Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Olde London Towne

So in regards to my last post, what to do next… well, my decision was to get out of Dodge. I broke up with my boyfriend, got my visa and came on over. Below are the little update emails I have sent up to this point. I am sure you’re thrilled! :-D


On 8/12/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

I've arrived safely to London and made it to my friends' Kip & Ant's place with no problems. I took a sleeping pill with dinner and did not wake until they woke me to put my seat up for landing. Faboo.

Off to eat since I slept through breakfast. It's so weird to be here!
Natasha, I will call you later today.

XO,
Shaun


On 8/12/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Thanks to my fabulous Aussie friends Kip & Ant (who moved here in Feb), I was able to get a cell phone on contract my first day here. The bureaucracy here is thick. For instance, in doing a credit check, they check your address, not for you, but for how that address has fared before. So if the people who lived there before you didn't pay on time, that could affect you. Fabulous dealing with a new set of rules. :) But usually w/o a bank account or permanent address you need to do prepaid plans which cost more.

Anyway, my cell is 077 8974 ####

So for you in the US, to dial that it's 011-44-7789-74####.

Just got back from a few pints at Rupert Street to celebrate my achievement with a cell phone (just wait till I get a bank account!). Off to rest a bit and then have dinner and a couple drinks here in Earl's Court before turning in early.

So happy to be here.

Xo,
Shaun


On 8/12/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Sorry for so many notes... I love gmail, but I hate the address book, and so I am realizing people who were missed & I need to include.

Had a lovely night out with the Aussies in Earl's Court. We're watching the finale of Big Brother before an early to bed.

Ready to start the weekend and start the apartment hunt at the start of the week!

Have a great night all.

Xo,
Shaun


On 8/13/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

I am wearing a sweater in August and I couldn't be happier about it.

Wanted an easy, light night in, so I am going to see a movie with the Aussies. £9.50! ($17.50!) Ack! I think my entertainment until I get a job will have to be BBC....

Start the apartment hunt with Natasha on Monday. Looking very forward to finding our home.

Xo,
Shaun


On 8/13/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Just a quick note to recommend "The Island." We saw it because it was the only thing playing at the time besides something dreadful, but it turned out to be very good.

You get assigned seats in the movie theaters here. :) How fun.

Off to watch Lost - it's just starting here!

Xo,
Shaun


On 8/16/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

The first flat viewing was a bust. Perfect location and price, hideous orange carpet, pink furnishings and dorm like layout. I was blinded at first by its proximity to my Aussie friends, but it really is a pile. If we can just convince him to put in hardwood floors and let us pick the furniture.... :)

Off to see a few more places today. Wish us luck!

Xo,
Shaun


On 8/16/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

We may have found a home! Well, we did find one, as long as no snags come up with the signing tomorrow. It's a great space, central, (Clerkenwell), hardwood floors... good size overall, though my bedroom's small. But that's OK, I am good with a nice cozy spot, and the overall space is nice and perfect for entertaining. And yes, there's room for visitors! :)

So that's the news, I'll let you know what happens tomorrow.

It's been brought to my attention that I gave the wrong number. My correct number is:

077 8974 ####

So from the US: 011-44-77-8974-####.

One more check down! Still weeks away from a bank account....

Xo,
Shaun


On 8/18/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Well, until we're in I won't do a little dance, but it looks like Natasha and I got our flat in Clerkenwell! And we get to move in Saturday! This is a great relief because we "checked in" to our short term rental yesterday to discover it smelled like a gym pool room and was about as damp as one. Also no working TV or even toaster for crumpets. So, we're very keen on exiting as soon as possible.

The landlord's very cool and he allowed us to pick out the beds and wardrobes for the rooms. The apartment was to come partly furnished, but he hasn't purchased them yet, so we get to pick them out. Cool, eh? And the lease, and therefore rent, doesn't start until the 24th but he's letting us move in on the 20th since we'll have the keys anyway.

So, if all goes well, our exquisitely pompous address will be:

## R_______ Court
R_______ Avenue
Islington
London EC1R 5HP
England

## R_______ Court is our unit number since we live in a specified building on R_______ Ave - how very English!

I'll keep you posted, and keep your fingers crossed! This one's a winner.

Xo,
Shaun


On 8/19/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Woo hoo! I start a job on Monday!!!!!

It's a temp job that I got through my friend Sean and it's not mind-blowing or anything, but it's enough to get things started, and I am just glad to start having an INcome relatively quickly instead of just an OUTcome. ;)

We see our landlord to sign the papers tonight and can move in tomorrow if all is going well... Ordered the furniture from Argos yesterday so we're getting there!

Xo,
Shaun


On 8/19/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Well, it's official - we've signed the lease and got the keys! We have a home! And it's awesome. We walked around the area and it's great. We're just across the road from a market called Exmouth market with lots of restaurants & pubs. And we found a little grocery store very nearby, so everything's there.

