Monday, December 10, 2007

Sober Shenannigans

Well you've all heard about my drunken shenannigans and had some good laughs at those.. This time I can honestly tell you that the adventure you are about to read about next is almost alcohol free... I had only had one glass of vodka (which was only 22% based as opposed to the normal 44% I drink) so therefore I was pretty sober.

I was at Kirra and Jade's house and we were going to a club and as we were about to leave I realised I left my ID at my house. Now, we've rarely been asked for ID but at this place we were going to (Fabric) we heard that it's quite common for them to ask for ID. So, me erring on the side of caution decided that we should go back to my house, get my ID and then head out. The girls agreed and I hurried them along as a bus was coming in 10 minutes time (and they only come every half an hour).

As we were walking down their uneven, paved street, I trip.. with a glass bottle in my hand... normally I manage to regain my balance but this time, I did not. So down I go and SMASH goes the bottle... and SPLIT goes my hand. Blood goes everywhere. Kirra and Jade pick me up, by this stage I'm sobbing because I can see the blood. I close my eyes and refuse to open them. The girls try to take me back to their house which is 2 mins away but I refuse because otherwise we'll end up missing the bus back to my house.

We get to the bus station and a man walks past who sees me crying.. he shouts out 'hey love, there's no need to cry'... I hold up my bloody hand and he gives a surprised look before hurrying away. The bus comes and my hand is dripping with blood and I'm scared the driver won't let me on so we try to 'hide' the hand. It works and we get on the bus with me still sobbing until 10 minutes later I'm home.

After we wash, dry and bandage my hand we're ready to go.

Fabric was amazing and it is an awesome club and after a while I completely forgot about my hand. Although the next day I decided it would be wise if I went to the doctors to check for glass. They X-rayed it and there was no glass and thankfully I didn't need stitches.

An eventful night!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Winter Wonderland @ Hyde Park!

I've recently discovered that I quite like ice-skating.. So much so that I've started taking group lessons on a Thursday night (at first they were in preparation for the outdoor ice skating event but they've turned into much more than that). Anyway Jessie, Kirra and I booked tickets to Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland which is an outdoor event run over winter/Christmas.

We were all so excited about ice skating (even though Kirra had never ice-skated before...) and were looking forward to Sunday. So, Sunday arrives and I woke up around 10am because I was having a lie-in. I wake up to the room being drab and gray... normal for a wintery London... but I also woke up to gale force winds and rain thudding against our bedroom window. Not exactly the best start I was hoping to wake up to. I sadly texted Jessie and Kirra (you know, just in case it wasn't raining or windy in their neck of the woods) and prepared myself for the worst... which was skating outdoors in the pouring rain. The outdoor skating rink didn't offer refunds because of the weather.



Anyways, after pottering around a little more the day turned out to be okay. It was still cold and a bit wet but by the time we got to Hyde Park it wasn't raining and as windy. So, we were able to skate around the rink reasonably well. None of us fell over although Kirra wouldn't let go of the rails but we did manage to convince her to go around the rink by holding onto me and Jessie (and at points I thought all 3 of us would tumble but we managed okay).

I loved every second of it and almost wished I did fall down on the ice because that would have been part of the whole experience. Crazy I know!

As for a little note on my room mate - her name is Kelly and she is British. She is a drama student and is absolutely lovely. I'm so happy she has moved in with us. She even bought me an advent calander. How sweet.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Chocolatiers & Pralines!

After spending copious amounts of money on chocolate (most of which is already gone) and having a royal time in Belguim I have decided I am ridiculously broke. But it was money well spent. Belguim is a beautiful country with lots of quaint medieval towns.

I flew in to Brussels but headed straight out to Antwerp where I spent a few hours enjoying the shopping district. Honestly, while it seemed like a nice city, a few hours there and I was ready to leave. I made my way back to the train station and managed to catch a train to Brugge without getting lost. I'd wanted to go to Brugge for ages and it was definitely worth the wait. It was magical due to the Christmas festivities. There were Christmas lights set up everywhere and in the square there were little stalls set up for a Christmas market with an ice skating rink in the middle. I made my way onto there for about 20 minutes before deciding that I didn't want to be run over by a 15 year old who thought that they were brilliant and didn't care that I was slowly crawling around the ice. They zoomed straight past me twice before I'd even made it around once. But it was fun and that's the whole point of experiencing Christmas during winter.

Some people say that Brugge is touristy and fake and yes, there were loads of tourists but it was nice all the same. I would recommend going there, especially at Christmas. The smell of hot chocolate was wafting through the air and while I decided I do not like waffles, you could smell their sweet scent as you walked through the town. There was no McDonalds which I found quite reassuring.



I would have liked to have spent more than a day in Brugge just to soak up the atmosphere. I had the yummiest hot chocolate where they gave me a hot chocolate in a mug, a small jug of mint syrup, a small container of clotted cream and sugar cubes (one brown sugar cube, one white - just in case!) You then added these items to your hot chocolate as you pleased - so it wasn't just a 'standard' hot chocolate, it was personalised. I really enjoyed it. They had 52 flavours of chocolate - hot and cold. I wish I could have tested more.



I went on a canal cruise which almost reminded me of Venice and Amsterdam although Brugge is unique in its scenery. It's so serene. So many people exploring such a small town but there were many times when I was exploring the streets yet I encountered no one. I felt quite safe.

I then successfully made my way to Brussels where I spent the night in a gorgeous hostel called Sleep Well (check out www.hostelworld.com) and woke up the next morning rather refreshed and ready to explore this Gothic style city. I was exhausted by this stage (even though I slept well) and was a bit over wandering around a foreign city. I lugged my backpack with me which got really heavy as I'd bought a bit in Brugge the day before. I decided I didn't want to take a suitcase with me which seemed like a great idea at the time - not so great for my back afterwards. Still it all comes down to an experience! I also got chatted up by a few Belgium boys but they were kinda scary so I stopped their conversations pretty quickly!



Anyway check out the photos! It was a pretty great weekend away if I do say so myself. I loved almost every minute of it (the minutes I didn't love was when I had a cold shower in one of the hostels!)

P.S I can't figure this out - Sweden = Swedish... Australia - Australian... France = French... Italy = Italian so Belgium = ??? and Finland does that = Finnish? Yes, I have a confused mind!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Searching for a room mate

...has been such a painful experience!

We've had...
...people who can't speak English (which isn't a bad thing but it makes discussing the room over the phone extremely difficult)
...people say they want the room then change their minds.
...guys who've rung up when I've stipulated that I don't want to share with a male.
...a girl ring up who spent about 10 minutes asking me all these questions about the room that WERE ON THE FREAKING AD!
...people who we wanted to take the room but they didn't like it!

So, it has been a frustrating experience and not one that I've enjoyed so much. We've now got an English girl who is moving into the room with me. I'm not too sure about her but unfortunately she will pay the rent (hopefully) and can give Kelly her deposit which is pretty much our main concern. I was worried that she might not be the easiest person to share with but as one of my friends told me... if she really is a pain to live with then I can always move out! It's not like I am stuck here with no means of escape!

Also, I'm trying to remember the positive thinking - it could turn out to be extremely fun. She might be an awesome chick and become a good friend. Or at least it will give me another story to take home with me. There is ALWAYS something positive to come out of every experience.

She moves in on the 1st of December so only time will tell how this experience goes. I will keep you all updated I'm sure.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Simone in Sweden

Imagine a light blanket of snow covering luscious green grass while reindeer prance around the beautiful scenery... Well, minus the part about the reindeer, we did see gorgeous snow falling lightly whilst in Sweden. It was wonderful. Cold but wonderful. I had several layers of clothing on yet still felt cold. I always underestimate the weather.

I didn't have any expectations of Sweden to be honest. Kelly and I decided we'd go to Stockholm because the flights were really cheap and we only realised after we'd booked that we didn't actually know where Stockholm was. We discovered it was in Sweden which excited Kelly because she really wanted to meet a Swedish man called Sven (unfortunately we didn't). We'd heard that Stockholm was an amazing city but didn't know why but we set off to discover it for ourselves.

Honestly, I am a bit bored of going just to the capital cities because while the architecture changes and the layout is a bit different ultimately they basically contain all of the same things - same shops, supermarkets, tacky souvineer shops, etc. Still, it was interesting to see that Stockholm is based on 14 small islands. We didn't see all the islands but we went to Gamla Stan which is refered to as Old Town and we thought it was beautiful there.

As we were strolling around Stockholm it was lightly snowing and we found an out door ice-skating rink and went skating in the snow. That was so much fun. A young kid named Emilio befriended us and he followed us around on the ice-skating rink and then threw tiny baby sized snow balls at me when Kelly and I had a snow fight. Absolutely gorgeous kid. I stacked it twice while skating - I think I got a bit optomistic with my speed and landed quite nicely on my bottom but it was fun. I had a massive bruise the next day on both my knees. Ouch.



