Events That Change You

There are some things in life that happen out of nowhere. You can’t go back in time to change what may have happened but sometimes maybe that’s for the better. You just have to learn a lesson and make the best out of it.

As many of you well know, yesterday I was “mugged”. I’ve been told that being mugged means being beat up and having all of your stuff taken, but I think this counts just the same. I was about a block away from home, on my way from the bus stop on a quiet residential street, when a man very quietly came up behind me grabbed my iPhone from my hand while I was using it and ran off with it. 

A very nice man, who happened to be at his door when he heard me screaming for someone to stop the running man, bolted after the thief but was unable to catch him. Needless to say I was shaking and fighting back tears. It sounds pathetic, but in this day and age and very far from home, my iPhone is my entire life in one package. Connectivity, directions, time, entertainment, calendar appointments, reminders… it’s all on one device. 

If you’ve ever had something stolen you’ll understand the level of violation I feel. I imagine that having someone break into your home is just as bad as having your own possessions grabbed from you and taken right out of your hand. 

Neil, the nice man that ran after the thief, was very comforting and took me to his house just down the street where he and his wife let me call the police and my phone provider to get things sorted out. They gave me a glass of wine and real good hugs too. I don’t know how I would have handled the emotions had I been alone. While this whole scene sounds pretty tame, it was still very traumatizing. It definitely could have been worse, but it’s still unfortunate.

I now have a new iPhone 4S at the expense of my credit card and I took my laptop to work today so that I could restore from my backup once I had the new phone. Everything was all hunky dory until I got to Canada Water tube station tonight and I was waiting for the bus home. My new phone went in my bra on the left and my passport in my bra on the right. When I got off the bus near home, I hugged my laptop to my chest and I looked everywhere and watched everyone I saw from the bus stop until I was through my building door. 

No. I’m not paranoid at all.

Needless to say, I’m sure I’ll get over it. It’s just hard not to be slightly afraid walking home in the dark and watching it all replay in your head again and again and again.

I did my very best to stay positive today though. I bought a new phone and ventured to find a store that sold things that can only be found back home. I bought Kraft peanut butter, Kraft dinner, A&W root beer, and Mr. Noodles. I think I may be back there very soon for other things such as coffee crisp and Tim Hortons coffee…

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Reflecting, Routines & Weather

Yesterday marked one year since I was laid off from my first career job. Since then I’ve moved to the other side of the world, work for a much larger agency with awesome colleagues and I’m making some incredible friends. A year +2 days ago, I never would have seen this coming. While it has hit me that I live in London, my mind still cannot comprehend the massive change that has been made and the distance I have come.

In general, more busy days pass in London. It seems I rarely get home at a decent hour after work. While it’s good that there is so much to do and that I’m so social, it also means other routine things fall to the wayside. Like cooking. And cleaning. And well, who really wanted to do those anyway?

Strangely enough, it actually hasn’t rained much lately. It’s either a beautiful autumn day or a dull one where an eerie fog hangs around the City and you get this mist falling that can’t really be counted as rain but still makes everything moist. The daily temperature is also steadily getting lower. Time for toques!

Eimear and I have decided to do a bootcamp pilates class (that should be interesting) and we also bought a Groupon for 10 yoga classes. I must get back into my running routine as well, now that my cold is gone.

This past weekend I was supposed to go to Bath and Stonehenge but unfortunately never made it. As I keep being told, Stonehenge has been there for a while, so I’m sure next time I want to go it’ll still be there. Instead I spent the weekend chilling out at home, which was really very needed. I even got to check out Deptford park, which is a short walk from my flat and was quite relaxing and picturesque on a cold autumn Saturday.

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The 10 Best Things About London*

A few of these apply to the UK and English culture as a whole. Basically what I’m trying to say is, it’s awesome. And sometimes, the grass really IS greener on the other side.

