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Monday, 23 July 2012

Once upon a time in Spain

Once upon a time, there were two girls living in Auckland. They met by chance and instantly they bonded over their desire to travel the world. 

One came from New York 

The other, from Palmerston North.

Over many coffees and a bit of wine, it was one night suggested that the two girls should travel back to America for a fleeting visit. But the girl from Palmerston North wanted more. You see, she had been waiting for her chance, for her opportunity to leave New Zealand in search of bigger and better things. Travelling the world was in her blood and all she needed was a push. That push finally came and before she knew it, her plans to visit America had turned into a one way ticket to London. 

Months passed, and the girl from Palmerston North left her life behind and settled in London. Yet the two girls kept in contact. Soon after, the girl from New York told her that she too was embarking on her own journey and they could meet up. But where? 

With a quick click of the mouse and fifty pounds later, it was decided that they would meet in Spain, Barcelona no less. Who would have thought. 

In case you didn't know- that girl was me ( didn't see that coming did you!).

I had forgotten what it was like to be excited by a place. 

London to me, so very quickly became my home and a place that although I am quick to point out its flaws, deep down I truly love it. However, because I settled so quickly, I had forgotten what it was like to explore a new country, a new culture and a new language. It is funny to think that for years I dreamt about  how I would travel around the world, blogging as I did so, only to end up with a permanent job and a new life in London.

The moment my plane landed in Barcelona , all of those feelings of excitement returned. As we flew low over the Mediterranean, I could not help but be mesmorised by the beauty of where I was about to go. Spain.

To be honest, I was absolutely captivated by Barcelona. It was edgy yet beautiful and reminded me of Paris on Crack.  

But before I get ahead of myself, I need to go right back to the beginning. Back to day one of my adventure....  

It all started with a plane full of students, an easy-jet flight, and a bottle of Lorazapam (kidding- sort of.. you all know I am a nervous flyer...) 

I found my self reunited with my old Auckland flatmate and together, we were ready to conquer Barcelona. 

Monday, 9 July 2012

Cocktails and Sunshine

We're all going on a summer holiday. Or rather, my long lost travel buddy and the girl who started me off on this whole adventure, and I are about to meet up after four months apart! And what better place to meet up than the sunny shores of Barcelona.

Day one of my trip

Amanda and I met randomly in Auckland after she was looking for a flat and incidentally, one of my flatmates had decided to leave us for her own adventure overseas. Amanda being from New York, told stories of her life back at home and instantly I was encapsulated with the idea that I had to get my a into g and plan my own trip. Six months later and with a nudge from her, I did it. Now we are to spend two weeks travelling through Spain and soaking up the sun and culture.

We are heading to Pamplona to run with the bulls (from a distance- don't worry) and will end up in Mallorca to get some  much needed sunshine and warmth.

I will endeavour to put up photos as quickly as possible!

Adiossssssssss. I will touch base from Spain

Sunday, 8 July 2012

How lucky we are

I remember writing in one of my earlier blogs, that Sundays were fast becoming my favourite day of the week.  As I sit here in bed, listening to the rain, I have to admit that I stand by that comment. Every Sunday, I am given the opportunity to truly sit back and reflect on my life, my travels and pretty much everything.

Today has been no exception.

For those of you reading this blog, I want to let you in on a little secret. For me, the last two weeks in London have been some of the toughest of my life and really made me question the decisions that I have made. I knew it would be tough leaving my old life behind and starting afresh in a new city. In fact, I had a huge conversation about it with my Aunt the day before I left. I was in no way, naive in regards to what to expect and in fact I remember my Aunt(who lived here for four years) telling me in no uncertain terms that I would find it difficult. But no matter how much you prepare yourself for something, you have no idea as to how it will affect you until you do it.

For me, the moment I arrived in London, I powered ahead at full speed, determined to get a bank account, phone, flat and job sorted straight away. And I did it. However what I failed to really anticipate was how lonely London can be when you're the new kid. I went from a confident graduate in Auckland, with friends and family close by at all times, to an uncertain nigel no mates. Well perhaps that is being overly dramatic, but I certainly didn't have the network of people that I had built up over time back at home. If any of you are reading this blog, I hope you know that I have never appreciated your friendship more than in the last few weeks.  Every email or message that I get, reminds me that you all haven't forgotten about me and that you're there.

Anyway, I promise this blog will have a happy ending (note the title) so keep reading....

I think the thing that really got to me in the last few weeks was when I applied for a permanent position at the NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) where I currently temp. For weeks, I waited to hear if I would get an interview and then after that, whether I had wooed them enough to secure a job. Turns out I had. As I got the job though, I realised with a pang that I would have to wait eight hours to tell anyone back at home my great news. Couple that with some terrible weather and a very stressful week I had never felt so alone in my life.

But what has changed? Well- firstly, I had a few wines with a very good friend of mine and confided in her that London was a lot harder than I had ever anticipated. To my relief, she told me that she had felt exactly the same way and reassured me that it would get easier. And you know what, as soon as I said it out loud and started talking to other Kiwis and Australians about it, I realised that I was not alone in this feeling and that they had all found it difficult in the beginning. I guess I forget that I have only been here for three months and that really, I am still at the beginning of my adventure.

This weekend I was fortunate enough to go to Phantom of the Opera with a group of friends. The show was breathtaking. Afterwards, we headed to Oxford Circus where we were promptly chatted up by a club owner and lured into a three story club containing a lambryth of different bars. As we headed to the top cocktail lounge and had a drink, one of the girls I was drinking with looked out the window and said ' can you believe how lucky we are to be in London and to be looking out at that.' I turned my head and saw the bright lights of Oxford Circus staring back at me. She was absolutely right.

 I am living in one of the most incredible and unique cities in the world.  And although it is hard, what isn't hard in life? 

As we drank and danced our stresses away, I couldn't help but think that I had passed a milestone in my new London life, in that I had accepted that things were not always going to be easy and no matter where I go in the world, I cannot escape that. But, look at where I am and what I am doing.

To those of you who are planning to come over here and work (and I say work because travelling through London is different), please prepare yourself for a whirlwind adventure. Don't be afraid to ask for help and to admit when you need it because inevitably you will.

But then all the hard times are outweighed with moments when  you look out the window and see London staring right back at you.

Right. That's me done. I'm sure that you've all come to expect my emotional blogging which seems to occur more regularly than I would like. But hey- It adds character and substance right? Haha. Well don't feel too sorry for me. Did I mention that I am off to Spain on Tuesday heading to Barcelona, Pamplona and Mallorca for a tan. I cannot wait and will be sure to update you with my adventures!

Adios Amigos!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

There's no place like home

As I am sitting here on a quiet Sunday afternoon, it has suddenly occurred to me that very few of you have seen where I am currently living. To tell you a bit about it, I live in a small suburb called Streatham Common. Google it. Streatham Common is relatively little and it is right down the Southern End of London. Although choosing to live in the 'South' has given rise to a few raised eyebrows by friends and colleagues, I really like the area I live in and have decided that the 30 minute commute to work is worth having the space and tranquility that this area of London offers. Although there isn't a huge party scene down this end, Clapham Junction is only a short nine minute train ride away and in fifteen minutes, I can be in Central London at the Victoria Overground. 

Eventually, as I start to get to know London better and the people in it, I would love to move closer to town in a more 'happening' area. Now that I have a permanent job (did I mention that?) and a steady pay cheque to rely on, maybe I will look at moving before the year is out.  For now though, I am content with my quiet and quaint little flat.  Have a look at the photos and see what you think.

My street

Welcome to my room!

View from my window into our garden