We went to a bar that night and met some local Swedish boys who were lovely to chat to. I sang a few songs on karaokee which was interesting - no one booed at me so I think I did okay. We went with some guys we met at our hostel and oh my goodness.. you really do need to be careful who you trust. One of the guys was an absolute darling (a show off but nice) and the other guy who was Brazilian was a wanker. Kel and I got ready to leave and he'd decided to stay but changed his mind. I went to the toilet and left Kelly outside with him for a few minutes and when I came outside Kelly looked terrified and the Brazilian dude didn't look happy. Anyway we caught the taxi home and while Kelly and I left him so we could grab a drunken kebab to eat she told me what happened... Apparently when he came outside Kelly said something to him in a sweet voice and he grabbed her by the hair and pulled it hard and yelled something like 'DON'T YOU DARE SPEAK TO ME LIKE THAT' and whatever else so she was freaked out. Some weird people in the world. So, he headed back to the hostel, we went in search of food and on the way we bumped into some guys who asked us if we wanted to 'suck their white nigger cock'.... yeah like I said, interesting! We got our food and started walking back to the hostel when some guy in a white car starts driving slowly beside us and tries talking to us in Swedish. By this stage Kel and I were a bit freaked out by the Brazilian and the cock guys so we bolted towards our hostel (which was a metre away) and locked the door behind us. Next thing we know we hear this tapping on the glass and Kel goes to open the door with me whispering to leave it shut - turns out if was just this guy from the hostel who'd forgotten his code. So my point is travelling independently is fine but you just need to be smart!



We decided that we didn't want to spend another day exploring Stockholm even though we'd barely touched on the city but we both wanted to get out and explore another town. We were recommended this place called Sigtuna which was an hour and a half out of Stockholm and it was the most beautiful little town. Small, local shops with real Swedish people. It was lovely and the landscape was beautiful. It didn't snow that day but there was some on the grass and around so it was very pretty.




Words really can't describe our Swedish experience but I would have to say that this would be one of my favourite trips thus far. It was so nice to take things at our own pace and explore what we wanted. We've become much more independent as travellers and feel comfortable going off the beaten track a little bit more now.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Guy Fawkes Night & Random News!

Yesterday England celebrated Guy Fawkes night with loads of fireworks. Actually, the whole weekend was a series of non-stop fireworks. It was fantastic. We could see some out of our window! I actually went to Battersea Park to see a firework display but it wasn't so crash hot. Although there was a massive bonfire which was great - it reminded me of when I was younger and we used to have council bonfires to get rid of our junk - but they've stopped doing that for health and safety reasons. Funny how it worked so well for years and then all of a sudden it's starting to pose a risk... I don't get it but then again I'm not the one in charge.



As for the "random news" I have finally offically quit the job that I didn't like and go back to being just an ordinary supply which I am sure I will complain about at some point but for now I am extremely happy! I at least get to wake up and it's a surprise as to where I'll end up. I love it.

Kelly is moving out in December so we're on the hunt for a new room mate for me... So far we had a Ukranian guy who told us that he liked the house although we need to clean more and he chewed his gum like an absolute nutter. Plus I don't want to share with a guy! The next girl was a Saffa and a teacher, she seemed ok. There was a French student who seemed lovely and I'd like her to move in but we've got an Aussie coming tomorrow so we'll see what she's like and then see whether we need to re-advertise. It's actually quite fun!

I've organised my side of the room a bit better so it sort of feels a bit more homey - well, as much as it can get in a room share. I've decided I'm not a huge fan because the room is quite small although it is cheap and the house is amazing. And I think I'm starting to warm up to the house mates a little bit more now. The one I don't get along with so well is moving out which is good for me.

I looked at my budget and realised that I might be a bit screwed for money especially if I want to go to Canada. So, I think in January I will look at getting a second job working in a bar or something and working flat out for a while to save some extra cash. It's crazy but there is so much I want to do and there is no way I will let money stop me. It just means I'll have to be even more careful with what I do with it. I was meant to go to Scotland with a group of friends but now I'm not so sure I really want to go just because Scotland isn't one of my major must see countries so if I don't go then I'll save loads of money. But who knows what will end up happening anyway. Hopefully my UK tax is enormous and then I will have a decent chunk of money for Canada.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Stratford-Upon-Avon & Oxford

It's been almost 9 months since I first set foot on British soil and I feel like I've spent most of that time getting pissed on the weekends and not really making the most of what Britain has to offer. So, I've begun to organise day trips out of London to all of the places that I'd like to see before I go home.

The weekend just gone I'd booked a day trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon and Oxford and it was amazing. Not only did we get decent weather (it was cold but didn't rain) but both places were beautiful. Stratford-Upon-Avon is where Shakespeare was born and raised so I got to see his house before exploring the town of Stratford.

Oxford is the city but there actually isn't a university called Oxford... There are approximately 39 different universities within Oxford which is why people refer to it as 'Oxford University'. Another bit of history for you as to why Oxford is called Oxford... Apparently there was this ox crossing which they called ox ford and people started refering to it as 'are you going past the ox ford' and it just ended up as one word. Not entirely sure about that though but it would make sense.

I would loved to have spent more time in Oxford because it is huge. I went to Christ Church which is where the Harry Potter dining hall is and the actual college is the most famous in Oxford. I also climbed a church tower to get a view of Oxford and it was great because I got to see an ariel view of the city with the colleges surrounding me. Apparently it is called the city of spires because of how many spires the city has - and after seeing the view from the church I can understand that.

I don't feel like this entry has made a lot of sense but hopefully the photos will get more across to you..
Enjoy!









Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Brick Lane

Brick Lane is in East London and it is renound for its amazing curry restaurants where you can haggle to get the best deal because there are just so many restaurants. Most restaurants offer you a free round of drinks and 30% off the bill - although the prices are marked up to represent the 30% 'discount' they offer you. So, to get a good deal you haggle. Well, I went with a group of my girlfriends and we walked up and down trying to bargain the best deal out of the men at the door. We were offered two bottles of wine and a discount, a bottle of Baileys and a discount, we were offerered three bottles of wine and a discount but the restaurant didn't look very nice so we declined. We ended up at this really nice restaurant and got three bottles of wine included and 30% off the bill. I got the nicest mango chicken curry. Our bill ended up being something like £40 for 5 people which is so cheap for such a good meal considering we got naan bread as well. We were stoked. I would love to go back to Brick Lane and get more curry and try some other restaurants.

I am on mid-term break now so I haven't been doing alot. Today I went and roamed the streets of London just because I can. I ended up buying a pair of shoes which are really not practical for the upcoming winter months but so cheap and so gorgeous! I also bought a pair of Wellies at Camden market on Saturday because when the weather starts getting cold here and rains my feet won't get wet cos I have Wellies! Yay!

p.s thanks to the person who informed me that Brick Lane is in East London and not North London! :)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Work, Fights & Travel Plans!

Oh man, what a crazy week so far! I've never screamed so much in my life as I have in these past 6 weeks! I never knew my voice could get so loud - yet these kids think it is hilarious and they just don't care. Because they have such an 'I don't care' attitude to learning and school, I seem to slip into that routine as well. It doesn't help that I have 3 different classes a day at one of the lowest schools in London. It is tough and I really hate it. I've discovered that I really don't think teaching is for me. I didn't mind it so much back home as I had my own class and even supplying was ok when you had your own class for the whole day but I underestimated how tiring it could be by having 3 different classes a day. It doesn't even seem to matter that I have the same classes the same time each week because they are still little horrors. I've never encountered a school with so many terrors before! Seriously, in each CLASS there are the same amount of trouble makers you would expect in a small school. Every class has AT LEAST four extremely challenging behaviour children. There are nice kids too but they are overshadowed by the horrible ones. I feel so nasty saying that but it really does stress me out!

Luckily, next week is mid-term break which means I get a week (unpaid) off! I am planning to go and see a musical, go on the London Eye, wander down Oxford Street (for the millionth time) and do some window shopping and check out some more museums. May as well make the most of my time in London.

On Saturday, Kelly and I went out to the Reddie (Australian bar/dance club, think cheesy but loads of fun!) and we were pretty pissed before we even left home, although we thought we were fine even though we'd polished off a bottle of wine and who knows what else in a couple of hours. Anyway we got to the Reddie and were having fun dancing and giving each other random dares when Kelly decided she needed to go outside to have a smoke - but they wouldn't let us back in. So, we decided to call it a night and go home. We stopped off at a chicken shop to get chips and a chicken burger (although we took about 10 minutes to place our order as I kept insisting I wanted a cheeseburger when they didn't have it on the menu!) and then headed to the bus stop. Got to the bus stop and saw our bus drive past just as we got there - bummer. We waited around and decided to walk to the next bus stop but we missed the next bus because we walked past the bus stop. Kelly got angry at the situation and took it out on me so I stormed off on her and decided to walk home. By this stage it was 3.30am and I was wearing high heels. Both of us were too stubborn so I walked home (sobbing the whole way, hehe) while Kelly caught the bus. Funnily enough I got home 10 minutes after Kelly even though I walked. I had to call Trudy though because I got lost walking home and needed her help to suss out where I was and direct me as to which way to go. A funny night!

