Monday 29 November 2004
my car (not actually driving, but my sweet friend my Matrix )
living in the same time zone as people I want to talk to
ability to impulse shop
spicy crunchy tuna rolls
the new Wisconsin quarter (although I have one, courtesy of Mom)
old people who smile at you
people understanding what I am saying on the first go
I don't miss
car alarms and sirens
sense of slight nervousness when walking at night
the red line
lots of homeless people
paying bills (ok, I still have Cobra, which is enough!)
the Washington Post
the President, et al
I am getting
lots of walking
time in my head and on my own
to prove myself to myself
drunk white people walking around with king cans of lager
to paint my own toenails
to live simply
real actual paper letters from my Mom
to wear jeans everyday
to eat at gastropubs
to watch Bernie Mac as my first activity of the day
daytime errand abiliry
impossible cheap and good wine
to meet friends who visit in London and almost know where I am going
to remember to wheel out the garbage can on garbage night(rubbish here) (as a 15 year apartment dweller, I was a trash room girl)
to play house
to want more
to be different
new friends from many countries
support from all entities
Thursday 25 November 2004
I thought I would pay homage to the day by making a simple pumpkin pie. Yum. Can taste it already.
Walked to the local Sainsburys and got the pre-made crust, (what? you are surprised?) the vanilla, the evaporated milk, the sweetened condensed milk, checked that I have cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger at home. All I needed was the canned pumpkin filling.
Up and down every isle. Dodging the seniors and the surprisingly large number of Sainsbury employees doing their own shopping. Canned fruit? No. Canned veg? No. In the baking area? No. Frozen? (gawd forbid) No.
Finally I break down and ask where the pumpkin is. "Oh, that is a holiday item." Yes, I am thinking, Thanksgiving. "We won't get that until 2 or 3 weeks before Xmas. I don't think any stores stock that now."
I almost started crying.
But I recovered. I thought, "I'll get some of my own brand of comfort home food -- frozen burritos." (No mocking, I have had no mexican food in 60 days.)
No burritos. No frozen mexican meals. Only an 'American-style fried chicken' and 'potato skins'.
Readers, I took to the international isle. And there it was ... refried beans. Quickly, tortilla chips (ok- they are dorito type, they had no real white corn or any other kind!) and cheese and sour cream jumped in the cart (ok, trolly).
Happy Nacho Thanksgiving.
Wednesday 24 November 2004
I will be starting my flunky job in January!
For me, it really is all I could want in a part-time job while I am here-- cool offices overlooking the river, bus takes me to the door, American IT company, STOCKED kitchen with breakfast and lunch goodies, young people to mingle with and working 2 days a week. Perfecto. And I want a no brain, no responsibility job.
People, never thought I'd say this. I am going to be a receptionist.
And I may need to get over myself.
Did you know the average salary in England is like 16-19,000£ a year? Seriously. Another thing is that most offices have actual receptionists, which is very different to the non-secretary world of corporate America. Only senior execs in the US have PAs, and they usually support like 5 higher-ups. Here it is normal.
I know I will kick some serious lunch-ordering, mail-posting, conference room booking, telephone answering, front-desk sitting, arse.
So I need to get over myself.
And practice sounding professional.
And not worry about hanging up on people.
And prepare to limit my free Kit-Kat intake.
And keep my ego in my pockets.
Monday 22 November 2004
Thursday 18 November 2004
I don't know if it is homesickness, sickness in general, or just a lust for yesteryear, but they have the BEST selection of 80s and 90s American TV here. They have a channel called ABC1 -- which is like the JV loser team of TV. The afternoon line up has such classics as:
- Moonlighting - when Bruce Willis had hair and amazingly Cybil Shepard looks exactly the same but wears awful outfits with hats. It is surprisingly hard to watch.
- Nurses- this horrid sit-com that was born as a spin-off of The Golden Girls and Empty Nest. (Where IS Kristy MacNichol??) that apparently ran from 1991-94, but I have NO memory of it.
