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!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Life in London Update!

It seems that life in London never seems to slow to a normal pace - it is always rush rush rush! That's why when I went to Germany for the weekend (and before you get all excited and go 'oooh Simone went to Germany', I visited family so it wasn't overly exciting because I didn't sightsee) it was nice to just relax. I found that because I have spent the past 5 months in a complete rush that it was hard to relax and sit around doing nothing. I ended up getting bored but it was great seeing mum and other people in my family who live in Germany who I rarely see.

There are a few exciting opportunities out there for me in the teaching world - SANZA my fantastic teaching agency has put me up for several positions which begin in September. I though they were only short contracts but it turns out they are yearly. While I was opposed to the idea of getting a yearly contract, now I am kind of excited about having my own classroom again. It means more work and I can't take time off when I please but it means regular income, familiarity and routine. I'm still deciding what I want to do about this though. The chances would be that I'd get a Year 2 class or I'd get between 2-3 days work a week at a school covering different teachers while they get their PPA (Planning Prep and Assessment time).

Hmm what else has been happening..

Oh, I went out with that guy last week. We went to see Vacancy and it was the worst movie in the world! We both walked out and regretted seeing it and said we should have seen Fantastic Four but oh well. It was fun and we had a good time so we'll see what happens.

I'm going to continue scoffing down German chocolate for now until my diet officially begins tomorrow (I think this is the 500th time I've said this since arriving in London - it's terrible!)

Monday, June 18, 2007

o2 Wireless Music Festival

Kirra invited us to the o2 Wireless Music Festival which went for 4 days with heaps of different bands playing. The line-up was pretty good and we went on Sunday with the Kaiser Chiefs being the main band. I would have preferred to have gone on the Thursday when the White Stripes and Queens of the Stone Age were playing but nevertheless it was a great day!

We met up with some of Jade's British friends which was great because we don't really know a lot of British people, especially since we live in Shepherd's Bush which is known for it's huge Aussie / Kiwi population.

The festival was held in Hyde Park and it's awesome to be able to say that I went to a music festival in Hyde Park over summer! Originally I wasn't going to go but Jade reminded me that we're only going to be in London once and we should make the most of every opportunity.

There were carnival rides that we could go on so we chose to go on the Dodgem Cars. I haven't been on them for years. It was awesome. We were sitting on the grass in front of the main stage watching the bands and waiting for Kaiser Chiefs to come on when Kirra and I left to get a drink. As we were walking back with our drinks I spotted this guy who was standing alone so I decided in my drunken state that I'd go up and talk to him. He was British so of course I kept talking to him while Kirra walked off on me and once Kirra had walked off he offered to take me on a carnival ride... who was I to be rude and say no?? So, we went on a ride with him and his sister and I ended up spending the rest of the night with them. Kirra and Jade weren't too impressed but we did try to find them but by the time we'd headed back to the main stage area there were so many people that we just couldn't get back to them.

It was such a fun day and I am so glad that I went. Plus, I scored a date with that British guy which is a bonus. So, I will have to keep you updated on that!


Friday, June 15, 2007

Heathrow Injection

The rumours are true!

The Heathrow Injection is what antipodeans call the unwanted weight gain we all manage to get once we arrive in London..

I remember someone telling me about the Heathrow Injection before I came to London and I vowed that it would not happen to me... And for 3 months I went happily along my merry way eating McDonalds and chocolate and fried food like it was going out of fashion - which as you all know was something I was very cautious about doing towards the last 6 months prior to me leaving Australia. I figured that I was on holiday and that I wouldn't gain weight because I was on holidays.. a very logical assumption!

Now, you would think that me gaining a few kilos wouldn't be such a suprise.. pfft.. well, it took 3 months before I even noticed I'd put on any weight and at first I brushed it aside until I realised that my jeans are a bit more snug then they used to be... Devastating news.

So, I vowed that I would start a diet and join a gym... I think I mentioned in a previous post that I joined Fitness First which is a great gym and I manage to get there a couple of times a week. I could go more

(and this is where it gets ridiculous...)

I figure that if I have eaten chocolate or BBQ Shapes (yep, I found them in London but they're bloody expensive) or any other 'naughty' foods then I don't bother going to the gym even if I feel like exercising because I figure I've already fucked up so what's the point in going cos all I'm going to work off is a smidgen of the 'naughty' food so really going to the gym would be a waste of time.. yeh guys I know - you really don't need to tell me how warped that sounds cos I know I'm nuts.