I've been good and went to the gym twice this week so far and I walked home from work today because I hate the 272 bus - it's always late or not running or I just miss it and have to wait half an hour for the next bus - so I walked and it only took me 45 minutes. Too bad this is the school I want to quit working for.

No other news really. I'm looking forward to Stockholm with Kelly in November and also Brussles. Then, it is America for Christmas with mum which I'm really excited about. Paris for New Years with Kirra and then I will do Scotland with a group of us in February and then home in April and hopefully a massive two months of traveling in August and September and then either back to London to do a bit more supplying or I will head home for a few months and then trek on to Canada and work in the snow fields for a few months before heading home for good! So that's it guys, a basic summary of what my plans are. Either way I'm definitely going to be in London for a few more months after April!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

More Money Woes!

I feel the need to whinge even though it will change absolutely nothing. It is funny how I am coping so well on my own, living out of home and not being dependant on anyone but myself - except, money can be a bitch when you're getting paid for every day you work without sick leave and holiday pay!

I was trying to work out my budget today but gave up because I came to the realisation that I'm going to be stone broke basically for the remainder of my stay in London. It doesn't help that I'm going to Stockholm in a few weeks with Kelly and then Brussles a week later - that means, hostel accommodation, food, sightseeing, etc. Which is fantastic cos I want to travel but bad for the money side of things because it means I have to scrounge around and not spend money so I can pay my rent while I am away and not working!

It's tough but I am managing - trying hard not to use Aussie funds too. My main concern is going to America for Christmas. I'm exciting to be spending Christmas with my mum and Bob (and her gorgeous dogs and Mozart the cat) but it's going to be hell for my finances. Argh! It's a pain because it's 3 weeks where I'm effectively paying dead money. It comes back down to the thought where I think should I move into a hostel and find a new place to live, should I try to rent out my room, should I just deal with it! And I can't figure it out. More so, I can't figure out which choice will be the best choice to make - I hate making decisions in case I make the wrong one. I'd prefer someone to TELL me what to do and do it but unfortunately, life doesn't work that way. So, I'm stuck with a whinging blog entry and I will just hope for the best with my finances. I've already decided that my credit card is now for emergencies only and buying a new top does not count! I seem to forget about things like my gym membership and phonebill though which is always unexpected money although it comes out every month - you think I'd know by now!

My plan is to save and save and save and then do a massive travel over the British summer and see as much as I can though it will barely cover what I want to see but can't have everything I've come to decide!

I hope you're all well and April isn't that far off - which, after complaining about money, isn't such a good thing although I'm excited to see you all! Massive drinking session for sure!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Horse Riding in Wales


I love how easy it is to travel while living in London, nevermind the fact that it isn't as cheap and easy as everyone would like to think! I just got back from a horse-riding weekend in Wales. I've been to Wales before and went to Cardiff and did some sightseeing but this time it was a pure relaxation weekend with lots of good food (Tony, our host, was a chef for 23 years before he did Bush Wakkers!) Actually, the food was beyond amazing! Yum!

Horse riding was good, we got a really nice day for it with a bit of sunshine and no rain! Perfect. We set off into the Becon National Park and went horse riding all day. I managed to stay on my horse without falling off although I had trouble getting up onto the poor horse. I felt terrible as I grabbed poor Roody's maine and tore at it with my life as my legs flailed around the stirrups until I finally managed to yank myself up onto his back. I must have looked hysterical!

Back in London again and stuck in a job I hate which I think I might quit 'cos it sucks that much! I'll keep you updated.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Simone and Kelly's Malteser Eating Competition!

I'm not exactly sure how this started but somehow Kelly and I got talking about who could eat the most Maltesers... Of course, I bet that I could win but she was adamant that she'd win... so we declared a war...

Down to the shops I went to buy 5 bags of Maltesers... I came back and we started counting out our Maltesers... We had 84 in our bowl each... the point of the competition was to see who could eat the most within 30 seconds...

So, we started the timer and within 5 seconds we were laughing so hard that we could barely swallow what was in our mouth, let alone add more Maltesers! We finished that run and ended up doing two 30 second intervals which I won.. we then went on to do a full minute where Kelly came first but I was the overall Malteser eating champion..

We were laughing so hard and to see us you would think that we were absolutely nuts! Two of our flat mates were watching us and thought it was hilarious!

Afterwards, I felt SO sick (Kelly felt fine!) and I was in the toilet for half an hour vomiting up Maltesers and the rest of my dinner... it wasn't a pretty sight! But it was worth it for the joy that it brought us...

Crazy - yes, but then again, didn't you always know it!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Simone Update!

I feel like writing a random entry which may or may not be due to the fact that I'm on a sugar high and can't switch off! Trudy invited me to this church event - an evening with Bear Grylls, the man who broke his back and then went on to recover and climb Mount Everest at 23. It was a really good evening and he was really interesting to listen to. On the way out they were handing out chocolate brownies (I was greedy and had two!) and I think the sugar kicked in because on the train ride home I was prancing around like an idiot.

I have been good, I went to the gym today to combat the Heathrow Injection and when I was there I spontaneously decided that I would take up personal training again (mainly because the personal trainer I was talking to was HOT). Actually, no that's not the real reason. I've barely trained for the past two months because in August I spent a lot of time traveling (ahh it's a hard life) and when I got back I was really sick for a good 3 weeks with a few spots of recovery in between. So, I kind of thought that perhaps personal training might kick start me back into good health because I certainly need it.

I've been meaning to take photos of my new house and post them up but I've been quite lazy and I'm waiting for the cleaner to come so that the house is nice when I take photos but she hasn't been for a while. Kelly and I usually keep our room quite messy so I've got to wait until Kelly cleans her side of the room.. pfft. Our room isn't dirty it's just that it is a bit ... well, it's easy to chuck stuff on the floor cos sometimes what happens is I come home late when Kelly is already asleep and I don't want to wake her by opening the wardrobe and making noise so I toss my things in a corner.. she does the same and it just ends up staying there for a while until one of us decides to clean (usually Kelly) and then we both end up tidying the room! It works for us and we're happy (and both straight!)

London has been really great lately and I've been really happy. So happy that the thought of coming home in April kind of scares me, not because I don't want to come home for a visit but because I don't want to get back to London to find that things have changed since I've been gone.

Oh, after hearing Bear Grylls speak tonight I have decided that I want to travel around South America so that may be a plan for sometime next year. I either want to stay in London and get sponsored or I want to get a Canadian VISA and work at a ski resort in a resturant/bar or something and find a hot ski instructor to teach me how to ski. Trudy is thinking of doing this and I may just decide to do it with her. But, as I've always said, I just don't know what is going to happen and I can't say for sure. It's a year away yet and I can't foresee that far in advance. Also I would love to do a volunteer project in Cambodia or some 3rd world country - there is just so much I would love to do. At this rate I'll never be home.

My travel plans for next year (aside from Aus) hopefully include: Spain, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Morrocco, Croatia, Greece (again because I loved it soo much) and then maybe a month in South America. Then I want to try and do a volunteer project and then either come back to the UK which will be hard cos if I want to travel that much I will need to be back in time for school to start in September otherwise I will go to Canada and work there for a few months, travel a bit of the US, visit mum and travel Canada. But, these are just thoughts not concrete ideas!

Last thing - I'm booking my trip home on the weekend and I am going to be back around the 7th of April til about the 4th of May (but I may be in Thailand for the last week!) so keep some time free for me. Don't go planning any holidays cos I'm coming home to see you all - even though I may not have kept in massive contact with you all I think about you guys heaps and miss all of you more than you know.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

John Butler Trio @ Brixton Academy


When one comes to London there are certain things you simply must do before while you are here. One of these things is to go to a gig at the Brixton Academy. You just haven't gone to a concert unless you've been there. So when Jade mentioned that a few of our friends were going to see John Butler Trio @ Brixton Academy I had to say yes - even though I'd never really listened to John Butler Trio before (apart from Funky Tonight).

It was such an ordeal to get there though. I finished work at 3.15pm and was at the bus stop by 3.45 and I waited over an hour for my bus to arrive (I could have walked home, it would have taken an hour but I had the most uncomfortable shoes on so decided against that). I called the bus company who said the bus would be there shortly - which it was but such a pain. An hour!

So, by the time I get on the bus it's peak hour which means an extremely S L O W drive home. By the time I got home it was 5.30p and I had to meet the rest of my friends at the tube station at 6... turns out they were late so I had an extra 15 minutes - excellent.

