Friday, January 8, 2010

Oxford ... Like the City, Not the Circus ...

Look at me! I'm really on a roll!

So, my new friend Courtney and I have decided that we're more than BFFN's. We're definately London Besties and we're both pretty stoked about that. Cool factors about Courtney are, aside from her wild and crazy personality that reminds me way too much of myself, are that she had 2 cool chick roomates (well, so I hear ... I've met one, Tracey, and she's pretty rad!) which means by making one friend, I upped my friend count by three. Fabulous! Other cool factor? She lives in Camden. Within walking distance of earlier mentioned favourite dingy nightclubs. AMAZING.

I know I've griped about being poor, but here's the deal. We get paid the week after we work. So I didn't work this week, no paycheck next week. Even if I work every day next week, I don't get paid until the next Friday AFTER that. So, we've gotta be careful and stretch our bucks if ya know whattimean!

But Courtney and I are bored. Uh oh. We talk about it and we decide that we're in need of an adventure but it needs to be cheap. We're a bit bored of the London scene since it's impossible to get anywhere because of the snow so we decide to skip town. Equally dangerous because sometimes you can't get back due to snow, but meh ... We decided to chance it.

We get up early, throw us a text, and decide that, yes indeed, we are heading to Oxford. Not to be confused with Oxford Circus in London, we are heading to the town of Oxford, located about an hour outside of London. Now, I'm not gonna be pretentious and copy and paste a bunch of crap about Oxford in here. If you wanna know more, go cruise Wikipedia. Like I said, I'm not teaching much this week. Haha.

But, obviously Oxford is pretty notoriously known for Oxford University, and some of history's smartest/enter adjective of choice/etc people have walked the city's streets. I've made tentative plans for Oxford with many people but I've never actually made it there. THANK GOD we went!

I was able to get a round trip ticket for less than 15 pounds, which was stellar. Courtney and I being so well organized showed up in the station basically exactly as our train was pulling away from the platform. We didn't fret, found another train leaving in less than 20 minutes, and grabbed a coffee from Costa. Within minutes we were hustling down the platform and hopping onto our train.

We had the pleasure of stopping in two towns on the way ... Slough (Rhymes with brow) and Reading ... pronounced Redding. Crazy Brits. Gotta love 'em. We took pics from the train so we could pretend like we'd been there. We had a blast chatting and drinking our coffees on the train and discovered we had way too much in common to be normal. We're probably going to be mortal enemies in another life.

We pulled into Oxford after only a couple minor delays due to snow, and we were EXCITED! We had decided to do a walking tour because we wanted someone to talk to us about the sights while we got some exercise, and it was cheaper than the bus tour. But, Oxford had other plans for us and decided to snow/sleet the second we exited the train station. Awesome. We went to an information booth that talked us into taking the bus tour but gave us a pretty rad deal on the tickets and totally made it worth it. To save money, Courtney and I had packed lunches and snacks which was a fab idea!

Oxford is BEAUTIFUL! BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL! I totally recommend checking out this city to anyone who comes to England and has the chance to get out of London. There were tons of things to see and do, so much to take photos of and we weren't bored at all throughout the day! (I took about 250 pictures. I'm aware that I have a problem) We didn't go INTO any of the attractions, it was enough for us, on our first trip there, to just wander around them and check them out. Next time, I'd definately like to spend more time in the Castle among other things. We ditched the bus tour, grabbed a map, and headed out on our own by mid afternoon and we did just fine ... we found our way and people were so nice! If they saw us looking at a map they would just stop and ask if we needed help and one nice man started telling us historical tidbits about Oxford that were so funny and interesting!

Once it got dark we realized our boots had soaked right thru from slushy snow and we were FROZEN. We headed back to the train station and got there just in time to watch our train pull away. Again. Damn, we're good! So, we hung in the train station freeeeeeeeeeeeezing and happily jumped our train to warm up on the way home. Except that our train was about as warm as the Columbia Icefields and our teeth chattered all the way home. YES!

We had made plans to meet up with my other new friend, Maria, from Ireland in Camden tonight but we were cold and damp and tired. NOT happening. So, we've made plans for all us chicks to get together and have hangsies at Courtney's place in Camden TOMORROW night. Yay! Definately pumped about the improvement in my social life here ... And I can't wait to get a paycheck again so we can actually ENJOY it! Haha.

