Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Demented Seal

I have officially lost my voice Oh I know you all most likely thing that's great, finally some peace and quiet! Well I would say something very rude back, but I can't right now my throat hurts. But rest assured I'm thinking it!

It took about 6 hours to get the Mustangs winter tires on, get the registration papers and change over the number plates and insurance and jump start the battery into life.
Yes I did help, I wheeled and lifted tires around, 3 of them to be exact. Ruined a pair of white gloves (I couldn't find the other ones) operated the car jack and brushed foot thick snow off the entire car. That's not a foot of snow total, that's how thick the snow was covering the ENTIRE car.

At least we have a heater that works and a radio that works and a car that works 90% of the time.
Once the immigration gods bless Kyle and myself with an application acknowledgment (I don't mean they say yes or no I mean we have to wait 3-4 months for them to say "yes we received your application now live on tender hooks for up to 18 months" I can get a work permit and then a job and with a job I can get a car payment!!!! Which means a CAR!!! One with shiny red paint and a name like Gertie and a radio and a heater (and AC for summer) and most of all an engine that doesn't decide it wont work today but might tomorrow if you talk to it nicely.

Now for your enjoyment two random photos
















Janice Webb and myself at my last Singing lesson.
I was VERY lucky to be taught by her. Ironic me
Posting this today... when Ive lost my voice.

















Kyle's family over for Roast Chicken dinner in 2008.
From left to right Pete (K's Dad),
Ingrid (K's Paternal GMother)

Pam (K's Mother), Mary Lou (K's Maternal GMother)
Kyle and Vagn (K's Paternal GFather)

Lord knows what's on that TV in the background! Your guess is as good as mine!

Happy New Year every one!

P.S. Your more than welcome to comment you know, sometimes I feel as if I'm talking to myself. I'm not asking for a novel of dickens proportions in return, just a line or so to let myself know I'm not crazy!

Monday, December 29, 2008

One of those days

Some days your the statue and some days your the pigeon. Today, I am the statue.

Kyle and I have two cars, a red mustang and a red explorer.
















Okay let me rephrase that, Kyle and I have a red mustang.

Today is the first day since Christmas Day that I have left the house, I tried to go out yesterday made it about 4 minutes and told Kyle to turn around it was too much for me. I hardly slept last night because of my cough, but was feeling well enough this morning to try again.
Kyle has wanted some slippers and we needed to get some basics like loo paper so we trotted off to Wal-mart to attain these items. Before we left however we both discovered that our phones were out of commission, Kyles due to dead battery, mine due to the fact its AWOL. This comes into play later.

The explorer that we HAD, decided to die today, on a road called Notre Dame which is about 20 minutes drive from our house. That's 1.

We walked to BCAA (the car place not the drunks meeting) and the first question she asked was "is your car broken down?". That's 2

We decide to call Kyle's mother to come and pick us up at the blockbuster on the way, then walked back to the car. On the way back to the car it started snowing and it got heavier and heavier. That's 3
When Pam arrived we started calling tow trucks, a 3 hour wait or a 5 hour wait.... Thats 4

And the grande finale... so far. When we get home I decide to at least accomplish something today and decide to call the NZ department of Internal Affairs to order my BC and Change of Name for the upcoming immigration dealy. THEY ARE CLOSED FOR CHRISTMAS!!!!
A secular govenment department in a mostly secular country is closed for the entire Christmas/New Year break. WINZ isnt closed, IRD isnt closed, so the NZ Government can dish out money or taketh away money but need a document to prove who you are.... your flat out of luck.
And that ladies and gentleman is Number 5.

Well on the brightside I can breath through my nose again and the toaster oven I got Kyle for Christmas works a treat.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I have a cold















I have a cold, in the process of losing my voice right now. I sound like a demented seal.

It could be worse, its still -9 outside so its fitting to be sick watching TV under a blanket whilst laying on the couch. That's what I would most likely be doing anyway so apart from a raw noses nothing much has changed.

Have you ever had a cold in summer.... its hot, you want to be outside and you have a cold. A cold is something you should ONLY have when its cold.

I just sneezed lovely. Anyway I will be back when Im feeling better

Have a Happy New Year!

EDIT: Im not watching TV under the blanket, the blanket and the TV are at least 3 meters apart. The blanket is on ME while my head.. well my eyes watch the TV.

Monday, December 22, 2008

My favourite things

I love puzzles, they are awesome. Lets face it your either a Sudoku person or you not. I personally choose to not do math in my free time, I have never done math voluntarily. Maybe its because I'm a visual person but I LOVE doing a puzzle. Its still a challenge for the brain, its fun and you can piece a puzzle together with another person. There is no downside to a puzzle!


I love the beach, I know that sounds strange coming from someone who is absolutely and irrationally phobic of water but I grew up on a Pacific Island, its impossible for me not to have SOME affinity with water. One of the things I hear in Kamloops that I NEVER thought I would hear is people talking about swimming in the ocean for the first time....I love the feel of the sand as you walk on it with barefeet, I love the salty smell of the water, I love the people being with their friends and family and being out in the Sun. Even better when you have an ice cream or fish and chips to share as well. How could you possibly have a bad day were you looking at this....















