Hey you!

I’ve finally started up my blog – nice? Shut-up! I’m still trying to figure it out!

Well anyway – I figured that since it’s been over a month – I’ll try and recap on what happened since I left. Or before – whatever comes first. Don’t mind my grammar – that intelligence has been lost since school ended in 2004. My trouble with paragraphs has resurfaced since I’m writing as I go.

20th September, 2009 (Sydney, Australia time)

So lets see…I left on Sunday from Sydney Airport to Heathrow Airport via Abu Dahbi. Mum, Dad, Annex2 and Linda saw me off (thanks!). I was flying with Emirates which was suprisingly quite good. From memory. I just wish I had stayed up long enough to watch the movies and play the games available (not that there was anything particularly interesting – I just wanted to take advantage of the system (hey – I’ve only flown with Vietnam airlines, Malaysia airlines and some domestic airline company in India). But no – flying at night and the fact that I didn’t have the responsibility of piloting the vehicle put me into my default passenger mode – the sleeper. It was all pretty good until the second leg of the trip when my screen didn’t work! It kept freezing and lagging and bloody-oaf I had slept enough! No matter how I tried I couldn’t sleep it off! So I ended up being awake and aware for most of the second trip (only about 10 hours – or I’m making it up) talking a little to the guy next to me (who works in London with family in Dubai) and seeing the London Eye from the plane.

21st September, 2009 (London, UK time)

My time at Heathrow Airport was alright. I went through customs unscathed with my rucksack on my back and suitcase in hand (I was wheeling it). On reflection – I really wish I had stuck to my plan of just having a rucksack even though that meant buying clothes for work here. They know we wouldn’t have ALL our stuff so turning up to the induction dressed in almost the same thing everyday would’ve probably been alright. Sort of. Anyway – it was no trouble at all, really. My rucksack wasn’t too heavy at the time and my suitcase was being quite the obedient inanimate object. Of course I also have to give credit to the travelators but whatever. Anyway – quick call to Mum and Dad and I was off to Paddington, London.

So I made my way to the trains and bought a Heathrow Connect ticket to Paddington because it was cheaper than the Express and faster than the Underground. All was good up to the point I had to find the platform. The ticket person said to take the lift to platform 2 (or was it terminal?) gesturing towards the lifts to my right. With thanks I moved out of the line and towards the elevator. Because I’m smart – being able to read between the lines most of the time – I noticed that the elevators had notices stating that they went to platform 4. That’s not 2! So I ended up doing an about turn and left the place to follow the signs that were supposed to lead me to platform/terminal 2. I also followed this guy who seemed to know what he was doing and where he was going but he ended up going to the Underground – that cheap bastard! On and on I went – up ramps, on travelators UNTIL I was in front of terminal 2. But where were the trains…? I asked a lady and she was no help – pretty much brushed me off! I went back the way I came following signs for Heathrow Connect not realising that I’d end up in the same place I bought my ticket. So there I was again. I moved towards the elevators and looked at the signs again. I don’t remember exactly why but I decided to use the elevators. One of the buttons in the elevator indicated terminal 2. BLOODY FUCK! Ah well – it’s all about experience (if I were in an RPG I’m sure I would’ve leveled up ten times by now. Tak that sucka!). It was smooth sailing until…

I had to lug my luggage up about 3 flights of stairs. Or was it more? (Oh – from Heathrow to Paddington Station was cool. From Paddington Station to the flat was cool (I walked!)). Anyway – Diane helped me out and hooked me up with her brother’s former room-mate, Amanda. Diane said she was cool AND SHE WAS! We’ve never met before but she was nice enough to take me in! And on top of that she left keys for me to get in in the middle of the day when her and her new house-mate were out at work! That’s pretty trusting. Not that I’m not trustworthy! But-yeah – stairs and my suitcase. Not good. See – I am currently living with the notion that things should be used as they were intended and should last past the guarantee date no matter what you do to it (within reason). I had only bought the suitcase they day before I left and I had a guarantee (or is it warranty? Whatever – you figure it out) of 3 years so…yes I dragged it arse up the stairs with it hitting every step it had to conquer (unintentionally of course). It didn’t break – all was good and I got into the apartment – had a shower, bought some food (including nutella (!!!) and a chicken sandwhich which was pretty much a chicken and corn spread…I guess when you live in the city time is money) and napped til Amanda and Simon came home. Following her advice I tried to stay awake til at least 9pm by discussing what I needed and wanted to do that week and going with Amanda grocery shopping (in which I bought a loaf of bread (un-cut! Under Amanda’s advice I sliced it up as best I could and shoved it in the freezer) and helped Amanda carry her things home). She also took me to get my first Oyster card (which Joyce once referred to as an Octopus card (apparently that’s what it’s called in Hong Kong but that’s not the point I’m making – why are they named after sea creatures? I’m going to name mine Stampy).

