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Today marks six months living in London. It feels like much more than that, probably because I’ve done so much since I arrived. I know six months isn’t a major milestone or anything, but it does make one think about how quickly time passes and how quickly things can change.

So I read through some of my blog posts from my first days on this journey, and some of them made me laugh. Some featured excerpts:

  • “Today’s the day guys. Next time I post, it’ll be from London. Nobody panic now.”
  • “So amazing that I forgot to get a picture. The London Eye. Tower Bridge. THEY’RE REAL GUYS. You know, not just photoshopped pictures and stories.” 
  • “I’m slowly but surely getting used to this whole “look the opposite way” thing before crossing the street. It’s more of a turn-360-degrees-and-make-sure-nothing-is-coming-at-you kind of thing.”
  • “Yesterday was my first day at Hugo & Cat. I’m super stoked cause they’re all really awesome there.” (still a very true story) 
  • “I am on the top of a 3-high bunk bed.”

It’s easy sometimes to forget where I am. It’s easy to get lost in the usual day-to-day, go to work and go home routine.That list above reminds me of the wonder and excitement I had when I first came here, and I want to feel it again because it’s so intoxicatingly awesome. I think my first summer in London will help, the first few sunny warm days are already opening my eyes to a London I haven’t yet seen.

I won’t make this a monumental post or anything, but as a short summary…

In six months I’ve been to three new countries, with two more in my calendar in the next two months. I love my job. I love my new friends. I miss home, but I will be back to visit soon. I wrote this next little piece before I left Canada and was in such a wild frenzy of exploration that I forgot to post it at the appropriate time. So here it is:

SWAP Registration: $640.00
Plane Ticket: $547.51
Travel Insurance: $393.00
Cancel Phone Contract: $475
Unlock Phone: $50 Working far too much for 9 months: Partial Sanity
Arriving at London Heathrow having done it all on my own: PRICELESS

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Home for a rest

This weekend my friend Victoria and I headed to Devon, which is on the west side of England. I was excited since I hadn’t really been outside of London much to see any real English countryside, so the three hour train journey gave me the views I had been craving. The weather wasn’t the greatest on Saturday on the way there, but on Sunday it was mostly alright on the way back.

We were headed to Devon because our friends Gwen and Dan were having a party. A big party. With a hog roast. And maybe a white gown and some rings in there somewhere too. This wedding was probably… no, DEFINITELY THE BEST WEDDING I’VE EVER BEEN TO. Between the beautiful country venue, the hog roast, the cheese-cake, the music and dancing, and the awesome people, it was just an all round fabulous time. Gwenyth was my first Canadian friend in London and I wouldn’t have wanted to spend this weekend any other way than celebrating her wedding.

My favourite part of all was when all of us Canadians in the house jumped to our feet to dance to a piece of our heritage. Yep, that’s right… Spirit of the West.

So we danced until the wee hours of the morning to our favourite 90’s songs that most of us had grown up to and had a fabulous time. This morning was a breakfast together of bacon, eggs, and toast and then cleaning up the venue before hopping back on a train for the three hour journey back to London. Needless to say this weekend has flown by and I wish we could just do it all again! So tomorrow Vic and I head back to work however sadly without Gwen, as her and Dan head off to Scotland for a two week honeymoon in a lovely country cottage. I had such a fabulous time this weekend and I am so incredibly happy for Gwen and Dan – they are an amazing couple and seriously awesome people in general.

And here I leave you with a picture of the beautiful Colehayes Park in Devon from this Sunday morning.

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Colours, Flavours, & Abbey

I feel the need to vent to British people. In North America we have things called Ketchup, HP Sauce, and Alfredo Sauce. In England they call the same things Red Sauce, Brown Sauce, and White Sauce.

BROWN IS NOT A FLAVOUR. Seriously…

I mean red sauce could mean a few different things – do you mean ketchup, marinara sauce, or tomato sauce? Some Brits would say that ketchup is tomato sauce. No, actually, it’s not – while ketchup is made from tomatoes it is not the same thing – tomato sauce goes on a pizza for pete’s sake!

Okay. I’m done. For now.

This past Saturday was oodles of fun at Gwen’s hen-do. A hen-do is what the English call a stagette. Not sure what the ‘do’ is for… perhaps it means ‘party’ as they call a groom’s stag a stag-do as well. Anyway, it was an absolute awesome time and here is some allowed-to-be-shown evidence. 😉

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Then on Sunday I met up with Joelle and Sam on a sunny afternoon so we could be tourists once again and take photos crossing Abbey Road. It’s actually quite entertaining to just sit there at watch tourists attempting to get that perfect photo crossing Abbey Road just like the Beatles. Of course, we joined in and Sam and Joelle probably crossed the road at least 50 times.

Abbey Road is actually quite a busy one in London but what I don’t understand is why people would take a route down Abbey Road on a sunny Sunday when they MUST KNOW there will be people trying to get a photo crossing it? No, instead they don’t care and they honk and get impatient and angry at people stopping in the middle of the crosswalk, posing to get a photo. It was fun in any case though and we got a few photos. Then we proceeded to Covent Garden to have ourselves a lovely real Canadian pub meal at the Maple Leaf.

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And all that jazz!

Welcome to London.

The place where everyone is paranoid about becoming unhealthy and obese like the American stereotype, in yet a shit-ton of them smoke a pack a day. The place where people just drop their litter with no thought or care to the impact. The place where no one has any regard for personal space. The place where water tastes like goat shit. The place where there’s no such thing as half-and-half cream, or Tim Hortons, or customer service (oh dear).

But hey, the UK has Spotify. And crumpets, rich tea biscuits, and smoky bacon crisps, oh my! 

In all honesty though, London is still pretty cool – it’s just the things one is used to from home and from growing up in a competely different place that make the above things so irritating. 

I can’t wait to see London in full blown spring and summer though. I think it will make the city look much better and less ugly and grey and dark. I feel like once everything is in full bloom and the sun is shining and warm that it will be like pleasantville, where everything was once in black and white and becomes full of colour. 

I visited West London yesterday and went to a travel show where I loaded up with heavy books and pamphlets from all the tour and travel companies so that I can compare costs and figure out where my next adventure will be after Amsterdam. An African safari sounds so appealing for some reason, but I think I have to be patient with that one, it’s not quite time and I need to see mainland Europe first!

While in the area, I also stopped by Westfield mall in Shepard’s Bush and took a wander. And guess what? There’s an actual LEGO store. Cool.

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Today I caught up with Adam, an old friend from back home in Vancouver who is here for a bit. It’s really really nice to see someone familiar from home and talk about all the differences from Vancouver to London. Have to say it is definitely weird (but in a cool way) to catch up and see each other on the other side of the world, rather than in our old usual haunts in Vancouver. Adam has invited me out to see Cardiff in a couple of weeks, which would be really cool. Would be nice to get out of London and see Wales!

And finally, on Wednesday, I am FINALLY going to see a full-on musical! Two of my girlfriends, Victoria and Sherrie, and I have got tickets to see Chicago. I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it. 

AND ALL THAT JAZZ!!!