Brownsbay Beach (Auckland NZ)during Christmas 2007


I love reading to, unlike watching TV I have to use my imagination, and create a world for the characters t
o live in. I feel like I've done something good for myself. Someone once told me that reading was food for the soul and truly believe that. I hope you all get a book for this years Chrismahanukwanzakahmas, it is the best gift you could ever recieve. If your donating to charity this year, along with much needed food give books. I love Sunday drives, packing lunch and a thermos and driving for an hour or two in the car. Sunday drives are just awesome. Growing up I remember taking many late afternoon/early evening drives with Mandy, Brandon and my Mum and Brother. We would go to a beach, get fish and chips and it was a great time.

But you know what I like best, Parties. They don't have to be big or flashy and they don't even have to cost a lot of money. I went to a dinner party last night, just two other couples and the hosts but it was so much fun! We played a game (apples to apples) and had Mexican food.
I have never been the type to enjoy being out all day, I get plain worn out after a few hours, but a few hours shared over dinner can be the best time in the world.

OK and I love puppies, those are my favorite thi
ngs !



















But who doesnt love an energetic, loving puppy.

There are so many wonderful things we have in the world, during the end of year holidays is the perfect time to reflect on your blessings of the year past and look forward to those to come.

Next year I will hopefully be able to call a place "Home" for the first time in 4 years. I will be living in an exciting city (Vancouver) and both Kyle and I will be embarking on new careers.
Oh and we might just be getting a puppy!
Next Christmas I will hopefully get to meet my new and only Niece, and I will get to catch up with people I havent seen in two years.

My next year is full of hope and that makes me smile. I hope your 2009 is going to be one of the best years will have, make sure you enter it with the right attitude. There is enough bad stuff going on in the world without more negativity being put out there.

Do you have a warm safe place to sleep at night?
Do you have family and friends who love you?
Do you have safe drinking water and enough food to sustain you?
If you can answer yes to all three then count your blessings, those three things alone make you one of the most blessed people on this earth.

Next year I have goals set to be more healthy, more content and less materialistic. My biggest goal is to be supportive of myself, I wont use negative self talk (you all know I talk to myself just like my crazy grandfather did), I wont be mad at myself if I slip up. I wont compare myself to someone skinnier or prettier or richer than me. As selfish as it might sound, 2009 is the year for CJ to treat CJ well. I'm going to be kind to myself and to my loved ones.

That's my New Years resolution, nothing punishing, nothing negative. I have never understood these goals that seem like punishment for past behavior. Giving up smoking or drinking or meat, losing weight, making more money.... sheesh what a boring 2009 even the wording is all wrong. Call me a hedonist but if I'm going to loose weight its going to be because I am happy enough to have an active lifestyle and eat well not because I'm going to eat lettuce and seeds.

Giving up, loosing, stopping (insert vice here). No wonder no one ever sticks to NYR's. I don't want to come off as preachy but it's frustrating hearing your loved ones beating themselves up because of their perceived failings. In 2009 be kind to yourself. Remember less anger more smile.

Now if you will kindly excuse me, I'm off to do a puzzle.

Merry
Chrismahanukwanzakahmas!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

6..5...6 Days until Christmas!

Its strange living in Canada sometimes, especially at Christmas. My family is in NZ so my NZ Christmas day occurs on the 24th here, which in itself is strange because Kyle's family opens half of their presents on the 24th, which is really the 25th in NZ. Still with me?

Kyle and I have "our" Christmas eve on the 23rd in Canada which is really the 24th in NZ because on the 24th in Canada is my Christmas day in NZ but Kyle's family has a celebration on Christmas eve which is really Christmas day for the NZ half off me. Still keeping up?

So in essence by the time Christmas day rolls around in Canada I'm pretty over the whole Christmas day thing because its almost 72 hours long for me at that stage. The best part is my family in NZ always treated boxing day as an extension to Christmas day (much like Kyle's family treats Christmas eve as an extension of Christmas day. How confused are you right now?

On another note I seem to have excema on the back of my hands despite me constantly dosing them in moisturizer! Any ideas, I was told that acidophiles (or something) yogurt is good for excema but I dont really want to dunk my hands in yogurt if I can help it.

We went to a Christmas party last night... here are some pictures.
Oh yeah I dyed my hair black now, I think it looks really good... although many people have reacted with something like "oh wow your hair.... its not blond anymore....um... its different"

Its OK if you don't like it people. I do, Kyle likes it (at least that's what he says). Anyway pictures.















Kyle and I at the Christmas Party last night,
if you wondering why we always seem to have photos
of just our faces when you cant see the back ground
well... its a long story. It all started in Pihia NZ on a
dolphin watching trip, when we got back to the hotel
and looked at our photos they were ALL just of us close up
you couldnt even see what we were doing at the time.
A tradition was born, Kyle and I can tell where we were at
the time, Paris, London, Auckland, Vancouver but you cant.
Does it have a point, no. Do we find it hilarious, yes yes we do
















Matt and Stephanie were there to, freshly back from Costa Rica (either there or Porta Rico)

PS. Auto save is a wonderful thing, I just about had a heart attack. I accidentally closed the window and had a NOOOOOOOOO00000000ooooooooooooo stomach dropping I need to reverse time 10 seconds moment. I'm sure it was invented by a Uni student after losing a 14 page essay, 30 minutes before its due.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

One week until Christmas

I am a Christmas freak, I'm sure most of you know that. Growing up we couldn't put the tree up before December 13th because that's my (MUCH older) brothers birthday and fair enough to. I know 6 people born in December, that's more than any other month... so what is it about March eh? Is there not much else to do in March? You all know what I'm alluding to! Back to my point, Christmas is awesome, trees, presents, celebration of Jesus being born, the delicious once a year food and all that.

