimeter of the building to have a look at London. I haven’t been in the London Bridge area of the city in the light in ages. It’s hard not to love London on evenings like this. Especially when you’re drinking free red wine.

Last week I turned the big 31. I had an excellent turn out for my birthday drinks at Euston Tap. Both co-workers and regular type friends. We had a few drinks there and then went to see Cold War Kids in concert up in Kentish Town. I had a great time, but the lighting and sound at the gig left something to be desired. We still did some shuffling and dancing. I would post photos, but I managed to not take any people photos that night. Only one of my half-eaten falafel wrap.

falafel

falafel

I know you all wanted to see it. Recently, I’ve been venturing into the world of falafel wraps pretty heavily. It’s a good world to be in. Come join me there if you’d like.

Also this week was Walk to Work week. Doesn’t that sound like a fun initiative. I thought so at least. It’s 10.6 miles cycling to work for me each way. And while I did think about walking to work, I passed it up. I did meet up with some co-workers and walk from Vauxhall train station to work. It was 3.5 miles to work from there. The morning was not the best in terms of how I felt (late night the previous night) but it was absolutely glorious out. I felt better after getting some fresh air and taking in the sites. It was a different bit of London than I normally see on my commute into work, so I very much liked it. You see a lot as a cyclist rather than a car driver, but walking makes you notice even more of the world around you. So I was able to appreciate a view like this on my way into work:

Victoria Tower Gardens on a sunny Thursday morning.

Victoria Tower Gardens on a sunny Thursday morning.

It’s no St. Margaret Mercy, but it’s not bad to look at when you’re on your way to work. So that was cool to do. I will stick to cycling to work, but I think one of these days I will actually do the whole walk to or from work. My friend and I are already thinking about doing it on some nice Summer day. Maybe stop for drinks and dinner on the way home.

Yesterday was a big day for my pub quiz team. We went out and blew our pub quiz winnings in one mighty crawl. There are 10 of us who regularly quiz together and over the last 6-7 months we have collected a mighty sum of money from wining. £600 in fact. Here we all are at the Railway, where we normally quiz these days.

Team Quiz on my _____

Team Quiz on my _____

So yeah, that’s a good meal out and a lot of booze for each person.We stayed local and went to all of our regular haunts. Plus went out for mexican. I was starting to become very intoxicated by dinner time. But I stuffed myself silly with food at the restaurant and could not contemplate consuming any more calories. Ok, ok, I had one more pint, but I was done after that. It was really for the best in the end. I wanted to be alive today and not laying in bed wishing I didn’t have so many shots. I’m just about 100%, though very sleepy over all. That’s a big victory for me considering the way I’ve felt the next morning after being out on the lash.

Here’s a very flattering picture of me towards the end of the night.

I don't need another, thank you.

I don’t need another, thank you.

 

Nice to catch up and see everyone out in one evening!

Nice to catch up and see everyone out in one evening!

So that’s that. I find out more about permanency of work this week. I made a much better case for keeping me around last week than I did previously. Thanks St. John’s Wort! You’re my new best friend! That’s the first step of many to being here long term. If that happens. If I want it to happen. Le sigh.

I’m out playing tennis today. I need to play as I’ve somehow signed up for 2 leagues and 4 different tournaments this summer not really thinking anything of it. That’s a lot of tennis to have to play and book into my schedule. I’m not sure my game is up to it nor my body. I hope to at least get some good wins under my belt.

All, have a good week. Stay positive. Have a good time. Get out and explore. Peace.

 

 

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Green Garden

Not sure if Laura Mvula has yet made it stateside, but she needs to be popular over there. I downloaded her album a couple weeks ago. Wow. She’s got a Nina Simone type voice. I love her. Both Laura and Nina. The video to the song is quite good as well. Have a listen and get hip to it!

 

 

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TFFS

Flower boarder in Regents Park

Flower boarder in Regents Park

Thank f*** for spring. It’s here. Trees and flowers are in bloom. It’s mildly warm. And there has even been sun. Yes, Sun. Happy days. My hops plant is so happy with the turn in weather it’s grown more than 3 feet in less than two weeks. Hard to believe but true. I have photographic evidence to back me up. I’m looking forward to a lot of hop flowers come this September. I’m arranging to do a fresh hopped beer with my home brewing co-worker. Hop Trip UK edition? Yes please!

Hop-tacular hops.

Hop-tacular hops.

The weather has done much to improve my spirits after a tough winter of clouds. But I’m still struggling to with whether to stay here in London long term. If anything it’s become much more difficult in the last weeks. I’ve missed my friend Jill’s wedding back in Oregon. Really really gutting for me to have missed it. Like I ended up crying at two different pubs while out last Saturday. Two pubs. What a pillock. After a load of consolating hugs from my mates I felt a wee bit better. But it still threw into doubt my reasons for staying here long term. Worse it’s ever been. It’s hard to say if it’s just a funk or if it truly is a call by my heart to move back stateside. I don’t want to make a rash decision as once I leave that’s likely it for living abroad in my life. So I’m giving it 2 months. Two months to mull over and see how it is. Come July perhaps things will have significantly changed. I have a feeling they will have one way or another. And a decision will be clear. Stand by.

Until then, I will make the most of my time in London. Spend time with my lovely friends, work hard and learn as much as I can at my job, and continue my quest for smoking hot body fit. And by smoking hot body fit I mean try not to develop a beer belly.

This weekend is a bank holiday weekend. The weather is supposed to be pretty alright outside of the last 15 minutes when it was raining. Hopefully I can get my act together and go play some tennis in the late afternoon today. I have a match tomorrow and I haven’t picked up my racket in the last two weeks. Never a good formula for winning. Monday I will be heading to the land of Essex to go for a wander through Epping Forest. I’ve never been there and the trip is long overdue. I’m trying to get my co-workers to join me as well. This will probably lead to more tree photos being posted here.

Yesterday it was really nice and I was out working on my bicycle in Camden Town. I decided to cycle over to Regents Park via Regents Canal on my lunch break.

Regents Canal

Regents Canal

I’ve been running through Regents Park after work over the last few weeks. The park is absolutely huge. You don’t realize it until you’ve run around it thoroughly. And Queen Mary’s Gardens are beautiful. I’ve wanted to take a load of photos, but since I’m running I don’t have my camera. So this was finally a chance to snap a few photos while the cherry trees are still in bloom. And were they ever. So I leave you with some lovely photos of Regents Park. If you ever come to London, I recommend a wander through Regents Park and then down the canal. You won’t be disappointed.

Avenue of trees

Avenue of trees

 

Cherry Trees

Cherry Trees

Ok this is Camden Gardens not Regents Park but it's a nice little garden.

Ok this is Camden Gardens not Regents Park but it’s a nice little garden.

Have a nice weekend everyone. I hope the weather is nice enough for you to get out and explore.

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