Thursday, May 31, 2012

London Again

I'm not sure how to describe what it feels like to be back in London. On the tube from the airport there was a neutral feeling of familiarity that even made me smile after a few stops. But it's not quite the same. I'm not sure why, maybe I no longer have that fresh excitement of being in a new city that I had last year. Maybe memories of London being unexpectedly shit to me prevented me from feeling particularly excited. Although, when I was getting my friend's spare key cut, a man in the store looked at my suitcase and asked me if I was going away or coming back and after a short pause, I replied "coming back" with an enthusiastic smile. If he had given the option of "staying here for a week before going to Berlin for three months then maybe coming back, maybe not" I obviously would have agreed to that one.

The flight over was uneventful. I watched The Rum Diary and a whole lot of crap I've already seen. I had a two hour stop over in Singapore. I kept kicking the woman sitting next to me whenever I drifted off, then felt bad and stopped trying to sleep. While we waiting to leave the plane one of the Australian guys behind me loudly wondered if the budget airline, FlyLo, featured in Come Fly With Me, is real. The surrounding five or so aisles laughed at him loudly.

I had planned to meet an Australian friend, Yana, at her work in Westminster to collect her keys so I could stay  with her that night. Panic set in when I showed up to the restaurant and she wasn't there. I waited for two hours past the time she was supposed to start, imagining myself sleeping in a park before I had the sense to post on the Emergency Couchsurfing group. Almost complete sleep deprivation over the past thirty hours meant I was imagining the worst possible scenarios and couldn't deal with the situation. I just felt like heading back to Heathrow and getting on the first plane flying in the direction of Perth. Thankfully, Bernadet (a couch surfer from Rotterdam) helped me out straight away and I met her about an hour later. She let me pass out on her couch for as long as I needed while she went out. Thank the voice of Morgan Freeman for couch surfing. Turns out Yana was not under a bridge with her throat slit open as I was imagining, but some personal issues had come up, she forgot I was coming and there was a miscommunication with her work. All is forgiven and I'm super happy she's not dead.

Still feeling a bit fragile on Sunday morning, Bernadet took me to Battersea Park to sit in the sun, watch the joggers and have some breakfast. Bernadet told me some cool stories of her travels at a youth camp in Ukraine and a hitch hiking competition she won from Amsterdam to Berlin. It soon became unbelievably hot so we returned to her flat to cool off.

Bernadet and the Thames in Battersea Park

Just after lunch we went to the Battersea Car Boot Sale which happens every Sunday. For 50p we got to walk amongst the crowds in the sweltering heat and rifle through people's belongings. I had a Scotch Egg for the first time, which I was a little disappointed with; after watching Heston Blumenthal make the perfect Scotch Egg on TV a few weeks ago, my cold 75p snack didn't seem that great. I bought a tshirt and a women's magazine from 1953, which I though would be filled with hilariously sexist advertisements (a la Mad Men) but in reality I paid £2 for some smocking patterns and Mills and Boon-esque stories.

That afternoon Bernadet and I went to Old Street to meet my friend Jessie (we worked at Sacred together) at her new work, as I had organised to stay with her for the rest of my time in London. After a beer and stories of how Jessie lost £120 pounds at Sacred we parted ways with Bernadet and went to Jessie's house in Highbury, dumped our bags and had a picnic of chicken shish and Chilean wine in Highbury Fields. We soon went back to her flat above a kebab shop (very distracting smells coming in through the lounge room window right now) and I passed out from exhaustion. Jetlag is pretty great like that.

The back of Jessie's house looking quintessentially English

Not a lot of interesting things have happened yet. I returned to Bernadet's to get my suitcase as I couldn't be bothered bringing it all in one trip, the sun continued to shine and I currently have more of a tan that I did in Perth, with the growing feeling that I am following summer around the globe. I struggled with my jetlag on Monday night at a play, The Sunshine Boys, which Bernadet had a free ticket for. The play was okay; unbelievably predictable humour, but it was mostly exciting to see Danny DeVito on stage and feel the cravings to re-watch It's Always Sunny. Tuesday night I had another picnic in Highbury Fields with Jessie, Erin, her flatmate and tewtal bestie from Australia, and a disposable barbecue, before heading off to the weekly London couch surfing meeting, which was also pretty uneventful. Last night we had another picnic with Yana and some of Jessie's friends and sang along to 90s pop music.