But what is MORE awesome than Christmas


Is it
Festivus?... nope, close but no cookie

What could be more awesome than Festivus and Christmas put together....

Its
Chrismahanukwanzakah!!!! (that pronounced chris-ma-han-u-kwan-za-kah)

Now stuff that in your pipe and smoke it "happy holidays is a cop out" people.

So this holiday season, be inclusive, wish people a
Merry
Chrismahanukwanzakah and watch the fear and confusion come in their eyes! Oh and here is a picture of our Chrismahanukwanzakah tree and presents. We are working on including a Festivus pole for next year.




















Heres some of the Christmas cards I got this year to, I bet I got more than you :P















p.s. Im still trying to figure out the whole sideshow thing for the photos of Paris and London, should be do
ne before Christma..... op almost messed up there, they should be done before Chrismahanukwanzakah but no promises.







Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Its only... only -14 today but it has been snowing again, I'm praying for a white Christmas!

Here is the snow from the weekend, Saturday I believe on our balconey. It was about 3-4 inches.















Its now Tuesday morning and I took this photo about 5 minutes ago, as you can see the snow is a little thicker now!



I hope every one else is having a good Holiday Season!

Oh yeah that's the factory that interrupts our awesome view from the apartment balcony, we have a 180 of downtown and two mountain ranges if you look past the factory.

SNOW IS AWESOME!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Let it Snow!

Its -19 today, it was -13 yesterday so I thought I would show you what that looks like.














This is looking out one of the Valleys in Kamloops















This is driving down our street towards the City Centre

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Long time no see!

Well I am now back in Canada as I assume most of you now know.
I'm not going to go into detail, suffice to say my timing was probably the worst in history.
I had the unbelievable ability to decide to live in one of the worlds most expensive cities JUST as the economy worldwide started tanking.

Well done CJ!

I have many pictures to post, I will do so in the following days. They should be of Paris, London and Halloween.

Right now Kyle and I are trying to get me to stay in Canada, we are in the process of applying for it right now. Wish us luck, the government is pretty strict on that sort of thing. Despite what everyone hears it is NOT a walk in the park, it is NOT cheap and it is NOT something a blind monkey could do.

Until then I am not allowed to work legally (and no I wont be working ILLEGALLY) before anyone suggests it AGAIN, seriously people! I am not going to take any chance to let the government say get out of here for a few measly bucks! It gives me no excuse not to update at least twice a week though right!

Now that was a double negative braincell killer for you grammar Nazi's!

Here is a teaser of the photos to come..

Friday, October 3, 2008

Paris

So for my 25th Birthday, Kyle took me to Paris

I started out by going to pick him up at the airport and discovered that it was 16 pounds (I cant get the pound sign on anything but word!) for the train to Gatwick... one way! we wont be flying in to that airport again!

So I get to the airport and find out theres two terminals, uhhh okay didnt know that and I dont know Kyles flight number either, uhhh crap! Just as Im thinking about heading over to the info desk an exasperated voice comes over the intercom and states that anyone looking for the Vancouver arrival, the passengers are just clearing customs now. After this about 16 people walk away from the info desk, im sure it was a fun day for that worker (the arrival signs had not been updated).

After collecting Kyle we tried to find a way to Luton where we were flying out for Paris, why were we flying you ask and not taking the chunnel (channel tunnel) well because about a week before we were due to take it, a fire broke out and shut it down, by the day Kyle arrived, they were back up to 6 trains a day out of 26 and the average wait time was 7 hours... funfun

anyway we flew easy jet which was ironically very easy, on the way there at least. Poor Kyle had been on 2 plans and 2 trains by this stage and by the time we found the hotel it was 3 plans and 4 trains. Arriving in Paris we found a train to take us to the hotel the nearest station is something like Pigalle... no joking and no we had no idea how to pronounce it either

hopping off the train we had to had to switch to the metro and as we walked off we were greeted by 40 police officers with freaking tommy guns and were standing around looking puzzled. Thats JUST what you want to see, an armed, puzzled poilce officer.... because if I want confusion in anyone in society a deadly policeman is just the ticket!

but people it gets even better! we had been off the train no longer than 10 seconds when an ear piercing terrified scream rings out, and screams and screams and SCREAMS!!!! The police now look even more confused and then take off running up the stairs. Now people Im not the fittest person in the world by any means but I could have made it up those stairs in half the time it took them. They looked more like the French ballet than the French armed forces! Kyle has found a elevator for us now and as we hop in with a French couple the male looks at us and smiles while he says in a thick French accent... VELCOM TOE PARIS!!! and then chuckles at us as Kyle and I share a holy crap what have we gotten into look!

