22 Mar 2010

London Jitters

Posted by PastryPrincess at 20:12
No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth... I'm still very much here and yes, I feel bad! I haven't posted anything in 2 weeks even though there would have been plenty to blog about. Oooyyy. Perhaps I shouldn't have told you about all the great food that's still waiting to be blogged about because now you've expectations and I'd hate to disappoint them... I will eventually get around to post everything I promised, it might just take a wee bit longer than I anticipated.
 That's me going "Oooops!"
 It's just that I was in the mighty grip of jetlag and mighty it was indeed. Lasted for a whole week too, eekk! I was exhausted all the time and wanted to pass out randomly all throughout the days. My boyfriend must have been slightly irritated; he'd come especially to see me for a week and what does his girlfriend do after not having seen him for 5 weeks? Pass out at inconvenient moments, be a bit cranky maybe and generally in ever changing odd moods and perhaps even more crazy than usual. It wasn't me, it was the jetlag!

Not that my boyfriend is totally innocent either...! You know, you've to blame him! I was trying to be a good aule' blogger, had serious intentions of posting and even started to write... about Korea... but then he always distracted me. He wanted to be entertained and as I was already only of limited use I felt I had to make it up to him. Besides the fact that I was obviously happy to have him around because I did miss my ball & chain! ;-)
So when he'd left again I was convinced I'd get cracking but oh no. First my sister needed entertaining because she had felt neglected and then the whole London related moving craziness began. Oh boy. I hate it. I'm a relaxed person and I hate to get all stressed out. Which is exactly what happened eventually when I realized I pretty much hadn't got anything done at all while my bf was around and time was running out. Last minute stuff is usually my thing and while it's totally ok to chuck half your wardrobe into a suitcase half an hour before you've to leave the house to go to Australia, it's a different story when you're more or less moving.

On Friday I decided to get my hair done and I was quite pleased with the results. I'm pretty blonde now and felt like my light had been switched on when I left the salon because I felt so bright and shiney. This feeling was enhanced when my sis and I ran errands in town (or more like tried to) and I put the brightest red lipstick on at the department store. I tried all the colours of the rainbow (did you know purple is in fashion now?) and went for the Hollywood Marilyn Monore-style red lippy. Yeah, it's been fashionable for a long time already but somehow I'm not mad into lipstick and never gave it a try even though I like my make-up. It looked cool I thought. Very flashy. People were staring at me when I walked back to the car or maybe I just hallucinated.
You can make up your own mind because I felt my new look called for some self-portrait photoshoot.

Seems fun so far, right? Well, at that point I didn't know yet British Airways was planning to go on strike and my flight's not confirmed and still in danger of being cancelled. Yikes. Neither did I know basically every hotel in London was gonna be booked out because apparently it's one of the busiest 2 or 3 weekends of the year as there's some exhibition going on and Easter's coming up. 6 million people descending on London, every hotel booked out, me clueless. Thank god a nice man at the hotel I wanted to stay at enlightened me and organized for me to find other accomodation as obviously his was booked out too. Now I'll have to share a bathroom with 2 other rooms...erm...eewwy. Hopefully it will be okay! It's only for a few days until I find a place anyway.

I've decided to rent a flat with one of the girls doing the same course as me. First I was a bit hesitant because I've never actually met her but she seems lovely and like we have a lot in common. It's a good feeling not to have to go through all of this all by myself! Finding a decent and not too expensive apartment in London can be a bit like Mission : Impossible... at least the British Pound is very bad compared to the €uro at the moment which is brilliant for me! I'll be able to do some serious shopping, yeeehaaa! Finally. My Australia budget will be well-spent on Oxford Street.

I searched the internet and found some really nice looking places at reasonable prices. Buttttttt. There's always a but. They could be too good to be true. A scam. Dodgey. Argh. Most people don't reply as quickly as I would like them to and those who do make my alarm bells ring. How would you feel if you received the exact same messages, the very same down to every single typo, from a different e-mail address and under different names for another flat? It's always the same story, some guy with a slightly weird name wanting to rent out his flat because he was relocated to a different city or even abroad because of work. They all want you to be serious about their places before they'd fly out for you to view the apartment. Erm... how serious can my intentions be about a place I've never actually seen yet?!
I did some research and there's so many scmas out there it's scary. I know what to look out for now though and I'd never sign anything without consulting someone else first anyway. Neither would I ever hand over any money if I haven't seen the apartment and until I've signed the (checked!) contract. No, no, no. And you shouldn't either. So many scams! Apparently a common trick is to be told to transfer money to a friend via a bank called Western Union and to show the landlord the recipt to prove you have sufficient funds. Never, ever do that. Western Union is fraudulent and all the scamsters need is the tracking number from the receipt and they've access to all your money.
Scary stuff. Especially because I don't have someone I know with me and my family will be on holidays. The last time I moved, my boyfriend had sorted everything out and all I had to do was give him the rent money and move my stuff into my lovely new apartment. That was nice. He had to deal with everything because I was abroad, viewed all sorts of shit holes and found a great place in the end. I think I never thanked him enough for that. I loved our little place and I miss it. Just like living with him, it was great fun. Soon again, right? Hopefully he'll follow to London later this year...

To up my bad-assness I did a self-defence class with my sister on Saturday. At first we couldn't find the place it was supposed to take place at because we had been given a wrong location. We walked around for half an hour but coincidentally eventually found the gym. We had a really good time and it was good fun. It was only an introduction and we didn't getto do all the stuff I would have liked to learn because there was kids too and obviously there are some things and moves which are inappropriate for children. The guy I practiced the kicks, chops and punches on was a really buff big guy. Which is good I guess because it prepares you well and you've to work harder. I totally went for it so the instructor told me to leave his man in one piece, ah haha! Guess I must have been doing something right.

The class taught me a lot and although many things are kind of obvious reactions to an attack, you wouldn't necessarily think of them. I learned how to get out of many different dangerous situations and although I was only too aware men often have an edge on women strenghth-wise it showed me how to still outdo them. It was an empowering experience and that's probably the main thing. If you feel confident and strong, you give off an don't-mess-with-me attitude and people won't even try. Apparently just fighting back in whatever way and not surrendering leads to 80% of those people not actually becoming victims and averts a calamity. If an attacker realizes you scream, kick and punch they won't even want to try and take things further. Not that I'd ever wish to put my moves to practice! I'd like to learn more though and I'm gonna look for a proper self-defence course in London; I enjoyed it. It's a great outlet for built-up aggression, too! ;)
I'm gonna leave you on a more peaceful note. Spring has come, have you noticed? The weather is milder and I've spotted the first crocuses, daffodils and snowdrops and birds have begun chirping again. It's been a long and hard winter, 4 months of snow and ice! About time spring finally came around the corner. The air has changed and there's this nice, fresh scent which reminds me of Easter and you realize nature isn't dead after all. Hopefully I'll be able to smell this kind of spring air in London too and not just city smells. This is where my adventure begins... wish me good luck!

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