Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Day Off!

Today was a pleasant day off from work! I worked my butt off on Monday and Tuesday. Monday was a bank holiday so it was packed and so busy all day and Tues I had to work over 11 hours because it was a double shift. I'm so glad to have today off!

I had a lazy morning and then headed out to Camden to do some errands. I grabbed a bite to eat at Pret; they have these breadless sandwiches that are sooooo good! Then I bought a few odds and ends and when to the bank. I ordered some Euros for my trip to Venice next week. On my way home I stopped at the Camden Lock Starbucks and had a blueberry muffin with tea and studied Greek since I the tutor is coming over tomorrow morning before work.

Now I'm at home and just want to relax because I'm on call for another 12 hour day tomorrow! I'm going to make some Chinese stirfry tonight and watch some telly or some downloaded episodes of 24, we'll see! Below are some shots around the Camden Lock Markets, there are some neat areas around there, I always find a new nook or cranny everytime I visit.


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Random Update

I'm posting less now because there hasn't been too much interesting to post! I've been working more and even though I wanted part-time, next week I'm working 5 days and most of them are double shifts! It's actually ok because the week after I'll be in Venice!! That'll be my reward. I'm getting used to the job more too. I bartend most of the time and I pretty much know what I'm doing now, most of the time! People always ask me where I'm from, most think America but the odd person has said I have a strong Canadian accent as opposed to American (I didn't know there was much difference!). There are also a group of regulars that come in at 5:00 everyday and have been doing so for about 20 years! One of them used to be a TV show host and now does radio, he's really nice. There is one thing I hate about the job and it's that I smell like smoke afterwards! It's really gross, it gets in my hair and clothes. I definitely won't miss that!

I have also had a Greek tutor come over a few times. It's one thing to read it but it's completely different to speak and hear it! My tutor Maria comes over once a week for an hour. I'm still a total beginner but I hope in the summer I'll pick it up more!

What else? I'm pretty much over a cold that I had for a few days. It wasn't a bad one, just annoying. We've also had a construction worker over last week fixing some water damage in the dining room. He still has a few days left to work on it and it'll be nice once it's done so we can clean the place! It's dusty!

Today I went to Hillsong church in the morning and did a bit of shopping on Oxford Street after. I got sick of the crowds so I bought a chicken pasta salad and ate it in Hyde Park near Speaker's Corner. There was this cute little boy about 2 years old; he kept coming up to me while I was sitting on the grass. He had the hugest dark eyes, curly black hair, and was always smiling - sooo cute! I wanted to put him in my bag and take him home! Below is a pic of the crowds at Speaker's Corner and one of Hyde Park (the cute little boy on the right side).

Now I'm home and I have to clean my room but I don't want too! I can't see the ground though, so maybe I should. I'll try to post when I can, but this week will be busy with work.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

British Museum

I was dreading today (May 23) because I was scheduled to work for an 11 hour split shift (2 halves with an hour break in between). The first half was an on-call shift which means I have to check whether I go in or not (depends on the weather: if it's good weather it's busier and your more likely to have to work). I was hoping it would be crappy weather like it has been all week so I wouldn’t have to go in for the first half. It ended up being kinda sunny though so I knew I'd probably have to do the whole 11 hours. I phoned anyways to make sure and they decided I didn't have to go in! I was sooooo happy!!! So instead of starting at 12, I started at 5:00.

I had a couple hours to kill. Gareth and Phillip headed to a pub so I said bye to Phillip since he was going back to Germany today. I have a cold right now so I wouldn't have minded staying home and vegging but there are construction workers in our flat today fixing a bit of water damage, so I just wanted to get out!

I went to the British Museum and it was really cool. I spent a couple hours looking around at the Ancient Greek and Roman artifacts and sculptures. I didn't see the whole museum since there is sooo much stuff and I was cold the whole time because I'm sick and the weather is like winter! I'll definitely go back to look at the rest! Maybe tomorrow on my day off if I feel normal.

Oh ya, and today Gareth got a call from his work saying that he gets to go to the filming location of Harry Potter 5 tomorrow. That's kinda cool, so I'm going to let him borrow my camera (if he's even allowed to take pics!)

The Rosetta Stone
Samurai Warrior Mask


Sunday, May 21, 2006


Well the last few days have been pretty busy! I've been working quite a bit, our friend Phillip came over on Thurs night, and on Friday night (May19) my flatmate Gareth threw a party at a pub called Masque. It was fun! about 40 people showed up and I met a bunch of Gareth's friends and his sister. The venue was nice, it had a dance floor and it was on the second floor with windows all around. It was nice to put faces to people that I had heard about!