Thanks for reading guys! Hope everyone's as happy as I am right now! Missin' everyone back home! xoxo Megs

Pimlico? How Do You Even SAY That?!

Well, well, well ... look at me, writing a blog for a second (well, technically 4th, but I wrote the last 3 in one sitting) time in a month ... and it's only the 8th. Amazing!

I actually have a FEW stories for me. Yay me! Life is good!

So ... this crap about the snow in England ... it's frickin' RAH-DECK-AH-LUSS if you ask me. And any other Canadian living here. We've been warned about snow and how it shuts the city down. K dudes, it hasn't even snowed in like 48 hours, and the city is still in hibernation mode. Almost none of us teachers have worked this week. I HAVE NOT WORKED A DAY THIS WEEK AND I'M LOSING MY MIND! We get up and get ready for work, call in to say we're available at 7am, and ... WAIT. And, NOTHING. At first I kept busy with unpacking, getting my room cleaned and re-organized, doing laundry, etc etc ... Then I caught up on some much needed sleeping and unwinding from my four countries in four days tour. Then I got bored. Really bored. So bored, I started watching Celebrity Big Brother UK. Yet another thing I find frickin' RAH-DECK-AH-LUSS. Like Stephen Baldwin's on this show. And he's REALLY creepy on it. I wanted to give him a chance, I tried to. But like, I don't even NEED to go to church once a week, cos I can watch Stephen Baldwin preach for a frickin' hour EVERY SINGLE MORNING. Amazing. And like Cisco (if that's how you spell it) Like seriously? You had one hit single, called THONG SONG, like ten years ago. You made the phrase "She had dumps like a truck, truck, truck" popular, and when asked what it meant, you had no answer. 'Cos it doesn't mean ANYTHING. I mean, I can whine and complain about these people, and yet ... I can't. Stop. Watching Them. I'm even developing a mini "celeb" (ha) crush on the biggest tool of all time, but only because he's the cutest dude in the house. I can't believe I just admitted that in my blog. I need CBBUK rehab. Sick, bro.

OK, so I think y'all get the point that I'm getting a bit of cabin fever and starting to lose my mind. Especially cos I look outside and see sunshine. Not snow. Here's England's problem. The snow comes, and it comes quickly. Instead of being sensible, England warps high speed into panic mode, sends everyone indoors (after cleaning out every aisle of the grocery store - I'm NOT kidding ... shelves were BARREN) and nearly grinds public transport to a halt. After getting everyone to safety, they do NOT put graders on the road to clear the ice and snow. They do NOT shovel public walkways. Homeowners do NOT shovel their walks. They DO use a LOT of salt and gravel. So, basically, the walk from my house to the tube stop is a treacherous icy hobble full of dips and craters where they've dumped sporadic piles of salt instead of spreading it. I honestly think I could become a millionaire if I sold snow shovels here. Don't steal my idea. The shovels are coming.

There is one thing that is amazingly fascinating about this week, though, which made me really appreciate the neighbourhood we live in. Every time I leave the house, I see families being absolutely ecstatic about spending time together. I've seen people toboganning and making snowmen in the park down the street (hard task, since, like I said, there's really NOT that much snow here!) and families walking hand in hand, just enjoying spending time together ... It's a nice thing to see.

So, as you can tell by my bitter rant (Sorry, sorry) I've gone a bit batty with this snow pandemic. I forgot to mention that on top of the grocery stores being raided, thermal underwear sales went up 1000% (not kidding) and the country is now panicking because it is running out of two very important resources : 1) gas to HEAT OUR HOMES 2) Salt (again, NOT kidding) So yeh, hysteria, everywhere.

In my boredom which is NOW being caused by me going into poverty due to this ridiculously long extention to my Christmas holidays (No paycheck for 3-4 weeks! Hooray!) I decided to go thru the numbers of my mobile phone, as well as my recently added friends on Facebook. And discovered a bit of a treasure ... my new Canadian buddy Courtney!

Courtney and I met at one of my fave dingy underground clubs of Camden (of course!) one night, she was on her way out, I was in the midst of being "wooed" (aka NOT interested) by some grimy boy and she heard me mention Canada, stopped dead in her tracks, and introduced herself. We swapped digits, and that was that. She then found me on Facebook (stalker) and threw me a Friend Request which I warily accepted. (Totally kidding!) And then we never talked to each other again.