We find the metro entrance and I in my own danity gracious way dont realise that the HUGE alarm ringing is a sign that the metro train doors are about to shut so I make a rather epic fail of an entrance to the metro as I step on and the doors shut ON ME and everyone inside looks very alarmed and bemused. We discovered that night that the Pairs Metro is not for the faint of heart, its fast its dirty and very loud... insert your own crude joke here.

The hotel room was small and had a very strange shower but it had a view of the Effiel tower which was awesome, pictures to come! When Kyle finally gets around to emailing me with them... hint hint hint

We spend the next day going to the Effiel tower... pics to come and went back to the hotel to get ready for the Moulin Rouge!!!! We both had the same dinner, savichee of salmon, fricasee of lobster, beef something - it was like a steak but imagine the most beautiful delishious succulent steak you have ever had, then improve one hundred fold and you have some kind of idea how good the beef was, calling it a steak just isnt right. This was not some over cooked grainey black steak from the bbq this was steak if heaven was a steak.
Dessert was a choclate cake and did I mention our booking came with a bottle of Champagne, yum.
I hope you are all insanely jealous, if I wasnt me I would be... it made up for being 25 but then lobster and champagne will make up for almost anything in my book!

There was one dark mark on the evening, some self rightous bastard was at our table and he turned out to be from NZ, he proceeded to lecture me and the rest of the table because Im from Auckland for a good five minutes. Apprently this made me A the anti christ and B not a real kiwi anyway.... the rest of the table were suitably horrified and even his wife was giving him the "I want to stab you in the eye with a fork" look. Karma bit him in the arse though because the audience participation came around and the guy came over, asked him where he was from, took one look at him and walked clear to the other side of the stage... the guy looked gutted and GOOD IM GLAD you fat toger. Way to show up our country in a good light. I didnt say anything back to him during his tirade I just sipped on my Champagne and acted with dignity ... like an Aucklander would.

The actual show was pretty amazing, I would definately recommend it to anyone its well worth the money. I guess having worked in the industry took a little of the shine off for me, I kept looking at a dancer and thinking point your toes, you didnt put your feet together, finish off your steps! But I loved it, I was very nostelgic, I cant imagine how fun that would be to do for a job... forget standing at a cash register or sitting at a desk, dressing up in cool costumes and dancing now thats cool! The show even had a massive tank full of snakes and a girl swam with them it was pretty incrediable not something I could do . Can you just imagine the job notice in the paper... want to wear a skimpy costume and dive into a cold tank of water full of reptiles everynight, apply now at notgonnahappen.com

My favourite show of the night was the last number, huge pink feather boa costumes losts of glittler... it did take a few minutes getting used to the dancers being topless (not in a sleazy way) as the costumes were .... lets just say they had strategic beading in place. The male dancers were how can I put this gently.... terrible, shocking, chippendale wannabes? Compared to the skill of the girls they had no place being on the stage (the one execption being an amazing guy who did incredible strength moves) next to the girls who for the most part were fantastic. They all had that greasey Peter Andre look and were really big to be dancing on stange. They werent fat but Ive known professional male dancers in my time who would put them to shame. But the last pink number was amazing. Everything about the show was very very cool espeically the dining room we were in that was fantastic it was set up almost like a luxury circus, all harliquin colours and mirror mosaics an beautiful fabrics everywhere. Even the plates were gold rimmed it was a once in a life time experiance!

The next day Kyle and I got tickets on a hop on hop off bus and went and saw the usual sites. We stopped at NotreDame and looked around ...pics to come we also saw hundreds upon hundreds of historical sites, the best ones for me were the arc d triumph (Im sure I've spelt that wrong) and the effiel tower and NotreDame that was beautiful. We could have gotten off at the Lourve but Im not really prepared to spend precious hours in Paris standing in an Art Gallery to get 10 seconds in front of a painting. I will eventually get back to Paris and will devote and entire day thre but on a two day trip, and it being beautiful day I couldnt face going inside!

The bus trips are awesome, you can buy a one or two day pass and they have headphones that have a running commentry or french music playing and each tour is 2 hours, there are 4 bus tours for one price and 2 boat tours included, pretty fantastic when we go back to Paris we will definetly be doing those again!

Its true what they say, you cant get bad food in Paris, we ate at road side carts, cafes, the Moulin Rouge and had breakfast at the hotel one day and every single thing we ate in Paris was wonderful and tasty and mmmm good! I dont count the $70 NZD meal we had at the Paris airport of course... two coffees, two sandwhiches and two small bags of chips because airport food is no really food at all.

Kyle fell in love with crepes, you can get them pretty cheaply usually about 2-3 Euros and hundreds of different combos the most popular is banana and Nutella but you can also get lemon juice and sugar YUMMMMMMMMMMMMM

The flight back was a little drama, I take full responsibility for the muck up and im not going to go into massive detail just picture me running (yes running) through the Charles De Guille airport terminal trying to find where Kyle is 3 minutes before boarding closes and then both of us tearing back across the terminal only to then have to wait 10 minutes because some moron held up boarding. Kyle was trying to find me water and some drongo didnt have a concept of serving someone from start to finish... Kyle being too polite to tell him where to shove his stupid water bottles seethed silently until I rang up and told them man to give the Credit card back PRONTO, I got the blank wide eyed star back from mister idiot bar man who only moved when I said NOW in an "your going to be wearing your CENSORED for a hat if you dont move" tone, Im good at those when Im in a panic and we took off for the gate.

