England, Europe, Expat

Sights, Seashore and Settling in

So I’ve told myself since Saturday that I would write a post, but so much has happened that I haven’t had time to sit down and write it down. (Also the Internet in the house I’m living in is kind of crappy.) Anyway, I guess I should start with the big news. I got a job! I’m officially earning the mighty pound sterling. Woot woot!

I actually mentioned in an earlier post that I was volunteering at an organization and I hoped it would turn into a full-time position. Well, it has. I’m working as a client services assistant at an organization that helps new immigrants to Canada learn things like how to write a résumé to Canadian standards, how to set up a bank account in Canada and what the cost of living is in different cities before they arrive.

I’m basically going to be working 9 to 5, Monday to Friday until March 31, 2013. This might sound like a lot, but it actually leaves more time for travelling than my position last October did, and I still managed to find loads in then.

I know you’re all curious about how I’ve spent my week, so I’ll break it all down now. On Saturday, I met up with a friend of mine from J-school in Toronto, who has travelled around Europe for the last few weeks. She came to my house for a barbecue and then I showed her around Bayswater, Notting Hill, South Kensington and Knightsbridge, which is the area I live in.

Our route took us through Portobello Market; then through Notting Hill to Hyde Park; along Kensington Palace Gardens, which is the gated road where many of the embassies in London are situated; through Hyde Park to the Prince Albert Memorial; then out to Kensington Road and the Royal Albert Hall and along Exhibition Road, where many of the museums are. Then finally along Brompton road to Harrod’s.

Probably the highlight of the day for me was eating Honey Roast Wiltshire Ham crisps (chips). Yes, they actually tasted like I was eating a piece of ham. I even took a picture of the bag.

Why are these not in Canada?

On Sunday, it was sunny and almost 30 C, which is unheard of in London, so I went down to Brighton to get the most out of the day. Brighton is a resort town about an hour due south from London by train. I’m not sure if the water really counts as the sea, as it’s actually the English Channel, but it’s salt water, so that was close enough for me.

Some tips if you plan to do a day trip (or half-day trip, as I did) to Brighton to go to the beach:

  • Take the train from London Bridge, not Victoria. I didn’t realize this until I met up with friends who had gone to Brighton a few hours before me, but the train from London Bridge costs only £11 for a same-day return. The train from Victoria, which I took, cost me £22.30.
  • The “beach” in Brighton is not made of sand. It is instead made up of small stones and pebbles. Bring some plastic flip-flops that you can wear right into the water. Otherwise the walk from your towel to the sea is extremely painful.
  • Do not go on the haunted house ride on Brighton Pier. It is extremely lame and a waste of £3.
Monday I had the interview for my job. Needless to say I rocked it. The other days, I’ve been doing errands like getting a gym membership and applying for a National Insurance number, and also heading to the pub.
Now the other big news of the week. I’m actually heading to Belgrade, Serbia super early tomorrow morning. I have to wake up in about 4 hours, but I had some last-minute stuff to do and now I’m writing for my clothes to dry. I’ll definitely write-up a post about my trip when I get back on Wednesday. I’m going with another friend from j-school.

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