Until the other day! And we haven't shut up since! We made plans to head to the Maple Leaf for some Canadian sanity the other day. I got dolled up and plopped myself on a tube and ventured out. After about an HOUR of travelling, I was still only a few stops away from my home base and still VERY far from the pub. And it was BLIZZARDING. I will actually give this snowstorm blizzard status for once. So, I had to call Courtney and cancel. Sad day.

The next day (Yesterday) we were texting and Fbook msg'ing away and decided to head to the Tate Britain. Exciting! Mostly exciting because this is yet another one of the fun FREE things to do in London (which is becoming necessary for the broke teachers of London society. Haha) We wandered the Tate which had some REALLY cool things but we JUST weren't vibing on it so we headed towards the tube ... and wound up in a pub. Which is NOT free but too fun to pass up. Courtney had also brought her roomate Tracey along and she is a pretty rad chick as well. I was super pumped to have made two new amigas to socialize with! Tracey had to peace out, so Courtney and I formed our own walking pub crawl of Pimlico which is a part of London I had never really been to (on purpose) before. Turns out there isn't much to do in Pimlico which is probably the reason for this. It was really cute and quaint tho, and we actually met some legit, born and raised Londoners for quite possibly the first time ever! Amazing! We wound up having SO much fun in old man pubs chatting with locals and scoping out boys who turned out to be gay (WHO knew?! I did! Haha) that it was one of the funnest nights I've ever had in London! I'm gonna write a seperate blog for my adventure to Oxford ... Stay tuned!

xo Megs

Thursday, January 7, 2010

London Calling ...

So here's the deal ... because of snow and ice in Calgary ... my plane was delayed by over an hour. I forgot to mention that my buddy Steve from Regina, who also lives in London now, happened to have an 8 hour layover in Calgary so we got to hang out for a bit. Which was nice! I also met a really nice guy from Calgary in the airport that I hung out with for awhile but who now thinks I'm crazy (I'll discuss this later.)

When I booked my trip to Paris for New Year's Eve, I only had ONE option for my Eurostar Train there, and that was the 10h25 am train to Paris from London. My flight from Canada was due to arrive at 6h50am. I did the math and realized I wouldn't be able to make it home between the two, as I would just have enough time to get to the train station at a decent hour. So, my first class luggage from Canada was just going to have to come with me. AWESOME.

Now, as I mentioned in a previous post, London shuts down at the first sight of snow. I'd been hearing horror stories all week of troubles with the Eurostar because London had gotten more snow over Christmas than it had gotten in YEARS. The city was in a panic and transport was in shambles, apparantly. The Eurostar trains actually stopped in the underground tunnels for hours at a time because of it. So, needless to say, I was a bit nervous about booking a train so close to my flight time, but thought it was worth it to spend NYE in Paris, and got some insurance just in case.

My flight being delayed by almost an hour and a half turned this idea upside-down. I was literally the first person off of my plane and I ran to customs, was the first one thru, and ran to the baggage claim area. My bag was literally the LAST bag to come out. LAST. I ran to the taxi stand and asked how much for a taxi from Gatwick to St Pancras. 100 pounds, apparantly. NO THANKS. I ran to the train station, tried to get a ticket, saw that my train was due to arrive, said screw the ticket (AGAIN!) and ran to the platform. I get to the platform. No train. I ask the TFL guy "Is this the platform to the train to St Pancras?" "No, this is platform 4 ... you need Platform 2!" AHHH! I start running, and see the nice guy from the Calgary airport, he smiles and starts talking to me about the flight ... I barge past him screaming "I'M GOING TO MISS MY F'ING TRAIN!" Haha poor guy. I'm sure he thinks I'm a total psychopath now. Nice thing about London ... I'll probably NEVER see him again. Haha.

I run to the platform and my train is gone. Amazing. BUT, because of all the delays, etc one happens to be only 10 minutes behind it. Okay, good. I get on the train (sans ticket, eek) and watch the clock all the way to St Pancras. With Eurostar you typically have to show up about a half hour early for customs, luggage screening, etc. With their delays, they've been recommending coming up to an hour early. I don't even have my ticket yet, I have to pick it up, get thru customs, get my luggage screened AND get on the train by 10h25. I arrive at St Pancras at 10h05. Not looking good. I run for my ticket, where the concierge guy notices my panic. He tells me who to talk to to get thru quickly and wishes me good luck.

