Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Walter Benjamin's words have been following me through my own exploratory journey of London and its surroundings:"Not to find one's way in a city may well be uninteresting and banal. It requires ignorance, nothing more. But to lose oneself in a city, as one loses oneself in a forest, that calls for a quite different schooling. Then, signboard and street names, passers-by, roofs, kiosks, or bars must speak to the wanderer like a cracking twig under his feet in the forest." I have been indeed loosing and finding myself in this breathtaking city.
I am yet to see a ghost in my life to officially become scared of such creatures. Regardless, when one’s home starts acting up, one should definitely question such eccentricity. As I was enjoying one of my last home projects (trying to, unsuccessfully might I add, work with a concrete wall without a drill), my living room lighting started to, without any sequence or basis, turn on and off. As I tried to make a phone call, my BBY went into a secure mode and deleted all its memory. Left without any phone numbers, I decided to contact my neighbours whom I’ve never met. An impossible task that was, when an entry door lock is completely stuck, and one cannot leave the flat. Without a phone, lighting, and a privilege to leave the house, I was left in the dark, literally, with nothing but a hope that someone might pass in my hallway.
My saviour, one and only, a Polish man, a neighbour, a kind, young and beautiful soul, came to my rescue with his girlfriend. I yelled out for help, and after a few attempts my door was opened and I was free. I am so grateful for such wonderful neighbours.
As I took possession of a very empty flat on October 1st, the following weekend was booked for cleaning and bargain hunting. I've had quite a bit of luck with Gumtree.com (an equivalent to craigslist.com), as I found a lot of good bargains, including my lovely, used but in excellent condition, Ikea dining table. Speaking of Ikea, it was essential to make a visit to my good old friend. Michelle, you would have loved it here; British Ikea is so much more fun! Anyhow, had a full Ikea English breakfast in the morning, and spent the rest of the day pushing three carts full of essential home stuff. This was one of those moments when an idea of a husband came about, as I could have used an extra pair of hands. Oy!
Little did I know, I started assembling the furniture, organizing, scrubbing, cleaning…I was playing House! Windows may not be double glazed, the house may have been built a thousand years ago (yes, I am exaggerating a bit), floors, doors and everything else in it may squeak but I am happy to call it my home. With an abundance of natural light, so much character, morning sunshine (when available), comfortable and warm bed, I simply should not complain. As my best friend said, I managed to turn a pumpkin into a stunning carriage. Though, I still do not know how to turn on the oven!
So, the big A word … Accommodation! I’ve come to a realization that finding an apartment, or should I say a flat, in September could possibly be the worst time for such a considerably simple task. Having visited over 10 rental agencies, I started to worry as I was being told to wait a whole month for something to pop up. I had a chance to view, what was described as ‘a best little studio flat on the market’. NOT!!! I was appalled by the state of this dungy, ‘never been cleaned’, ‘smelly cat’, ‘hair all over the floor’ flat. Why, why, oh why, would anyone put this on the market?
The afternoon brought better luck, as a rep from another agency informed me of an available 1 bed flat near the university. Simple, just big enough open plan kitchen + living, not much in it, a lot more presentable, still in need of a fresh coat of paint and a serious full clean-up, 1 bed flat came into my life. How divine!
I had a chance to meet the landlord, Mr.CoCo, who was just arriving with the 2 buckets of paint. Needless to say, I liked what I saw, and with a little bit of ‘Sladjy Love’, I was determined to make this flat my humble abode. Got an extra plate or a spoon?
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Jet lag has been pulling my leg for a while now. Though, I cannot complain as this sort of 'awake' state (with everyone else sleeping) gave me a bit of peace and one on one time with SE London.
Early Tuesday morning, as I turned the corner of New Cross and Lewisham, I unexpectedly ran into Mr. Goldsmiths. Wonderful fella!
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Arrived safe and sound. Very tired but that shall pass too.
I had to wait for 4 hrs in Dusseldorf for my connecting flight to London. The wait turned out to be very interesting, as the airport officials decided to have some fun with a few passengers. A few turned out into 150 people who were asked to leave the plane which they already boarded for Los Angeles, USA, due to ‘technical reasons’. Essentially, the security procedures when flying to the USA are very different then to any other country. The customs officer failed to do as required, so all passengers on the plane had to collect their belongings, leave the plane and go through the security again. FUN, FUN, FUN!
Poor little people going to London happened to share the waiting area with the LA group. Our flight ended up being delayed as no one knew which gate to send us to. Gate B37, Gate B18, Gate C41, Gate B22 and Gate B38, were the magical numbers we had to play with. After running madly throughout the airport, we decided to start taking bets on the next gate number…why not make some cash?! We almost ended up boarding a plane to Djerba, which would have been a lot of fun, considering I do not even know where that is!
Now, to top this cake with a nice little red cherry, do pay attention to the first gate number I mentioned. Our final gate was the gate B37, with our plane which never moved an inch. How ironic, EH! Dusseldorf airport, thank you for an eventful afternoon and a total of 5 stamps in my passport. Too bad I was not travelling on a train. :)
Sunday, September 26, 2010
My favourite sister, my ONE and ONLY sister, made sure I had a chance to say good bye to my friends by organizing an amazing celebration at our home. Balloons, laughs, yummy food, amazing people and the most beautiful baby made my night. Even The Queen, The Beatles and sir Elton John stopped by to say hello. Thank you my wonderful family and friends. I will miss you with ALL MY HEART.
My bags are packed. 13hrs before departure and I cannot sleep. Excitement build-up is in full mode.
MAY THIS CHAPTER OF MY LIFE BEGIN.
My business cards are ready A huge thank you to rotarian James Chan @ AJ Graphics for doing this work at no cost to Rotary. Excellent work!