Well, I was considering waiting another week to post this blog, but it’s getting to the point where I don’t even remember what I did last weekend so I figured I should probably write something. Firstly, I’d like to say how much positive feedback I received from my last post, which I wasn’t really expecting. It was so nice and refreshing to hear what people had to say, and it encouraged me to keep sharing my thoughts. Secondly, I’ve already been gone three months?! What?? The Friday before last, we must have just stayed in all evening, cause I can’t for the life of me remember anything that we did. On Saturday, we went into London to go to the first ever Mulled Wine
Festival! It was free, but being that it was the first one, it was very oddly organized. It was organized by the Yelp App, so you HAD to download the app in order to get free entry. Then you had to stand in a super long line so that you could show someone that you “checked in” to the festival, and that person gave you two tickets to get into the two venues (one had six stalls, and one had three). Then once you got those tickets, you could go check out the stalls, but if you decided you wanted to leave and check out the other vendors (which were RIGHT BESIDE them, but in a different fenced-in area), you couldn’t re-enter the first one because you already handed in that ticket. So we had to choose wisely when leaving one venue and entering another one. Anyway, we had the best burgers I’ve ever had in my life (and I think my first burger since I’ve come to the UK), and I got to try mulled cider for the first time (which was absolutely delicious!). Still not a fan of mulled wine though, yuck. After that, we went into Chinatown to have an actual dinner, but oddly found an Irish pub in the middle of it. We read the menu and found out that the pub served poutine, with cheese curds and gravy!!! We decided to skip Chinese food in order to have some of our native food that both of us were craving. However, when we were served our “poutines,” we were disappointed to see that the “cheese curds” were dried up cottage cheese, and the “gravy” was barbecue sauce. Somewhat disappointing.. At least they tried, I guess. After that, we headed over to Oxford Street to do a bit of shopping before heading back home.
On Sunday, I headed back into London because I booked a photoshoot! There’s a company that’s similar to
Groupon here, and it gives really awesome deals so I figured I might as well treat myself. I’ve never even been to a spa in my life, never gotten a manicure or a pedicure, only gotten my hair and makeup done for weddings or high school graduation. It was time for me to finally do something for me. With my package, I got a makeover/hair session, a photoshoot with up to five outfits, two complimentary pictures, a gift bag, and some champagne during the whole process! I was actually pretty unsure and nervous when I got there, as I had never done anything like that in my life. But the photographer made things super easy and comfortable, so it just ended up being a lot of fun! I bought two extra pictures so I was able to take four home with me, and I absolutely love them! Definitely worth it! And now, I might just have to go and do it again. I think I’m hooked! 😛
Last week, I worked at a different school each day so it was somewhat of a crazy week. On Monday, I taught at my first all-boys school, and I got to teach French! The teacher had been visiting family in France for the weekend but because of the attacks in Paris and the France borders being closed, she wasn’t able to come back to the UK. Pretty scary! On Tuesday, I got to teach music. On Wednesday, I taught history (mostly just by watching the Hitler movie). On Thursday, I taught English and math. Then
on Thursday night, one of my friends from Bamfield (Kurt) arrived in London! He’s doing a one-month study abroad type thing at Cambridge for his thesis, so he stayed with us for the weekend before going to Cambridge. The next morning (Friday), the three of us ALL got up at six, and then Jess and I tried calling into work at 7 but couldn’t get through. We finally got through at 7:20 and apparently no one could get into the building so no one could take our calls. Apparently this also lost them a lot of jobs, so about a half hour later, our agent called Jess and said we’d both be getting the day off (yay!). So Kurt went to get ready so we could all spend the day in London! However, five minutes later, our agent called me and said he had work for me 😦 And it would be at a primary school, teaching year 6…(?) I was so sad cause I was looking forward to having a day off, so it seemed like the longest day ever. I really had no idea what I was supposed to be doing most of the time, because the cover work was really unclear, and the kids would get through everything really fast and then there wouldn’t be anything else for them to do, so I’d just be like, “Let’s play hangman.” The majority of the day seemed to be dedicated to the kids having free time. For the last hour of the day, the kids had “Golden Time,” which is when they got to take out board games or draw, or do whatever they wanted. Then at the end of the day (3:30), I had to take all the kids outside, line them up, shake each of their hands, and wait with them until their parents came to get them (so weird!). And of course, there’s ALWAYS that one kid whose parent never comes. Finally at 3:45, one of the other teachers said I could leave and they would stay with my last student. I rushed home and then Jess and I met Kurt at the Little Feast market, where we had dinner. There’s this AMAZING vendor there that only sells paleo meals, and it’s so good (I’ve been following it to different markets)! They serve their food on cauliflower rice, with a side of coconut pancakes, which are delicious! After spending enough time outside in the cold, we made our way to Westfield Mall, which is HUGE! We did a bit of looking around, and then enjoyed some coffee and ice cream before heading home.