22nd September, 2009

So I wake up to the sound of a midi file on my old-school phone. It was a message from Diane! She was letting me know that her brother had the day off and that it would be good if we met up. So I sent him a text letting him know I was free in the afternoon as I would be scouting banks in the morning and he said we could meet up at St. Pauls when I was done with that.

The first bank I went to was HSBC because the Council had sent me a brochure of  some passport account (which had a fee of some certain amount) they could open for me and as I had only read that the best way to get a bank account in the UK was to set one up while I was in Australia on the day I was due to fly – I decided to look into it (read that line again if you have to because I’m not rephrasing it). Went in – was given a brochure and off I went to Barclays. they said I could open an account with only my passport and without fees! (Cue extremely suprised face) Again I took some brochures and walked to Lloyds TBC (I don’t remember what it was called). They too could open up an account for me with only my passport! Gasp! So much for the trouble of opening a bank account after moving to the UK.

After having lunch (because it was too late to have lunch with Dac) I went to St Pauls. I was there really early so I ended up walking for about…half-an-hour or so. In my wanderings I ended up walking to the next station. What??? Either I was super fit and made it like Superman or the stations were pretty close together. I’d like to think the former…Anyway – I met up with Dac who bought me a drink (canned fizzy grape juice…interesting. I feel like a kid) and took me into St Paul’s Cathedral for a quick walk about the floor (because me came in too late for a tour). Then we walked all over the place I don’t know where though I think we either walked across or saw the Millenium Bridge (that’s a significant place, right?) and passed Tate museum or something? We also saw the London Eye from a distance. But the best thing was I spotted The Mad Hatter Hotel! I think most of you would know I have a thing for Alice and her adventures in various places…those were the first pictures I took in London (I have a thing for taking pictures like a tourist…I might be one but I feel stupid when I’m doing that alone) – a picture of the hotel from a distance and one of me with the hotel in the background. Great, eh? Walked around a little more and then went our seperate ways because Dac had a physio appointment for his bum arm and I had to figure out how to get back via Liverpool Street Station. Oh – and I went in to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese to take a look and use the loo.

23rd September, 2009

The plan for today was to spend it doing the business side of things – open an account with Barclays (because their brochure stated what plans they had available and because I was too lazy to make another trip to Lloyds to find out what they had to offer). I also went on the internet, paid for a fax to be sent because I hadn’t filled out all the forms I needed for Doree Bonner to ship my things over and…yeah. The other half of the plan was to go to Oxford Street to source out some heavy-duty coats for the upcoming winter (I’m going to have cabin fever!).

Oxford Street was a pain. There were so many people about and the shops started repeating themselves as I went along. I ended up taking a side-entrance into a Top Shop (in which a bought a blue, heavy jacket) but when I left – I had no idea where I was or which way I had to go. I took one way (obviously) and ended up going into the United Colours of Beniton (where a bought a nice purple coat. Yum…). Got out and went – “I’ve seen Zara and … before but I don’t remember them being next to each other. Ah well – lets ignore that and lets go this way to get back to the apartment.” And so I walked…and walked until I came to a shop which was apparently “closing down” and was selling five different perfumes (of which I have never heard of but was apparently 157 pounds altogether) for 20 pounds. I ended up getting it and my reasoning was that it would make good presents (they are still in an unwrapped condition) or I could sell it or I could grow up like some of my other friends and try this thing called perfume…though of course I haven’t. I’m hoping that when Michelle, Fiona and Lydia come over – they’ll each take one (and Joyce) so that I won’t have to deal with it anymore. After I became a sucker I kept walking down until I came to the bloody end of Oxford Street. My feet were hurting, it was getting dark and it started to sprinkle (or drizzle). Walking walking walking and I made it back. Eventually.

24th of September, 2009

Simon was nice enough to lend me his wireless internet USB thing (dongle as it’s called here (or at least I think it is)) to attempt to do my E-tax which YES I know I should’ve done before I left but didn’t get around to doing. As they say – it’s the though that counts. It didn’t happen though – I didn’t have all the documents I needed to fill it out correctly and so all I could do was fill it out crappily and look for the National Insurance Number contact number.

I ended up going out and using the internet (because I didn’t want to use up Simon’s) and e-mailed etc and to top-up my Vodafone sim (which was kindly given to me by Amanda). I think I had Mc Donald’s for dinner…their fancy burger (the equivalent of the Angus?). It was pretty bland. Don’t kill me!

25th of September, 2009

Today I was going to move to Chelmsford of Essex (Which I had been calling “Kelmsford” just ’cause). Just before that I quickly called the NIN number to arrange for a pack to be sent out to me, scan and e-mail another piece of documentation I didn’t fill out for Doree Bonner, get some readings to prepare me for work, e-mail Dad and either call or receive a call from Mum.