We eventually made it to Brixton, stood in a massive queue to collect our tickets and made our way inside the venue. Sandra and I played a game of who can spot the most dreads before John Butler started! Sandra won 10-2.

It was an awesome night and they performed really well. I was really impressed and have since decided to download more of their stuff. A late night which meant a grumpy Simone for work today but it was well worth it.

As for work - oh - what can I say! I don't think I've ever wanted to cry in front of a class before this week. They have been so challenging and frustrating this week. I yell at them and get no response. Normally you can yell and you get at least a shocked look from the kids because they don't expect it - these kids have no reaction. I try to reason with them but they're consistently talking, calling out, fiddling with pencils that you can't hold their attention. I turn around to tell one kid off whose being a dick head only to turn around and find a pencil flying past my face and a bunch of giggling boys who think it's hilarious. It drives me insane.

I was also told by the head teacher that since I am planning some classes and taking specific subjects that I am going to have to keep assessments and write subject reports for those classes. This is exactly what I came to London to avoid. So, I rang my agency and told them this, I basically requested a pay-rise but even so I'm not sure I want to continue working in such a stressful environment for the next year. The agency said that they'd talk to the school to see what they say about a pay-rise and I basically told them that if I didn't get one then I wouldn't go back. I can get the same amount of money with less work doing supply. I'd rather do that. Decisions!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Being sick in London

I had the horrible ordeal of being sick in London but before I begin this story, let me take you back to the day where I decided to register with a doctor in Putney... I thought that before I got sick in London I'd register with a GP so that when in times of crisis I'd have help at hand... Well.. It took me a week before the doctors surgery even had time to regsiter me on their system and making an appointment was even more tiresome than getting registered. It turns out, in London, if you are going to be sick you need to know in advance and inform the doctors surgery at least 3 (preferable 4-5) days in advance so that they can see if they have a slot available for you to fit into... And then they only spend 5 minutes with you before shuffling you out to see the next 'patient'.

After an enjoyable 2 weeks in the Greek Islands I came back to London and got straight back into the routine of work... Only to then discover that one of the snotty nosed little shits that I teach had given me some disgusting illness which made me feel like I was going to die. I was in pain - I had a runny nose, an annoying dry cough, sinus issues, headaches which would not disappear even after taking 6 panadols, sore throat, loss of voice (no cheering!), earaches, sore jaw and I'm probably sure there were more symptoms which I've forgotten about.

So, after 10 days of suffering and taking several days off work I decided that I should go to the doctor. Anyways, I knew it would take ages to get an appointment if I went to my normal GP so I decided to go to a walk-in centre. I wander in around lunch-time and find a whole heap of people waiting and after hearing horror stories of people waiting 4 hours for an appointment I was a bit stressed.. Luckily I only had to wait an hour for my appointment and got shuffled in to see the nurse who told me that 'oh it looks like your problem requires you to see a doctor'... I wasn't sure what to say... I had so many thoughts running through my head mainly 'what the heck, isn't this a doctors clinic' but apparently you see a nurse who decides if you need to see a doctor and because I did I needed to get an appointment which they couldn't give me until 7pm that night! Frustrating times! Still, I was sick, I needed to get medication so I went home frustrated and came back at 7pm and got my antibiotics (which apparently you're not allowed to drink alcohol at the same time as taking them... Saturday night will be messy as a friend is having a house party!)

Anyways, it was such an interesting experience at the walk-in centre. Some of the people who came in were crazy. One guy came in with his eye pouring with blood and he pushed in front of the line to get to reception.. and one of the ladies in line had a go at him because of the fact that he pushed in even though his eye was pouring blood. He yelled at her and told her that his condition was more serious and she got really narky.

Later in the evening, a lady was in the waiting room drinking BEER and it appeared as though she'd wet herself. Hmm... and then, there was the woman who came in demanding to see a doctor because she was disorientated and was thinking about committing suicide and could she call her neighbor to look after her birds while she admitted herself to hospital! All at Charing Cross Hospital! Excellent stuff. I love the stories you get from living in London!

Anyways it's bed time for me, hopefully no more coughing fits during the night and antibiotics kick in and get rid of this chest infection/sinus congestion!!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Photos from Greece


Beautiful sunset

Me in Santorini
View in Santorini

Perissa Beach *with the black sand*

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Acropolis Now

I can't believe I was so stupid as to think the movie was called Acropolis Now. I mentioned this to a girl I'd met at the hotel who took a few minutes before realising I was serious and then laughed and pointed out my error - whoops.

Basically, I've done my bit of sightseeing in Athens which did include the Acropolis and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Both of which are basically ancient ruins which were cool to visit but not like I haven't seen ancient ruins before. That sounds really ungrateful of the opportunity to travel and see new things, doesn't it?

Yesterday was an awesome day in Athens. Our ferry got in around late afternoon and I spent the afternoon exploring. I went to the Temple of Olympian Zeus and then I wandered down the main shopping street - Ermou - and haggled to get a 35 Euro bag for 20 Euro! That works out to 14 pounds which for a fake Prada handbag is a reasonable price to pay. Especially in half the shops in London you'd be paying at least 15 pounds for a shitty bag (unless you go to Primark but the bags there aren't that great).

I have found the Greek to be sleazy and rude! Over the course of the holiday I have obviously bought many things and have found the Greeks to be ungrateful to their tourist populatiom. They will be talking to another Greek person and ignore you until they are ready to serve you - which is normally not until their c onversation is over and I get the impression that half the time they continue the conversation on for as long as they possibly can just to annoy you. Makes me angry because without the tourists, especially on the islands, they wouldn't make much profit. In Athens the service isn't so bad but they are quite short with you.. I asked for a water once and smiled at the person serving me and they glared at me as though I had a disease and stormed off, returning with the water several minutes later as though it was a chore for them to get - yet they WORK at a restuarant! I don't get it.

As for the sleazy part, well... I decided that after I tacked the Acropolis today I would head down to the park with my book and read. I sat myself down on the grass and started reading only to have this old guy walk past me saying hello. I chose not to answer him because foreign country, weirdos, etc and I just couldn't be bothered with chit chat (although had it been a hot, young guy the story might have been different). Anyways, more old men walked past staring at me in a creepy way which made me think they'd been let out of the institution for the day. Seriously creepy. I looked down to make sure I was fully dressed (I was) so they had no reason to be staring except for the fact that they were old sleaze bags. Ew.

One thing about Athens, even the islands, that makes me sad is the stray dogs. There are so many dogs that just roam the street which don't have real homes to go to. Apparently the government is aware of the situation and collars them and feeds them but still it makes me sad to think that these dogs don't have a real home of their own to go to.

I had so much to write about Greece and Athens but now that it's come time to write in my blog I seem to be struggling!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ios

Ah well this is my last day on Ios. To be honest, I've had a great time and am not sad that I'm leaving - just for the pure fact that traveling on sunny, Greek Islands alone really does suck.

I've been doing a bit of thinking while lazing about in the sun.. I'm not sure I want to stay in London for much longer. Not because I don't like London but more because I want to do some more study and get a new job and I feel the longer I keep putting my life on hold the longer it will take me to study and then it will be harder to climb the job ranks as I get older. I don't want to earn shit money when I am 30 just because I've left my career choices too late. So, after I come home for Easter next year I will finish working in London until August and then probably head back home. But then again my decisions are always a bit indecisive so who knows what will end up happening. That's my theory for now anyway. I wish someone could make the decisions for me!

As for Ios, it's been ok. It's the 'party' island which isn't much of a party when you're traveling alone so I've been reading alot and spending heaps of time at the beach. Got a decent tan now but it will fade within a week of getting back to London. Ios has reminded me of why I don't want to go home though - flies and mozzies galore. I think I've been bitten about 15 times in 4 days and the mozzie bites here are huge, red welts that take days to go down. Not fun, I've been itching like crazy!

The computer I am using is driving me crazy. Crappy mouse that won't move where I want it to and a shit keyboard that I have to pound in order to get the letters I want! Ugh! Time to go I think!

I'm missing you all heaps and am really looking forward to April! I may even extend my trip for longer but we'll see how I go with work.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Summer Sun in Santorini!

Ahh, gotta love alliteration! So cheesy but I love it.

If you haven't already guessed, I am in Santorini! It is the best island so far because there is a bit of everything here. There is an awesome shopping area where you can find almost anything you want - jewelry, ceramics, hand blown glass, clothes, etc. Of course, I couldn't help myself and I went shopping and bought a fantastic blue glass heart shaped necklace - which I ended up breaking after I opened my suitcase, forgetting it was on the top of some clothes, and shattered the bottom part of the heart. I was upset but got over it once I went back into town and found an even nicer heart in pink, plus a silver butterfly necklace with mother of pearl wings. Retail therapy really does work!