On Saturday, we got up and had lunch before taking a long bus ride to the Natural History Museum, which was extremely busy! We had to stand outside for about 10-15 minutes before they let us in. When we got in, we went to some of the less popular exhibits, such as ecology and minerals (cause who wants to look at those?!), so it wasn’t nearly as crowded as the rest of the museum. We also went through the aquatic mammals exhibit and then when we were done, the dinosaur section had lost its popularity, so we got to walk right in! After that, we took an extremely cold walk towards Hyde Park, where they have Winter Wonderland! It’s basically like the Exhibition, except winter (and German) themed. We got in and I was drawn straight to the hot chocolate, cause they make it using chocolate from a chocolate fountain! Delicious! Then we just took a walk around the park, which was pretty neat. I’ll definitely go back another time to check it out, but we were so cold (I have no idea how people could go on rides in that weather!). We walked to Oxford Street to do our weekly shopping at Primark (the best clothing store ever!), and then we went for a late late dinner at this amazing Korean place called Bibimbap (try saying that ten times fast!). It’s basically a rice/meat/veggie dish served in a hot stone plate, so it constantly cooks (and stays hot!) the entire time you’re eating it.
On Sunday, I had a lazy day. All of us slept in quite well, and then Kurt left around noon to head to Cambridge. That gave me the rest of the day to catch up on my TV shows, and chat with family on FaceTime. This past week, I’ve been doing some experimenting on my diet. Why? Well, the past couple of months, I’ve been feeling
|Baked Salmon with Sweet
extremely bloated all the time. Which was mostly my reasoning for getting a gym membership, but then I still didn’t feel all that great. I don’t remember if I’ve shared this on my blog before or not (I know I’ve shared bits and pieces), but I’ll give a quick recap for everyone who doesn’t know. Back when I was 18, I started to feel extremely alone. I put myself down and convinced myself that everyone would be better off without me. This is where I’m thankful for being raised in Christian household, because I remember thinking to myself that suicide was a sin and had I not thought that, I’m scared to think what I might have done. Anyway, I was in a major state of depression. I felt like a monster. I felt like something was taking over my mind and my body, and I knew it wasn’t me in there. Finally, I confided in my mom and said, “I’m not myself. Something’s going on, I need to get checked out.” So my family doctor did different tests and concluded that nothing was wrong. But I was CONVINCED something was going on. Where was my happy self? I felt like something was eating me up, bit by bit, and if I didn’t do anything to stop it, the
|Cabbage Roll Casserole|
result could be irreversible. If a doctor wasn’t going to find out what was wrong, I was going to. So I did my own research, and went back to my doctor and said, “I think I have PCOS.” So she did the blood tests, and concluded that I was right. PCOS is short for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and plays a huge role in imbalanced hormones (which explains my depression). Women with PCOS may also have problems with insulin resistance, because of chronic inflammation from gluten and dairy products. Then those high levels of insulin will cause high levels of testosterone, which will make PCOS symptoms worse. Gluten and dairy
|African Curry Chicken
intolerances are also linked to PCOS. Therefore, this week I decided to try my best with having a gluten-free and dairy-free diet (in other words, a Paleo Diet). This means I’ve had to plan my meals in advance so I could shop for ingredients, and actually cook dinners instead of turning to something quick and easy that has been prepackaged. I feel like eating gluten-free is a lot easier in the UK than it is in Canada. Most grocery stores have a “Free From” section, which advertises the items that are free from dairy and free from gluten. They even have a bunch of Christmas items! So I have dairy-free and gluten-free gingerbread men, and I can get a dairy-free chocolate advent calendar (not sure how I feel about this…). Anyway, I can confidently say that after a week of eating this way (with a few accidental as well as purposeful mishaps — “Oops, this chocolate fell into my mouth..”), I feel so much better! My pants are a lot less snug, and I have my stomach back! So I guess I’m going to have to make some changes to the food I eat. And for once, I’m going to be one of those lame people
|Caramel Apple Pork
Chops with Snap Peas
who post all of their meals online. Cause, well, it’s my blog, and I’ll post what I want 🙂 If anyone wants any of the recipes, let me know cause they were ALL amazing!