We didnt have a lot of time in London as I had to go to an appointment with the tax department the next day and Kyle had to leave at noon the next day. We did however to go Piccadilly Circus for a wonderful Italian dinner and sat at the statue in the middle of the square and people watched. I didnt react to the food too well and so unfortunately the next morning I wasnt feeling my best so Kyle had to see himself back to the airport (Im still sorry about that) as I didnt want to be giving a reconstruction of yesterdays meals for all of the tube passengers to see. Next time he comes over we can do much more fun things.

I had a wonderful birthday, and a fantastic time (how many times have I said fantastic/cool/amazing?) it was one of the best trips of my life!

Over the weekend I will try and bring you up to date with whats happened since Paris.

BIG SHOUT OUT to Lana and Jarrod, Lanas contractions were 2 minutes apart last time I heard from Mum, congrats on being new parents guys... soon hopefully for Lanas sake! I sorry I couldnt be there... well not like in the room that would be gross but more in the in NZ sence...

make sure the belly button is an INNIE!!!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Filling in the early days

This post is to fill in things that happened in my first week or so, it is by no means comprihensive and may repeat some stuff from my first post... I make no apologies from that :P

Day One September 1st

Arrived at Heathrow about 2pm, caught the tube for £ 4 and then a bus for £2 to get to the hostel, I’m rather proud of that usually I get shafted price wise on getting to the hostel. I did find out that I did not need to catch the bus to the hotel, it was only 500 meters from the bus stop but we live and learn. The bus had a space for luggage but the driver was a mad man and at one stage my big suitcase when for a skid downt the middle of a buss when he hit the anchors ... a little too sharply.

After dropping my stuff off I went to the local mall and Tescos a supermarket. It was fairly cheap, I picked up carrots, yogurt, rice, weetbix, milk and muesli bars for about £9. I also didnt call Mum or Kyle.. sorry about that, I plain forgot!

I came back and had a shower; it felt amazing after two flights and a long sweaty ride to the hostel.

I had soup for dinner, and a discussion with a girl in my hostel room whom I have dubbed her HRH as she seems to have a very strange version of hostel living. She seems to think you should wait until everyone in your room is awake until you make ANY noise, you also should not get up in the night for the toilet and the worst thing of all, unzip your suitcase early in the morning. I got a 20 minute lecture on hostel ettitque from her... unbelievable!

The only problem with this is first IT’S A FREAKING HOSTEL, if you want peace and quiet, go to a hotel, and secondly this girl is asleep at 9pm every night and doesn’t get up until 8am so according to her rules the room has to be silent for 11 hours a day…. That’s not going to happen princess! She also announced this morning that everyone had to leave the room so she could have a shower….

Day Two September 2nd

Started out very early as I woke up at 4am and couldn’t sleep, shower at 6am (that didnt please HRH) and breakfast at 7:15am the people were still asleep in my room at 8am so I headed out with a list of five things to get done. Buy an Oyster card, a discount card for transport. A hair dryer and flat iron for job interviews, I got these from Boots the Chemist. Then I walked about 4km to get my work pants hemmed and dry cleaned that cost me a cringe worthy £33! I needed to open a bank account and found out I can’t do until I have a job, apparently bank accounts are very hard to open in the UK, and so I couldn’t get that done. The last one was to buy a phone; I couldn’t get a contract because of no bank account so I brought the cheapest prepaid I could until I can get a job and then a bank account… its always a little difficult to get set up the first time you move somewhere so I wasn’t surprised.

I found a centre for visitors which was very helpful, I will make a lot of use of it I think, as I can’t find a yellow pages ANYWHERE!!!! I stopped off at Tescos on the way back for some a frozen dinner and some canned peaches.

When I got back to my hostel I went online to finish my CV as I couldn’t get a bank account and wanted the day to be productive. My first priority now is to find a place to live!!!! I walked past three temp agencies today and now plan on finishing my CV and printing it off. I will drop them in to the offices on Thursday morning. Tomorrow at 5pm my pants will be ready.

Day Three September 3rd

Started the day out by sleeping in until 7am, after a breakfast which is very good from the hostel (its enough to keep me going until 3pm) I called Mum and then Kyle it was so good to hear their voices. Cherer called me as soon as I got my phone and texted her, that was the highlight of the day I think! I posted on gum tree and spent the entire day trying to find a place to live. In the afternoon I arranged to visit two places: one flat in East Acton and the other in by Elephant & Castle. The first one was just too expensive at £522 a month and the other was perfect, garden, small but acceptable room and close to town. But the room was occupied by a smoker and it smelt revolting. No way I could have got the smell out of that room and tolerated it.

So that was a bust, I foolishly wore high heels and by the time I had found the first house my feel were on fire. I ended up taking my shoes off in the train station. I emailed Cherer that evening and asked for the new email address so I could upload my CV with the correct email addresses.