I also found a man who did Henna tattoos so I now have a butterfly on my ankle which I love immensely. I think I'm going to get a real one when I get back to London. Just a small butterfly on the same spot on my ankle.

On our first night here, our tour guide took us out for dinner and then we went to this cocktail bar where we could get 2 cocktails for 7 Euros. Well, all I need to say was that I probably had a bit too much to drink without realising (the drinks were so sweet and so cheap that I didn't realise until much later how drunk I really was) and apparently one of the guys on my tour gave me his camera... which apparently I dropped and broke. I texted people to see what they thought I should do but I concluded that if it were my camera, I'd be pissed off and figured that until his insurance came through the least I could do was offer 100 Euros. Turns out, he had other ideas. The next day he came up to me and pushed a receipt for 200 Euros in my face - quite rudely actually. I told him I'd give him 100 Euros because I didn't have any more money. He replied with 'well there's an ATM down the road'. I told him he could either take what I was offering or leave it. He took it. I was angry at myself that I'd done something so stupid but at the same time, shit happens. Luckily it only cost me 100. One of the people who joined our tour a few nights later did something even more stupid which cost him a LOT more than 100 Euros!

and this story goes as follows...

We went out for dinner as a group and everyone went out afterwards, except me. I went to bed early that night because I wasn't feeling too good. Anyways, the rest of my room mates trickled in at different times throughout the night until the last guy trickled in at 4.40am... with a girl who did not belong in our room! Alarm bells began ringing in my head - I knew what that meant - and it wasn't a pretty thought. Anyway as it turned out the other girl in my room needed to leave for the airport at that time so she was up and getting ready - they were obviously annoyed that they had no privacy so they left the room - but came back when she had just left the room for the airport. Crap, I thought I was safe. They headed into the bathroom where they started the shower and by this stage I had ear plugs and my iPod in so I heard nothing but no amount of music or ear blockage could stop the sound of the massive **BANG** that erupted from the bathroom... I heard swearing and the girl crying... turns out they'd broken the shower in their sexual frenzy. The whole shower door was broken off - actually, snapped would probably be a better explanation! So, I guess they'd be paying more to fix the shower than I would to replace a camera. That thought made me feel slightly more better about things!

On our second night here, we had the option to go to Oia and have a picnic to watch the sunset. Apparently Oia is famous for it's beautiful sunset and I have to admit it was pretty spectacular. It's amazing how the sky lights up in all of these different reds, blues and purples. Words can't describe the beauty adequately enough (well, perhaps if I were a poet or a decent writer and had a way with words, then maybe words could express the beauty but since I have neither, photos and a dodgy explanation will have to suffice!). The Greek Islands are everything I imagined and more. The white washed houses with blue shutters and blue roofs are so quaint.

Today I spent all day at Perissa beach - it was great. The sand is black and is unbelievably hot. The water drops off suddenly so one minute you are in shallow water and then you step forward and you're up to your waist in water. That kind of scared me. There were men at the beach who were wandering around offering massages so I got a massage on the beach with the sound of waves lapping against the sand in the background with the Greek sun hitting my bare back - heaven or what?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Budgie Smugglers

I am loving the Greek Islands! It is sunny all the time and I have gone from baby tan to semi-brown! Fantastic stuff. Someone kindly pointed out to me yesterday that when I get back to London no one will even notice that I have a tan because it will be so cold that I'll be covering up my newfound brownness. I replied with something along the lines of 'I don't care if I have to walk around with goosebumps until my tan fades because I'm flaunting my holiday tan'!

Yesterday was one of the best days ever. We had the option to hop aboard this boat which reminded me of a pirate ship and cruise around Antiparos Island for the day. I was thinking that I would skip this excursion as it wasn't cheap but then I figured it would be kind of fun. Well, fun is definitely not the word to use to describe this day. It was amazing! Our boat took us to all these fantastic, secluded swimming spots where we literally had to dive off the boat to get into the water. The swimming spots were amazing. Crystal clear aqua water and so refreshing to jump into. One of the places we went to had a cove we could swim in and we could go under this little cave. Some of the people on the tour climbed up and jumped off the top of the cliff - I was a bit too scared. Jumping off the boat was enough for me.

Some of the boys had been laughing at all of the people on Mykonos who were wearing 'budgie smugglers' (aka speedos) and at one of the spots they decided to suprise us all by climbing to the top of this cliff and told us girls to get our cameras ready to take a photo of when they jumped.. so, I had Michael's camera in one hand, my camera in the other - we counted to 3, cameras ready.. and at the count of 3 the boys dropped their boardies and turns out they were all wearing a pair of budgie smugglers. It's amazing any photos actually got taken of them jumping because we were all laughing so hard. Kind of one of those things you had to be on tour to appreciate the humor of but it was hilarious and the boys definitely thought that idea out really well. I managed to take a decent photo of the boys in mid air so I'll have to try and post that up when it gets sent to me! The funniest thing was that they all really seemed to ENJOY wearing their speedos and even went as far as walking around the beach with them swimming with them later on. One of the guys got a budgie smuggling wedgie which did not look comfortable. Hilarious!

We had lunch at this fantastic secluded beach on the island and we had souvlaki (more like kababs) with tzakiki dip, Greek salad and bread. Yum!

Word's cannot describe how beautiful the swimming spots were. Definitely an amazing day and I wish I could do it again. Today we arrived in Santorini and I have four days here so lots of chance to explore. I think I might hire a moped or quad bike tomorrow but we'll see what happens!

Internet time has ran out so I hope you've enjoyed hearing about these latest adventures!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Skinny Dipping @ Midnight

Yesterday was my last day in Mykonos and I was a little bit sad to leave because even though the accommodation wasn't so great and the land was barren, it was a great beach and the place we stayed at made up for its lack of facilities by its great atmosphere.

Last night, after bumming around on the beach all afternoon, I headed out to meet the rest of the group at 8pm. We had a few drinks but I was getting bored so I rounded up a few girls who came to the outdoor bar a few hundred meters away and we had a bit of a dance. It was great, we danced to some songs and I jumped up on some tables to dance (the night before I was dancing on the bar) which was great fun. A lot of guys came up to talk to us - mainly Italian's who we couldn't understand but they were fun to dance with.

A little while later (a few drinks later) we decided that we'd go and sit on the beach and have a chat. We met this random Aussie whose friend had passed out on one of the deck chairs so we adopted him for the night and invited James to our late night beach chill-out session. Of course, we decided that it would be fun to go swimming although it was pitch black and could barely see a thing. It was brilliant. We stayed in the water for hours, splashing around and being silly. One of the best nights so far.

Today we are in Paros which seems like a nice island. We're just about to go and have a look around but I'm feeling so hot that the idea of walking around isn't really thrilling me right now. I put on a top today that I bought not so long ago only to realise it's not fitting as comfortably as it used to. I'm a bit stressed about that small, tiny detail. But otherwise, I'm having a great time and I am totally enjoying working on my tan - it's only a baby at the moment but luckily for me, I tan quite easily so I should have a pretty decent tan by the time I get back to London.

Well, I'm off to muster up some more energy to wander around Paros!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Mykonos

I've been soaking up the sun in Mykonos (in the Greek Islands) for the better part of a day now and I think I am slowly working up a baby tan. Hopefully my skin will turn into a nice shade of brown by the time I am done in the Greek Islands, rather than the pasty white colour I have adopted since my arrival into the UK.

Mykonos is quite... well... I guess you could say barren. There isn't much to look at in terms of the island itself. There are lots of brown, rocky hills and it is so windy here. The place that I am staying with BusAbout - oh my gosh - think prison cell. Actually, wait - I think even prison cells have toilets for the inmates in their cell! Apparently what we are doing is 'luxury camping'. Two single beds crammed together in a 'hut' with toilets located a million miles away (ok so maybe about 200 metres away but with a bladder like mine it may as well be a million) is definitely not my idea of 'luxury camping' but it all boils down to the experience factor. Kelly would probably say that it is 'character building'.

It has been nice to laze on the beach all day and swim in the clear blue waters of the ocean. The beach we are at - Paradise Beach - is gorgeous. No waves and it is easy to swim in. The beach isn't sandy though, it's more like little pebbles which make for an interesting time getting down to the water from your deck chair.

So far, I am having fun but it would be so much more fun if I had a bunch of friends that I came here with. I've met some people through the tour but because we all want to do different things I barely see any of them except for dinner time. Oh well, this is my holiday and I plan to relax and enjoy it!

I'm more excited about Paros (because I want to scuba dive) and Santorini (it's meant to be beautiful) and Ios (loads of water sports and more scuba diving) than Mykonos.

I'm sure you'll hear more about my relaxing, lazy days as my holiday progresses - ahhh back to bake in the sun some more (don't worry, I bought a hat and I wear sunscreen!)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Roomsharing isn't so bad!

I remember swearing that I would never share a room ever while I was in London... until I got here and realised that the more money I pay for rent means the less money I have to spend on other worthwhile things like travel, clothes and alcohol.