At the same time if I eat healthy it gives me such a boost and makes me want to go to the gym cos I figure I don't have that much to burn off so I am more motivated to go to the gym. So, if I just eat healthy then I will want to go to the gym more anyway and vice versa. Simple right?

Now all I have to do is put those practices in place and watch the weight fall back off. Oh I told my friends that I was giving up alcohol and whoa the price I'd pay to see their reactions again. They all think I am nuts which I probably am but you know what, this is my experience and I don't want to go home fatter then what I came!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Les Misérables

Normally Thursday is just another night of the week for me but tonight I went to see
Les Misérables at the Queens Theater with the girls I went to Wales with. It was one of the best productions I have seen. The music was amazing, the story was fantastic and the cast was great!

The reason we went to see Les Misérables tonight was because one of Connie's flat mates is actually part of the cast and plays Eponine. So, after we saw the show Sabrina (the girl who plays Eponine) invited us backstage!

We got to go behind the scenes of Les Misérables and saw Sabrina's dressing room and we even got to try on a few costumes but of course I didn't bring my camera (and I always forget to bring it for exciting, once in a life-time opportunity stuff!) so when I get the photos from Connie I will post some up on my blog.

It was so low-key though. We were all expecting some elaborate stage and massive dressing rooms but it was really quite small and not what I was expecting from such a large production. Very interesting though and I am thrilled I had this experience.

As for the show, I would definitely recommend that you see it if you get the chance because it was amazing.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


This was my second time in Amsterdam and again it was lots of fun! I went with Kelly who hadn't been to Amsterdam before. She loved it although was a bit shocked at the cultural differences between London and Amsterdam...

You definitely need an open mind to come to Amsterdam.

Some interesting facts:
  • There are more bikes than people in Amsterdam (or more bikes than cars...?)
  • Coffee shops DO NOT sell coffee but they do have an interesting menu consisting of weed, weed and MORE weed! :)
  • Buying and smoking marijuana in coffee shops is legal
  • It is a bloody expensive city to visit - we spent a fortune there
  • Prostitution is legal and you can rent a window for 100-150 Euro and some girls make up to 750 Euro a shift!
  • The Netherlands is basically all flat which is why there are so many bikes
Of course, Kelly and I visited a few coffee shops while we were there but we didn't go too crazy. We bought some joints to take back to the hostel as you could smoke them there.

I thought our hostel was pretty cool because the atmosphere was fun and we met some great people. Kelly didn't seem too interested in the clubbing aspect of Amsterdam because of 'safety' so we had some good nights at the hostel bar.

We did a lot of the touristy things like hiring a bike, although Kelly struggled to keep hers upright so while she practiced riding her bike I went cycling out of Amsterdam in search of windmills and flowers but my arse was getting sore and I was bored so I turned back around quite early. We also rode a pedal bike through the canals which must have been amusing for people on the shore to watch as we kept crashing into everything due to our lack of steering ability. It made us laugh so hard though.

I met this guy at the hostel who was astounded at the fact that I had never rolled my own cigarette before (even though I kindly explained that I do not smoke and therefore had no need to roll one) so he offered to show me how to roll a cigarette and here is a photo of the finished product so that you can all laugh...

Amsterdam was amazing though but I doubt I will go back unless I go with someone crazy enough to try magic mushrooms. No, I don't think I would even try them because on our last day, Kelly and I saw some guy who had taken them and he was freaking out. He left the hostel earlier then he had intended just because he was so freaked out he just wanted to get out of Amsterdam. He was telling the chick behind the counter that he needed a taxi but he was scared the taxi was going to take him through the 'evil flowers'. As the taxi pulled up, Kelly and I happened to be heading outside. The chick behind the counter had told this guy that the taxi driver would ring the bell but because he could see us coming and opening the door, he didn't bother. Well, this guy was so freaked out by the drugs that he refused to go outside until the driver rang the bell.. so I asked the taxi driver to ring the bell, which he kindly did even though the door was wide open... then I had to ask the driver to make sure that he did not drive through any flowers and to just go straight to Amsterdam Centraal. He looked at me like I was an absolute dickhead but the magic mushroom guy was so paranoid and was stressed about even getting in the cab because he was scared he'd go past flowers. Seeing this guy so fucked really freaked me out!

Apart from that freaky incident, Amsterdam was awesome. We went through the red light district during the day cos Kelly was too chicken to go there at night. There were still heaps of prostitutes during the day but at night is so much more interesting. Lucky I'd already seen it before otherwise I'd have been pissed off.