After the party a couple of Gareth's friends stayed over since they were from out of town. So in the morning we all had a huge breakfast with eggs, sausage, bacon, toast, beans, and waffles! Throughout the day Gareth's friends left and I had to go to work from 4-10:30 but had to stay an extra half hour because it was busy. I was so glad to get home and just relax!

Today I went to Hillsong church in the morning. I met up with some people from church for coffee before because I was thinking of helping out as a host. I probably won't do it till after Greece though since it takes a few weeks to finish training for it.

Now I have the place to myself because Phillip and Gareth are out at a pub. Tonight we might go out for a bite to eat (or tomorrow for lunch, not sure). I finally have pics of Gareth (whom I'm staying with).

I'll probably post less often now that I've started working more. I'll keep it going though!

Me, Helle, Phillip
Gareth and Phillip
Me and Gareth


Friday, May 19, 2006

Ho Hum

Well today and yesterday weren't too eventful. I worked the evenings of both days and cleaned the flat, did errands, and studied Greek. That's about it! I'm starting to get the hang of bartending but there's a lot to learn.

Tonight a friend of ours (Gareth and I) named Phillip is coming over from Germany for the weekend. Tomorrow is also a party that Gareth and a friend of his are putting on in a pub near St. Paul's Cathedral, so that should be fun! I invited Helle who also knows Gareth and Phil and I also invited a couple from Hillsong, so I'm looking forward to it!


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

One of Those Days!

(May 16)
Well today was my day off and it was supposed to be relaxing but it didn't turn out that way! I wanted to book the flights to Greece today for Tony and I but it ended up taking allll morning! I had to book 2 flights (London - Athens and Athens - Paros) but the airline website for the Athens - Paros flight kept timing out and I had to try it over and over again to check the flight times/prices not to mention booking them! (I also had to enter all my booking info a few times, till it actually went through!) I wanted to throw my laptop out the window! (because that'll fix the problem! :p )

Earlier, I had said that I'd bake a carrot cake for my flatmate Gareth since he had to bring it to work the next day but had no time to make it; I thought it would be fun to bake something, which I never do! I went out and bought some ingredients and came home. There was one other thing I needed so I went out again to get it and forgot my keys in the flat; so basically I locked myself out! (The door locks automatically when it is shut). So I had to go all the way to Gareth's work (half hour bus ride) pick up his keys and went home again, picking up the ingredient on the way. When I was ready to mix the dry ingredients I forgot I had to pick up a sieve too! So I went out again and couldn't find a sieve (the shops around here are small). I bought a biggish tea strainer instead! Luckily it worked, it just took forever to sift!

By this point, it was getting time for me to leave for bible study and Gareth came home and finished it thank goodness!

The rest of the evening was good! Went to bible study in Tottenham Court and had to drink 2 coffees to feel normal after the frustrating day I had! Well I booked the Greece tickets (leave here on July 2) and the cake got finished, so I'm glad that's all taken care of! I have my first evening shift tomorrow till 11:30, I have a feeling it'll be slow since an important football (soccer) game is on in the evening and our pub has no TV. Slow is good, but we'll see!

The finished product! mmm!


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Second Day at the Pub

(May 15)
Today I had my second day of work at the pub and it couldn’t have been more different than the first shift! A total 180. It was slow today since it’s a Monday and it wasn’t sunny out (which makes a huge difference because of the location - in Hampstead Heath). I also didn’t have to run any food or clear any plates/glasses! I was behind the bar the whole time and was trained to be a bartender, which I much prefer because you don’t have to run around and touch dirty plates. There is so much to memorize though! All the drinks (beer, wines, liquors) and which glasses they go in because a lot of brands have specific glasses and different ways of pouring them. I also had to learn where everything is and how to punch in orders since the bartenders take drink and food orders there. We also had a staff meeting from 3-5 (and I worked 11-5) so my last 2 hours of work were just sitting with everyone and sampling some new summer drinks and going over some rules. Although this was an enjoyable and easy day, it’s usually crazy busy, so I have to brace myself for that!

