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 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!


mallowpuff said...

what an amazing journey so far, you have so much courage and are achieving what so many of us can only dream about

Kyle said...

Its good to hear your having such an adventure. Hopefully work becomes pleantiful soon!

Post about Paris allready!!!

Trish said...

Not only are you going to be the worlds greatest Aunt, you have a talent for comedy, my sides are sore from laughing.
Paris sounded fantastic, one more adventure to add to the list.
Cant wait to go now Au revoir