So I’m now somehow at my seven month point since I left home. Seems like just yesterday when I claimed it had been six months! Time in London goes by so fast compared to back at home, it’s insane! Since I wrote last, I’ve changed houses and I’ve changed teaching agencies. The last week of February was quite stressful since I needed to find a place to live before getting kicked out. I was lucky enough to find a place in the same area, about a five-minute walk away from my old place. It’s in the top floor of an apartment with three other girls about my age, and rent is over 150 pounds less than what I used to be paying! I thought moving would be quite easy, but I didn’t actually realize how much stuff I had until I started the moving process. I made at least ten trips and everything seemed to continue to pile up with every trip I made. That week, I also had a few social events that I was able to take part in. Because Miss Saigon was finishing at the end of February, my friend from Saskatoon (Kim) and I decided to go. It was absolutely amazing! Most likely the best musical I’ve been to. The cast was so talented, the voices were beautiful, and it was so easy to get emotionally attached to the characters. I have to admit that I had no idea what it would be about, but it was a great storyline and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the theatre. That weekend, we also went to a special event called “A Canadian Evening in London,” which ended up selling out to 200-250 Canadians. At any of these events, the only people to ever dress up are (of
course) the Roughrider fans so it was quite easy to find people from home! There was also a girl there who worked for a teaching agency (which is technically for Australians and Kiwis), and we exchanged information with her after finding out that they would pay us more money. It was quite a good night! They made REAL caesars, and then we got to eat poutine and perogies! I’ve also never heard so many “sorry’s” since I moved to London. London people are quite cold, and no matter how many times you get pushed around by people on the street, it seems like I’m the only one who ever says sorry here (and Justin Bieber, I guess..) so it was a breath of fresh air when I heard sorry’s all around!
I slowly unpacked during the week and eventually got settled into my new place. It actually didn’t take long for me to go from feeling like I was a guest staying in someone else’s house, to feeling like it was my own place. I already feel at home here and it’s only been three weeks! The other great thing about this place is Jess found a place in the apartment building right beside mine, so it worked out really well! We’ve still been going through quite a bit of drama with our old place though. I can’t discuss it into too much detail, just in case we end up going to court. Basically, they only gave us part of our deposit back because they’re making us pay for the tv, which is fine cause we said we would. However, they’re saying the tv cost 270 pounds (plus a 30 pound installation fee?), so they took 150 pounds from each of us. Legally, they can’t take that money because they didn’t treat it as a deposit by law (I’ve explained this before, but basically if you take a deposit from a tenant, the deposit has to go into a protection scheme which means that the government holds onto it, and it can’t be released unless both parties agree on the amount that the tenant gets back). They didn’t do this, so technically they shouldn’t have been able to take our ‘deposit’ money; they would have had to charge us for the tv in a completely separate transaction. On top of that, they haven’t been able to provide the receipt that shows that the tv cost 300 pounds (cause that’s an awful lot of money for a tv!). They’ve sent me two receipts, both of which aren’t the right date, aren’t the right brand, aren’t the right size, and both were smart tv’s, which we didn’t have. On top of that, the one receipt was 330 pounds and then they had the nerve to demand we pay them the difference! As if… Anyway, I’ve sent them an official letter saying that they have 14 days to figure things out, or we’ll send them court papers (which obviously I won’t do because I can’t afford it, but I’m hoping it’ll scare them into giving our money back). The people downstairs weren’t so lucky at first.. The agency didn’t give back their fees and said they weren’t planning on paying them back at all. However, the tenants threatened to take them to court and they eventually got their money back. The first week in our new apartments, I found out that a package had been delivered to our old place, so Jess and I went to see if we could get it. When we walked up to the house, there was a lady standing there who we’ve never seen before and she asked if we were there for a viewing. We were really confused because we’ve always dealt with the same guy through the duration of our tenancy, so we had no idea who she was. I explained that we used to live there and asked if she could let me get my mail, which she did. I was so mad that the agency had kicked us out to do “renovations,” and the house was already back up for viewings five days after we moved out (or perhaps sooner, who knows?). Anyway, a week later I found the listing online and decided to set up a viewing. I was so scared going in, since I thought the lady would recognize me! Anyway, they actually did do renovations! Or at least cut down a wall.. When Jess and I were living there, there was still a floor above us, but they had built a wall in front of the stairs and put a huge mirror on the wall to hide the fact that there was anything there. We figured it out pretty quick, when we started to question absolutely everything about the apartment, and I ended up climbing out the window onto the roof to look in the upstairs windows and take pictures (haha oops, failed to mention that in previous blogs…). Anyway, the agency got rid of that wall, which opened up two bedrooms upstairs so NOW, our 2-bedroom flat is a 4-bedroom flat! Just another way for the agency to make more money off of people!
