Thursday, September 20, 2012

And Then We Were Robbed

Last week was shaping up to be one of our best in London thus far.  We had a friend down from Glasgow and our social calendar was filled.  We may have drank too much on Wednesday night but we rallied and headed to Carnaby Street with a few friends for a street fair on Thursday evening.  It was a great night.  And then we came home to find our place had been robbed.

Mike on his first day at uni,
with his backpack on
The thieves stole most of our electronics and Mike's backpack.  They broke in via the front door but it was closed and locked when we came home and nothing appeared amiss from the exterior.  The first clue something nefarious had occurred was when I walked into the hallway and saw a bunch of stuff on the floor in the living room/bedroom.  I asked Mike what had happened, since he's the last to leave in the morning, and he didn't know what I was talking about.  That's when I knew.

We lost our digital camera, our camcorder, Mike's 17" Dell laptop, Mike's iPod, and my Acer netbook.  Luckily, the thieves weren't giant dicks and they didn't break anything just for fun.  They also didn't take our external hard drive, which has a bunch of irreplaceable stuff on it.  Everything they did take is replaceable.  Eventually.  But, not now.  With 3.5 months before we move back to the States, we can't afford to replace anything.

Buying my Acer netbook in 2010
It took the cops just over an hour to arrive.  They were great.  There were three of them and they immediately apologised for the delay.  Apparently someone was robbed at knife point just down the street and they had to attend to that first.  Of course that's more important.  Actually, I was surprised the cops came at all.  My car was broken into in Salt Lake and a purse was stolen off the back seat.  I got nothing from the cops.  Apparently, Salt Lake cops are busier than London cops.  Doubt it.

The cops also sent a forensics guy over.  He searched for fingerprints and found a footprint on the door but in the end determined the thieves had been wearing gloves.  The cops posited that we were hit randomly.  The thieves probably were knocking on doors and those that weren't answered were targeted.  Fortunately, the cops believe our thieves were spooked mid-burglary and left without completing their heist.

Our landlord had the locksmith over on Friday and our place is more secure now.  The cops don't believe the thieves will return.  We received a call from them on Sunday with an update on our case.  Forensics had come back negative so with no clues they had to close the case.  We won't be getting any of our stuff back.  No one will be punished.

Happily, we discovered our support network in London is pretty great.  My employer has let us borrow a disused computer, a coworker let us borrow his tablet until the computer was sorted, and Mike's employer was willing to help too (but mine was too fast).  Another coworker offered us her TV (but with the computer we don't need one).  And, besides my netbook and Mike's iPod, we were looking to replace most of what was taken once we arrived in New York anyway.  Besides the violation, the whole experience wasn't as terrible as one would expect.  Still, let's hope we never have to experience that again.  And, maybe we'll look into getting renter's insurance and keeping the serial numbers of our electronics somewhere safe.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

August Wrap Up

the view from my office's rooftop terrace
in Trafalgar Square
August was a great month for us!  We're really adapting quite well to London and we're having a great time! Our flat is working out quite well, even with the super crap futon we're sleeping on.  If these last two years have done anything they have made us very flexible when it comes to our sleeping arrangements.

August brought us lovely weather, steady income, and increased fortunes.  Thanks to our Yelp events, we're finding our social calendar quite full, which is a huge change from our recent solitary existence in Dundee.  I'm probably the most friendly and social I've ever been.  It's weird.  I'm not sure if this is a permanent change or just a blip but I'm having fun and meeting some great people so we'll see how it plays out.  Maybe London Desi is Friendly Desi?  I hope London Desi is also Less Embarrassing Desi because I could really do with a little less of that.  I'd also like London Desi to be More Articulate Desi because all that solitary living up north has left me with an inability to convey any coherent ideas verbally.  I'm really just a big ball of beeps and ticks at this point.  I usually give up trying to convey any ideas mid-attempt, which actually goes against my hope for Less Embarrassing Desi because beeping and ticking whilst conversing is actually just as embarrassing as it sounds.

We started investigating alternative commuting methods.  We've been commuting via bus, mostly because it's cheaper than via tube but it's also more convenient.  But, with the nice weather we gave the Boris Bikes a try.  Riding a bike in London is almost as heavenly as it was in The Netherlands and definitely not as bad as the war zone that is Seattle.  I have no idea how I used to commute via bike in Seattle.  Those drivers are actively out to get you (I had one actually stop and get out of his car, like he was going to fight me...for riding my bike).  Walking back home along the north bank of the Thames was also fun for a few evenings.  We'll probably wind up sticking with the bus, especially when the weather turns, but it's nice to know we have so many options.

Surrey Docks City Farm
We didn't travel anywhere in August but we did ramble along the Thames.  We didn't get farther east than Greenwich but we did discover a lovely city farm with goats and chickens and pigs (oh my).  We also experienced one of our most magical evenings, watching 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' in a courtyard in Covent Garden with Bollywood dancers pre-show and free drinks and popcorn.  We also got to go to the industry screening of 'Great Expectations' in Leicester Square (where all the London premiers take place) where the director, Mike Newell, actually spoke to the crowd.

Bollywood dancers
Although August was a great month, September is already shaping up to be an improvement upon it, which is hard to believe but totally appreciated.  It's also hard to believe we've already been in London for two full months but, at the same time, it's hard to believe it hasn't been longer.  As expected, our time in Dundee is already fading from memory and being replaced almost entirely by pleasant London ones.  September will hopefully continue that trend.
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