All I can say was getting to Broomfield Hospital accomodation (which was actually Swan Housing) was a bitch. I still had a rucksack and suitcase to lug around but it was just that bit heavier and I had to go up and down as many steps because I had to go from Paddington to Liverpool Street Station via the Underground (stairs!), catch the train from Liverpool Street Station to Chelmsford Station (stairs!!) and then catch a bus from Chelmsford Station to Broomfield Hospital (stairs and having to move two pieces of luggage off the bus one-at-a-time while people were queuing to get on the bus). Next stop was Swan Housing reception. As the bus-stop at the hospital stopped right in front of the Outpatients section and because the maps didn’t really help I ended up going to enquiries at the Outpatients section (that really didn’t need explaining, did it?). With my bags still strapped on and ready to roll (how corny but you find somehting better) off we went in search of Switch which I new from e-mails wasn’t the place I was meant to go to unless I got there before 9am (ha!) or after 5pm. But I wasn’t going to say anything. Switch lead us to the right direction and the man helping me out showed me out of the hospital and in the direction I was supposed to go in. To cut a long story short – I got to reception, received another freaking induction bag from the lovely Council, went up a flight of stairs (the lady taking me to my room was kind enough to come with and carry my induction bag because she could see I had my hands full. Lovely…), locked the door and plonked on the bed.

Oh – I forgot to mention that my suitcase is broken – a nut came out and I can’t push the handle down so when I go back (which will hopefully be in January or February (beach beach BEACH!)) I’ll be able to do that warranty thing that people do…

26th of September, 2009

Today I went grocery shopping at Tescos and bout bread, chease, salad and meat for my sandwiches and pasta and sauce for dinner (you heard it! Just pasta and sauce!). I also bought milk, fruit (bananas, clementines and red apples), toilet paper and washing detergent for clothes and it was heavy! It was a Tescos express so as I was paying for my things, a lady perks up and says “this is an express, isn’t it?” Thanks for making my day.

I also found ONE entrance to County Hall and washed my clothes but you don’t need to know that – I’m only mentioning it because I wrote it in my diary.

27th of September, 2009

I spent the day relaxing in my room – watching the movies Paul copied to my hard-drive before I left which I believed he got from Amber who in-turn got it from someone else (Michelle – if you read this – please bring me more including Hollow Men – I forgot to bring it!). Hmmm…question – if I had bought dinner, why did I buy two sandwiches from the Hospital “cafeteria”? Oh yeah – I didn’t have any containers to put my meals in (and there wasn’t anyone around to tell me what I could and couldn’t use in the kitchen).  So I ended up eating half a tuna and corn sandwhich for lunch (plus a piece of fruit) and the other half for dinner (plus a piece of fruit). I ended up leaving the other piece of sandwich for lunch next day (stingy as I am).

I wrote so much more than I intended – and it was only about the first 8 days! I’ll leave it here and see what I can do this week. Hopefully I’ll catch up by the weekend (but you guys know me…).

Happy hunting!

An (please excuse the mistakes I’ve made – I hardly ever look over my own work and I’m not about to start now! For shame!)

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4 Comments »

  1. amboots said

    Awesome!! I’m first to comment. I can’t read atm cos I’m at work, but I will in my lunch break!! Xoxo

  2. amboots said

    Hey hey An!
    My gosh! Its been a tough few weeks eh? You still haven’t emailed me about ur induction period and your first week there as a PRO-fessional. Did the big fish pick on you like you were a little kinder kipper?
    It sounds like so much fun at the same time to be exploring Britain!! I am highly jealous atm. I don’t know if I can wait until 2012……
    Tell me, do they sell Tim Tams there? Ooooh! Work on the side and sell Aussie burgers! (Buy a normal burger from the corner pub and slip in a pineapple slice or two if you’re generous and sell it to unsuspecting beer guzzling brits!! For a decent price of course!! *shifty eyes*).
    Teeheehee! Stampy!! Just like Homer’s Pinchy!!! I love it!!!
    Just finished work. Going off to tutor now. Huzzah!
    Xoxo amber

  3. Soap said

    AN!
    Omigosh it sounds like it’s been hectic as. Send me a postcard!

    And whats with the “(and a piece of fruit)”??? Is that for my benefit?!

    Hope your having a great time. Post some pics when you can (I want to see those yummy coats you bought!)

  4. fembot said

    TESCO IT UP! How did you fare cutting up your bread? It makes Australia sound ahead of the pack with – SLICED BREAD! I hope that you’ve become more adventurous with your eating – mix some veggies into your pasta! Oh when you find a permanent house/home – you should grow a veggie patch! You may have to get an allotment if you live in a unit, but that could be fun, you could get a scarecrow and change it’s clothes on a regular basis so the birds don’t learn that it’s a scarecrow [pretty smart eh? I must be smart because i come from the land of sliced bread]

    Write more entries! I want to know more! Apparently the weather has been super good in the UK – have you been wearing your jackets?

    see you sooner than soon! [22 days till we fly!]

    ps. you’ll be so uber fit from all the walking you’ll definitely be able to enter than 1/2 marathon with the live bands every 1km

    pps. book in a book review or TV show review or music review STAT!

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