I go flying into the departures area, run past the lineups to wicket 3, explain my situation and they rush me thru to customs. I get thru customs and am getting my luggage screened when the lovely man there decides to start hitting on me AFTER I tell him I need to make my train. His female co-worker scoffs at him and says "She needs to GO ... Talk to her when she gets BACK!" Which I found quite amusing. I run thru, and get on my train at 10h19. Not bad, not bad. I sit next to the sketchiest lady and her kid and have a little nap. I wake up in Paris, ecstatic to actually be there. I've wanted to be in Paris for NYE for years! Becky is waiting for me on the platform, we have a little hug and drag my luggage to her apartment. We get to her apartment and go to take a picture ... no camera. I had my camera on the Eurostar cos I was putting the pics on my computer. I've called the stations (London and Paris) and no one has it. I'm guessing Sketchy Mom of the Year now has a new camera. FML. I'm really glad I had all my pics on my computer, but still ... so mad. Not what I needed! So, needless to say, not a lot of photos were taken in Paris on NYE. Totally and completely GUTTED.

Had a little nap at Becky's, got up, and got ready. We went to a party that cost 20 euros but was all you can drink and was for international students in Paris so it was people from all around the world. We got there at 10h30 and it was a little dull for our liking. We wanted to be at the Eiffel Tower by 12 so we left at 11h30 totally underestimating the crush of people that had the same idea we did. We wound up celebrating the stroke of 12 in an underground metro station with a crowd of thousands of people and a lot of champagne spraying everywhere. It was actually one hell of an experience and pretty fun to see! I'll never have an experience like that again in my life. We packed ourselves onto the next metro and made our way to the Eiffel Tower. I have NEVER seen so many people in my LIFE. It was insane. Not to mention a little dangerous since people were randomly lighting fireworks everywhere, not caring if they hit people.

Becky and I decided to do the London countdown at 1am (London is 1hr behind Paris) and have our own party. So, we made a video of us popping champagne and the Eiffel Tower actually lit up all gorgeous and twinkly again at 1am! It was incredible and totally what I dreamed a NYE in Paris would be! Funniest part of the night was when I misunderstood a French man telling me that he was Marsallais (meaning he was from the city of Marseille), I thought he'd said that his NAME was Marsallais, which I though bizarre, but then again, French people have named their children after 90210 characters in the past, so why not. So he says "Je suis Marsaillais..." and I go "Oh, hi, I'm Meaghan!" to which everyone had a good laugh at my expense. Shining moment for me, that one!

The metro stations were closed so we wandered around FREEZING until we found a random pub to hide in. We stayed there until they wouldn't have us anymore and then Becky and I wound up going back to the international students party where a French man named David professed his love for me repeatedly ... I'm still getting creepy e-mails from that one. Haha. We stayed there until 6am and headed back to Becky's. We were totally sober but having fun so we stayed up all night chatting and wound up ringing in the Saskatchewan AND the Albertan NYE as well. (8am for us. Ew.)

We slept in late, and then headed out on the town again. Becky took me to Oberkampf which is the indie rock mecca of Paris. I loved this neighbourhood and had a blast going to random little pubs all over. They were strange but endearing and I hope to go back one day! We met some boys (of course) and went to their house for a "party" We got there and everyone was asleep. Exciting. We finally made our way home where Bex and I had a massive row and I wound up locked outside. Not so much fun. Things weren't so great after that, and I was definately ready to come home to London.

Got up on Sunday and went to Notre Dame, which I'd seen before but was missing. Took some pics, stood on the centre of Paris. Rumour is if you stand on the centre circle of Paris, you'll come back one day. I wanted to make sure I stood on it this trip because I'm taking a break from Paris and have no immediate plans to go back. I need to adventure to new countries that I haven't visited yet. We're planning a trip to Wales hopefully for the end of January. My amazing friends Guillaume and Mathilde have invited me to Morocco with them next month but I'm gutted because it's during a time that I have to work! :( Bah! Morocco is 1st on my go-to list!!! And we'll hopefully hit up Scotland sometime next month too.

My travels and experiences over Christmas break taught me a lot. I've always known my family means everything to me ... but I definately don't take them for granted anymore. Going away from London has also taught me how much I love this city and how much I belong here. I know I'm supposed to be here and for once in my life I feel like I'm on track and doing what I'm supposed to be doing ... which feels amazing. It's hard being away from those who mean the most but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!!

