Friday, May 27, 2011

Let The Games Begin

On Monday, Mike got his dream job.  He was hired to work the Egon Schiele exhibition at a gallery in Mayfair.  After visiting the hosting gallery this past Friday, the exhibition's first day, he emailed them with his thoughts (Schiele is one of his favourite artists) and to inquire about any possible employment opportunities.  The next thing he knows he's got an interview and now a job.  His first day is tomorrow and he couldn't be happier.

With Mike's new job, we're just now feeling settled and getting ready to take advantage of all the big city amenities.  We're already enjoying all the different markets, especially Portobello and Old Spitalfields, and exploring the different neighbourhoods, Shoreditch and the East End are early favourites, but we're looking forward to our first day-trip this weekend and to all the summer events (outdoor films, Zoo Lates, festivals, etc.) still to come.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

An Open Letter To Perfume Wearers

Perfume should be like lingerie or a secret tattoo, only noticed by those becoming intimate with you.  Never should someone walk into a room and be able to smell you nor know you're approaching by odour alone.

Perfume is not a room spray and your endeavour should not be to change the scent of your surroundings.  Similarly, perfume is not a deodorant and does not hide body odour nor cigarette smoke, no matter how much you apply.  If you smell that bad you should bathe and if you're concerned about smelling like a smoker you should quit.

Please stop polluting the air with your chosen odour and learn how to apply your bottled scent correctly; moderation is the key.

P.S. This information also applies to cologne wearers.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Greetings From London


We've now been in London for a week and we're loving every minute of it.  I do not deny that Mike will encounter quite a fight from me when he tries to get me back to Dundee in September.  So far, London loves me and the feeling is most definitely mutual.
I had an interview with a temp agency last Wednesday and received a call from them with an assignment the next day, paying me double the salary I was making in Dundee.  This is how it's supposed to work, folks.  I started work today and I felt like Bridget Jones, for no other reason than because that film had many office-based scenes.  I enjoyed the first day at my first job in London, my first proper job in the UK.  It's only a one week temp gig, so I'm not yet fully celebrating, but thus far my experience has exceeded my expectations.

Our neighbourhood in Willesden Green/Cricklewood is super cute.  We have bus stops right outside our door and a couple tube stations to choose from within 15 minutes walking distance.  Cricklewood Broadway is just around the corner, offering us all the amenities of a large city without much effort at all.  Our flat is a small studio in the attic of a three story townhome, our kitchen is in a closet, and our bathroom is tight, but it's a flat in London in our price range and we're very happy with it.   
Jubilee Gardens
London itself is lovely, reminding me of Washington DC with elements of New York City.  We've spent this last week walking everywhere.  Our feet and legs are swollen and tired but we're having a great time exploring our new city and are looking forward to our London summer.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Looking Back And Moving On

Today is our last day in Dundee until September.  We embark tomorrow morning on another adventure, this time to London.  To prepare for this new adventure we're reviewing these last 8.5 months, hoping to remind ourselves of what went well and what could've gone better.  This exercise, along with other lessons, will hopefully help to make this move easier than the last.

Dundee is a picturesque town.  It's situated right on the Tay, the city centre is super cute, and the weather has been better than expected, especially this last week.  But, even with all these positives, we may have set our original expectations a bit too high prior to our arrival in August 2010.  We expected a larger city, a live music scene, a college town vibrant with youth and idealism.  We were disappointed.

To avoid this type of mistake in the future we're trying to keep expectations for future adventures low.  We're hoping for the best but expecting the worst, the latter of which we neglected when relocating last year.  We were so convinced that our new home would be amazing that we didn't even consider what would happen if it wasn't.  The reality was nearly devastating but, happily, we've nearly overcome it.  Now, although we're smarter about both mental preparation as well as recovery, avoiding that type of surprise in the future is our goal.

The number one priority upon our arrival in London is finding employment.  The second priority continues to be travel.  Looking back, we're very happy with our travel experiences since arriving in the UK.  We haven't travelled as much as originally planned but we have done the big trips we had hoped for (winter break and spring break).  This summer we hope to continue to take advantage of proximity, especially since London has more airports and easier access to the continent than Dundee making weekend trips possible.  We're especially looking forward to our summer rambles and exploring the areas surrounding London.

One thing that has gone better than expected is Mike's education.  Mike is getting a great education here (Duncan of Jordanstone is one of the best art schools in the UK) and he's loving every minute of it.  Plus, because he was a 2nd year direct entrant, he'll be graduating a year earlier than expected.  Yes, this is one area of the past 9 months that has gone exceedingly well.

Overall, we're pretty happy with the direction we've taken.  It's a complete and drastic change from our previous existence and we're still living abroad amateurs but every day we're learning something new and we believe these lessons have been worth the sacrifices.
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