After work I went grocery shopping and booked accommodation for my Venice trip! 25 euro per night isn’t bad at all! Now I’m going to watch TV accompanied with some tea and go to bed.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Flight to Venice

I had a really good day today! I started off with Hillsong Church. I might sign up to be part of the host group (they are the people that greet people and help out) It was, fun as usual, and afterwards I got invited out for lunch with a couple from New Zealand that I had met at bible study. They had some friends from Canada with them so we all went to lunch together at a pizza restaurant. It was very good! I had Sicilian pizza with anchovies, olives, prosciutto, motza, and artichokes. All my favorite toppings! Out of the other Canadians that were there, 2 were from Victoria (mother and daughter) I didn't recognize them though and the other 2 were a married couple from Toronto. After lunch I had some tea at Starbucks and studied Greek for an hour or two.

When I got home I felt like booking a flight somewhere! I saw some great deals through Ryanair so I thought "just do it! Book a flight to anywhere!" So I picked Venice!! I haven’t seen much of Italy yet and I've always wanted to see Venice! There were flights for as low as 0.38p (!!!) but they were either super early or super late which would cost more in the end anyways because I'd have to take a taxi to the train station since the tubes don't run and the bus would take forever. So I decided on daytime flights that aren’t as cheap as 0.38p but it's still considered cheap: 25 pounds there and 20 pounds back. So I leave on Mon, June 5 and come back Thurs, June 8. I'm excited! I don't know any Italian though, so I'll have to learn some basics and I'll have to read up on Venice since it's very spur of the moment and I don't know too much about the city yet...but I will! It'll be a good chance to learn a bit of the language and to learn more about Italy! Yay!

M PS: Happy Mother's Day mum!!!


Well today I spent the whole day in my PJs on the couch! It’s not as bad as it sounds though; I was working on my website for over 12 hours straight! I just wanted to update it and change the look a bit. Let me know what you think! I like getting comments and suggestions!

I still have to create new animations and graphics to put up there to fully update it but it’s a start. I’m going to try to work on new projects everyday to update my skills and learn new things. I really want a multimedia job after I get back from Greece, so if I start now it’ll give me a head start by the time I get back!


Friday, May 12, 2006

First Day (and last?) at the Pub

I started my new job today at a pub. I worked 12-6 and in the first couple hours I wanted to quit! Lol! I didn’t get trained much (because it was busy) and I hate not knowing where things are and what to do. I basically had to jump right in and start running food and clearing tables. It was quite stressful since there was me and one other guy (who helped me a bit but he was busy in the bar too). Sometimes the orders would get messed up or people would move to different tables (and there are about 80 tables)! It was also very exhausting because it was hot out today and I had to run around collecting glasses, clearing plates (heavy plates), setting tables, bringing the food out, and checking on everyone on top of not knowing much of anything about the pub! I hate the feeling of being over your head with stuff to do and you just can’t do it all; I like feeling organized and on top of everything but I sure wasn’t!

Later in the day I had my 20min break and got a free meal (I tried the ploughman’s breakfast) and others who work there started to show up and they all seem really nice. They are from all over: Italy, Denmark, Czech. Republic, Australia… Near the end of my shift it was quieter and it was fine. So I didn’t end up quitting, I decided to give it another shot. My next shift is on Monday. I made a little list of the pros and cons to decide what I should do:

Cons: stressful, exhausting, under staffed, I don’t know where things are and what to do in certain situations (but I’ll learn), the pay isn’t good, have to pick up dirty dishes (eew)…

Pros: the people are nice, it’s flexible and I can ask for time off to travel, they know I’m leaving at the end of June and still hired me, I have Sunday’s off, it’s only for another 1.5 months, I get to work outside as there is a huge patio, I’ll get a workout every shift, and I’m sure I’ll get used to it…

Well now I’m at home and I’m going to make some dinner and collapse on the couch and watch some telly!



Well today (May 11) for my trip to Bath, I gambled whether I could get away with wearing sandals and a tank top today, and I won! It was so warm and sunny all day today.

I took a 10:00 train to Bath which took about 1.5 hours. When I got there I had to find a map and get my usual postcard (which I collect from every city I go to). It’s such a beautiful town!! I walked to Pulteney Bridge where the river flows over what looks like curved steps; It’s very pretty. I walked over the bridge and explored part of the right side of the city and saw a townhouse which Jane Austen lived in for a while.

I wandered back across the bridge to the other side and walked up to The Circus and Royal Crescent. On my way up I stopped in the Costume Museum which housed a bunch of original outfits worn over the centuries. (my camera didn’t work very well, but I did get a pick of a more recent dress – the JLo 2000 Grammy dress). I also stopped in this cute little shop which had jewelry and knickknacks everywhere, even hanging from the ceiling! I bought a pink pearl necklace (not real though).

