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Saturday, 31 March 2012

London town

After taking a few days to sort myself out, I decided that I needed to take advantage of my lack of employment free time and explore the streets of London. Sarah and I decided to hit the pavement and meet up with another fellow kiwi (Katie) in search of an adventure.

We started off in Bricklane where I was given a quick run down on the area. You see, apparently London has pockets of places that are considered the 'trendy' spots and where all the cool kids hang out. East London is supposedly this area and more specifically, Bricklane.

Barbie graduated!

Well I am certainly no cool kid, but I can definitely see the attraction of the area. It was jammed pack full of all sorts and there were little market stalls everywhere. I was in heaven. We wandered around looking at all the stalls before deciding to grab a bite to eat. There was no end to the amount of choices. Thai, Indian, French, Mexican-you name it- they had it. And for a cheap and cheery price.

I started with an Indian samosa (one pounds thirty) and then finished up with the most scrumptious crepe. Délicieux. I sat in the sun eating my goodies and drinking proper coffee. Yes! Apparently Bricklane is home to the best coffee in London. I liked it so much that I actually had a couple. I have missed good coffee a lot while being over here. Not a long black in sight. Sorry London- you fail miserably in that department.

Decisions ..

After stuffing ourselves with food and absorbing the free entertainment of Bricklane, Katie invited Sarah and I to have a few quiet drinks with some fellow kiwi girls. I eagerly accepted (you all know I am desperately recruiting in the friend department) and off we went.  We headed out in to the countryside and after what seemed like a lifetime on the train; we made it to Action Acton Town. Please excuse the photos. I wasn't wearing my glasses and got ridiculously excited because I thought that the town was called 'Action Town' not Acton Town. I even forced Sarah and Katie to take 'action' photos. They both didn't correct my mistake (bless them) and it wasn't until much later that I realised. To say I was disappointed is an understatement.

We made it to our destination and I have to say, I was really happy to hear the New Zealand accent coming from the balcony upstairs. I never thought I would say it, but I have to confess that it was quite comforting being amongst my own people. We all sat upstairs and had a few drinks and I was offered the advice of these girls who were nearing the end of their stay in the mighty city. They all assured me that I was going to fall hard for London. I hope that they're right.

More drinks were had and the next thing I knew, it had been decided that I was going to be taken out to the infamous 'walk-a-bout' in Shepherds Bush. Never again people- you hear? Never again. I felt like I was back in Dunedin. Do any of you remember Two Bears? It was exactly like that. Utter madness. I loved it.

No just joking- it was pretty feral. But I guess it was an experience and it had to be done. After a few hours of dancing and drinking, we decided to call it a night and Sarah and I headed home. All in all- it was a great adventure and a pretty fun Sunday night. Yes Sunday. I should point out one thing that I have noticed over here- people drink (and go out) on Sundays. I am sure that that is against the law or something. It just doesn't seem right. Still, as I always say, if you can't beat them, join them.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

When you tire of London, you tire of life [ABM]

It was only six months ago that I was sitting at my desk, contemplating my life, when the thought first occurred. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of upping and leaving to finally discover what the world had to offer.

Three nights later, I had made up my mind that I would be going to America for a holiday. A week later, I decided that that wasn’t enough to quench my thirst for travelling- I needed more. With the help of a few friends, the better half of a bottle of wine and the support of my work, I booked a one way ticket to London.  For the next few months, I was on cloud nine telling anybody who would listen about my exciting plans.  I was going to travel around America, come to London and then spend the next two years of my life, working, travelling and meeting people.

Now the reality has set in and I am here. Look out London.

In the nine days that I have been here, I have gone through a million different emotions. One minute, I am ecstatic and I can’t believe that I’m actually here. The next, I absolutely freak out and can’t believe that I’m actually here. It has certainly taken me a few days to adjust to London (it is a huge city!!) but as I sit here at Starbucks (my local) and look on to St Pauls, I realise that there is absolutely no other place that  I would rather be right now.

I don’t have a permanent job... yet- but there are a few things on the horizon. The most important thing right now is that I’m here, I’m doing it on my own and the world is my oyster (cue inspirational music). I also haven’t got ridiculously lost yet and I have even used the underground tube- on my own! I can get from Waterloo to Piccadilly and back again– no sweat.  

The first day I arrived in London, I was dropped off on Fleet Street with an A to Z map. I don’t know if it was the jet lag or if I was just plain terrified, but the moment I was left alone, I thought I was going to have a mini heart attack. It was so overwhelming being in a strange city and not knowing where anything was. But you know what saved me? In the distance, I saw the Starbucks logo (they are everywhere here) and I headed towards it like a moth to a flame. When I got inside, I instantly felt better. I got a coffee, got my IPod out and just sat there taking it all in. Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling certainly got me through that morning.

Two coffees later, I was good to go and I went on a mission to sort a phone (only twenty pounds!) and a bank account. I then had to work out how to find Cannon Street for my afternoon interview at  a recruitment agency. Of course it will come to no surprise to any of you that right before my interview; I spilt coffee on my carefully selected outfit. But never fear! I found a beloved H & M and spent a bit of time selecting a new outfit (or two).