- OLD General Hospital episodes
- Bernie Mac show- Where have I BEEN? This man is a genius and someone PLEASE send me the Orginal Kings of Comedy DVD. Can't get it here and he is the best.
- Sports Night - what a great- short lived- smart show. I heart Felicity Huffman and Nate from 6FU and Benson as stars.
- Once and Again- I never saw this in the states. Gooey and also Sela Ward is a knockout.
And another station has, literally, QUINCY! Jack Klugman in his post-Oscar prime! Who can't remember watching The Crime-Fighting Coroner.
So, I look at it as keeping in touch with my Americanism. Well, the good old days anyway, when America could still crank out innocuous TV shows and we made smarter choices. Now if they could just put Fantasy Island and Joanie Loves Chachi on ...
Monday 15 November 2004
We got back and I immediately went deep into my second course for life coaching, which ended last night. So, gentle readers, I have not forsaken you! (and it has nothing to do with the newly installed digital TV in the house, meow, that was so craftily suggested by ANONYMOUS. Cheeky.)
Is weird to come back 'home' to Cambridge after vacation -- it made this much more my home than anything else could. No matter how much one enjoys traveling and being new places, the home bed is always best. And I so do love the slumber.
Autumn is nowhere near as breaktaking here as it is in the states, but I've been able to wear a few winter accessories and feel the much-loved cold on my head. But, we had our first frost over the weekend, and I road on a train for 90 minutes without heat at 0:dark early and understood a little why some people hate the cold. Chattering teeth, zah zh zzzz.
My course was once again, wonderful, inspiring and life changing. I am with the same group of 20 or so people that I was with before, and it is so gratifying to see everyone grow as coaches and to get to know them as humans. We practice coach on each other, with real issues, so the level of intimacy and connectedness is unique and gentle. We will go through the whole program together and this bond is really cool. I like having friends from Sweden, Mongolia, England, South Africa and Canada. (Once again, the lone American to suffer though the American jokes with a stiff smile.) At one point after an especially intimate, emotional exercise in class, the instructor asked what the class thought the point of it was, and someone yelled out, "To become Americans!" Hardy har har. It is weird that it is a GIVEN to make American jokes here. And it is even odder to be the cheese standing alone at the punchline. I'd like to develop thicker skin on this. It inconceivable to me to make a slur like that, let alone when I know someone of that creed, nationality, etc was in the room.
I might have some educating to do. Or example to be. Although, as most of you can imagine, I am not one to keep my mouth shut when a pithycomment could be made or joke to be told. So I tend to probably be seen as the sassy American. Which I am.
I interviewed for 2 flunky jobs immediately upon my return-- one for Sure Start, modeled after Head Start... and I did not get that one. The other was for a receptionist in a Surgery -- a.k.a. a GP doctor office. The twist I found out about at the interview is that it is 100% for homeless and those in danger of becoming homeless. Hmmm. Am I brave enough? Is this a good match? I want a job to keep me engaged with people and to make some friends. They expained that often times, the patients are drunk or on drugs at the time they come in. This does not sound like me. As hard as it is to admit, I do not think I would be very good or happy in that job. So, back to the internet search for a position.
How is America? I have heard from some of you, with links to stories and snippets. Are people deflated or still fired up to make a change? I must admit, I am glad to not live there right now. I do not know how I would handle it. The further I am away, the better perspective I get, and it just makes me sad and pissed.
Still working on locking in my coaching practice domain name. I have scrapped the ones I had before as none were resonating with what I want my coaching to be and who I am. They were just names. Based on some excellent feedback from my course mates, I am working on others. Prepare to vote.
Happy almost Thanksgiving. Not sure what I'll be doing over here, but I invision a warm meal with warm Mark. I'll be feeling grateful for where I am in my life, and for where I can go, and for all the perfect friends and family I have who support me and keep me spicy.