After the Royal Crescent, I headed back down and went to the Jane Austen Center. It was interesting! I found out a bunch about Jane Austen’s life and I have a better understanding of her point of view when her stories were written (she was a lot like Elizabeth Bennet). I bought a making of Pride and Prejudice book.

What next? Oh yes! The Roman Baths! This is a must-see if you come here! There are Roman ruins below the city and one of the major finds was a Roman bath spa complex made from a natural hot spring. When you go to the exhibit you can see what they’ve uncovered and you can tell how great it must’ve been when it was in use! There were a network of baths and rooms: saunas, hot tubs, a cold pool, and an over flow system which is still in use today. You can feel the warmth in the rocks and the water (because there is still a hot spring there).

After the Roman Baths, I had some tea and a scone and explored the city some more. It’s quite small so it’s easy to walk everywhere! It’s really nice to walk along the river: just beautiful!!!

I caught the train back at 7:45 and got home at 10ish. I’m so tired now and I start my job tomorrow, so we’ll see how that goes!


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Hyde Park

This morning I bought a train ticket online for Bath for tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it! I like getting out of the big city sometimes.

I had to go out and buy a black shirt for work on Friday. I was planning on going to a museum after but it turned out to be so warm and sunny out! So I decided to get some food and go to Hyde Park and relax. I found a nice shady spot under a huge tree. I had some tuna salad and yogurt and studied Greek.

Hyde Park

Now I'm watching TV and going to have an early night so I can get up and catch the train!


New Job

Well I went for my interview this morning and ended up landing the job. I’ll be working at a cute old pub in Hampstead Heath. It was built in the 1500’s and is said to be haunted. It has a large patio which is usually packed in the nice weather. I’ll be bartending and running food. It’s not exactly what I want to do but I think it’ll be ok since it’s only for a month or two and they know I’m leaving for the summer (so I don’t have to quit after less than 2 months) I also just wanted part-time which will give me time to travel a little!

After the interview I walked back home (45 min walk), studied some Greek, and then went to bible study in the evening. It was fun, I’m starting to meet more people which is cool. I also bought the book: The Purpose Driven Life; it’s supposed to be very good! I started reading it on the bus home but and got nauseous, and I’ve been at home now for a while and I still feel nauseous; I hope it goes away so I can sleep!


Monday, May 08, 2006


Today wasn't too exciting, I had to do a bunch of errands. I got a young person's rail card which means I can get 1/3 off on train trips around the UK. I also looked up flights around Europe and Ryanair has some crazy deals; There were flights for less than 1 pound to Salzburg and other neat places! (there are fees of course, but they are never more than 15 pounds and you also have to book 2 weeks in advance) Still, that is amazing, so I may have to take them up on the offer! I just have to decide where I want to go...

I also have a job interview tomorrow at a pub in Hampstead Heath. I just phoned them from an ad I saw. They know I just want part-time and that I'm leaving for the summer, so we'll see how that goes. It wouldn't be too bad, I just don't want to work lots of evenings! Now I'm eating pasta and going to watch some TV.

Above, houses near Hampstead Heath with the city in the background.


Six Story Elephant

This morning I went to Hillsong Church and had a great time as usual! After church I wanted to go down to Piccadilly Circus to check out a giant elephant that has been around town since Friday. Luckily, today wasn’t raining like it said it would; it was pretty nice out. I love this statue below (it's in Piccadilly Circus)

Horses of Helios

Anyways, the elephant spectacle is called The Sultan’s Elephant and it’s a three-day play featuring a forty foot mechanical elephant which weighs 42 tonnes! Today it was on Piccadilly and St. James Street, so that’s where I headed. I got there at around 2:00, but it wasn’t going to start moving till 3:30. Some major streets were shut down and there were thousands of people everywhere! I bought some lunch and found a spot on some scaffolding which had a good view over looking the crowds.

By the time the elephant was going to start walking down the street (towards Piccadilly Circus), we got kicked off the scaffolding by the police! We had been up there for about an hour; why didn’t they tell us earlier! Oh well, I got some good shots anyways. It was really cool! It looked kinda lifelike with flapping ears and it sprayed water too! There was also a band playing music on a platform behind the elephant and there were people inside, on top, and hanging off of the elephant! What a strange thing to see in the streets of London. I took a short movie of it to which you can see here: (I’m going to try this movie idea out and see how it goes. Let me know if you have problems viewing it. You need the DivX codec to view it; I’ve included a link so you can download it if you need to.)