Forgot to have dinner so I had a mars bar at 10pm and read for an hour. My feet and lower abs freaking hurt so badly from all the walking around, my calves will never forgive me.

Tomorrow I have one more house to visit, and have to pick up my pants from the dry cleaner.

Day Four September 4th

Found the dry cleaner and Kyle located a place to print off the CV, what was beside it... A DRY CLEANERS ARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

Another day of walking walking walking, my toes are covered in blisters!

Day Seven Sunday September 7th

I moved into to the flat today, my new address is ( REMOVED haha your still not getting it)
I made two trips to ASDA; this is the UK’s version of Wal-Mart. On the first trip I brought a bathrobe (for privacy when sharing a bathroom with 4 people), a mattress cover, the landlords said they would provide one but a brand new out of the box one was more my style. I also got a duvet some food, a yogurt for lunch and a frozen meal, Lancaster Hotpot. Then a duvet set cover with two pillow cases and because for some incredibly strange reason, a poo brown fitted sheet because they only had a double fitted sheet in light poo brown and dark poo brown…and then only one of each. I’m going to be on the look out for a white fitted sheet in the future. After I dumped the stuff, I had some lunch and then S (the girl who owns the house) explained that in the UK a shop can only be open for 6 hours on a Sunday so I had better move my arse if I wanted to make a second visit.

On the second visit, I ask for some help, the employees eyes were so glazed over I thought she was made from stone! The store was CRAZY busy; I believe school starts tomorrow so of course everyone leave it till the last second for supplies….

I brought pillows. A lamp (then got the wrong bulbs dumb arse that I am!), coat hangers as my landlords oh so kindly removed all of the ones that were in the wardrobe in my room yesterday. There is still a basket and some crap in the corner of my room, that will be removed by me tomorrow…. Sorry didn’t know where you wanted your crap, not in my room anyway. When I got back I met my room mates, both so very hot and did I mention breathtakingly hot! (Um Kyle I mean room mates... what room mates!)

One is a friendly Northerner from just outside Leeds, called Tristen. He is down here working as an events coordinator. The second is Philippe from Brazil and my god is he gorgeous! And doesn’t he just know it….

I wanted to get my sheets washed, so I could sleep in my bed tonight and the landlord Yet had left his stuff in the machine, no basket or anything so I improvised and dumped in a basket with two pair of track pants in them. Philippe’s eyes just about popped out of his head. Hey I’m not itching all night and getting a starch rash because you cant be bothered to leave a basket for your wet clothes.

Just incase your wondering, I will post about Paris either tomorrow or this weekend!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

First Update

This is an edited version of the first update I sent out by email. It only went to a select few as it contained personal information that I dont particularly want to share with the world.

It was sent out on September 17th but I will post other things that happened before this when I get the chance, to fill in the first 17 days.

Good evening all,

It is 8pm London time right now and I finally have some breathing room for sending a long overdue update email on what happened so far on my trip. CanadaKyle and I left for Kamloops and the first flight wasn't to good sorry to report. We were stuck by the loo's and we were kept awake the entire flight from hearing KRRSSSHHHHH and then SLAM as the toilets were used. Kyle also was stuck by a very grumpy passenger who did nothing but mumble horrible things all the time he was awake. Towards the end of the flight two WONDERFUL gentlemen decided to stand right beside my chair (I was on the aisle) and have a conversation about life, politics, religion the works. This was while everyone was trying to sleep including me. I turned my head and there was a butt not two inches from my face which I proceeded to prod rather violently until he got the hint and moved his posterior elsewhere.

Kyle was seeing red by this stage but the grumpy Englishman at the window finally had enough and bellowed at them to be quiet and take their conversation else where as he was trying to sleep. The second flight however was actually a rather delightful experience, we were semi upgraded to economy plus and were also on an exit aisle so we settled in for some MUCH needed rest from the first flight. I think I lost 3 years being cooped up next to all of the people who had the bladder capacity of a baby flea, the noises, the smells that wafted, the KRSSHHHH oh that sounds makes me shudder.

Kamloops itself was very very hot, I have to admit I shamefully hid inside for the majority of the trip avoiding the 37 degree heat (we had two weeks of that) the rest of the time it was around 30-34 degrees. I did go to the gym at least 10 times, and generally had a good time. There's not a lot to say about my time in Kamloops, it was nice to mooch in front of the TV for 8 weeks. I had a good relaxing time and got to catch up with Kyle's parents and some friends I hadn't seen since well ... last time I was in kamloops haha On August 27th we drove from Kamloops to Vancouver, during this trip I made a flippant comment about airlines going bust and how Zoom air (the company my flight was booked through) only had to stay in business another 3 days. Neither Kyle or I listened to the news during that drive except to listen to the traffic. Had we, we would have heard that Zoom air declared bankruptcy and had cancelled all flights. We didn't find that out until the next day when I get a very seriously toned message on my friends voicemail that I must call him immediately. It serves me right I suppose making stupid comments like that I have Kyle to thank for getting me a flight in record time (we talked at 8:30am that morning and everything had been emailed to me by 4pm) so major props to him for that. I even arrived only two hours later than originally booked so I didn't even have to loose out on my nights accommodation. We are working on getting my ticketed refunded as it was purchased through VISA

So on to London...................... I made my way to my hostel on a very small sum of £6 which is great because I always get hosed on the whole getting from the airport thing. My suitcase did go skidding down the bus corridor at one stage when the bus driver used his breaks like a boat anchor but I made it to the hostel in one piece which was really my main objective. The hostel was good and after finding out where the nearest supermarket and I showered I totally forgot about calling mum or kyle and went to sleep.... I have been here 15 days now and have been making some progress jumping through the millions of red tape hoops that the English are famous for. I cant get a bank account until I have a job, I cant get a job without an NI number, I cant get an NI number until I have a job. I cant get a place to stay until I have a bank account, I cant get a bank.... you know what I mean as of Today (Tuesday 16th) I have a bank account, and an appointment for the NI number.