Well, hopefully I'll have some new adventures to post for you faithful non-commenting readers. This week has been brutal because London has been hit by heavy snow (ha! heavy!) and doesn't know how to cope so it has completely shut down which means kids don't go to school which means I don't go to work. I wish I could say it was fun and I was enjoying these snow days but I really need to get back to work and start making a paycheck again! I haven't worked in 3 weeks and my bank account is getting a sad face on it. Haha. Plus, I tried to make it to the pub last night and I couldn't even get there which was frustrating! I miss my car!

Alright, hope everyone back home is doing well. I miss you and love you all lots and lots! (Well, most of you, anyways. Haha)

Take care,
Megs xoxo

I'll Be Home For Christmas ...

Man oh man, where to start. First off, a shout out to my mum. She's incredible. I said I was okay with not coming home for Christmas, but really, coming home for Christmas was amazing. I can't imagine missing out on watching my sisters and my cousins faces while opening their Christmas gifts. This old softy definately had some tears in her eyes on Christmas morning, because it hit me that I would have missed that experience!

I've heard rumours of what happens when snow hits London but I'd yet to experience it. I was set to fly home from Gatwick Airport on December 16 ... a day also rumoured to have snow. Being the paranoid freak that I am, I decided to leave my house as early as public transport would permit. I stayed up all night packing and ensuring I was prepared for my trip. After 1.5 hours of sleep, I got up at 5am and off I went, out into the dark London cold. (My flight was leaving at 11h55. I'm such a paro.) I caught the first bus to the overground station and realized my stupid Oyster Card (travel pass) had expired. Eff. Being the risk taker that I am, I jumped on the first train to Clapham Junction. At Clapham Junction, due to the construction and my massive suitcase, I could not find a ticket office to buy tickets to Gatwick. Again, I risked fate and jumped on the train. I spent the entire train in paranoia but no ticket checker came. Phew.

I arrived at Gatwick, where the security man asked if I was a fan of the X Factor. To my Canadian and American readers, the X Factor is the UK version of American Idol or Canadian Idol, only on a much, much bigger platform. It's MASSIVE here and the entire country is obsessed with it for its entire run. The contestants can perform as solo acts or groups, they get backup dancers, fireworks on stage, the whole 9 yards. Take Idol Mania and times it by a million and you've got X Factor. Being a teacher, my students talk about it constantly so I started watching to know what they were talking about. And became hooked. SO, on this very day in Gatwick airport, the security man asks me if I like X Factor and I'm like "Well, obviously." It turns out, Stacey and Ollie from X Factor were singing in the airport that day! It made the fact that I had arrived half a day early only to find out my flight was majorly delayed not such a bad thing! Check Facebook for photos and (future) video of these performances! Exciting!

So my flight was delayed and I'm exhausted so I lose my mobile phone about 14 times in the airport so no big deal. I finally get on the plane, say hello, I'm exhausted to the lovely Lithuanian girl beside me, and fall asleep. Lovely Lithuanian girl decided to feel the need to shake me awake violently every 15 minutes to ask me questions about Canada. For example "Are vegetables cheaper in Canada or Lithuania?" I honestly wouldn't know ... I've never been to Lithuania?! Neringa, I wish you'd been with me. Haha. So, I watched some Time Traveller's Wife (NOT as good as the book!) and tried to sleep for the rest of the flight.

My dear papa was at the airport to pick me up which was exciting. I was tired, so we headed for home. We live over 5 hours away from Calgary airport so I was pumped for catch up time with my dad. Poor guy. I made it to Strathmore where I had a delicious Tim Horton's coffee (amazing) and passed right out. I slept for the next 4.5 hours while dad drove through a nice winter storm. Poor dad. We got home and the only person awake was my dog, who seemed thoroughly stoked to see me, as I was equally stoked to see her!

Next morning, I got up EARLY so I could greet my sisters before they headed off to school. They are the best kid sisters ever ... I missed them a lot. We spent loads of time together over the holidays just catching up. I was in Swift Current from the 17th until the 24th. During this time I tried to catch up with life in general, seeing old friends, doing errands, driving the girls to school, etc and trying to spend as much time with my family as I could. Oh, and I watched A LOT of hockey. On Friday the 18th, my Auntie Judy has the entire family out to her farm for a family dinner. Was great to be able to see all my aunts, uncles, and cousins! Thanks, auntie!