On Monday, I sent in a complaint to our neighbourhood council about our flat. For one, our front door won’t open and close correctly. Secondly, the condensation in our flat is getting really bad – our bedding and clothes are constantly damp and there’s mold growing in the bathroom. Third, our windows suck and don’t really help with the condensation and ventilation problems. And fourth, our thermostat doesn’t control the heat in our flat. Also on Monday, the landlord agency wrote to inform us that the electrician would be over on Tuesday to “fix” our carbon monoxide detectors, so we asked that he come at 4:30. The neighbourhood council got back to me on Tuesday and said that they would send a formal complaint to our agency and give them 28 days to fix the problems. That evening, Jess and I waited for the electrician to come, who didn’t show up until 6pm(!), and showed up empty handed. I asked if he had the detectors and he rudely replied, “Yes, I have lots. But I can’t drill after 4pm, and the company said you had a question to ask me before I brought them over. So is that your question?” “Well no, I don’t have any questions. We just wanted to be here when you were installing them.” “So I came all the way over here from central London for you to tell me that. Fine. 10am tomorrow. Be there.” “Well, we work so that won’t work for us.” “Well tell me then, what time between 8 and 4 work for you?” “It doesn’t unless it’s at 4.” “Well I can’t drill after 4. You choose or I just won’t come at all. So I’ll charge the company for tonight since I came all the way over here and then you can figure out tomorrow.” (He was so rude!!!) “Why wouldn’t you just call us to ask what question we had instead of coming from London and charging the company?” “I don’t like to get involved with tenants and their contact information. So am I coming or no?” I didn’t know what else to say at this point, cause I was waiting for Jess to jump in. He asked, “What’s the big deal anyway?” Finally Jess came and explained that the landlords entered our flat without our permission, so we’re anxious about letting other people into the flat when neither of us are home. He softened and suddenly became all nice about it. So we agreed that he could come tomorrow while we were at work. However, I did ask him if he was part of the company and he said no, he was his own private business. “And you have a key to our flat..?” “Yes, I have a key to every flat I do business in.” That rubbed me the wrong way. So I went and did what I do best.. wrote an email to Lashari:
To whom it may concern,
This is to let you know that even though we arrived at our flat at 4:30pm yesterday, no one showed up until 6pm. The electrician’s visit wasn’t to install the carbon monoxide detectors, but solely because you told him we had questions to ask him (which we didn’t; we wanted to be present when someone was in our flat since it’s been trespassed on before). So he came the whole way to answer questions that we didn’t have. He also had a key to our flat. I’d just like to inform you that outside businesses should not have keys to our flat, and these people should be accompanied by the agent (Ahmad), or allowed into the flat by ourselves. We now know that the electrician has a key to our flat, the cleaning agency has a key to our flat, the gas contractor has a key to our flat, AND Ahmad has a key to our flat, meaning there are at least four keys circulating around London. This makes us very uncomfortable because if there are four that we know of, there may be more that we don’t know of. The only people who should have keys to our flat are Ahmad and ourselves. Please rectify the situation, or we will have to change our lock for the remainder of our tenancy.
I still haven’t heard back from Lashari from any of the emails I’ve sent to them. This past weekend, it actually went to -1 on Saturday night so I turned on the gas for the first time in weeks. However, throughout the evening and night, the boiler shut off three times, which caused the gas (and hot water) to shut off as well. The next day, the boiler cupboard was soaking wet. I texted the “emergency number” and they quickly replied, saying someone would be over that night. So Sunday evening, the gas guy (slash plumber?) showed up and took a look in our boiler cupboard, and said that an entire pipe was missing. He then made a list of about 6 or 7 (apparently expensive) items that he would need to buy and said that he’d come back the next day. Today, he texted me and said that the boiler was fixed and then he called later this evening and told me that the electrician (who was here on Wednesday) must have done something when he was installing the carbon monoxide detectors. Wow.. That day, I also received an email from Lashari, saying that the maintenance team would be visiting our property to inspect and resolve all pending maintenance issues. My guess is that they got the neighbourhood council complaint 🙂 So let’s hope that things will start changing around here!
Anyway, I’d just like to let everyone know that due to the threat posed by ISIS via Twitter, Jess and I are keeping ourselves safe and will not be going into central London this week, just in case the threats end up being true. We’d rather not take our chances. And I’d rather not have my friends and family worried about my safety during that time. Luckily, there will be tons of Christmas markets happening in our neighbourhood so we’ll still be able to keep ourselves occupied! Hope everyone is doing well! Enjoy the last week of November!
Ain’t Nobody (Loves Me Better) – Felix Jaehn feat. Jasmine Thompson
^^LOVE THIS SONG!!^^