Saturday, April 01, 2006
Thursday, February 16, 2006
The Things I Do For Money :) (cheesy isn't it)
This is an old one that i didn't have a chance to post due to my lack of internet connection. But, for those who don't know or want to hear more this is what i fill my time with.......I can't take it any more. Cafe' Nero is gone, I quit. During my last day of training I received a call from office team, a recruitment agency, which is the nice way of saying temp agency, and they offered me a job with Brent Magistrate. I quietly but whole heartily accepted the position without asking any questions, mostly because I was in the basement of Nero' almost whispering on the phone, but mostly because i couldn't handle one more day in a coffee shop. So I pleasantly finished my training session and immediately called up the Nero that I was being shipped off to and resigned. Brent Magistrate is the courthouse located in the London burrow of Brent. I don't know how it happened but I now have the power to issue warrants, sentence people to prison, and even force people to surrender property (mainly drugs). Yes it sounds like a job that will lead to nothing but fame and glory, but its not. I actually do all of the above, but its just a lot of monotonous paperwork and even more filling. Its a job, an a real one, so i am excited for that. I work a 40 hour week, but the real benefits come with the british work ethic. I get a paid 15 min tea break anytime before lunch. Lunch lasts 45 minutes monday - tuesday and a whole hour on friday. And i get another 15 minute break anytime after lunch up until 4:30 when I leave. Thats not all, i get two weeks paid vacation every four months, and i am at the very bottom of the hierarchical scale. The only real downfall of the job is that i only have access to the internet through the court, which means every e-mail is screened, every web sight i visit is monitored, and the majority of the web can't be viewed because it is blocked. So still no solid internet connection, but i will blog and e-mail when ever i get the chance.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Its the little differences that make a huge difference. Like laundry for example. I took six an a half hours to complete one load, yes just one load of laundry. Naturally the machine was packed full, but packed full means five t-shirts and two pairs of socks. Everything is smaller over here, even the washing machines. I am simply blown away that it takes triple the time to do a quarter of the amount of laundry i would normally do. The "laundry factor" explains a lot of things, like the european "smell factor" Since you can only wash a few items at a time one tends wear the same article of clothing for much longer periods of time. Example: T-shirt- two days, socks- five days (no one sees them and the stench is smothered by a desk or blow away while walking, in the tube you really have to watch out for there is no hiding there) and trousers (pants) two weeks, they take way too long to dry. This brings me to my next point, the drying time. I spent six hours washing clothes in a washer/dryer and dried them twice, however they are nowhere close to being dry. I expect to have a partially clean, ok smelling, but completely dry load of laundry completed in about three days. Amazing!
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Long Time No Blog
Hello! I realize that it has been an extremely long time since my last blog. I have been in London for almost a month now and only blogged once. So I apologize and plan to do it much more regularly from now on. My excuses....one, no internet. Duce's internet is down, so it has become increasingly difficult to sit down and type out a blog, or even e-mails. Two, still relates to the internet. Any time spent in an internet cafe' is spent planning out our weekend travels to exciting and exotic lands. Finally, working. Yes, I finally found a job. I was given a tip to go to Cafe' Nero's head recruitment office early on tuesday morning, at 9:30, before they opened and wait outside the door until open. I was very surprised to find four other people already waiting outside the door. I was the fifth one inside and the second to get invited back for an interview on friday. I had a wonderful week roaming around the city. For the rest of the week I went to the Tate Modern, the British Museum, the Tower Bridge, Parliament (Big Ben), several markets, and on a few more job interviews. On friday morning I was hired, and monday morning I started work. Cafe Nero is a british coffee company that only exists in Great Britain. They currently have 255 stores and are opening a new one every week. I feel like I just joined the military. Day one was the interview. It was officially the first interview I have ever been on, and feel like it was a fairly normal interview. However, the training is completely insane. Altogether there are five days of training, two take place in the corporate office and three are in an actual store. Day one and two felt like boot camp. We were instructed to show up clean shaven, with clean nails (which were checked), black pants, a pair of trainers, and with all necessary identification. I was taken upstairs, issued a uniform, and then guided down a poorly lit hall into what i thought was going to be the end of me, but ended up walking into a room with lovely cafe nero music playing that looked exactly like an actual store accept for the desks scattered around the room and the wipe board on an easel. There were many small differences like on the menu board over the bar, cafe nero propaganda carefully arranged to look like the menu. The posters on the walls carried the same images that you would seen in a cafe, of people smiling, accept these people were dressed in cafe nero uniforms. As soon as I saw that room I was amazed at what I had gotten my self into. I spent the next two days stuffed in a class room board out of my mind, taking quizzed and preparing perfect cappuccinos. Yesterday I completed my first day of in store training. It was a brutally long day that consisted of a person looking over my shoulder and picking at all the tiny things i did wrong. Even though I already have cafe' experience it doesn't seem good enough for cafe nero. Two days to go.
Well There the job, as for where I live....about a minute walk from Paddington station. I share a room partly with a guy from Uruguay and partly with four swedish guys. My room consists of three normal walls, a window, and the fourth wall is a curtain that was taken off of the front window. The girls all work in pubs so they stay up late and sleep in late. So I hear everything that is happening on the other side of the curtain in the living room. Other than the lack of sleep an privacy the flat is great. It is fairly clean, for a bunch of college kids, and is quite large, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, dining room (my room), and living room (the other side of the curtain). Its a funny place, and affordable, so It will have to do. At least I am meeting a lot of international people and having a good time.
Monday, January 02, 2006
AND SO IT BEGINS
Well, I made it. After spending Christmas eve partially with my family and partially with my adopted family (thank you Adam and Kendra), and Christmas day stuffed into a 777 with virtually no open seats, I am finally here in london and it has been a crazy start. I spent the first day running about the city with Duce,trying to see all the sights but only ended up going to Trafalger Square, and Covent Garden because of the insane boxing day crowds.
I know it sounds awesome to all you who are living back in the states, but to us Londoners its every day life. Sorry, just rubbing it in. Anyways, the streets were so packed that it was a struggle to walk anywhere. The second day didn't involve much because of complete exhaustion due to jet lag and absolutely no sleep for over twenty four hours due to the seven hour time change. After my day of adjusting, I slept in yet again, then packed my bags and headed off to Salsbury. The journey out of the city was quite interesting; the train we wanted to take was not running so, we had to make a few confusing changes. Its amazing how different english sounds when spoken by a true english transportation employee. I can barely understand it, but thankfully Duce has had a while to adjust to it. In Salsbury, we saw the wondrous Salisbury Cathedral, which has the tallest spire in england,
and the famous Stonehenge. After a night at the most stereotypical B&B in all of england, run by the funniest old english woman you can imagine, we ventured on to Bath. No, not to take a bath, but to Bath, a charming english town founded by the romans. It has a very european feel, similar to rome. Funny, it was founded by romans and feels like rome. The exciting thing about bath is that, the romans built giant baths heated by the only hot springs found in all of Britain. Our last day took us to Cardiff, Wales, which could possible be my favorite place in all of Europe.
Duce and I both fell in love with it. Cardiff is a city of a little more than 300,000 citizens, located right on the bay. It has a feel very similar to San Francisco, but with a heavy european feel to it. The people are amazing and stick very true to their heritage. There are welsh dragons hanging in the window of every store, and you can even catch glimpses welsh in conversations while walking down the street. Duce and i both love the place so much we considered packing up and moving life to wales, but the design community is pathetic, virtually non existent. So here we are safe and sound back in London, and now it is time for me to settle in. I hope everybody had a happy Christmas (as they say over hear) and a happy new Year.