I also got to go to Regina for a day so Miss HeidiWood-Up To No Good could give me a much needed haircut. Jenna and Amanda were getting their hair done too, so we basically took over the salon and had a fun hangout. We then all headed to Earl's Restaurant for some dinner, and my cousin Stacey, her boyfriend Jared, and my friend Laura joined us! Was awesome to get to see everyone!

On the 24th, we headed to Medicine Hat to spend Christmas with my Auntie Karen's family. We had an amazing Christmas together, and it was so fun to watch my Auntie's little girls tearing thru their presents! My family had opened most of their presents at home so that we wouldn't have to cart them to Medicine Hat because we were heading on a family trip to the United States on December 26th! Being home for Christmas reminded me of how amazing my family is and how lucky I am to have them in my life! (Shut up, I'm allowed to be cheesy over the holidays!)

On the 26th, we rolled out to Great Falls, Montana. My family goes to the States once or twice a year but I haven't been since our California trip about 5 years ago. It was exciting! On the way down, we drove along the Rocky Mountains ... I love the mountains so I took a thousand pictures of them. Great Falls was fun ... If I weren't living in England, and didn't have an extremely low luggage allowance, I would have done a LOT more shopping!

On the 30th, I had to say good bye to my Auntie Karen's family in the hotel. I held up pretty good until my little cousin Kylie launched herself at me and wrapper her arms around me and said she wished I would stay. Definately bawled after that. We drove up to Taber, Alberta where I had left my car. I had to say good bye to Dad and my littlest sister, Mackenzie there and that was tough as well. Mom, my sister Haley, and I drove on to Calgary where I would fly out the next day. My other sisters Chelsea and Maddison drove to Calgary from Red Deer so they could see me for Christmas. We all had a nice supper together and hung out and chatted. The whole time I was with my family, it never really felt like I had left! Chels and Maddy and I drove to visit our other sister Casie at work so we could have a visit, too, which was really nice. I'm so lucky to have 5 amazing sisters in my life ... they're all incredible!

The next day, I was up early as my uncle had called and said that some flights weren't allowing Carry On luggage anymore! Eeek! I'm so tired of all the Air Terror going on ... It needs to stop! It turned out my flight was fine and I could still take my carry-on onto the plane. (Phew. I needed those extra 5 kilos of weight allowance! haha) We grabbed a quick breakfast by the hotel and my best friend Amanda came for breaky, too. Amanda and I have done everything together ... We've been friends for nearly 10 years, we've gone thru university together, moved to France together, now we're both teachers, and this is the first time we've been so far apart. It sucks, because I miss having my best friend to talk to all the time, but we do the best we can.

I got to the Airport and was excited because I had just booked a trip to PARIS for New Year's Eve! Yay! I thought I would be fine at the airport, but I was wrong. I literally walked up to the check in counter, turned around and looked at my mom and sister, and BURST into tears. I was "that girl" crying in the airport. Ugh. So mom and Haley made a hasty exit and I qeued up. I really like Thomas Cook and their cheap flights home. I really hate their luggage allowance. It wound up being cheaper for me to upgrade to first class than to pay to take my luggage on the plane. Ugh. Whatever. So, first class it was for this girl. At least in 1st class you get free drinks. So I had a nice combo of Atavan and red wine, and a nice little 5 hour nap ensued. Ahhh bliss. I sat next to the NICEST lady on the plane and we had a good chat. After the plane had landed, I turned to her and said "Not a bad landing, eh?" and she smiled and said "I knew we'd be all right ... my husband's the one flying this plane!" Cool!

I think I'll end this blog here as it's become an epic novel, and I'll make my trip to Paris it's own little blog again! Thanks for reading!

xo Megs

I Think It's About Time ...

For a blog post. I'm sorry, kids. I 'm rubbish at this blogging biz. The honest to God truth, however, is the lack of commenting brings me down about the blogging. When there's no comments, I assume no one's reading it, so I stop writing. Then, I get yelled at from 800 people that I haven't written a blog in a month so I break down and write a new one. It's like Facebook, folks. You put it out there for people to read ...

So, let's recap ... I left you all at the beginning of December. A lot has happened since then! I think the main thing is my social life. It's vastly improved and I couldn't be happier. I'm starting to meet a lot of new people and making some new friends, from all over the world. I've been hanging out with my friend Christy, from Calgary, and my new friend Sam, from Toronto a lot. These chicks are wild and crazy and we ALWAYS have a good time when we're out together. We mainly stick to Clapham and Camden, but Sam and I ventured into Hoxton Square, off Old Street one time ... which was fun. We still wound up in Camden that night, though! Haha.

