Monthly Archives: October 2013

What I learnt this week: A lesson in patience

This was my first real week in London.  The boring paper work stuff took hold- job interviews, phone sorting, insurance stuff, setting up bank accounts (which was made better by the cute English guy I spent an hour with).  Not sure how far their customer service  extends but it should include taking a girl out.  Surely?

I even worked on Tuesday, doing some fascinating (NO, I’M NOT BEING SARCASTIC) work helping at a conference.  Tip; stop wearing heels to standing events.

Had to go to the doctors this week, as I’ve had some weird pain in my arm for 3 weeks.  The verdict was- get some blood tests.  Went to visit the nurse who promptly pulled out seven empty tubes.  I was like- ‘I still need some blood in me, you know just for vital organs etc.’ She was Russian and said- ‘You’ll be fine, get on the bed.’  I don’t mess with Russians, so I obeyed.  But here’s the thing- I’m not and never have been good at having blood taken.

Anyway I lay down.  After the third tube was full, it was all over.  I drifted to faint land, the doctors came running, I was a sweating, had pins and needles in my arms and I could feel the vomit coming.  The funny thing was all I could think about was that I wouldn’t be able to go on my 3-hour bike tour of London later that day.  Shit.

However turns out, I was ok after about ten minutes.  I may have hyperventilated slightly.  Then Russian nurse asked me if I wanted to have the last 4 viles done.  I replied- ‘best we do it another day.’  Jesus, Russians are tough.

In case you were wondering the verdict is still out- hand mystery still unsolved.   Bright side I’m ok to write another blog post (or 500)!

So I did get to go on my ‘Secret’ bike tour of London with Ash, (who is here for her big Europe trip).  Very cool.  Before the ride I thought I might die in London traffic but it was all relatively safe.  The highlights were whizzing around Harry Potter’s Diagonal Alley, checking out a Jack the Ripper murder scene, Canary Wharf and riding over the Tower of London Bridge.

We were meant to meet Kelly for dinner that night at ‘Lupitas,’ but not realising there were 2 we went to the ‘other’ Lupitas.  Whoopsy bloody daisy.  But by that stage we were starved, so decide to stay.  The first thing we ordered was a pitcher of margarita, well deserved after a long ride.  Lovely treat to catch up with Ash!

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Thursday went to the iconic Globe Theatre.  Which is a Shakespearean style theatre- poor people stand in the open-air area, while the rich people sit in the stalls.  Saw Macbeth, which was a really great experience.  Then had drinks with Linda and Kelly after.  Heard about Linda’s latest boy gossip, which is always entertaining.  I thought I had stories but they don’t compare to this girl, it’s brilliant!

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Friday!!! Oh what a night!!! Met up with Nicko who’s also in Europe for a couple weeks.  Went to London Cocktail Club, which is owned by his brother James.  It was James’ birthday.  What a bash that was!  I thought I had walked onto the set of coyote ugly- drinks, bar top dancing and fun times galore.

Getting home was another story and whilst I can laugh about it now, at the time, it was definitely not funny Jan.  It was too late to catch the tube, so it was to be my first night bus experience.  No worries I thought. Found the 14, waited, got on, went one stop.  Then this guy said, ‘this is the last stop’ and I said ‘no no it’s going on surely.’  No.  Wrong direction.

Cross the street to go the other direction.  Weird though, no bus stops on this side.  After walking in the pouring rain for 20 mins at 1:30am I realised why there were no buses on my side of the street.  It was one way!  No choice but to keep walking.

Eventually I arrive at an intersection, which has police.  I get some help, finding out if I go up to the next big intersection and turn left I’ll be fine.  Yeah right.  I got lost again, but then hope; I saw another bus number I knew, so I started chasing the bus.

It stopped, but it was going the wrong way.  However I cross over to the opposite side of the road see my saviour- my stop on the map!   I wait for my 19.  Freezing and soaking wet.  15 mins later I get on the bus.  Yay.  Then some idiot vomits everywhere so the first stop we come to everyone has to get off.

I’m back in the cold, by this time it’s after 2am.  To pass the time I chat to a random nice guy.  Another 15 mins.  The next 19 arrives, I get on, warm again.  Until, someone else vomits! WTF, learn how to control your spews people! We have to stop, AGAIN.

Ok so I was freezing, tired and had been trying to get home for almost two hours buy this stage.  I kind of exploded.  I turned and exclaimed to the other passengers this was the second bus I had been on that someone had vomited, everyone found it amusing.  I wasn’t amused.

Spent the next ten minutes pleading with the bus driver to just keep going. Then all the other passengers started harassing him.  It was a nightmare.  Suddenly a guy yells ‘bus.’  The next 19 had arrived.  We all got on.  I sat down and said ‘if anyone spews on this bus I will end you.’  I didn’t really but I don’t know if I would have been able to control my actions had it happened a third time.

When I finally arrived home at 3:45 am, I looked at myself in the mirror- make up was running all over my face.  I looked like Heath Ledger’s version of the Joker, not even exaggerating.  Won’t be catching the night bus anytime soon.

