Sunday, January 25, 2009

Adjusting to a New Job

I have been a working girl for two weeks now! I feel very fortunate to have a job in this economy but on the mornings when the alarm jolts me awake at 4:45am, I briefly re-consider this whole job thing. Working in a truly local environment has thrown me into British life. I have learned more about the British culture, language, and lifestyle in the last two weeks than I have in the last six months. I am amazed by the lack of customer service (reception will let the phone ring 10-15 times before answering!) and the brashness of dealing with customer complaints/issues. I thought I was getting use to the British accent but try talking on the phone to someone talking a mile a minute!

On another note, Jignesh has also been busy at work the last few weeks. He is slowly transitioning to a more specialized department and his work load has picked up significantly. He actually left this morning for a conference in Budapest! With my new job and somewhat odd hours and his new projects, we are like semis passing one another on the highway. Ummm...maybe it is time for trip.


Monday, January 19, 2009

You Know You Have Lived in London Too Long When...

Although I don't feel like I have lived in London long enough, I thought this was both funny and true and will give you some more interesting tidbits about life in London. Oh, I cannot take the credit for this one as a friend passed it along. Enjoy.

1. You don't even bother looking out of the window when you get up in the morning to check what the day is like. You know it is overcast.

2. You believe that Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday are all good nights for drinking. Sunday day is also entirely reasonable.

3. You can't remember what 'customer service' means.

4. After a big night out you find yourself looking for a Curry house and not a 24 hour McDonalds.

5. You start to accept queuing as a way of life.

6. More than three hours sunlight on summer days seems excessive.

7. You always call soccer 'football' ...and you have a team...and it's not Manchester United.

8. You don't think twice about buying a packaged sandwich.

9. A sunny lunchtime means searching for a patch of grass and stripping off practically down to your underwear.

10. You expect men to actually cut, comb and style their hair (using hair products). And to wear decent clothes. Jeans and a t-shirt are no longer socially acceptable.

11. You think 40 quid for a haircut is quite reasonable.

12. You finish every sentence with "Cheers" or "In'it", and start every conversation with Hiya.

13. You only just realise you have lost your sunglasses - you left them in Greece 2 summers ago.

14. You start thinking English cuisine isn't all that bad after all, I mean, it's hard to beat a full English breakfast.

15. You are on to your 6th umbrella and your second overcoat.

16. You buy a disposable baby BBQ from Argos.

17. You realise your sunscreen is the stuff you originally brought from home with you.

18. A day at the beach means wearing the warmest clothes you own while standing on golf ball-size pebbles and the thought of swimming doesn't even enter your head.

19. You actually say, "Sor'ed" or "it's all gone a bit pear shaped".

20. Wearing a suit in a pub is relatively normal attire.

21. You have given up complaining about the Victorian-like banking services offered in the UK.

22. You have given up explaining why you are half an hour late to work as no-one notices or even cares. In fact - you may even join the one hour gossip session around the coffee machine before booting up your computer.

23. Coming to work with a hangover is entirely accepted and indeed expected at least once a week.


Monday, January 12, 2009


We live in truly unprecedented times! No, not because Barack Obama is our president-elect or even because of the economy, but because Jignesh is finally the author of a blog entry (yes, this one). I hope that you (our loyal audience of 2-3 people) can forgive my utter lack of contribution to this blog effort up until this point, but my excuse…up until this point…has always been that, naturally, Kat has more time to write something while I slave away at the fruits of labor. Well, my pathetic excuse is no longer valid. Today, Kat started her new job!

She will be the new Duty Manager at Highbury Pool & Fitness Centre, a job for which she is obviously well-suited and I’m sure that she will enjoy. Although Kat may tell you otherwise, it was no stroke of dumb luck that put her in a job in this economy within only a couple months of actively starting her search. Dumb luck or pure charm notwithstanding, I think it’s quite an accomplishment to land a nice job like this so quickly in a foreign country and I for one am very proud of her! Although she may have to work some weekends every now and then, we will undoubtedly continue to travel and see as much of Europe as possible during our time here.

Above all else, the best thing about a new job in the UK will be the experience of working and socializing as a local with the Brits. As Kat regularly declares, she is truly becoming more and more integrated into the UK culture and lifestyle, and this job will certainly enhance her experience in an even richer, deeper way than what I am doing. Note that although we came to the UK for my job, ironically enough, I still work with a bunch of Americans. In this regard, Kat seems to be getting more regular exposure to the UK people, culture and lifestyle than I have been…I must admit I’m a bit jealous! No matter though as I still think I have the edge on being able to do a good British accent.

So, here’s to wishing Kat the very best in her new job! And I suppose now that I’ve finally broken down and done a blog entry, I may need to find another excuse for not writing more often. Oh wait a minute, where did Kat put the credit card? I think I need to go shopping!!!


Monday, January 5, 2009

The Holiday that Never Ends has Finally Ended

The holiday season that I thought (and hoped) was never going to end has officially ended. This morning my parents packed their bags and boarded a bus that will take them to a nearby US Air Force Base. From there, they hope to catch a flight to Germany and then after a brief layover another that will deposit them in Charleston where their car is waiting for its return journey to Tennessee. Despite my Mom's accident, their visit was fantastic. I had a great time showing them the city, playing scrabble, and just hanging out. It was very difficult to see them drive away especially not knowing when I am going to see them again. Schlopy even seems a little sad as he has been moping around the flat all afternoon. He is really going to miss those long walks with Grampa!

As I was waving goodbye to my parents, Jignesh was also experiencing the reality of the end to the holiday season. With the office back in full swing, he actually had to leave for work on time to fight all those other grumpy commuters and those quiet, peaceful days in the office are now over. The departure of my parents also marks the end to the endless supply of pastries in the house. I guess all good things must come to end and this great holiday season is no exception.