When I get that I can register with a doctor and get my NHS number and Ive registered with two agencies for work and have a place to live. Not bad for 16 days if I do say so myself! I found a place to live first as sharing a room with 4 strangers was driving me INSANE, its a little expensive (who am I kidding its London its hugely expensive) but its a BIG room and its £ 100 a week (I read in the paper today that 99 a week is the average) but that does include rent in a big room ( I will send pictures when I get a new SD card for my digi camera, I lost the sd in Kamloops)powerwatercouncil tax (about 120 pounds a year)Internet its not so nice when you look at it in NZ dollars but then I'm not earning NZ dollars either ( well technically I'm not earning pounds yet but I'm working on that!!!) so all I have to pay on top of that is transport and food so I'm happy with that. I'm going to be here a while so I might as well not live in a cupboard. I had to sign a six month lease so I might look for somewhere cheaper after it expires and when I know the areas better but for now I'm happy.

I'm living with 5 other people, an English guy, Tristan (very dreaming until you hear his accent). Philippe is from Brazil and shy but a little confused all the time. When the couple who own the house, Swee (pronounced sweet but no T) and Yet (pronounced... um... yet) talk to him, he just standings there nodding with a "I have no idea whats going on or what I'm agreeing to" look on his face.The other girl is Kiera, I have no idea where shes from as shes in the country about two days a month it seems. The couple are from Malaysia but have lived here for 3 and 5 years and are married. Everyone seems nice and normal but I'm glad my door has a lock on it. You never know about these people that just up and move countries (Tristans from Leeds and he says that might as well be another country) they can be a little fishy don't you think :P

After I got my apartment I started applying at temp agencies, and low and behold I need an NI (national insurance, think tax number) and a bank account. So I ring the NI people and go to a bank GUESS WHAT ...... you'll never guess I have to have a JOB before I can get a bank account number and an NI number..... So I finally convinced one lovely girl to give me a letter saying I was registered by the agency and today I got a bank account! It took THREE trips to the bank and the wonderful guy (G Singh you ROCK my banker friend) to get me approved for the account. I also had to take my passport, drivers licence, bank statement from NZ, tenancy agreement and letter from my employer in before they would take me. This is to give a bank my money, Id hate to see what they would want if I heaven forbid wanted a credit card or a ... gasp... over draft. I might have to fork over my left leg or first born son! Tomorrow I'm going into one of the agencies I signed up with to do a "sit in" you basically turn up at 8:30am and hope someone called out sick at one of their companies and you can get a free day out of it.Oh and I brought a suit..... okok stop laughing I look ridiculous, my head looks like a little pin atop a bowling ball especially as I have to wear it up... at least the pants are comfy, how come I cant wear jeans to the office, I'm sitting at a desk its not like I'm going to be dancing a jig people. Whatever moron wrote corporate attire needs to be shot in his very uncomfortably hot suit!

Oh and the jerk who invented pantyhose because you KNOW that was a man, sleep with one eye open mate The area I'm living in is fairly nice, everyone says OH NO EAST LONDON, but I'm still within central London and I'm two streets from a tube station one way and 3 streets from another the other way. We did have a mouse in the house which decided to take up residence in my room, but that was trapped yesterday so all is well. The good thing is I have an ASDA (kiwis think half farmers half food town, Canadians think real Canadian superstore) right as you get off the train and its 24 hours so I can get my groceries, top up my phone and oyster card (tube travel) all within 50 meters of getting off the train at night.. I haven't done any touristy stuff just yet, until I have steady work, I want to keep a tight rein on my cash but this weekend I'm off to Paris with Kyle for my birthday. Isn't it just fabo that I can say I'm just popping to Paris for the weekend!Speaking of France, I have made at least one friend here, Sophie, shes new and from the south of France, were meeting up for coffee twice a month to check in on each other progress. She finds the break here strange. Shes a hard case, she was telling me about her parents divorce (in out first conversation mind you cue uncomfortable face) and she says " you two [her parents] leave me out of your drama, I am twenty five and have my own life to live, I can not stand you two and your silly dramatics!" but pretend you have a very very french accent when you say it it had me rolling on the floor in the hostel.