So, I went from my gorgeous flat in Putney to my shit-hole place in Shepherd's Bush. Six months of not being happy where I was living totally sucked and made my experience in London not so fun. Where you live plays a big part in your happiness. Anyways, I decided that I was going to be fussy with the location of my new house but I was also going to be fussy about my new flatmates.

And I finally struck gold!
Okay, so I am now sharing a room with a 24 year old Kiwi but there are several benefits to this household...
  1. There are always people home at night which means I always have someone to talk to if I so wish.
  2. Roomsharing is kind of fun, we can have a chat and giggle before bed (and Kelly is moving into my room at the start of September so that will be even better!)
  3. With 9 people around it means more chances to make more friends.
  4. The house is huge and we have a sun room and a decent sized backyard (suitable for holding summer BBQs!)
  5. We have DVD nights - I never had that at my old houses!
  6. It's so cheap to live here!
  7. It's 2 minutes walk to heaps of buses and the tube station.
  8. My street runs right off Chiswick High Street which means loads of restuarants, cafes and shops in front of my doorstep.

Do I need to say more about why I love my house so much? I will take some photos and post them up when I get a chance. I haven't had the internet at home lately. Oh, the dramas with that, lol. I forgot that sometimes my new house isn't 100% fantastic. My flatmates have realised I have a laptop and I get the feeling they're going to want to use it from time to time... they've already started. I'm going to have to nip that in the bud soon cos I'm a bit too protective with my computer for them to use it!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

I'm coming home

I have some good and exciting news. I have decided to go home for 2 weeks during Easter next year. It is a scary thought to know that I will be visiting home again but at the same time I am so excited to know that I will be seeing familiarity again.

Even though it is ages away I can't stop thinking that it will be a weird experience. I will be seeing friends and family that I won't have seen for over a year. I will be seeing the same shops and streets and seeing how things have changed in the year that I will have been gone. Someone said that maybe when I get home I won't want to go back to London but I can't help but think that when I go home it will make me realise that I never want to go back for good. Either way it is a long time away and I am extremely excited at the prospect of seeing friends/family from home again.

I've finally settled into London really well and it's amazing how far I've come. Looking back, I can see that I've become such a strong person. I wouldn't change being here for the world which is why I think going home is going to be so strange.

On another note, I have moved into my new house in Chiswick and it is great. My room mate is nice and she doesn't snore so that's nice. I'm hoping to have a BBQ when I get back from Greece because Kelly is moving into my room with me and I think it'd be nice for us to have a BBQ to celebrate.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

More about Ireland

Yesterday I told you that I'd write more about Ireland so here goes! A few friends had been on a Paddywagon tour and they raved about how awesome it was so I decided to go on the same tour as them. I did the 6 day all Ireland tour which took me across Southern and Northern Island.

Basically, Northen Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and Southern Ireland is it's own country. Southern Ireland even uses Euros instead of pounds because they don't want to have anything to do with the British.

During the first two days I thought that we had a pretty awesome tour group but we soon found out that there were a lot of skanky girls on the tour. I love observing people so I found the group dynamics interesting to watch and it provided many laughs. Luckily there were a few great people on my tour who I had lots of fun with too. We drank pretty much every night and partied loads - and why not! We're still young. There are a few good clubs in Ireland which was awesome for me because I haven't really been to many clubs in London. The music was awesome and the atmosphere was great - I'm going to be seeing if my London friends want to go out to more clubby places when I get back!

Our tour pretty much covered the coast of Ireland which was amazing. We saw some beautiful sights along the way. In Belfast I did a black cab tour where they took us around to all the murals and explained the religious beliefs of the city. The Prodestants and Catholics don't get along and there are murals which show the two groups fighting because of their religious/political beliefs. I don't entirely understand it all but I did not feel safe in Belfast. We were told not to wander down certain streets at night because the people did not like tourists.

We headed towards Derry and along the way saw the Giants Causeway and walked over the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge. I have to admit that I was a bit let down by the Giants Causeway. I thought it would be more impressive than what it was. Still good though. We went on to Galway which is the party capital of Ireland and I have to admit I got pretty smashed there - cheapish drinks and a good club atmosphere left me feeling a bit worse for wear in the morning.

My favourite part of Ireland was the Dingle Penninsula because it was absolutely beautiful. Killarney was amazing as well. So pretty and green. Dingle was most beautiful fishing village. It was touristy but nevertheless, the charm of the village wasn't lost on me and I bought some gorgeous jewelry from there.

We went across to Blarney Castle and I kissed the Blarney Stone so apparently I will have the gift of the gab for the next 7 years - like I need that luck!

Hannah and I are off to watch hurling at a local Irish pub. Not entirely sure what hurling is but it's some kind of sport that's played with a stick. Looks interesting though!

The Emerald Isle..

Ahh what a week! So many stories to tell and I'm not too sure where to start. I guess I should start by saying that Ireland is a beautiful country - they don't call it the Emerald Isle for nothing! Apart from the fact that it rained alot in 'summer' the weather was pretty decent.

I don't really have a load of time to write a proper blog entry at the moment but I just thought I'd write something to say I'm back and I'm safe and to let you all know that I had an awesome time in Ireland.

There is so much history to this country and there is still so much that I could learn about Ireland. I would love to come back and explore a few more places like Dingle and Killarney in more depth but who knows whether or not that will happen.

There were a few young people on our tour and man, I forgot how immature 20 year olds can be - the word 'slut' comes to mind when describing the people on our tour but anyways I'll explain more when I blog properly next time.

Anyways I'm off to my room to meet up with Hannah, a girl from my tour, for drinks.
Maddie
(hehe)

Monday, July 30, 2007

24 hours in Ireland

After leaving home early and rushing to get to the airport to make my 2pm flight only to realise my flight doesn't leave until 4pm and standing in the Easy Jet queue for an hour and then realising I'm actually flying with Ryan Air, I finally made it to Ireland.

Typical Simone dramas and I'm sure you're all laughing at me right now (and those of you who saw me off at Tullamarine airport would be laughing even harder, I'm sure - but I handled this situation in Maddie style this time -calm, cool and collected!)

So, I found my way rather easily to the hostel and it's actually a really nice hostel. Nice beds, awesome showers, lots of hot water - no complaints at all. I met these two random people in my hostel room when I arrived who were heading out when I got into the room and they invited me out with them. So, I agreed, not realising they were planning on taking a taxi (think: money!!!) Anyways I'd already said yes, so off I go with them in this cab to this really upmarket bar (think: expensive!!!). I offered to buy ONE of the guys a drink because he footed the cab bill but the other girl expected a drink too. So, I got stuck buying the first round - and for three drinks it cost me £14! They ended up shouting the next rounds but man there is no way I'd have spent £14 on drinks for me that entire night and my share of the taxi wouldn't have been that much so I was frustrated because I consider that to be such a waste of money. In 24 hours I have managed to spend a total of 80 Euros. I'm hoping that my spending eases up once I am on tour, which I guess it will because all I'll need to buy is food and souvineers (Jade said alcohol but I'd rather drink cocktails in Greece than beer in Ireland).

Random note but Ireland has no talent at all in the men department. They're all bloody ugly and in the club that I went to last night (read: another 10 Euro entry fee!!!) they were disgustingly drunk and kept stepping on my toes and spilling drinks all over my nice, clean clothes. Not impressed.

Aside from Ireland being the most expensive place I've been to thus far, I am enjoying it alot. Today I went on a hop on-hop off bus which took me around to all of the sights - I snapped a fair few photos and went into Kilmainham Gaol which was a bit creepy.

Sorry to those of you who I haven't emailed in ages, I have been slack and there is no excuse for that! I do miss all of you and I do think of you but am just not good on the whole email thing.

P.S Do you really think I can be Maddie still or is that just wrong??

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Vegemite Tales

Since I've only heard great things about The Vegemite Tales, I've wanted to see it for ages. So, when Kirra told me she could get cheap tickets, I was definitely in!

It was an awesome show which definitely touched a chord with all of us antipodeans who are living in London. One of the characters stated that 'living in London is like putting real life on hold for a while' and that particularly runs true with me. It does feel like your life is in a massive limbo while you are in London. Another thing that stuck out was when one of the characters mentioned that in London there are no responsibilities except for making sure rent is paid on time. So true. Life is easy in London but at the same time, the show also pointed out that at times 'real life' does show its ugly face, bringing us back down to reality and making us realise that at some point we are going to have to return home and face reality.

But, for now it is fun enjoying the atmosphere which is London and hopefully I will start experiencing more fun now that I'm moving into my large share house.

And for those of you who are thinking about seeing The Vegemite Tales, I definitely recommend it for a good laugh. It truly does represent what Aussies are like living in London and there is a character that everyone can relate to in some way or another.

