Posts Tagged ‘england’

Feeling hormonal and with just over two weeks until the wedding, I decided to get a haircut and that, while I was at it, I should change my style radically. WTF was I thinking? I told the girl I didn’t want hair like daggers. I showed her pictures of what I liked, the texture I was looking for, and told her to get rid of my flippy bang thing. It was a bit hard to understand what she was saying sometimes and I was spoiled by a true hair stylist in NYC, so I wanted to cry when she was done. Where was my hair? It’s so short! Oh god, what the hell?

Then I realized that it’s just hair, and my boyfriend still loves me and that I will still look pretty on my wedding day and decided to get over it.


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When I arrived in London I had possession of four bags, two of which contained 89.4 lbs of stuff in them by themselves. Traveling from Heathrow Airport to East Dulwich is no picnic, especially when you’re trying to transport a wheeled duffle bag, a giant camping backpack (bigger than dude-sized as the boyfriend said when he put it on), a little blue wheeled cart, a messenger bag and a cardboard bike box. The bike box wasn’t in oversized luggage and I discovered that it had come in on the flight behind me. This was glorious news! Instead of taking an extremely expensive cab, we were able to take public transportation all the way back home. It was an exhausting trip, especially as he had to wake up at an ungodly hour and I arrived at a slightly less ungodly hour.

The next morning we awoke to a voice mail message saying they’d tried to deliver it at 11:09 p.m. the night before. And thus began a five-day wrangle for my bike box, which also contained an afghan my mother crocheted, an awesome 70s pillow I found in the garage, a flannel duvet cover, four sweaters and various bike-related kit. It finally arrived two nights ago!

Apparently the box rated an inspection, as did the wheeled duffle bag, and I’m missing a present that I brought over for the boyfriend. Coincidence?

We made the popcorn and cranberry garland for the Christmas tree!

I wrapped the tubing, put in dropout spacers, did everything I could think of to protect this bike! And there’s my Mashton bag by Archie’s Grobags.

And aaaaaaall put together! We’ve been riding around in the cold and the rain since we put it together but it’s EFFING cold out and I think I might need more woolen layers before I can expect myself to ride every day. Still, it is so very lovely to be riding my bike again, terrible cold weather or no.

Found this video after hearing the song on BBC6 today.

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Americans will remember the Alka Seltzer commercial where the dude wails that out but in this case, it is not I, in bed at night with heartburn but in the chair, in the afternoon, surprised that I have consumed an entire tub of Kozy Shack chocolate pudding. I have been on a mission to eat as many American delicacies (read that as “junk food”) as possible before I head back to an island nearly entirely devoid of such wonders as the aforementioned pudding, Little Debbie Snacks, decent peanut butter, Moonpies (oh! moonpies! Mom bought me a whole case of them to take back), Steak N Shake’s chocolate shakes, Checkers cheeseburgers, seasoned fries and milkshakes (inferior to those at SnS), Chick-O-Sticks, Miller High Life beer, and various other items. My hit count is pretty high, at present, and I’m sure that other things will spring to mind in the next three weeks.

Yeah! Three weeks left ’til I return to Ol’ Blighty! And then a month until my wedding! OMG, I finally understand why people say that weddings are stressful, but ours is less because of guest list/seating snafus than it is due to having roughly two months to plan it while both participants are out of the country. The boyfriend (neither of us likes the term “fiance/e” but both are happy with husband/wife) is on a 20 day tour with The Raveonettes as backline technician! Apparently this means setting up amps, tuning guitars, and if someone breaks a string on stage, handing them a new guitar and then quickly restringing & tuning the first one. I was really hoping to be back in England by the beginning of next week but who could deny their love the chance to tour with a rock & roll band? They are in Denmark right now. As soon as he begins posting on his tour blog I’ll be sure to add the link to my blogroll. One thing that I think is wicked cool is that some of my friends are going to be at the show in London on the 18th! Crazy, but then they head to Barcelona before finishing on the 20th and heading back to England.

