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Posts Tagged ‘chores’

Wedding Bells

Less than a week to the big day! I have a lot to do today, call a hair stylist, take my wedding dress to the cleaner, figure out how to get an American appliance to work here on 220V (yes, I know, a converter. still have to make sure I have the right adaptors, too, it was bought in Spain), vacuum the bedroom, make the list of people to send invites to, whether or not they’re actually coming to the wedding, give myself a pedicure (is it too early to do that?) and decide which of the borrowed jewelry I will wear with the dress. Oh, and find a piercing shop to have my old septum ring put back in, unless I decide to have a gold one made.

*phew*

Here are my lovely wedding bell earrings. They even jingle!

I can’t wait to be able to show off the wedding rings our friend made!

We had been pretty bummed because we didn’t think we’d be able to have any family members out here for the wedding, ticket prices being what they are, but last week we got great news: both moms can make it! Not everyone is able to make it out here but for they who can’t there is streaming video hosted by the registry office. Sweet! Both moms arrive on Friday morning, within an hour of each other, at distant airports. So the meet-n-greet will have to take place back at the house, not at an airport or major transport hub since neither of the airports easily link up to the same hub. : ( Guess we’ll all just have to wait a little longer. I kind of fancied a big meeting at King’s Cross, myself.

I suspect this week will be a blur of minutes and hours and preparation and worry over what must get done and then the day will be here and gone and we’ll wonder where it all went!

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Man, the boyfriend has warned me a couple of times that you can’t take for granted that the weather will stay the same here for any length of time. For instance, last Thursday, when it was totally warm when I set out and then became shudder-inducingly cold by the evening, and we still had the ride home from Wests to make. That was awesome. Or yesterday, when a low pressure front sapped my will to live and made me give up on the idea of riding my bike for the day. I was afraid that it would rain partway through my ride and I just didn’t want to deal with that. But did it rain again, even English-style, at any other point in the day? No. Then I was edified by a Jamaican, “You got to be careful here. You’ll have all four seasons in one day here.” I guess from now on I’m forced to bring my messenger bag with me, no matter what else I may actually want to do with my day.

Speaking of that messenger bag, I’m sick of not being a girl! So on Sunday, we were going to do something, oh right, meeting friends and then going to the polo court, and I had finally waxed my legs (yo!) so I put on a dress, capri-length leggings, fluffed my hair, put on eye shadow and two coats of mascara. NO! I didn’t want to take my messenger bag! I wanted to be a girl! I’m sick of grease stains all over my clothes, I’m sick of abrasions from pedals smacking into my shins (two, at present), I’m sick of not looking like a girl because I ride a bike. I have to come up with some way of both being a girl and being a bike girl. Also, I need one of Outlier’s merino wool hoodies (charcoal gray, small) and one of their winter weight hoodies (probably won’t be out again until next Fall). Seriously. If like, five of you didn’t know what to get me for my birthday, now you do. Pre-order, NOW! Their brand of bike-ready/office-ready style really, really gets me going. If I were a boy I’d be all over that site, no questions asked.

We cleaned the room. Hallelujah! *raises hands skyward*

I’m still exhausted but really want to ride my bike today. I love the wind in my hair.

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There are many differences immediately noticeable to expats: accents, stores, music, currency, culture, but there are also things that take a while to be noticed. It took us a little bit to notice not just the cars that are obviously different, we don’t really have Citroën, Renault or Peugeot (somehow mangled as Per-zho by the Francophobic Francophilic British), or the awesome smart cars. Then there are familiar brands, which are all different models, none of the ones you’re used to. And cleaning products provide a different scent to your clothes and your home.

I have also begun to realize that all of the people around me are different – I don’t just mean that I am in Britain and thus am surrounded by British people who have a different accent (! accents!!) but even the minorities are different. Britain has Poles, Asians, and a number of other groups I’m not aware of yet. Asians are from Asia, East-Asians are from further east. It does make more sense and is more culturally aware than saying “Indian” for anyone who looks vaguely like they came from the Indian subcontinent. But they may be from Bagladesh, Pakistan, you get the picture. But I miss Puerto Ricans. I miss Cubans. I miss Mexicans. I don’t know whether it’s just because I am learning Spanish, and thus miss the opportunity to practice, or because these are people with accents that I am familiar with, am comfortable with.

Recently the Best Boyfriend In the World and I watched the entire first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the best thing to happen to me since NARS Tobago lipstick. One of the queens, Nina Flowers, is from Puerto Rico and her accent brought it all home for me. (Ay, loca!) I love Western hemisphere Spanish speakers!! They’re totally different from Spaniards. Not saying they’re better, just different, and that “differentness” goes to the heart of what I’ve been feeling the past four months.