The boy scene is alright ... Anyone who knows me knows that I <3 British boys like WHOA. Always have. The sad part of living in England, is that the novelty of a British accent wears off. Even little British children don't sound angelic and cute anymore. It becomes a mundane every day kind of thing. Average. And I'm not into average. So I've wandered west and discovered my new penchant for the Irish accent. It's easy to find here, haha. I've gone on some dates and discovered that dating is way nicer here ... more fun. Maybe it's just 'cos there's cooler things to do here than hitting the Frontier Bowling Lanes in Speedy Creek, SK, or Tommy G's Karaoke in Lethbridge. Haha. My dates here seem to want to take me to art galleries, exhibits, museums, etc etc. Feels a little classier, and I get to learn things on dates. The inner nerd in me is pleased.

Before Christmas, my flatmates, our friend Kristin, and I headed out on a Santa Clause Pubcrawl with a tour group called Fanatics. Check these guys out on Facebook, they're fantastic! Fanatics seems to be typically a group of Aussie ex-pats living in London, but basically anyone can join in on their adventures. Our pubcrawl was 5 pounds and got us a Santa Hat, a free Snakebite (a venomous drink that tends to annihilate me) and some tour guides with a bell that took us on a walking pubcrawl around London. This pubcrawl was SO much fun, we met some hilarious people and made some amazing new friends. (On Facebook, anyways. Haha) We took a ton of pics (on Facebook) and my roomies made an hilarious video of the events, which I believe can be found on Youtube. Just thinking about the night makes me laugh.

I'm gonna end this blog here, as I'll post about my AMAZING trip home for Christmas in a seperate blog!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Carpe Diem ... Seize The Day!

Last blog of the day ... just a bit about my life in general!

Life is good! I'm so happy here! My crankiness has toned down and I'm just trying to live each day to the fullest! My friend Niki has been a massive help in getting my life sorted here. She suggested I join some clubs or societies to make new friends. It's hard meeting people because I'm gone for work all the time. The only place we meet people is usually the bar, they're usually boys, and they usually don't just want to be our friends. Haha. I signed up for an online community and said that I was looking for FRIENDS because I was new to the city. This hasn't fared too well as I just typically get a bunch of creepers hitting on me and asking me for drinks and various other things. I have, however, made a few new friends here and there so it's good. At least I've usually got somewhere to go and people to hang out with! Awesome!

We go out a lot on the weekends. I'm sure my mum will be thrilled by this news, but seriously. C'mon! I'm a single girl living in London. I go to museums and musicals some weeknights so when the weekend rolls around, we head into town and check out the nightlife. I'm nearing 30 and seriously, when am I gonna have the chance to party in London ever again? I won't. So I'm taking advantage and having fun. I love this city - every night out is a fun one. I've stopped taking the night bus home for the most part, as I had a sketchy experience one night. If I do take it, I take it to the main shopping centre near my house and get a taxi from there. Much safer. Typically, us girls have learned to travel together and stick together so there are a lot of weekend sleep overs.

Things are pretty good with the living situation as well. My roomies are cool chicks and we get along really well. (Check out Crystals' blog for more regular blogs and general witty-ness) I love our house and our neighbourhood - they're really nice. The only problem is the distance. It takes me 1.5 hours at least to get to work, but it sometimes takes 2 hours as I have to take the overground train and they're fairly unreliable ... blah. Now that I've accepted the job, this means that I might have to move somewhere closer for work. I wanted to move closer into the city but I thought I'd do this after Crystal and Marlee headed back to Canada in June. Not sure if I can handle these 5 am wake ups every day. I get home at night, eat supper, pack my lunch, and I'm so tired I head to bed. We'll see what happens tho.

Anways, we're out of "loo roll" so I gotta run to the shop. Hope everyone is doing good. Miss you all lots but I'll be home for Christmas in a week and a half (Holy crap! Time flies!) So I'll hopefully see you then!

xo Megs

PARIS, Je T'aime <3

So, I was fortunate enough to jet off to Paris last weekend and it was fantastic! I took my suitcase to work at the Academy with me last Friday and I headed straight from school to King's Cross Station. It was an absolute gongshow. It took me aeons just to get thru the train station. By the time I'd gotten thru, made a phone call, and ordered a crepe, it was time to get in line! I went thru customs, on to the train, and faced 3 of the most unhappy looking people I've ever seen. C'mon people, we're going to PARIS! Like cheer up! The Eurostar trip was pretty uneventful. Everyone gets so excited about taking the train thru the chunnel. I think it's pretty boring. You're on a train, in a concrete tube, under the English Channel, and your ears won't stop popping. But, it's better than the flying tin can, so ... meh.