Saturday highlights- got lost again that night whilst heading to Morden for a Canadian thanks giving.  Eventually arrived for a lovely feast, drinks and got to meet a bunch of nice people.  Caught up with Ash and Nadelle there too.  Ate pumpkin pie for the first time in my life! YUM.

Sunday was a day of rest, god would have been pleased.  Just did some writing.  Went for a jog in the rain.  And watched Bridget Jones Diary with Kel.  Oh Mr. Darcy, I know you’re out there.  I hate to love Rom Coms!

Then we had a Mexican fiesta dinner extravaganza with Kelly and Simon, followed by Homeland, capping off another great week!

As I said earlier- this week was a lesson in patience.  I think I passed, just!  This was the reoccurring theme, I believe the universe was trying to teach me a lesson.  I’m generally not the most patient person.  I can be, but I also  struggle with the concept.

The first lesson I got was on the bus (not the night bus)- an elderly lady got up and accidentally dinged the buzzer, when she didn’t mean to.  The bus stopped and she was making a funny face, as though ‘whoops sorry’ when a younger lady pushed past, bumping her because she was in a hurry to get off the bus.   Are you really ever that busy or important that you shove an old lady?  YOU ARE NOT.

Next lesson was through a FB story that good friend of mine Tiff  posted.  She was on her way to the gym, pumped for a work out, but ran into (not literally) an elderly blind lady who needed some assistance.  Tiff being the wonderful specimen of a human she is stopped to help the lady to the subway, which left less time for her work out.  But she had the patience to do right thing.

Another  lesson was the fateful bus ride home on Friday morning.  I think I failed that lesson but it did take a lot for me to crack so maybe I got a B+ on that one.

I discovered there’s learning patience with others, myself and public transport.  I guess you really can’t control what happens but you can control how you react!

The thing I did which scared me most:

  • Sat in a busy bar by myself for an hour, not drunk

Highs:

  • Friday night cocktails at the The Goodge Street London Cocktail Club- it was London Cocktail week after all!
  • Experiencing the Globe Theatre
  • Realising that London is full of crazy people- I fit in!

Lows:

  • Getting lost three times
  • Blood test reaction (or over reaction)
  • Thinking that I was seeing versions of my friends everywhere, only to find out they were mirages

Funniest moment:

  • Was on the bus and middle aged black lady was singing and preaching about the lord.  Just as three guys got off she started yelling ‘if you love your lady, you gotta marry her.  Sex before marriage is a sin.’  The look on their faces was- ‘too late lady, we be sinners!’

What I learnt this week:

  • Patience is bloody hard but bloody valuable!

What I learnt this week: Swedish dreaming

Another huge week.  This time in another country…Sweden.  A truly amazing part of the world.  The air is so clean; it’s like breathing for the first time!

I went to visit my friends Chris and Craig, who I met walking the Camino in Spain earlier this year.  Two Aussie guys living in a very small town named Amsele.  It’s the kind of place where serial killers could (and possible do) hide out.   Very remote but very beautiful.

It was funny travelling to Sweden, it’s somewhere I’ve wanted to go for a long time but actually didn’t know much about.  This became apparent when I turned up with Euro instead of Kronor.   And no if you are wondering I didn’t run into the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

I did however have an amazing time.  My days consisted of getting up early, writing (I finished an 85 page script during my stay). Cooking Chris and Craig lunch each day, on their work break.  More writing.  Lunch.  Then a two-hour walk/ride up sandy hills, by lakesides or through forests.  It was so peaceful.

Because the town is very small, seeing someone is rare.  Which if I thought about too hard, freaked me out, as part of my walks were over sharp rocks.  The paranoid Bridget Jones part of me was like- ‘god I could just fall over, dash my head open, get eaten by Alsatians (or Reindeer) and no one would ever know!’  But I’m still here.  It takes a lot to get rid of me…

When the guys finished work we’d all hang out.  One day we went to Mardselefors, which are beautiful rapids.  Not big atm, but amazing all the same.  We picked wild blueberries that day too.

Did a lakeside grill one night, lots of meat!  That’s the thing about hanging out with guys, they don’t like vegies.  But they set the table up real nice for me- with candles!  We even used plates for our food (they normally don’t).   Although I did drink out of plastic cup which resembled a bidet.

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Got to meet Chris’ son Julian, that was awesome.  On the Saturday we all ploughed potato’s.  I gave up a little quicker than them, farming is hard work!

Travelled to Umea on the Saturday afternoon, the closest ‘big’ town.  Explored the streets.  Went shopping.  Guys do have it hard!  I realised this when I was waiting in the change rooms for the boys to try on their pants.  I made a promise to myself that I won’t make my next boyfriend come shopping with me, EVER.

Then boy did we get a treat for dinner- ‘FRAZZIES.’  This is the best fast food you can get!  The fish burgers are salmon!!! They have free tea and coffee.  Sauce choice is plentiful, you can go nuts!  And best of all it actually tasted like it was real food.