That first day was a hard one but a good one.  I guess this whole experience (or the week I’ve had so far) has taught me that I can do things on my own and don’t need someone to hold my hand or do it for me (you’re all off the hook!).

It is exciting to sit here and not know where I’ll be in a month or what I’ll be doing.  I have always been a control freak planner, so It is strangely exhilarating to not know what the heck I’m doing.

Anyway, I’m going to leave you with the title of my blog entry and something that my Aunt told me the day before I left.  When you tire of London, you tire of life. I am not tired and I cannot wait to see what opportunities London offers me and what I can give her in return.

Tomorrow I will fill you in on how to get a bank account, the best recruitment agencies (in my opinion) and my first official day of work in London.  As usual, there is a story to be told.


Tuesday, 27 March 2012


For you mum!

I don't have a lot to write about my 24 hours spent in Los Angeles. Originally, Los Angeles was more of a pit stop to allow me to catch up on some much needed sleep before boarding my ten hour flight to London. However, as a seasoned traveller,  I knew that I had to make the most of my time in LA and explore the sandy shores in the day that I had left. If I'm being honest, I was secretly hoping to 'bump' in to at least someone rich and famous after the disappointment of not seeing George Clooney in New York. 

Sarah and I decided to head in to Manhattan Beach and have a look around. It was deceivingly cold in LA that day, despite the city harbouring a cloudless jet blue sky. It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday- mindlessly wandering around with our hot coffees (triple shot Americano-boom!) and talking about our travels. As I walked along the beach and thought about my journey, it really hit me that I was not going home like everybody else after this trip. Instead, I was continuing on to London, the Motherland, and the unknown. Gulp.

As I slowly made my way back to the hotel with Sarah to get my bags, I had a moment of sheer panic in which I realised that:

1. I was moving to a strange city.
2. I only had one friend in this strange city.
3. I was officially involuntarily unemployed.
4. I had no flat or permanent place to live.
5. I had no bank account.
6. I had lost my drinking buddies.
7. I hated flying and had to get on another damn plane.

Still, I did it. I got on that plane, took my wee pills and tried to calm myself down (with the help of a wine).  And here I am.

America, you surprised me. I had an absolute ball and I have already decided that I will be back within the year. New York and Washington D.C look out.

Thank you for having me America. It was great. Better than I could have ever imagined. London, you had better pull your socks up- the bar has been set.  

Our American Journey

Monday, 26 March 2012

Viva Las Vegas

If you are expecting a word for word account of my time spent in Vegas, then you are about to be bitterly disappointed. Why? Because quite frankly, the 48 hours that I spent in Vegas are all a bit of a blur for reasons that I do not need to emphasise. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas right? 

I will say this though. Prepare yourselves as what I am about to write, may come as a bit of a shock to some of you out there. As most of you are aware, I am a bit of a self proclaimed party girl who is certainly not opposed to the occasional alcoholic beverage.  So, you would think that logically speaking, I would be in my element in Vegas and all over that situation.

But I honestly have to say that out of all the places that I have been fortunate enough to visit in America, Vegas comes in at a distant last. I guess maybe I have grown up a bit and realised that I don't need to go to the party capital of the world to have a good time. Or maybe my lack of interest in gambling didn't help the situation. I don't really know but compared to New York, New Orleans and my favourite place- Washington D.C, Vegas really didn't stand a chance.

Now don't get me wrong. It wasn't as though I didn't enjoy Vegas. I mean I was in Vegas for goodness sakes and with two of my favourite people. So naturally we all dressed up, drank our socks off and headed out on the town. The first night we headed out we were approached by a man who put us on a list for the Bellagio enticing us with promises of free drinks all night, to which we gladly accepted. It was pretty spectacular. Apparently Justin Timberlake was there.

The second day we slept in after a groggy start and then hit the pavement to have a look around Vegas in the day time. We visited all the major casinos and I had a moment of panic when we actually got lost in Caesars. Yes it is that big and with the entire roof being painted like a fake sky, it became a scary and confusing place.

Spot the difference!

We did finally make it out and after a quick shop in H and M, we headed back to our hotel, Tropicana. We purchased some beer for the walk home and proceeded to join the millions of people drinking on the street- again just because we could and when in Vegas....

We got home and dressed up to the nines- ready to hit the town scene again. Nicole and Sarah had carefully selected a number of bars for us to attend that would ensure that we paid next to nothing to drink all night. Regardless to say, the night got pretty messy. We started at the Cat House and after that- well; I'm not too sure what happened after that. I have the odd flicker of a champagne here, a gin and tonic there, but no real solid memories to rely on. I do remember laughing a lot, dancing a lot and drinking err, a lot. A great night had by all!

We love Las Vegas!

The next morning was a sobering one. Nicole was leaving. Sad face. Nicole, if you are reading this, thank you for being you and making this trip to America what it was. As usual, your personality and utter madness was both entertaining and infectious to be around. I already miss you. You are a great friend and I look forward to seeing you soon- you choose where (cough London cough).


Sarah and I left Vegas around 2 pm after having quite possibly the worst airport experience of both of our lives. I am not going to go in to detail, all I am going to say is that don't ever fly with Spirit Airlines. You're a mug if you do. Flying low over Las Vegas, we said our goodbyes to the party desert and headed towards the city of angels, Los Angeles. It was to be our final stop in America.