On a random note - why have I sprouted out in pimples just as I'm going to go on my tour of Ireland! Eeek!

Friday, July 27, 2007

New Travels

I spoke to Kelly this morning and the lovely lady that she is told me that RyanAir are doing awesomely cheap flights for £0.01! So, she had booked a trip to Stockholm and I decided to join her even though I am meant to be working that week - who cares, cheap flights are great and I am here to travel so I think work will survive without me for that week! I kept looking at more flights and decide that I also want to go to Brussles - so I'm off to Brussles as well!

All up, these two flights cost me £30 return! This is what living in London is all about. Mind you, I'm not sure there will be enough money on my credit card to pay for all of this but I have since discovered the whole philosophy of 'book now, think later' works extremely well.

We also booked our flights to Paris for New Years so now all we need to do with that is wait for Kirra to book her flights and then we need to find some accommodation. How cool is it that I'll be spending New Years in PARIS!

So, it's all exciting for me at the moment. I am thrilled at the prospect of seeing even more countries, especially as it was so unplanned! So, lots of blogging will be done to tell the tales of those adventures! It seems like I spent the first 6 months working my way up to being able to travel. Now I feel more in control of my finances and I think that things are working themselves out beautifully. This has helped me to stress less because now I am learning that no matter what things were like before, they always turn around and work out in ways I wouldn't have expected.

So to sum it all up my travel plans are as follows:
  1. Ireland
  2. Greek Islands
  3. Scotland (hopefully)
  4. Stockholm
  5. Brussles
  6. Seattle (for Christmas)
  7. Paris (for NEW YEARS!)

Wow, that is a pretty amazing effort.

The British Truely Believe a Cup of Tea Fixes Everything!

The title statement is true! Whenever I am feeling upset, stressed, unhappy or the like, Laura (my British house mate) always offers me a cup of tea because "it is good for you and will make you feel better". Even at work everyone keeps offering me cups of tea, "Simone would you like a cup of tea" and when I refuse, people stare at me as though I'm an alien from outer-space. Those of you who know me well, know that I absolutely detest drinking tea of any kind. Seriously, it's not that great! But the British firmly believe that tea fixes any problem, big or small.

Some examples of tea coming to the rescue...

Girl on tube: My boyfriend just broke up with me *sobs*
Friend's response: Oh dear. Have a cup of tea and you'll feel much better.

Male driver: I just ran over a cat!
Male friend response: Sod it, let's go get a cup of tea.

Old lady: Boy it is cold today
Granddaughter: Let's have a cup of tea to warm us up then, shall we?

Ok so I haven't exactly heard those conversations but seriously, the British will use any excuse to have a cup of tea. I am never going to jump on board the tea drinking bandwagon. I would rather be an alien from outer-space than drink that sweet smelling but vile tasting liquid. But, each to their own and bless the British and their tea.

I have to admit though, I can understand the British wanting a warm drink these days because it has been raining so much lately. Jade summed things up nicely. She said that we always wake up to a false sense of security. First thing in the morning it appears to be a nice day, the sun may even be shining... but we all know that, without fail, at 3pm the weather is going to take a turn for the worse and will pelt down with rain. My usual outfit these days is jeans and a singlet because it is semi-warm in the mornings and then I always make sure my umbrella is packed in my bag for that afternoon rain.

Anyway, today I met Kelly at Baker Street Station for a nice, hot Starbucks coffee because by this stage the weather had gone downhill. After I said goodbye to Kelly I jumped back on the tube and headed to Bayswater where I watched the latest 'must-see' movie of the year.

The Simpsons Movie!

I have to say that it was a great movie with lots of funny scenes. I wouldn't say that it was the best movie of all time but it is The Simpsons on the big screen. Basically, Homer screws up and turns Springfield into a toxic dump site. The people of Springfield aren't happy and chase Homer and family out and they move to Alaska only to find that the government wants to try and abolish their beloved Springfield - so they have to try and save the day. It made me laugh and there are plenty of classic jokes that you would only find in The Simpsons. Well worth watching.

I have found that my confidence in using public transport in London has grown considerably since arriving 6 months ago. Never before would I have considered catching a bus home. Normally I take the tube but lately I have become more reliant on the bus system and I have found that buses, despite having to wait longer for them than the tube, are quite convenient to use. There are heaps of buses that take you to heaps of different places. I think that the reason it took me so long to become confident catching buses is because I am now more familiar with London geography - I generally know which way I'm meant to be going and I've pretty much sorted out which buses go where in my area. Moving to Chiswick will be fun because I'm going to have to sort out the bus situation again. I'm sure it will be a lot easier now that I've worked out the system.

Lots of blogging has been done by me lately! Leave comments so I know if anyone is still even reading my blog. I don't care if no one does read it cos this blog is also for me to remember things but it's still nice to know that people read it!

Sim

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Procrastination!

I am a big believer in procrastination! This is why I am sitting in front of my laptop blogging rather than doing the millions of other tasks that I should be doing!

I really don't have millions of tasks to do but I do need to pack for Ireland before shipping all my stuff off to my new house. This has proved to be a massive pain in my arse because I have managed to accumulate so much crap in 6 months that it takes 2 HUGE suitcases and several small bags to transfer what used to be just one HUGE suitcase and one small carry on sized bag. Even though I praise myself on not being a hoarder I just can't seem to get rid of anything that I've bought thus far. Most of it is useful or will be at some point (esp those jeans that WILL fit me when I start my diet - I promise!)

Kelly actually laughed at me the other day because I wrote this comment on her Facebook page..

my room is looking incredibly bare and i am shoving things into my suitcase - loads of fun cos i'm trying to work out what can be shuffled into hiding while i go to Ireland! Either way I still have a shitload of stuff - where do I get it from?! I went shopping today and bought some jumpers for Ireland and tomorrow I think I will buy a bag to take on board the plane for random stuff like - hair dryers, lol.

She then went on to respond with this message and I had to laugh.. It just goes to show what a shoppoholic I am!

I think it's funny that you wrote 'I don't know where I get this stuff from.' immediately followed by 'I went shopping today.' You're hilarious! I hope you're getting excited about your trip and packing up isn't being too evil!

Cos it is so true - I seem to always come home with something or another - mainly food so that gets eaten so I don't understand how I end up with so much stuff. Although I sometimes *ahem* buy unnecessary stuff.. here is a list of several things which I probably could have gotten away with not buying but at the time I just had to have...
  1. a handheld fan (it is hot on the tube but I've never actually used this, even at home!)
  2. green contacts (because I thought it would be fun to change my eye colour but I can't even put them in)
  3. deodorant when I don't even need any at the moment (but it was on sale!! And I will use it - eventually!)
  4. photo frames (I really could just blu-tack the photos onto my wall)
There are probably countless more things which were not needed but I can't seem to help it! I will make more of an effort to not buy so much but now that I'm paying less rent I can afford to shop more! Oh dear!

I have just gotten back from coffee with Kirra (hmm maybe I should add that to my list of unnecessary purchases) and we were discussing our Friday night plans! Turns out that Kirra can get cheap tickets to The Vegemite Tales from work so we are going to see that. Blair from Big Brother / Neighbors is in it and it is all about Antipodeans living in London so it should be good. We should relate well to it. I am also going to be staying with Kirra while she dog sits in Richmond because I am trying to move out of this place and it'll be great to spend some time with Kirra before I go on my travels. It's funny how much I miss my friends when I travel.

Oooh I just heard my taxi driver ring the doorbell to collect all my suitcases! More from me later!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Weather, Harry Potter and HOLIDAYS!!!

I woke up this morning expecting to see more rain - but - the sun is actually out! I couldn't quite believe it and I had to check a few times to make sure I wasn't dreaming, but yes - the sun is actually out. But the question still remains...

How long will the sun stay out for?

It is a question I grapple with each day because it makes choosing what to wear extremely difficult. I think I will wear what I wore yesterday, a white singlet top and jeans (and I will wear this for the next few days regardless of weather since I have no clothes cos they're all packed and ready for the move) but then it will probably turn really cold. Or, turn so hot that I wish I hadn't worn jeans. You just don't know with London!

On the weekend, I went to the TOAST festival. Basically, this hosts a collection of Aussie food and wine, even Aussie entertainment. I saw Kath and Kim and Ella and Jessie Hooper from Killing Heidi (and those of you who know me really well would know that I *loved* Killing Heidi when I was younger!) so it was a good day. I got a free ticket through my teaching agency SANZA but I went alone which kind of sucked cos it was the kind of day that would have been better had friends come along (they couldn't because tickets were sold out). Although I did meet up with Kristie at some point during the day and I spoke to some of the SANZA crew at the stand. I bought some Milo and some cheap Havianna's that even have an Aussie flag on them! Excellent. I got free lolly bags with chickos, strawberries and cream, snakes, minties, etc. You can't get them in London. Ok that is actually a lie - you can get these from London but a) not in supermarkets so Londoners don't know about them anyways, and b) they're bloody expensive (think £2.50 for a bag of lollies!)