Jessie and Erin

Walking past Highbury Fields

At the beginning of the week, I was feeling so shitty that I couldn't imagine living and working here again even though I was feeling far more prepared. As I said in my last post, I was having such a good time in Perth (for the first time in years I could actually see myself living in Perth forevz) and then I got here and couldn't believe I had left it all behind me again, and really just wanted a hug from a Perth friend. Although, now that I have adjusted to the time zone and caught up on sleep, maybe it wouldn't be so bad after all. My trips never seem to start very smoothly but they generally end up being worth the struggle.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thoughts in the park

Sometimes I feel really guilty and sad when I think about all the money I've spent on alcohol. Wondering what I could do today for as few pounds and pennies as possible, I realised that even if those thousands of dollars/pounds/yen/euros/etc were miraculously returned to me, my first thought would be to go to the pub and celebrate. Maybe I'd even buy you a few.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Lead Up

Here I am, about to leave Perth again. And once again I'm not sure how long I'll be away for. I've had so much fun catching up with people before I go, that I almost don't want to leave. Typical, really, just when I start to like Perth I have to get on a plane for a trip that I organised during a fit Perth Hate Rage.

In between asking me who I'm flying with and how cold it's going to be, most people have asked if I will blog again. While reading my posts from last year makes me cringe with embarrassment at my somewhat unfounded confidence in my writing ability and undying interest of my readers, I will be blogging again. In fact I'm looking forward to being inspired to write.

I quit my soul destroying airport job at the end of March and have been unemployed since. I couldn't deal with the boredom, diminishing self confidence and the crippling self hate I felt, even though the money meant I could have travelled in a lot more comfort than I am about to. I asked the recruitment agency for another job and I finally got a call last week for an opening. Great. Everyone asks me what I've been doing since and truth is I have no idea/sweet fuck all. I went through a phase of watching all the Zac Efron movies I could find. I even decided to go back to uni next year, mostly out of boredom than motivation to further my education.

Of course my sister got married two weeks ago which was a huge affair, so that kept me away from 9gag for a few weeks. The wedding was great fun (Drunk Sian was out of course), Steph looked beautiful and I like the idea of having a brother-in-law, as weird as it is to say my sister is married. I wish I had been writing about it as it happened because there was plenty of dramas and ups and downs and spending time with Steph's friends was (I'm not going to lie) a lot more fun than I thought it would be, but now when I think about it, it's a blur of green chiffon and champagne.

It was my birthday on Tuesday; I turned twenty two on the twenty second, a milestone I have been looking forward to since I decided twenty two was my favourite number and started using it in all my passwords. I went mountain biking with Dad and the dog in Mundaring and then had dinner with Mum and Dad at home (leek pie, goats cheese, olives, steak and red wine - at my request). I was supposed to go out with a few friends that night but my complete lack of fitness prevented me from doing anything that didn't involve watching Game of Thrones while lying down.

Due to a painfully low amount of money, it's unlikely that I'll be travelling after Berlin so I'm leaning towards living in London again, as my visa will valid until July next year. But I'm not one hundred percent sure yet. I feel more confident that I will last longer this time because I know what to expect. Last year I had built up London living as this super cool glamorous lifestyle (my big sister did it after all!) when in reality it was really hard and depressing to be working for minimum wage in a job that made me cry over making the sandwiches. I feel better knowing that it's going to be a struggle.

I found out that I'll be living in Kreuzberg, the cool area of Berlin (you can send me mail, so I'll put my address somewhere) in a shared apartment with two or three other people doing the project. Unfortunately I will have to share a bedroom (not happy about having to wear pyjamas) and there is no wifi in the building (WHAT YEAR IS IT). I'm just hoping I will be so busy that I won't notice. Or I'm going to learn how to steal wifi. I'll get a German number/I have an iPhone so contacting me won't be too difficult. I recommend getting Whatsapp or Viber for texting. Also follow me on Instagram!

Before I left for America last year I was pretty stressed. I distinctly remember having dreams about Voldemort chasing me through airports. Last week I had a dream that I left without doing my washing and consequently forgot my favourite socks and the week before that I had a dream that I became really good friends with the guys from One Direction. So I think it's safe to say I'm significantly more relaxed this time around.

I currently have a really sore back (I'm assuming its repercussions from my terrible posture combined with the only exercise I have done in months) so I'm waiting for my Voltaren to kick in while I ask Mum do the bits of packing that involve bending over. I just want to get on the plane and find out what movies I have to watch. I wonder if the Gold Coats and customs officers will recognise me.