I arrived in Paris at about 9h45pm and there was Miss Becky, waiting in front of EVERYONE for me at the Gare du Nord train station. It was so exciting to be in Paris and to see her, and to have someone waiting at the train station - felt very special! Within seconds of walking down the platform, I saw people making out like there was no tomorrow around the station. Welcome to Paris. We went over to Becky's flat which is really close and dropped off my bags and got ourselves ready. I met Becky's flatmate, Claire, who is probably one of the nicest people I have ever met. She's (I think) 25 and a doctor and just ridiculously cool. She and Becky are a good match. We headed over to Pigale and grabbed some drinks with some London girls who were in town for Becky's friends' birthday. I made new friends! Exciting! We had a pretty low key night drinking beers (not classy in Paris) and chatting. It was fun!

I'd forgotten about the intense male attention received in Paris. I really had. Throughout the night, there were a few suggestive comments and winks from the waiter with the really long ponytail (yuck) and a few guys outside, but nothing major. The next morning, we wake up with wine headaches and head to the grocery store. I'm wearing the grubbiest outfit possible, no makeup, and a hat over last night's hair. Within 5 minutes of entering the grocery store, I'm accosted by a male demanding to know my name and if I'd like to go out some time. I pretend not to know French which doesn't deter him at all. I finally break away from him and continue shopping. We get to the beer and wine section, where two men are talking. They both give me the most blatant full-on up and down I've ever gotten and start telling me how gorgeous they think I am, etc etc. I was too out of it to even think of anything witty to throw their way so I just continued on. When we left, the first guy was standing forlornley (sp?) outside and gave a sad little wave my way. C'est la vie. I could get used to this!

That night was Becky and Claire's housewarming party. Wow can these girls throw a party. They had about 30 people crammed into their Parisian studio and we had a blast. There was a lot of alcohol being consumed and a lot of dancing going on. At one point I went outside with Becky and her friend Fahdi and got molested by two strangers in the street. The one kept trying to kiss me and put his hands on me so Fahdi had to get rid of him ... scary! He insisted on giving me his hat and told me he loved me before continuing on his way. I still have his hat. It still has the tag on it. Stolen presents. My favourite.

The next morning we could barely get up. We'd danced the night away, and part of the morning as well, but I had things to see and do! I jumped on Becky to wake her up, but this was a difficult task. Becky is a DEEEEEEP sleeper! We finally got ready and headed out ... we went to Montmartre and saw Sacre Coeur which was incredible ... until the sky opened up and DUMPED on us. Instead of taking the lift, we walked up the 80 billlion stairs only to find everything gated and locked up and we couldn't get around. So, being Becky and Meaghan, we CLIMB A FENCE with big spikes and spires on it in the pouring rain. At one point, I was straddling a 20 inch long steel spike. Things could have ended very very badly, but I only got a little knick in my jeans. Fun times. We took some pics, got too wet, and sought shelter in a gift shop. I got a really cute purple Paris umbrella and off we went. We hit a LOT in a day! Thanks to Becky for her excellent tour guide skills! We went to the Champs Elysees and saw the Arc de Triomphe (my favourite) and some boys breakdancing in the street. We also saw the Moulin Rouge and Pigale (the red light district of Paris) Finally we headed to the Eiffel Tower where I had a few tears in my eyes ... I've seen it dozens of times but it has been 3 years since I saw it and it reminded me of all my great times in France ... I love that country! Was so so happy. After all that, we had to head back to Becky's, grab my bags and jet off to the Gare du Nord for my train ride home. I wasn't able to buy a regular class ticket for the trip home so I had gotten a ticket for one class higher. Wow. For a few extra pounds, this was the life! Big spacious seats, lots of room, free booze and a yummy supper. A girl could get used to that! I also sat next to a tailor who had gone to Paris that morning for a special fitting with a client ... I'm guessing Jeremy the tailor caters to celebs but he kept mum on his clients. Atta boy.

Pulled into town at about 9h45 and went home to bed! A whirlwind trip but it was fantastic! I loved every minute of it! I'll be back, Paris!

xo Megs