Other random news is that I gave in and bought the latest installment of Harry Potter because the book was only £9 for hardcover which you have to admit is pretty good value. So that might be either an Ireland or Greece read.

Speaking of Ireland and Greece, I am so excited about both! I can't wait to blog when I get back. And when I'm back from Ireland, I move straight into my new place. I met more of my flat mates last night and they seem really nice. One seems like she could be a bit of trouble if I get on the wrong side of her but I'm hoping that she just takes some time to warm up to people. With 10 people there is always one I may not get along with the best but at least I'm not sharing with her!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Chiswick Girl

As you all know, I've been house hunting again because I haven't been happy in my current situation. Well, I've viewed several houses, several rooms. The most recent room I looked at, I would have been sharing with this over-hyped Aussie girl who seems that she would be bouncing off the walls constantly. Seemed like a fun house, maybe too much of a fun house so I decided even if they called me up saying I'd gotten the room I would have declined. I still haven't heard back from them anyway.

One of the other rooms I viewed was in a gorgeous house in Chiswick. I'd never been to Chiswick before but it is an amazing area. Loads of cafes, restaurants and shops on the High Street and trees everywhere (which in London is uncommon!) So I decided that regardless of whether or not I got this room I would love to move to Chiswick anyway. I wasn't holding my breath about the room though because I've been disappointed when I've wanted something before.

Turns out that they did decide they wanted me for the room though so that was a bit exciting! I am now going to be living in this awesome house in Chiswick! It will be a room share - meaning I am sharing the room with a Kiwi girl but hey - it's cheap and it's going to be a lot more fun than the houses I've been living in for the past 6 months. I never thought I'd be able to share a room but I don't think it will be a problem because I lived in a hostel for a month and I think I've become a little more laid back about things. Sharing a room will be fine - hopefully she doesn't snore! And I did wonder about farting but you know what, it will work out and if I turn out to hate it, I can always move!!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

5 and a half months - Wow!

Ahh well it's Wednesday and while school doesn't officially end until Friday, there is little chance that I will be getting work for the next few days. Meaning, my summer holidays start from NOW! Except for the small fact that I've got to make my way down to the school where I might be teaching Year 6 on Friday's next year to meet the head teacher...

I'm once again in the process of trying to find a new house which is once again proving quite difficult. I did find a gorgeous house in a great location only to have the house mates choose someone else for the room. Always disappointing but I'll find something else. Only, I need to move out by the end of this week OR have found a room ready for me to move into once I am back from Ireland. It sounds complicated but it'll all work out - it always does. I'm also not looking for a single room anymore, I'm looking at sharing. It works out so much cheaper. I don't know if you remember me telling you this but I always swore I would never share a room while I was in London. I was adamant that I would always have my own room. It's funny how things change. I don't doubt that sharing a room could be hard at times but I want to live in a house which has alot of people in it so that I don't get so bored. I've got a few that I'm checking out tonight so I'll keep you updated on my progress.

Can you believe that I've been in London for 5 and a half months already? It has gone so fast and there are so many things that I still want to do! I've decided that next summer I'm going to Ibiza and Croatia and as my main summer holiday. I'm going to try and fit Scotland in this year, during the October school break but we'll see how my finances hold up! I've actually done a lot of traveling this year even though I've gone back to some places that I've already visited.

I will keep you posted about my house hunt and I can't wait to write all about my travels to Ireland and the Greek Islands!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Missing Madeleine

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I'm sure most of you would have already heard all about missing Madeleine McCann. I'm not sure about the rest of the world but I know in the UK the publicity surrounding her disappearance is huge! There is so much controversy about why she should get so much attention when other children go missing every day but nothing is mentioned in the papers. A valid point I guess but at the same time, if her parents can afford to get Madeleine's face plastered all over the world then there would be a better chance of her being found. It is horrible that other children go missing and don't get this publicity but things aren't always fair.

Madeleine is promoting awareness for other children who are abducted too. So while other children may not get the publicity, the awareness amongst us now is that abductions do happen on a regular basis and that it is easy for it to happen. We need to remember that we can't think that these things just won't happen to us. We all think we're great parents (or would never let something like this happen to us) but hopefully this awareness makes us think twice about the decisions that we make.

I don't believe what this world is coming to though. Terrorism, abductions, murderers, etc. Why does all this stuff happen? Was it always like this when we were kids or were we just naive and oblivious to it all? It makes me really sad to know that the world we live in and the world we will be bringing up our children in is not the safe haven that I hoped it would be. You can only shield children from so much and after teaching such a wide range of children in British schools I have learnt that they are growing up so much quicker. Gone are the days of playing with dolls and living in innocence. Children know way more than they should at the ages of 5-9! And to think, this is our future generation. That is actually quite a scary thought because half of these kids are growing up without learning respect - thanks to the Australian government offering $3000 or something for each child born - does anyone else think that is a ridiculous idea?

Anyways, there are my random thoughts for today.
Sim
x

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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Shock Horror!

Oh my goodness - I am shocked!

I knew London was the worlds worst place to be when it came to weather but even today shocked me! I was at work when it started to rain - which I have to admit has happened quite a few times in the supposed British summer...

Anyway I was on my merry way heading home when I came out of the tube station and stopped dead in my tracks. Surely I had only been on the tube for an hour and it was still only 5pm... so I checked my watch to make sure that I didn't lose track of those extra 5 hours because outside it was dark, gray and overcast - a threatening storm looming!

So, I make my way to the local Sainsburys and spent 5 minutes browsing before I go to exit the store.. When I went to leave the rain had started and it was bucketing down so hard that there was no way I would be leaving the store without getting completely soaked within the first... hmm.. 2 seconds! It was shocking! To make matters worse - there was HAIL! Yes I kid you not - hail in London during their supposed SUMMER!

I couldn't believe it but you wouldn't guess what happened about half an hour after the storm - yep, the sun came out!

Bloody London!!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Random Stories

I'm not sure where to begin this entry! There is so much I want to say and normally I can write it logically but being as hung over as I am today my thoughts are all in a jumbled heap!

Let's see if I can do this...

Firstly, my mum has come to London for a visit. We woke up yesterday morning with the weather not being too nice but we thought it would be ok to leave without an umbrella - big mistake! We had just arrived at Buckingham Palace (after mum had her first experience on the crowded London Underground) when we saw a tiny drop of rain... We thought we'd be alright... Turns out we were wrong. It started bucketing down with rain so we managed a quick photo in front of Buckingham Palace before running back to the tube. By the time we got to the tube though, we were completely soaked through and were bloody cold! Not a very nice experience.

Speaking of experiences, my mum experienced the tube for the first time - we get the central line and cruise along nicely for 3 stops.. The train then stops at a station for a few minutes and we're all wondering what's happening when we hear an announcement, "Sorry for the delay but there is a person under the train at Liverpool Street Station". You should have seen mums face - priceless. She couldn't believe that they announce things like that so calmly. Mum wasn't too impressed with the tube to be honest (too crowded and hot for her liking) so when I suggested that we do more sightseeing today, mum asked if we'd have to use the tube and when I said yes she shook her head and said that she'd rather just stay home and relax! Suits me fine to be honest!

As I mentioned earlier I am a bit hungover. This is due to the SANZA boat cruise we went on last night. Well, that's a story in itself! Jade and I rushed to get to the boat and we made it with plenty of time to spare. All the SANZA teachers boarded the boat and off we set on our merry way down the Thames... Until we broke down. Yup, you read right. The boats engine broke down about 500 meters away from where we set off so we did not have our magical, drunken cruise down the river Thames last night. So, the SANZA crew organised for us to go to the Temple WalkAbout which wasn't too bad except that all of us got a bit separated from one another. I was such a bad friend last night though because I left Jade all by herself at the Walkie when I should have waited for her but in my drunken state I wasn't thinking properly! I used to hate when people did that to me back home and now I've gone and done the same thing. I felt awful and apologized but I'd still be shitty if I were her.

Speaking of SANZA and teaching - I mentioned in my previous post that I was going for teaching positions. Well, I decided I didn't want the commitment of my own class just yet so SANZA put me up for a 3 day a week position where I take classes for a couple of hours so that the teacher has Planning and Assessment time. I start in September and it is a year long position so that keeps me in the UK until at least September next year! Exciting news!

Scary news... There was a bomb scare at a club near Piccadilly Circus yesterday morning! There was a car found with explosives and nails, etc, in front of a London club called Tiger Tiger which was set to detonate. Potentially really dangerous. It's scary to think about what would have happened had the bombs been detonated. There is speculation that it might have had something to do with the new prime minister and the 7/7 bombings. Who knows why people do this stupid stuff but it's not going to make me come home. As much as it is terrible thing to happen, no one here even seems too phased by the whole thing!