I'm signed up with 2 agencies so far, Adecco and Reed, I'm signing up with Hays on Thursday and when I'm back from Paris I'm going to try for a company that specialises in getting kiwis and Aussies in temp work in London. Apparently we have a hard working fun loving reputation. Glad to see my fellow kiwis are on their best behaviour, although if ONE more bloody English person I talk to says "oh your a kiwi then, do you work in a bar" I'm going to kick their arse from here to Liverpool and back again! Me in a bar, dealing with drunk people Oh no I do not think so, that's almost as bad as being called and Auntie and not an Aunt. Which is what I will be in about two weeks and AUNT not and AUNTIE!!!!

What else what else.... I have to say London is much much cleaner and not as mind boggling expensive as people described it to be. I don't know if its for the Olympics but although the centre of town (the city) smells fumy and no wonder given the traffic the streets are clean and if your not eating out, the supermarket prices are pretty much on pair. I have been eating here for about 4pounds a day the only thing that Ive winced at so far was having to pay an entire pound to pee! I told the attendant that these toilets had better be the cleanest toilets I had ever seen as it would be the most expensive slash I have ever and would ever have! They were clean by the way. I have written down the monopoly streets and I'm working my way through them,Mayfair and Regent and Oxford street so far! I have to admit although Ive had low moments (the mouse tearing across my floor one night was one) and the whole red tape banging my head against a wall making no progress moments but... they have been just moments. I do admit that I LOVEEEEEE it here, its fantastic I can not wait to spend my weekends exploring London and then latter on Europe and the rest of the UK!!!! everything is alive here, people are so forward and 99% so far very friendly and helpful!!On my first day into town I walked past tower bridge!

That's where Queen Liz the first was held while Queen Mary made up her mind about signing her death warrant! How amazing, and I walked past the "clink" just yesterday (thing old English prison) where you would be thrown.Everything is old, everything has a story and the best part for me right now is its almost all free! The Art galleries, the museums, almost all of the gardens. I'm entering the lottery to take tea with the queen next year, how cool would that be.I haven't seen any royals yet, but once I go out clubbin I'm going to try my best!When someone comes over I will go to a west end show, theres plenty of community groups that I can join, I'm just waiting until my schedule stops being so all over the place. My goal is to have everything set up within two months Ive been doing so much walking I don't have much skin left on my toes, and I'm not exaggerating that at all, I have 6 blisters on one foot and 9 on the other at the moment. The worst one is in between my little toe and the next one up.... that smarts something fierce!on the plus side the jeans that I brought the week before I left that were tight are now so loose I have to wear a belt to keep them up. Other stuff there seems to be hundreds of signs everywhere telling you what and what not to do, its crazyand I'm talking about a sign that says "please don't climb the tree" on every single tree in a park I walked through.... at least they are polite!?

So I now bank with Barclays YAYI also have a Tescos card if that makes anyone feel better, I shall never pay full price for my groceries again! I also have a cell phone, is #### #### #### you might have to fiddle around with the numbers (country code is 44) to get through. PLEASE though, if your going to call remember there is a major time zone difference and I need all of my beauty sleep thank you. I will answer texts as my finances allow, so please don't be upset if it takes me until next payday to text back. Anything urgent you can call my mum and she will let me know. my address is (REMOVED)

If you want to come and stay with me, you're most welcome! however please observe dossing rules found here http://www.tntmagazine.com/essentialinfo/?ID=ja_news&feature=7435 and tell me in plenty of time as I plan on darting to Paris as often as I can afford it! Also just so you know, we have no couch, but my floor is warm and carpeted I recommend you bring your own sleeping bag and towel and be prepared to walk as I don't have a car :O and don't worry the mouse is now trapped and disposed of! anyway that's enough rambling for now, I will send another update when I have some more news to tell you. The next one should be more interesting than this one as I will have actually done some FUN stuff instead of the boring getting a bank account (major victory let me tell you) and buying a duvet! I will also be much older when I email you next so please, condolences are mucho appreciated!

Thank you to all of you who have emailed me, Many and Viv in particular! Thanks to Heather for fun in Vancouver Thanks to Heather, Neil Rochelle and Christopher for the phone call and Mum for the many phone calls. Thanks to Kyle for getting me here in once piece! Thanks to Cherer and Kerry for all of the wonderful and most helpful advice and an address to use until I found my own. I miss the beach I have to admit, especially mission bay! YAY I'm off to Pairs in four days.... oh did you guys see on the news, the channel tunnel had a fire so now we are having to fly instead of train, because non essential travel is not allowed until after my birthday and even then they are expecting 7 hour delays... and you know I'm not sitting in a gate for seven hours! So far London gets a 9.5 out of 10 for me, the .5 off for having to pay for the loo!, I'm having a great time.

I hope you are all well. Sorry the email is so long, you might want to have some coffee before you read the next one haha Signing off, your kiwi in London Love from Chanelle Renee (which everyone here keeps trying to pronounce Ra- Knee then asks me if I'm French to which I have to reply no I'm Scottish actually and then I get very strange looks its most amusing) PS Im setting up a blog and will keep my entries in there, I should have it set up by the end of the month. Over the next few days I will answer thepersonal emails that have been sent, bear with me there are lots a you guys and only one me!I will be able to put pics on the blog and then I wont have to clogg your inbox with stuff you dont wanna read! So next time instead of a big long email I will just post the blog address and you can go check it out from there in your own time!

I will post more tomorrow, about Paris and fill in the early days.

Oh blogs are fun!