Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sensory Overload

SO much stuff to do.... there will be so many updates soon enough. But for now, there is no Internet at the house and I have to sit in Starbucks and pay out the nose for it.

Updates soon! London is awesome!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Of Guineas and Goodbyes

Today is a very sad day for me. I will be saying goodbye to both of my sets of kids: the human ones and the little, furry, wheeky ones.

This morning was my very last morning getting up at 7 am; putting out two jars of breakfast cereal, 3-4 bowls and spoons, and milk and yoghurt; peeling and cutting up various fruits for the breakfast mix; and making two snackboxes for the kids. Every. Weekday. For. A. Year.

So glad that's over.

The kids were all packed and ready this morning when I got up - Silke had done it all last night. They had their little kiddie Samsonite suitcases and their little kindergarten backpacks stuffed full of everything to go to Ireland. I have to admit, I'm a little jealous of these guys. Leah is 3 and Samuel is 5, and they've flown and traveled more often and to more places than most Americans do in a whole lifetime. Plus, they're going to Ireland before me. They can't even drink Guinness and appreciate the hot accents yet! Totally unfair.

I'm not very good at goodbyes. I remember this very day last year as I stood in the hall and watched Meredith, the former au pair, squat down and hug both the kids tightly, smiling and promising to send M&Ms from California. The kids seemed sad to see her go, but in the delightful way kids have, they'd recovered in about 2.5 seconds. And that's how it was with me. I did the same scene, sitting back on my heels in the hallway, and hugged them each tightly for a few seconds. I wished them a good trip and told them I'd send them goodies from Britain. And then they got in the car and were gone. I don't know what I was expecting - a long, tearful goodbye? These are kids. They've had 3 au pairs before me, and they already know the name of the next one (Clara). They move on fast. I'm relieved for this job to be over, and to be starting school and moving - but I don't think I'll get over them quite so fast.

As for the guinea pigs, I spent a little time this afternoon washing the cage floor and getting everything nice and clean for Ken. I'm really, really grateful that he's taking them so I didn't have to give them to the tierheim, or someone I didn't know. He has shown interest in having piggies before, and is a good guy, so at least I know they will be well cared for. So we set them up in their new home, and they both went in their little house in the corner, curled up, and lay down for a nap. I think they will be ok.

All ready to go

Cuddly pigs

Enjoying the sunshine

Amadeus browsing teh interwebz

It's like, trippy, man...

My room seems that much emptier now without the piggy cage in it, although the four ginourmous suitcases in the corner might make up for it.

Four days!!!

PS - Yes, I have a lot more pictures of my guinea pigs than of the kids. Now you understand me that much better.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Packing is driving me crazy

PACKING! AGH! It's been fairly easy bringing stuff to Germany, because I've made two trips home since I "moved" here, and was able to bring things I wanted over here in small amounts. But now, all the clothes and stuff I've brought over/bought here must be packed into suitcases and boxes and shipped to England. You will never truly know how much stuff you have and how much clutter in your life you can get rid of til you have to move countries! I swear I have thrown away just as much as I've kept, and given away about 6 large shopping bags of clothes to the secondhand stores. Still, I am shipping two very large boxes, checking 4 large suitcases, and carrying on two backpacks. Phew.

With the clothes I've left in my closet to wear for this week, plus various toiletries, it will definitely be a tight squeeze on Monday afternoon sticking things in every last bit of space I can find, whilst still trying to stay under the 25 kilo weight limit. This is harder than I thought it would be.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

New House

Things are happening very fast! It's all rather exciting.

I was supposed to be moving in with Mia in Wood Green, but she wanted to find a house for just her, me, and Tyyne, without the roommates she currently has, who are apparently a bit of a nightmare. To her endless credit, she got out there
and searched, and she has found a new place! It is a 3-bedroom house in Stratford, with a nice old landlady who is being very accommodating to us. Tyyne is unsure how long she will be living with us, but the landlady said that it's ok, we only pay for the bedrooms we inhabit.

I will be getting the mid-sized bedroom, and believe me when I say I already have this thing fully decorated in my head. I am so, so pumped about getting there and nest-building.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


My visa came back today! And as an added bonus, they were kind enough to return my original IB diploma, which I was informed they would most likely keep in their records. How kind of them.

Someone warn the UK... I have been approved to wreak havoc on their cities and countrymen.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Visa Application

Today I had my visa application appointment at 1:30 pm. What a chore. Heath was assuring me that it would probably be at the UK Embassy with helpful, friendly Brits and fast, friendly service.


It was on the corner of a nondescript street in some random part of town in a bland looking office building, the type where businesses rent out one of the hundreds of little office rooms on its many floors. The UK passport "office" was on the first floor, taking up two little rooms, next to an office with the Singaporean insignia on it. I was asked to sit on a chair whilst he typed in every bit of information from my printed visa application, even though I had already sent an online version. He asked me what supporting documents I had brought, so I showed him. I had been hoping for someone who was well-versed in the process, who could help tell me if I had everything or not, because every website on the visa application process is so unhelpful and never gives you a set, certain list of everything you need to bring. But no, he was just some man paid minimum wage to be a type-monkey, and it showed. He was very brisk and unfriendly, and after typing in my info, he took my picture and fingerprints, and demanded 30 Euros further, in cash, for courier service that would return my passport to my house as soon as it was ready.


Most visas are approved and returned within 10-15 BUSINESS days, so I'm hoping so much mine gets here on time.