After the elephant spectacle, I walked around Soho and had a snack in Trafalgar Square then hit up a few book stores and headed home.


Saturday, May 06, 2006

"Chinese Stir Fry and a Movie" Kinda Night

This morning I went for my run since it wasn't raining yet. I had to do some stuff around the house and then I headed up to Hampstead and studied some Greek in Starbucks as it started to pour. What a change from yesterday! I hate rain! Oh well, this week I'm going to focus on job hunting anyways, since I haven't been doing much of that at all lately! When I got home, I decided to make a Chinese chicken stir fry; It turned out really well! Now I'm settling for the night and I'm going to watch "The Family Stone". I need tea and a scone and I'm set!



(this is for May 5 by the way) Today turned out to be really nice as well! In the morning I walked up to Hampstead and dropped off the movie and bought a book since I planned on going for a picnic today and needed an easy reading book.

Next, I headed for Hyde Park but I decided to go to Green Park instead; It’s next to Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace. It’s very beautiful as the pictures show. There were people sitting in the grass everywhere, so I just plunked down in a sunny area with my book, Greek salad, and mini wine. It was so nice just to relax in the warm sun with bare feet! A few clouds eventually started to come in so I packed up and headed back home. My Oyster Card expired today (my monthy bus pass is on it) so I had to renew that before I could leave on the bus.

The other night at bible study I was invited out to a club called Capisce in Mayfair tonight. I got there at about 8:30 and saw a few people that I had met the other night. At one point I was chatting to three Allison’s: one from Australia, South Africa, and Canada (Ottawa). After chatting for a while to a few people I danced until about 11:30 and I had to leave before the night buses started up since the bus routes change at 12:00. I’m very tired now and have to go to bed!


Friday, May 05, 2006

Summer Weather!

This morning I went for my morning run. It was sooo nice out today! It is the first day of summer weather since I’ve been here. It was tank top weather!

After my run I had to go to the grocery store and started to make a Greek salad for tonight because I invited Helle over for dinner and a movie. I wanted to be prepared.

After making the beginnings of dinner, I headed out to Oxford Street for some shopping. I needed some sandals and a skirt for this type of weather! I found some crazy deals: two skirts for 10 pounds, two tank tops for 6 pounds and sandals for 12! After shopping I hung out in Leicester Square on the grass for a while until it was time to meet up with Helle.

We met at Holborn and headed to my flat. We rented a movie and I made the rest of the dinner. It turned out really well! Chicken curry and Greek salad. We watched “In Her Shoes” and then “Grey’s Anatomy”. It was a really good day!


Thursday, May 04, 2006


Well, today was great! (by the way it's for May 3; I finished the entry after midnight)I decided to leave London for a day and head for the south coast to Brighton. In the morning, though, I finally got a pic of some of the horses that trot up my road every week!

I left on the train around 10:30am and it was about an hour long ride. When I arrived I had no map and didn't see any maps in the station so I just stared walking. Luckily it's a hilly city and the station is near the top of a hill so I could see the ocean from there and just walked in that direction. It was a beautiful day today! Very sunny and there was no need of a jacket (the first day that has happened for me here)! I ended up at the beach and walked along the water to the Brighton Pier. There are a bunch of rides, an arcade, and food stalls along the pier. I bought some fresh from the sea mussels for a snack!

After the Pier, I headed to the Royal Pavilion. It's an elaborate palace surrounded by parks. It looks out of place in England because of the style of architecture. I took a tour of it and snuck a pic of the dining room! There was also a tea room in the palace where I had some tea and a scone with clotted cream and jam! Soooooo good! It melted in my mouth! My seat was looking out of the palace onto a nice park full of trees, I felt like a princess having her high tea over looking the palace grounds!

Next, I walked through "The Lanes" area and a few streets in the "North Laine" area. There were a bunch of lanes just for pedestrians, full of cute shops and cafes. Some of the roads reminded me of San Francisco just because they were hilly and by the water I guess!

I looped around back to the ocean again. I love it! I missed the ocean and seagull atmosphere, so it was nice! Especially in the sun! This framework of a pier below used to be the nicest pier in the city but it was burned down and it'll cost about 40,000,000 pounds to get rebuilt. They may put up a 600 foot glass tower instead (so people can take a ride to the top for a view; kinda like a London Eye idea).

After a final look at the ocean I walked through the Montpelier section and stopped at a Spanish restaurant for a few tapas and headed to the train by 8:00. I got home at 9:30ish. Now I'm going to bed!!