Wednesday, August 25, 2010

So long until September

I know I've been really quiet lately, but it's because I've had my head down at my desk furiously working through so much stuff because I'm off on holiday on Saturday!!! Before that though, I have a massive meeting in Zurich that has needed quite a lot of prep. Today is my last day in the office and I'm furtively writing this in between back to back meetings to let you know that, fear not, I'm not running off forever but just for 10 days to the sunny (hopefully!) Cote d'Azur. I'll be back in September with lots of stories and warm weather tales and lovely photos - I'm getting giddy just thinking about it!!!

Until then, enjoy Bank Holiday and Labor Day in the US and I'll talk to you all very soon! xxx

Friday, August 13, 2010

Long winter looming

Well, it's been great but I fear that summer is over. Maybe not officially, but it's been cold and cloudy with intermittent torrential downpours for about 2 weeks now and I'm losing faith that we'll get a return to sunshine and warmth. I've found myself wishing I could burrow into my sofa under a blanket for the duration. Meanwhile, I'm the last woman standing at my office who hasn't had her summer holiday and I'm eagerly preparing for our 10 days on the Cote d'Azur at the end of the month. I've been religiously applying Johnson's Holiday Sun self-tanning moisturizer, so my feet are orange and The Irishman says my face is significantly paler than my neck and deems me 'ridiculous'. I'm ignoring him and clutching all of my tank tops and summery dresses because I just can't accept that its mid-August and the Autumn fashions in the magazines have more relevance to the current weather outside my window than they do.

Sometimes I wonder why I choose to live in a country with stunted seasons and a default climate of cold and rainy. Not only is it bleak and depressing, but even now, after a few months of record-breaking heat, I feel like my bones never properly got warm in the summer. My internal temperature gauge never got a good baking. If I don't get to lay in sun, soon, so that I can reset that gauge, I might have to hibernate this winter.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The trouble with expat living...

... is that eventually, you're not a tourist any longer. You become a resident.

My friend Mindy has been here in London since May; she works in my company's New York office, but was seconded here for the summer. She has been taking full advantage of her time here, and frankly I am extremely jealous. Not of her travels - I'm very satisfied with my travel itinerary this summer and actually wish for a bit more home-time - but more her freedom to run about London and experience everything at her own pace and on a whim. For what happens when you've lived in a place for 2+ years is that you naturally start to make ties to the place around you. So you start to make friends, make plans with those friends, have obligations and commitments, and then suddenly you find yourself scheduling time in your diary FOR YOURSELF to do WHAT YOU WANT. I was looking at the calendar and saw that the next weekend when I had some free time to go bumming around Liberty was September 13th. Sheesh. And it all came barreling home when I only had 2.25 hours today to go to Tate Britain to see the Henry Moore exhibit - and I couldn't put it off because today was the last day, and I hadn't had time to see it since it opened in February!

Of course it is an enviable position to be in, but one of the draws of expat life is that you're in a new place and constantly discovering new cool places and marveling at all of the little wonders you encounter just strolling through various neighborhoods. So when all of a sudden you're really settled in, you tend to stop doing those very agreeable activities you used to do when you were new to a city because, well, you're not!

So I've decided that this fall, after our vacation and the personal commitments already on the books, I'm going to reserve some "me" time doing things in London that I simply haven't had time to do all summer. Perhaps I will stroll through Primrose Hill park, and have a cappucino at one of the small cafes on King Henry's Road. Maybe I'll visit my old friend Marylebone High Street for a bit of window shopping. Maybe I'll finally treat myself to an afternoon in the Geffyre Museum in Shoreditch! Maybe I'll just go to a part of London I haven't explored and just soak it up.

I have to remember that London is my oyster (and I have my trusty Oystercard!) and that I really need to make the most of it.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Spotted: Patriotic Potato Chips

Part of the Walker's Flavour Cup. Obviously, I had to taste them as part of an ethnographic understanding of the strange English obsession with weirdly flavored potato chips. And guess what: THEY TASTE JUST LIKE A BIG MAC!!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Man Drawer

One of the issues The Irishman and I are facing as we reconcile all of our stuff in a one-bedroom apartment is his insistence that he have a man drawer. Before you think I am a terrible girlfriend and that I am refusing him that right, let me say that I totally accept his need for a place to stash all of his stuff but I didn't understand why it couldn't be a man-box-on-a-shelf, or perhaps a man-sack-hanging-off-a-hook. I was chatting with my boss about my confusion and she highly recommended I check out comedian Michael McIntyre's sketch called Man Drawer. So last night The Irishman and I found it on YouTube and watched, and, well... here it is for you, in all of its enlightening glory:

I get it. He's getting his man drawer.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Spotted: Film al Fresco

Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House, The Strand
Film bill: Team America and A Town Called Panic
July 31, 2010

Some big news that explains my lack of posting...

Hi friends, long time no chatter. I apologize for that, but I think my excuse is pretty good:

I moved in with The Irishman.

[cue squealing]

I've never lived with a partner before (or boyfriend, as one would say in the US), and, while I've no doubt that The Irishman is the loveliest man I've ever met, I like to think of myself as the quintessential SINGLE INDEPENDENT LADY and therefore have no need for a man, let alone to cohabitate with one. I've been having mini panic attacks for the last month. DCKatastrophe gave me a stern talking to a few weeks ago, though, and lovingly sent me her well-worn copy of "The Good Girl's Guide to Living in Sin" so I could prepare myself.

And prepare I did. When I finally made the decision to take the plunge, The Irishman and I saw a few apartments in our price range and winced at how gross they were. We decided to be responsible and I moved into his apartment, a bigger than normal 1-bed flat near Highbury. I was month-to-month at my old flat so I scheduled the move for this past Saturday, 31 July. Arsenal, however, had other plans; Premiership football kicked off on Saturday, and parking regulations meant we wouldn't be able to park infront of the apartment to unload a car or van. So at very short notice, I had to fast-forward my plans and have everything packed and ready to go on Friday night. Nevermind that I had 2 straight 12-hour days at work last week with clients in from out of town. Yeesh. I was super bummed because I had been looking forward to one last Friday night on my own, with my roomies, eating mac-n-cheese from the box on the sofa while drunk after a night at the pub, watching bad tv and laughing.

Again, its not that I objected to moving in with The Irishman, or even didn't want to, but I really grieved for the things I would lose - my freedom being one, and my lovely roommates being another. I was living in a share with a couple and another roomie for a year and they were awesome. We really felt like a little family and somehow our house seemed to absorb everyone into quiet corners so many days we would all be home and I would feel like I was home alone for hours. They put up with my knitting and my parents visits, and I contributed occasional homemade chocolate chip cookies. If you ever wanted to chill out in the garden with some rose, my roommates (at least one of them) were game. Luckily for me, The Irishman's place (sorry, OUR place) is only 10 minutes up the road from my old share, still in leafy Islington, so I can still see them all.

So yeah. The move is done and we spent all weekend trying to find places to put STUFF. You've read it here first people - The Irishman has a lot of shoes. Not as many as me, but a lot more than you'd think! And between us, there are more electronic gadget chargers, extension cords, cables, etc, etc. It's mind-boggling. We only had two minor tiffs during the whole process, which is pretty good overall. We're off to IKEA on Thursday, though, for the requisite flat-pack furniture shopping trip, so expect an update on that tally then. Last night I got a bit stroppy as we both sort of lapsed into our independent-person selves: we spent 2 hours on the sofa watching the same program but absorbed into our own worlds. It sort of hit me that this is it, and its up to us to decide how we want to live – together. Scary. Yet ever so exciting.