Here’s another thing I realized in the past week – yes, I have friends I can hang out with, yes, I’m having a good time, but I don’t have anyone I can just call up and chitty chat with or whine about something stupid happening in my life. Not just because there isn’t anyone with a schedule as open as mine is now (and was in NYC), but also because cell phone plans are different here. I’ve got a plan that allows me only 200 minutes per month. So I can’t just call someone up and while away the walk to the home improvement store or I won’t have enough minutes to last the month. *grump* I’m used to having 900 minutes a month. ‘Course here you don’t pay for incoming calls or texts, so at least there’s that. But we don’t have a land line yet, despite our roommate saying she’d get it a month ago.

All this adds up to an increasing feeling of isolation. I have to join a group or something, take a class, but I’m not sure I’m allowed to on my tourist visa, and I don’t really have the money to spend on something like that. Good thing spring is here and I can get out and meet chicks who ride bikes. That group is already available but I didn’t want to hang out with them outside while it was freezing cold.

I made cookies, I made biscuits, found a recipe for making pudding from scratch, want to come up with a color to paint the closet(s), and have to poke the boyfriend again about consolidating bike bits. I swear to god, they never end!!

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Earlier this week I complained about meat being left in the kitchen garbage bin overnight, not wanting there to be flies in the apartment, and the boyfriend said, “This is England. There aren’t any flies in England!” In some respects, I almost believed him, there are no snakes, right? (heh…) But what about gnats? I’ve seen plenty of those. And midges? They’ve got to be here. And this isn’t just England, it’s London, and big cities always have flies.

Today I was vindicated, though I’m not happy to have this victory, when I saw a fat fly buzzing its way around the kitchen. There is a small hole in the top pane of our kitchen window, it happened before we got here when a workman unlocked the window and instead of pushing open the bottom one, the top one came crashing down, smashing his fingers in the process (so I hear). Having lived several years in New York City, and being from Florida, I was understandably worried about flying insects coming into the house via this aperture and then completely flummoxed when I realized that none of the windows in the house have screens on them!!!

*blink blink blink*

What will we do in the Spring? It’s been gloriously cool a few times in the past weeks, and I had the windows open happily, but it didn’t occur to me the first time I opened it that we lacked a screen. I must conclude that bugs will not be as great a problem here as in my past.

On a related note, what the heck do I do regarding storm windows? The bay window in our habitacion has two big and two small sash windows blocked by storms. I cannot raise them up, as I was used to doing in NYC, and my landlord has asked that we not remove them as apparently they are wicked difficult to get back in. Does it really not get that hot here? This means we can only have one window open at a time (we can slide one of the big ones over) and I dread the summer.

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I’d heard Madrid was a really late-night city but I hadn’t had too much personal experience with the late hours here until last night. The restaurant across the street is gonna seriously suck come summer, if I’m still here. Various groups of people left its interior and hung around its environs, talking very loudly, from 2:30 a.m. to 5 a.m. when I finally managed to pass out. My sleeplessness couldn’t be completely put down to them, though, The boyfriend gets here today and I’m super excited to see him. I think that was the main problem last night. At least I had bought a book the other day so I could while away the time with that. I’d needed something to read and books are expensive here, so I went for the biggest one I could find, regardless of whether I’ve read it before or not. I haven’t read it in years, so the details are all new to me.

I finally woke up around 10:45 a.m. and turned on the computer to see that the boyfriend’s flight has been delayed, then delayed again and he won’t even leave London until 12:30 p.m. Thank god it’s a super short flight, only about 2 1/2 hours. At least I have time to further neaten the apartment now. On that note, I had another stick of butter but I can’t seem to find it. Where does butter go when your roommate barely eats at home? Oh, there it is, in the butter/cheese drawer. Silly American, putting the butter where it’s supposed to go.

The problem with the boyfriend getting here so late, aside from the poor guy having to figure out how to fritter away 3 hours in the airport, is that we were to go pick up a much smaller desk from a guy. We need this because the room I’m in is so small that fitting two twin sized beds in it is going to be a bit like playing Tetris with the giant desk that’s currently taking up about 1/3 of the space. Back to the drawing board? Maybe I can move it myself. Ha, that’s a joke. Unless I can take it apart without materially weakening it. Whatever happens, we’ll figure it out. Problem solving is a specialty of mine.

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