So, my official contact info for London is:

Shaun Coley
## R_______ Court
R_______ Avenue
London EC1 5HP
England

Cell: +44 (0)77 8974 ####

SO happy. :)

Xo,
Shaun


On 8/19/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Sorry, made a mistake with the post code. The correct info is:

Shaun Coley
## R_______ Court
R_______ Avenue
London EC1R 5HP
England

Cell: +44 (0)77 8974 ####
Xo,
Shaun


On 8/19/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Oh, forgot to mention you can see the dome of St. Paul's when you look left out our front window. :)

OK, off to the smelly apartment for one last night!

Xo,
Shaun


On 8/21/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

We're officially moved into the flat! Of course we don't have beds yet, but at least all our suitcases are, finally, in one place and where they will stay. It's a great feeling to have a "home" again. And the apartment is great, feels so homey & cozy already.

Today Natasha and I are going out to Ikea to get the little things... dishes, utensils, towels, etc. It was hard to butter my crumpets today without a knife, but I managed. :) But we can't have wine out of plastic cups again.... well, since it was a screw off top, I guess it was OK, but since we don't have a bottle opener yet we needed that!

Oh, one more asset of the apartment - we don't have an English sink in the bathroom! Yahooey! So we can moderate the temperature instead of having to choose from the scalding hot spout or the freezing cold one.

Hope you've all had a great weekend!

Xo,
Shaun


On 8/23/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

So just a little update - I've made my first two legal days pay in the UK! Woo woo! :) Now figuring out my budget I am only massively poor rather than desperately poor.

But things are coming together - Ikea's unpacked, first Argos delivery has arrived, second should be along soon. We've signed up for power and council tax and have the forms for the NI (National Insurance) on the way. Tomorrow I am tackling one of the biggest challenges of all - the bank account. We'll see if finally, now, with a visa, lease & letter of employment if they'll be so kind as to let me have my paycheck deposited to their institution.

Also, my address at work is shaun.coley@tube.tfl.gov.uk - feel free to say hello to me there! Sometime I will have internet access & will be able to check gmail from there, but until the paperwork goes through I am limited to MS Outlook & SAP. Thrilling, eh?

Hope all's well.

Cheers!
Shaun


On 8/26/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Today makes two weeks! Woo woo! :)

I am settling into UK office life. Unfortunately nothing as entertaining as The Office, but it's good. There are some niceties here - I wonder if it's common in British offices. First, whenever anyone nearish me at all goes for tea, they always ask me and everyone else around if they'd like some as well (plus there's free coffee, tea & hot coco - I am becoming a tea fiend!). Second is twice a day a guy comes around with a trolley with food, snacks & drinks to your office so you can have a little snack without the inconvenience of leaving your office space.

This coming weekend's a bank holiday weekend, so no work Monday! But since I don't get my first paycheck for a week, I won't be doing anything extravagant; I am in economy mode. I think a movie might do it for me.

Wishing you all well,
Shaun


On 8/31/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

I had a very nice, relaxing, and relatively inexpensive bank holiday weekend. Just went for a few drinks each night and was to bed relatively early.

It's starting to feel "normal" being here. I am used to Earl's Court and Clerkenwell, and I am really starting to feel like I live here. It's pretty awesome. Friday I get my first pound paycheck - woo woo! (Of course if I am on the emergency tax rate since I haven't gotten my NI number yet I will not be saying "woo woo", I am sure. I have so see how my agency set me up.) However, the weather's been very un-English as it always seems to be for me - sunny & warm! Where's the grey drizzle I signed up for?! Ah well, I am sure I will get my fill this winter.

Anyway, just wanted to say hello - it's slow at work, but nothing too exciting to report on -- which is pretty cool itself.

Unfortunately I can't say the same for my family & some friends stuck in Katrina's path. No major losses as far as I've heard, but my sister Lara lost some big trees. Just one more reason to get out of FL, I say!

Hope all's well with you.

Shaun


On 9/7/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

First the important news...

Last night Natasha and I were having some wine, bemoaning our lack of beds, my wardrobe, TV and internet connection - in other words, any sort of passive entertainment or comfort - when I said off-handedly and without thought "We could always watch a DVD on the computer." I have never seen Ms. Rankow react with such enthusiasm or vigor before, but the knowledge that there had been some sort of visual inebriation undisclosed for five days was nearly too much for her to bear. I promptly hooked up the computer, we put in AbFab since we're in London, and all was well. (We watched 'Poor' - my favorite! "Has that been there the whole time?") :-D

Less interesting, but useful, I registered as part of a limited company yesterday! I officially own one share of Kastra Contractors Limited. All this does is, since I am working through a temp agency, allow me to claim myself as a contractor instead of a PAYE (pay as you earn) employee which means I am taxed differently. It's not a huge amount, about £28pw when all is said and done, but I am not about to poo-poo £28! And it's all legal and on the up & up. Not too shabby. Of course when/if I ever get a permanent job I won't be able to do this any longer, but until then an extra night out's pay is fine by me.

