Three things you should know

London Winter
Definition: A supreme force that sucks all will to live from you.

I have never ever before hated Winter. I guess there’s a first time for everything. Maybe it’s that the days here are a bit shorter (since it’s a bit further North than Vancouver). Or that whether there is precipitation or not it is always cloudy and grey. Or maybe it’s that the wind chill makes you want to throw a temper tantrum at Mother Nature for being so bloody downright cruel all the time.

And then when the sun comes out and you get a high of 10 degrees you realise how complete and utterly depressed you were and you just couldn’t accept it because there was no real explanation other than the lack of good weather. I GET IT NOW ENGLAND. I UNDERSTAND YOU. Let’s blow this fascist popsicle stand and re-settle somewhere with better weather.

Other than my seemingly daily temper tantrums at Mother Nature, life has been good. Kickboxing continues as always, which fills most of my weeknights. The rest of my spare time I’ve put into several social events around London, sitting around at home (cause in this weather you don’t want to do anything usually), or BAKING.

Yes, that means cake. I’ve decided to start a new project in which I bake something new for the office every other week. Bekah’s Baking Bonanza truly began with a Red Velvet Cheesecake and then was today followed with a Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake. Every other week I will put a poll to the office of four things I can bake, and they will vote. Whichever gets the most votes I make for the following Monday and the runner up gets put in the next vote with three other new options. Sounds fun, right?

I’m hoping that baking (and plenty of wine consumption) will keep my mind off of travelling for a few months. Since my awesome employer has said they will sponsor me to stay here a bit longer, it means I need to save money to do so. The problem is the border agency likes to make it really difficult and expensive. Here’s my cost breakdown:

  • Visa application cost: £512
  • Maintenance funds: £900
  • Round-trip flight to Vancouver: £650

That means I need to spend £2062 just to continue being an exceptional resident and employee in Britain. Those maintenance funds are to prove I can support myself in the UK (even though I already have a job) since I don’t qualify for public funds assistance, and they have to be in my bank account for 90 consecutive days prior to my visa application. “But why the flight to Vancouver?” you ask. Well, you see, there’s this really stupid rule where I cannot directly switch into the Tier 2 General sponsorship visa from the current visa I’m on (Tier 5 Youth Mobility). My current visa is the only one you’re not allowed to switch directly from. Of course! So this means I must return to Canada to re-apply from my home country and I am at the mercy of Ottawa, passport-less, while they process my application for anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks. Sounds fun, right?! No. Just….. NO.

The reason I put myself through this is because my current visa expires in August, and I feel like I’m not quite done with Europe yet (despite the shit weather in London). I need at least another couple of years to get in some more travelling and my career is going well. Perhaps I’ll be able to afford a short trip in the spring before I go back to Canada in June to handle my visa application – something close like Edinburgh or Barcelona maybe.

So what were those three things you should know?

  1. Winter in the UK sucks. Avoid it at all costs.
  2. I’m becoming a master baker. Laugh all you like –  you’ll be coming to me for advice and goodies soon my friends.
  3. I’m planning on staying in London for a bit longer.

I know there are people out there searching. Searching for baking tips, cool cake recipes, help with UK visa applications, and perhaps the meaning of life and why they’re here. I can help with all of these, except that last one – you’ll have to see my awesome LDS friends for that one. Feel free to get in touch if you need advice on any of the first three though.

Love always – BEKS

2012 – A Year in Review

Usually I post a year in review on New Years Eve. Unfortunately I missed it for 2012, but I don’t think it’s too late. This is also probably a good way to pick up the blog again, as it’s obvious I got a bit too busy the last couple of months!

January is always a month of recovery and slow paced activities. So the only thing I have for January 2012 is a celebration of Australia day with a taste test of Vegemite. I don’t think I ever need to try it again.

February brought a very busy month at work and a short 24hr business trip to Helsinki. Given the long days at work, not much happened this month either.

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So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, adieu

It’s always hard to say goodbye to someone you care about, no matter for how long. At first I thought it was hard to leave home, but at least you know you can always go BACK home and many people will still be around. Now I realise that it’s even harder to say goodbye to someone when you have no idea when or where you will see them again. I certainly didn’t anticipate this one being such an emotional goodbye.

I am from Canada. Emily is Australian. We met in London. When I go home I won’t see her, and when she goes home she won’t see me. We are from opposite ends of the planet. There are no guarantees in life. Live everyday and spend time with those you love. I don’t care that you’re tired, or broke, or not in the mood. One day, you’ll wish you’d spent every minute you could have with them because your future, and their’s, holds no certainty.

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Happy Anniversary

Happy One Year to me. That’s right, today marks one year living in London. It continues to be an adventure I don’t regret for a second. While it has brought me great joy, fun, and experiences I’ll never forget, it’s also brought me great pain for what I have left behind in Canada. However it is pain that I have learned to handle and channel because I must… because it is inevitable that life will continue this way, no matter where I am.

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As many of you will know, I recently returned home for a couple of weeks for my mom’s birthday. For a few months leading up to going home, I was as excited as I had been when I originally came to England – I missed Canada, my family, and my friends and I couldn’t wait to be back. As soon as the plane was flying over London in departure for Canada though, I suddenly felt like I already missed London. And then when my flight departed Vancouver headed back to London, I felt like I missed Vancouver too. I felt like I belonged everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

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Don’t Worry Be Happy

Well, gee. It’s the 5th of August. Paris is already three months gone and while I feel restless, I also feel exhausted.

Life goes on, much as it has in London, with the usual ups and downs of the roller coaster life we all lead. I continue to meet new people and delight in their company, even if it is sometimes very short-lived. The Olympics have come and I find myself very much disappointed that I am not in any way involved like I was in 2010. Last time I volunteered and was lucky enough to work for a company very thoroughly involved as well. This time I have missed out on both of those paths as well as not been lucky enough (or rich enough, either) to acquire tickets to any events.

I have been keeping up with much of the events on the BBC though and the general hype is exciting in itself. I actually find myself cheering for Canada AND Great Britain (it only seems fair). I must make an effort in the coming week and a bit to do some of the other things, like free country pavilions, before it is all over. The dilemma is that London can sometimes wear a lady down with it’s fast paced lifestyle and influx of pushing, shoving, ignorant tourists (let people OFF the train first, damn it!). Granted there are others a great deal busier than me, but I don’t know how they find the energy for it. With kickboxing three times a week a little less than an hour’s journey from home and the remaining four days of the week quickly snatched up with social engagements or the good intentions of going home and actually getting laundry done, I find myself only just a little worn down around the edges. It’s time for another vacation.

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