Florida is expecting some crazy weather soon, especially the Tampa Bay region, which is lovely, considering that the temperature is expected to plunge (oh darn) and give me rain through Saturday, the day of my wedding celebration party. At least we have a decent-sized area inside, there may be no need for the screened-in porch to be made use of.

I made totally delirsh stuffed green bell peppers last night, who wants the recipe? Not for vegetarians or vegans.

Alright, time to get hand sewing on a wedding dress. I have a lot to do before 22nd December!

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We were preparing ourselves for an extremely long wait to hear back regarding my fiancee visa – we had been told 4-6 weeks by the visa company and up to 12 weeks by the British Consulate’s web site. WorldBridge informed us, after I sent the application in, that bank statements printed from the internet were unacceptable and the British Consulate’s phone service indicated long wait times for visa due to a “technical fault”. When I sent in the application, on a Friday, I chose Express Mail, and only after paying for the service was I informed that the package would arrive on Saturday, by noon.

Saturday? It can’t arrive on Saturday! It’s a Consulate! No one will be there! Then, when realizing we’d done something wrong (bank statements), I decided that our only hope was for no one at the consulate to pick it up until Wednesday, at which time it would be returned to me. Many tense trackings later, I discovered Tuesday that it had been signed for at noon the day before. Despair. Oh my god, what if the visa person is having a bad day? Will they deny it out right or actually call me and ask me to addend my application with the correct paperwork? A great flurry of anxiety was born, twin columns on either side of the Atlantic until sleep extinguished them.

Wednesday morning, an email! Our application has been approved and the visa issued! What? How can that be? Can we believe it? It seemed a little anticlimactic, considering the froth of fear we had whipped up. But who knows when it will actually be sent to me. It could take days, it could take…no, there’s no way it could possibly take weeks.

Thursday morning, a phone call! UPS has a package that must be signed for, please be available to receive it. Raptures! Could it be my visa? A quick enumeration of various items I have recently ordered shows there to be none which would require a signature or be forthcoming. It must be my visa! Waiting, waiting, waiting, yet another drive to JoAnn’s Fabrics (what seems like the 10th trip in the past week), look up whenever a large vehicle’s engine is heard, cut fabric, mark fabric, sew fabric (wedding dress, you know), and then….

And then! The big brown truck! I fly out of the house and hop around in front of the delivery person. “Is that from Chicago?” “Let’s see, no…Tampa.” “Oh no!” “No, I’m kidding, it’s from the British Consulate? You were just so excited I couldn’t help myself.” “I’M GETTING MARRIED! That’s my visa!” “Ohhh, congratulations!”

Sign, run, rip, out falls paperwork and wonder of wonders, my passport. With my visa inside. It says Marriage/CP. No work or recourse to public funds. Entry Clearance!

I cannot credit how fast it all happened. I hardly believe I have it and must look at it now and again, gazing in wonderment at the slip of embossed paper pasted into the most valuable booklet I now own.

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Hunh…I totally had things I was going to write about but can’t for the life of me remember them. This is what happens when a 19-month old is sick and wakes up over and over again all night and the room you’re sleeping in is totally not sound-proof and you’re suddenly, randomly afraid of the dark again.

It’s been hard for me to write for a while, I’ve been worried about England and now England is over (finito, no more country, poof!) and I’m back in the States and trying to figure out how to start my life over again. I have a potential opportunity to go out to northern California for a few months to make money and check out the area. Last night I was all about this, no questions – it was my best bet and I wasn’t keen on going back to NYC. This morning I wonder if I want to go back to NYC. Another option is Wisconsin, here with G and her family. There’s a sizable bike community (they even play polo) and rent is cheaper and I may even be able to find work relatively simply. I like the slower rhythm, as evinced yesterday by sewing and enjoying the view from the dining room table, through the kitchen, into the backyard, watching the branches on the walnut tree be blown around. But I also worry about the cold and having to have a car and not being able to ride my bike mostly-year-round and if it would be too slow.

I feel like I’m stuck in honey and everything’s warped and I can’t see straight and I can barely move. I need someone to push me in a direction and make me go that way. That someone has to be me. I’m tired of waiting for outside influences to create change in my life. I have to make the change.