Jess and I ended up buying tickets to Mamma Mia one night, but ended up getting ripped off as they were restricted views (as in extremely restricted), so we had to stand for the entire musical in order to see anything. Wasn’t the best show, but it might have also been where we were sitting that contributed to that. The second week of March, we had an interview with the new teaching agency and decided to sign up with them that day. However, we stayed with Prospero for the rest of the week, just so that we didn’t complicate things. My agent was quite taken by surprise when I told him I was quitting on my last day… He went on to say that he would have paid me more if I had talked to him about it, but I felt like he was bluffing since it was like pulling teeth any time we had to talk to him about money. Already with this new agency, I’ve seen a massive change and it’s only been a week! I’ve always been told about a job in advance (so far), and I haven’t had to get up early and wait for a phonecall (Prospero had promised this when we signed on, but advanced warning happened once in a blue moon), and this agency has so far treated us like actual people, and not as sales products who they’re making money off of. So far, so good! However, I now have to get used to a whole bunch of new schools since every agency is associated with their own schools. One of the schools I went to was an all-boys’ school, and it was one of the worst schools I’ve been to. They don’t have a very good behaviour system at this school, so the students can get away with anything (and they know they can), and they won’t be reprimanded for it. So anytime I said I’d talk to the headteacher about their behaviour, they’d laugh in my face and say that they wouldn’t do anything about it. This week especially, I’ve been bullied by more kids than ever.. Remember when I said that the kids here say stuff that I would never dream of saying to a teacher? Or an adult for that matter.. This week, I’ve been called a liar twice, I’ve been told I’m a horrible teacher or that I shouldn’t be a teacher at least three times, and then one day when I was leaving school and walking to the bus stop, I had three students yell out, “F*** you!” and one student yell out, “Skinny c***!” Of course, I called the school to complain and she said that she would deal with it, but who knows if that’s the case. Absolutely ridiculous! Hopefully I won’t have to work at that school very often… I warned my favourite school that I was changing agencies, and they’ve already contacted me through this one so that should make it easier. The fire alarm went off one day, which is the first time I’ve ever heard one go off while I’ve been here. Maybe they don’t do drills here? Anyway, I’ve never seen a more organized evacuation in my life! The kids weren’t allowed to talk on the way out, or even while they were outside waiting to come in, and they all stood in perfect lines outside. I don’t think we’d ever get away with that in Canada! It was 9 degrees and most of the teachers were wearing jackets, and were shivering so bad. I just stood there normally in my long-sleeved shirt and I was fine. Obviously they haven’t had to do fire drills in -20 degree weather while wearing a t-shirt! We had a work party this last Friday with the new agency, which was a lot of fun! Until I got home.. The party was at an Australian bar and they had a coat rack, which my coat was on for at least part of the night. At the end of the night when I went to get my coat, there was a huge pile of jackets on the floor so I had to go through the pile to find my jacket. I had thought I transferred everything in my jacket pockets to my purse at the beginning of the night, so I didn’t think anything was wrong when I grabbed my jacket. However when I got home, I went to get my keys out of my purse and saw they weren’t there! I sat on the sidewalk and emptied out my entire purse and started freaking out when I realized that they must have been in my jacket pocket. It was 1 in the morning, and I could only hope that my flatmate was still awake. Must have been my luck, cause she happened to roll over in the middle of sleeping to see that I had texted her! Yesterday, I was able to take her keys to get cut but when I got home, the key didn’t work! So then I had to go back and get it re-cut (each of these trips taking about 45 minutes out of my day), so now at least I have the keys to get in. The only key I don’t have is the key to my room, which I don’t keep locked anyway, but I’ll need to replace it somehow or I’ll likely have to pay for a new lock. I’ve contacted the event planner, my boss, and the bar but I still haven’t heard anything. My friend said his jacket was gone at the end of the night too, so I guess I wasn’t the only one with bad luck. Just a super inconvenient way to spend the weekend! Hopefully they’ll end up popping up at some point… Yesterday evening, Jess and I went to Camden market, which is a HUGE flea market with absolutely everything you can think of. Because of my key situation, our day was cut short but hopefully we can go back sometime and spend an entire day there, cause there’s so much to see! I ended up buying some rubber boots and some new spring dresses!
I have four more days of work left before I have a two-week holiday, but that means I’m going to be extremely short on cash coming up! It’ll be worth it though 🙂 I hope everyone’s doing well! Love always
If So – Atlas Genius