  1. There is NEVER nothing to do. Ever.
  2. The Oyster card. I wish public transportation was as easy as one oyster card for the entire world.
  3. The pub culture. None of this couple-of-drinks-and-I’m-going-home thing that happens all too often in North America. It’s just down right fun to be had and nobody wants to leave anytime soon.There’s also no next-day awkwardness because everybody was in the same boat and it doesn’t get brought up again.
  4. Christmas. The entire office is closed between December 23rd and January 3rd, and it doesn’t count towards your paid vacation days. I KNOW. CRAZY TALK.
  5. Work vacation days. The minimum amount of paid vacation is five weeks. FIVE! 
  6. History. It’s pretty darn cool that the majority of everything around you is older than your mind can even concieve the thought of.
  7. Over 8 million people. To some that sounds frightening. To us single girls out there, it means there’s plenty more fish in the sea.
  8. Shopping. Self-explanatory really. From high end designer boutiques to the much more affordable markets, there’s no shortage of selection and places to spend your hard earned pound sterling.
  9. Mobile communication. I pay £15/month for unlimited data, 3000 texts, and 300 minutes on my iPhone 4. I used to pay $90 for much less in Canada.
  10. The people. Everyone I have met so far is so open and happy. They generally want to have a good time and you’re more than welcome to join them. 

*For the geeks out there like me, I DID enter this as an ordered list in HTML but for some reason the CSS on this ready-made blog that I’m using (because I’m too busy/lazy to do one myself) is buggered up and silly. Maybe one of these days I’ll get around to doing a new website… 

An Awesome Weekend in London

It’s time to wrap up yet another great weekend in London. This weekend was awesome – I spent Friday evening with my crazy amazing collegues at the Alice where James got me to try my first sip of Guiness. The evening ended with Gwen where we left a pub full of collegues, stopped for curry on our way back home, and watched Lord of the Rings until we passed out. Poor Gwen didn’t make it past the DVD menu! A lovely breakfast on Saturday morning with Gwen and then homeward bound.

Saturday on my way home I stopped to meet Eimear for a nice walk and quick lunch on the south bank. After coming out of Westminster station to meet her, I’d swear I’m probably in the background of about 50+ tourist shots of Big Ben and the Parliament buildings.

Saturday night brought on Guy Fawkes night – Eimear and I headed to Southwark Park and I witnessed the best fireworks I’ve ever seen. I’ve never been so close to fireworks that I had to look directly up to see them. It put the Celebration of Light in Vancouver to shame. Our walk home revealed 3 more sets of fireworks all around. Eimear then got me to try Sticky Toffee Pudding for the first time. AMAZING.

Sunday morning I made Eimear and I a Canadian breakfast of real pancakes (the English think pancakes are like crepes… ppsshh) with bacon and Canadian maple syrup. A day of market shopping commenced which included far too many sweets, although with the discovery of Egg Nog lattes at Starbucks, and some new Oyster card covers for the both of us. I also tried mulled wine and Turkish Delight for the first time today.

From market shopping we went to a lovely pub in Finchley where we had my favourite, roast dinner with potatoes and yorkshire pudding, and watched a great soul band play some great music. Good gig. 

Oh – and did I mention I’m going to Ireland with Eimear for Christmas?! I AM SO EXCITED. 

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Christmas is upon us

While I am beyond knackered on this Wednesday night, I feel like I must stay awake long enough to give all of you back home a quick update.

Last week I went out with Eimear and met some amazing people that I hope to spend more time with. They’re all pretty cool and I’m so glad I’m making friends so quickly here. This place is seriously awesome.

While Halloween isn’t big here, the 5th of November is. It’s called Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night and it’s a huge celebration of fireworks displays and bonfires. As the very handy Wikipedia states:

“Its history begins with the events of 5 November 1605, when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords. Celebrating the fact that King James I had survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London, and months later the introduction of the Observance of 5th November Act enforced an annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot’s failure.”

Now that Halloween is over and Bonfire Night is imminent, Christmas is upon us. And with that, I leave you with the very exciting and pretty display of Christmas decorations going up in Covent Garden. 🙂

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