Por eso, NorCal for a few months is my best bet. I can make money, adelantar my Spanish, most likely couch surf and/or trade massage for rent, see Northern California (which I have been super-interested in) and either go back to NYC or stay there or go somewhere else! when I have decided.

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On Birthdays

I am about to turn 31, which is a bit of a surprise to me. These past 9 months have kind of felt like I don’t exist. I imagine that when I do finally retain employment, I will grasp the edge of December and the edge of whichever month I am in, gently pull them together, and sew up the portion of my life when I was unemployed. It feels extraordinary, in the original sense of the word, not the thrown-around, overused sense. It is out of the ordinary to be unemployed, to be living, first in one European country, then another (though England is not Europe). It is out of the ordinary to be floating around, doing nothing, for so long.

Last year, when I turned 30, I was happy. I was excited to be entering my 30s, felt like life was just about to really begin. Everything was going to open up and start happening. When I realized that in less than a month I will be 31, I panicked a bit. This time I feel like most people claim to at 29. Compound this with the fact that even though I have just been added to the register and thus am legally allowed to begin applying for Qualified SWer positions it doesn’t mean that any interviews will be forthcoming. Though Britain is desperate for QSWs, I have been out of the field for 7 years and am new to this country and its laws. I am running out of money and it may take months yet to be called for an interview and then takes an average of 1 1/2 months from interview to start of employment.

This is the first year that a birthday means less celebration than cause for worry. I hope this isn’t a trend.

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Last night I had a spill off the bike. A car started encroaching on my lane, looking like he was going to pass me and then stop in front of me, had gone in the bike lane and continuing further into it. I was going downhill, somewhat fast, and slowed down a bit then when it was clear he was continuing into my lane, I accidentally slammed on the brake. Because I was going downhill, and it was a front brake, the back wheel flipped up and I flew over the handlebars, landing on left jaw, shoulder, chest and hand. Got up immediately, had no clue how messed up I was, and ran after the guy and slapped my hand on his passenger window. He rolled down the window and I told him that he was pushing into my lane and just made me flip off my bike. He said, “I was waiting for you.” What, in my lane?

He stuck around, thank god; on my cycling forum we’re all conditioned by so many hit-and-run drivers lately to expect that drivers will just head off. He even brought out a first aid kit. Two other people stopped to help, one ran to a corner store and bought water. I discovered that I was bleeding from the chin when giant drops began falling into my bag when I went to look for something to write the driver’s info down on (and call the boyfriend). We called 999, an ambulance got there in about 10 minutes, they took my bike with us, I went to the hospital, they took xrays, I got my chin glued up, I had to scrub off my own road rash, nothing’s broken, I got a tetanus shot (the last one was likely just before entering college in ’96), I was in and out in about three hours and no one asked me a thing about paying. I’ve been told I may still receive a bill in the mail. We’ll see.

At one point, after the driver kept trying to get out of the blame (it was both of us, he was in my lane, I was going too fast downhill and didn’t employ proper use of the brake), I said to him, “For future reference, even if you are slowing down for me, being in the bike lane makes it so I can’t get around you.” When he brought over the first aid kid he had little tears in his eyes and his face was all red. I was like, “It’s ok, I mean, you know, but.”

No, I wasn’t wearing a helmet. But I have thought over the accident again and because I hit my jaw first, a helmet wouldn’t have helped me at all. In fact, a lot of helmets have stuff sticking off of them that make them worse in a crash, not better. Those retardo-looking Bell helmets that skateboarders wear are actually the best to have in an accident. They received the highest crash-test rating in a comparative study I read last year.

So I’ve bled a bit on clothes that were just sent from the States, and on my tank top (which I will embroider over) but over all I am doing ok. Just tired and sore. Had hydrocodone last night, that was lovely, but it’s ibuprofen today, I don’t need anything more.

Tons of people on the forum have been messaging me today, I missed a great West Drinks night and the boyfriend took a photo and texted it to one of the other guys who waved it around and showed everyone my bloody, taped-up chin. One friend showed up and brought me the chain ring I was supposed to pick up there. Nawrr…

Oh, and the bike is completely ok!

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