That night we went out to a bar which was a converted castle, totally cool.  Chilled to an interesting Swedish band.  They even had free food!  The Swedish are responsible drinkers!  Enjoyed fun times, dancing the night away.

What I learnt came about through my friendship with the boys.  I had such a relaxing week.  It was great to be by myself, get some perspective but it was equally awesome to hang out with Chris and Craig.

We talked a lot of bullshit, but also had some very deep conversations (depending on how much alcohol had been consumed).  But what I appreciate is the boys accept me exactly as I am.  I felt no pressure to try and be someone else, or act in a certain way.  I’m currently not where I thought I would be at 29 but I know I’m where I’m meant to be.

I never felt judged whenever I talked about my ideas for the future, my writing or  stupid guy stuff.  It was all ok.  I may have been teased but it was in good spirit.

This led me to realise it’s ok to be where you’re at.  Wherever that is, that’s good enough.  This doesn’t mean you accept mediocrity.  To me it means happily accepting my situation and knowing that I can change it.

Yep.

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What I did that scared me:

  • Ate wild mushrooms (no not magic) in the forest.

Highs

  •  Chasing the Northern lights in Chris’ car
  •  Ploughing potato’s
  •  Completing the first draft of my screen play

Lows

  •  Sitting in Arlanda airport for 6 hours with no money
  •  Wanting to jump in the lake but my feet froze, quite literally
  • Leaving Sweden

Funniest moment:

  • At H & M, helping Craig pick out jeans.  He tried on pair that was a little tight to say the least. I tried to get a photo of his lovely ballerina legs but unfortunately no luck.

What I learnt this week in a nutshell:

  • To be happy with where you’re at but know that you can choose to change.

What I learnt this week: London calling

This week I swapped Australia for London.  In doing so I realised just how many wonderful people are in my life.  Which made it that much harder to get on the darn flying machine.  Until I left I truly had no idea of what my friends really thought of me.  I guess the concept you have of yourself and what you mean to people are two very different things!

The send off I received was truly amazing.  Everyone had more faith that I was doing the right thing than I did!  But now that I’m here, I know it’s where I’m meant to be.  Just glad I finally had the guts to do it!

Getting to the point- what I learnt from this was that we don’t often reveal to our friends or family just how much they mean to us.  Henceforth I would like to tell people how I feel about them more often.   That I care about them, think they’re just swell etc etc.  It might be tough at first (unless I’m drunk, then you can’t shut me up- as most of you know)!  But that’s my goal anyway.

That was my biggie in what has so far has been huge week – flying for over 20 hours, being grilled by immigration- I didn’t think I looked that dodgy but I guess I hadn’t showered in over a day, so I probably had the crazy eyes.  Job hunting, house hunting, phone hunting, new friend hunting, bar hunting and my fav- English bloke hunting.

Living in London is like living in a dollhouse, it’s all very quaint. Not at all like me but that’s ok, I’ve no doubt we will get along.  So much to see and do…

I started my London experience with an Opera- Le Nozze De Figaro.  Which was incredible, but I think would have been more so if I wasn’t suffering jet lag and  wearing heels in the standing section for over three hours!

Hit a travel show on Saturday.  Booked a three-day tour to Scotland.  The guide revealed that there are  two cute Aussie guys in the group.  I laughed, as it would be slightly ironic to hook up with an Australian all the way over here.  Also ran into an old friend that I haven’t seen in years- Jacqui who’s living here too.  What’s that they say about the world? Oh yeah, it’s freaking small.

Went out for yummy cocktails and dinner at Tom’s kitchen, in Chelsea with Kelly, my new friends Linda and Suzanne.  So excited as we are starting a book club.  That’s possibly a sign I’m getting old, but more than anything I think it’s an excuse to catch up, drink wine and possibly chat about a book.

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On Sunday had an epic cooking session- 3 hours to produce mouth watering,  as they shall now be termed- ‘leek balls’ and a beautiful Middle Eastern salad.  Well worth the effort!

Stay posted for more adventures!

The thing I did this week, which scared me most:

  • Moving to the other side of the world.  That’s a bloody big one.

Highs:

  • Exploring the monopoly board for real- Trafalgar Square, Victoria Station etc.
  • Sitting in the sun (yes the UK does have sun) under the London eye with my Aussie friend Nadelle, then drinking 3-pound cosmopolitans at the Slug and Lettuce!
  • Starting my blog

Lows:

  • Face stalking waaaaaay too much because I was missing my friends back home!
  • Tasting peanut butter here, what a horror show that was!
  • Finding out that wages suck big time (that’s putting it as nicely.  I need to find a sugar daddy).

Funniest moment:

  • Walking along the street in Chelsea (very posh area) trying to look sophisticated in my cute dress, when a big gust of wind revealed my little black nickers to the passing traffic.  I walked on as though nothing had happened, secretly cringing but even more secretly happy- I’m pretty proud of my bum.

 What I learnt in a nutshell:

  • To not be scared to tell people how I feel about them!