As alluded to above, still no furniture delivery, but we're getting ever closer to the "final" possible delivery date of 15 Sep. The cable, of course, has been delayed, due to our recent arrival in the UK, from today until the end of next week "if we're lucky" and we now have to add in a £100 deposit. I guess this is why all the six sigma & efficiency experts come from the US. :)

But still, London is perfect and I could not be happier to be here. All the delays and inconveniences are a small price to pay to have the Atlantic between Texas & me.

Shaun


On 9/8/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Yesterday was a big step forward in the settlement of ## R_______ Court... we (supposedly) have a delivery date for the rest of our things (14 Sep) and a cable installation date (15 Sep). We're hiring our landlord's handyman to put together our beds & my wardrobe (£50 well spent!), so in theory we're a week away... we'll see. I shan't be lulled into complacency just to have another month of delays and £200 in cost thrown my way.

But the most important thing happened when I was speaking with some of our neighbors (the poor dears, they live in the country most of the time, and all they have to suffer in for their 4-5 weekends a year in London is this lousy new 2-bedroom flat with a view of St. Paul's (speaking of the building's age, I learned it is a ripe 13 years young, though has none of the ugliness you'd expect a new building to - it fits into the area very nicely *and* all the utilities work well - it's a gem (MD, I am learning!))) and I learned we need to get one more key.... for... yes... it's true! A private garden!!!! We have a private garden! How very English. It's nothing like the lovely old Nevern Square or even Grammercy Park in New York, but it's nice and only about 20 apartments have access to it.

So we are happy tenants of our flat. I can't wait for visitors.

Cheers,
Shaun


On 9/12/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Just a quick little note to mark a milestone... Today is my one month anniversary of arriving in Olde London Towne. Woo woo!

Last Friday I had a nice event happen, out of a not so good one. We had a massive rain storm and as a result many of the tubes flooded and lines were down. After trying three stations on three different lines I realized it was the bus for me. The buses are great here, so that's fine, it's just it's not like NYC where you get to a street going the way you want to go and get on the bus and it takes you up-, down- or cross-town. Buses go all over the place here, like a plate of spaghetti, and as a result there's not "A Map" of all the routes, but each stop has info on the routes that come to it. What I was proud of was being able to look at the bus guides at the stops and seeing where they go and piecing together my route home. Yay! It's almost like I live here or something. ;P

One other thing, being here with no TV the anniversary of 9/11 came and went with no recognition other than noticing the date on the paper. No articles, no tributes, no newscasts of any ceremonies. Kind of felt odd to be so removed from it.

Shaun


On 9/14/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Progress is being made!

Today, after only 27 days since ordering, Argos arrived with the rest of our furniture. We have beds! And a TV! This afternoon the building's handyman is going to come by and we're paying him to assemble everything. My friend Kip, bless his heart, put together the first round as a favor and I would not wish it on him again; so we are separating from a few pounds to make everyone's life happier.

Anyway, today TV, tomorrow cable/internet/land line!

But, the most important thing -- I GOT MY NI# TODAY! (That's the UK equivalent of a SS#.) Only 1.5 weeks after I applied. It must be a record!

So that's my happy news. Yay.

Hope all's well with everyone where you are.

Cheers,
Shaun


On 9/16/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Had a fun American vs. UK English incident yesterday. Can my Anglo friends tell me if this is rather isolated or if it's across the island?

I was explaining to my boss where I put some test files and I said "I created a folder called surface tests and then my name in parenthesis" and he said "What?".

I repeated, and he said "In what?" And I said "Parenthesis." and he had no idea what they were.

I said "You know, the little curves things" and motioned with my hands, and he said "Oh, brackets!"

"Ah, we call the square ones brackets. What do you call those?"

"Square brackets."

So I guess the British don't say "parenthetically".

I have a recollection from math that {}s have their own name as well -- does anyone remember that?*

2h15 till the weekend! Yahooey!

Shaun

*braces - congrats to Frank Jania for getting that first!


On 9/29/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Well, I've definitely made the decision -- I have made this move for the life change and not the money.

I just said no to a job that pays £19ph ($34ph). The job was great, challenging, the people were nice, I'd actually be doing project management & some people management... but it was just the location. It's in Stratford (Newham Borough, East London - where the Olympics are going), and it was just so dismal. Pound stores, a concrete shopping mall, "McTucky Fried Chicken" shops and just... blech. I didn't move to London for that. I just know I'd wake up every morning hating having to go there and I just don't can't do that again.

So I will bide my time in my current job until I find something better. I am in the city of my dreams, I have a job, I am not going to starve or be homeless, my wonderful flatmate would never let me endure a dinner without wine; I have nothing to complain about, my life is great. (Or per James Blunt, 'My life is brilliant'.)

Xo,
Shaun

No comments: