Tag Archives: England

Great Expectations

5 Dec

Many of you have read my endless whining rants about being a Canadian living in Britain. Well soon you will be reading endless wining rants on returning to Canada (albeit temporarily – about two weeks).

Today marks the 12 day mark – 12 days before I finally go home for the first time in one year, three months and 21 days, but of course I’m not counting. I actually don’t count my time here that precisely. I looked that up online because I’m a giant nerd.

I thought I’d blog about my trip home to Canada because writing is the best way for me to think through all my thoughts and feelings, and it might provide some mild entertainment for anyone that happens to read my blog.

After spending the past almost year and a half semi-assimilating into British culture, I’m full of excitement and apprehension about going home.

Because I devote far too much time to fretting, I have conjured up two scenarios:

  1. I fall back in love with the country I had promised to leave for only a year, and can’t bring myself to get on that plane back to London (though of course this is unrealistic because I owe two months’ notice at my publication, have a one-year lease on my flat, and have friends and a boyfriend who would be quite unhappy with me).
  2. I’m disappointed by my trip home because I’ve painted an idyllic birds-chirping-in-the-winter, no-crime, happy land that doesn’t exist outside my imagination. (This is possibly the worst of the two).

Take my poll at the end of this post to help me predict. And, remember, whatever happens, I will provide you with regular updates on my trip to Canada.

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Back to the Future

15 Aug

You must do the things you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt

Today marks one year since I boarded the plane to England. I thought about some cheesy post related to all the things I love here, or an ode to family and friends who’ve made my adjustment easier (both old and new). But in the end, I settled for an honest account of 14 August, 2010, the day I boarded an Air Transat plane in Toronto.

That day my Dad drove me to Pearson. My mind was on two things: I) Do everything possible to distract said father from the fact I am leaving, so he does not get emotional and II) Do everything possible to distract self from fact I am leaving Canada so I do not get emotional or reveal to father that I am scared shitless as he will try to convince me to stay.

Thus, I valiantly (slight exaggeration) battled every surge of emotion with talk of world events—don’t ask me what was going on in the news at the time, as I don’t remember—or logistics about my temporary place of residence (thanks Coen family).

I thought I did quite well to suppress emotions, throughout a two hour strained drive and a tasteless airport meal, but as I neared the security line I saw my father’s eyes well up.

Shit, I thought, as my heart suddenly began to thump in my chest, what am I doing? I wanted to yell at my Dad that this was a whim, an instinct that I stupidly followed. How could he let me do this? My heart thundered louder. I wanted to turn back and run. But I didn’t say anything. I squeezed my Dad goodbye and burst through the barrier onto the other side, where I could be alone with my fears, leaving a teary eyed father in my wake.

Eleven months later, my father would tell me how he couldn’t remember where he parked the car after he’d dropped me off and ended up wandering around the parking lot. He’d also told me he thought he’d held it together pretty well. I had to laugh.

Once through the barriers, I read all the letters and cards my friends had written me before leaving. Some I’d read before. Others, I had not. Honestly, though, Oscar, Esther, Colleen, Meghann, and everyone else who wrote to me, those letters were (and still are) precious to me, as they reminded me that I had friends and family who would support me in my adventures no matter what – whether England turned out to be a failure or success. For that, I owe a lot to you. For those that wrote to me while I was in England (Kaja and Shanice) it meant just as much.

What I remember is boarding that plane one year ago anxious, frightened, and excited for what awaited me. What I also remember is knowing, in my gut, that this was the right decision for me. A year later, I’m still here, and I don’t regret that terrifying journey for a minute.

Small child meets communicative alien

20 Jul

I’m at a family barbecue. So, to the backdrop of delicious char boiled meat, I think about the fact that next month will mark a year in England. I’m starting to really fit in here, I think.

As I’m having this deeply introspective thought, a small boy (I guess around four or five) taps me on the shoulder with a miniature Ford Focus.

“Very cool car,” I say.
He gives it to me and walks away.

Once out of his sigh, I place the car on a table, so I can have full use of my hands during a conversation (you know, should dramatic gesturing be required).

Later, he returns to my side asking where the car has gone. I point to it, but he doesn’t look away.

“Do you want to see the whole collection he says?”

By this point I feel that we’ve struck up a friendship and so I graciously accept, and excuse myself from a conversation. He leads me down the hall where I encounter a truly admirable collection of jeeps and sedans and (well, I don’t know cars that well).

I, of course, agree the collection is quite good.

And, just as I am in self-congratulatory mode about how well I get along with children this brown eyed boy looks up at me. He tilts his head to the right. “What language are you speaking?”

Oh, right.

Grin and Bear It

24 May

I dedicate these case studies to every individual who has ever had to bear a gruelling job. I hear, though it’s only rumoured, that some people bear these jobs with smiles plastered on their faces. I am not such a person.

Thus, I unfold, for your reading pleasure, the case history of my work experience in London England. In no particular order:

Case 1
What: Fabric and sewing shop (aka. sweat shop) owned by couple, teetering on edge of being morally reprehensible
Work Classification: Slave
Sentence: One week
Reason for Leaving: Offered week-long unpaid internship at The Guardian. Quit job when was not allowed time off for “frivolous reasons”
Positive Takeaway: Now up to date on UK labour law

Case 2
What: Nightclub in Hertfordshire, UK
Work: Picking up glasses
Sentence: One night
Reason for leaving: Minimum wage (£5.38) x 6 hours = £32.28. Cost of shoes ruined from drunkards spilling drinks near or on me as well as from walking on glass all night? £35. Did not return for round two.
Positive Takeaway: Not aggressive enough for shoving required in club atmosphere

Case 3
What: Bakery
Work: Bread slicer/ display re-arranger/ cookie distributor
Sentence: One month
Reason for leaving: Finally offered a job, which involved the use of my university degree
Positive Takeaway: Lots of free samples of baked goods during nine hour shifts with no break. Also, learned look cute wearing baker’s cap.