London gets snowed in…

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It was a bit funny.  Last week, I was making fun of my friends and family back home because of all the snow they got recently.  And now I’m the one stuck at home because of the snow … in London.  London never gets snow like this…

img_00691Last night, London (and most of the UK) got hit by a bad storm, with about 6 inches (15 cm) of snow hitting London, with other parts of Britain and Scotland getting even more.  This is the most snow the UK has seen in about 18 years, and there’s still more to come – about another 4 inches or so later today (Monday).

IMPACT OF THE SNOWFALL (as per BBC website)

One of two runways closed at Heathrow
Passengers stranded at Gatwick
Southampton Airport closed

London City and Luton airports closed
London buses withdrawn
Train services cancelled

Hundreds of schools closed

img_00701As for myself, I thought nothing of still getting up and going into work.  Back home, this amount of snow wouldn’t have been a big deal, and everyone would still go about their days as normal.

img_0071I didn’t get very far … I got as far as Gospel Oak overground station when they announced that all Westbound trains were being cancelled, and that everyone should try to find other transportation, if they absolutely needed to be out traveling in this weather.  At the same time, I’d heard from several of my agents, plus my friend Vince who works with me, that the District line on the Tube was closed as of Earl’s Court towards Richmond/Gunnersbury.

So with all this info, I decided to try to head back home … only to get stuck at Highbury & Islington station for close to 2 hours img_0080waiting for a train to come so I could go home.  All in all, this little trek, 1/3 of the way to work, took me about 4 hours!!  A trip that normally only takes maybe 20 to 30 minutes on a normal day (generally takes me 1 1/2 hrs to get to work, door to door).

So, should be interesting to see what happens tonight and tomorrow, and how the transport services are running.  Who knows .. maybe I’ll have a second snow day.  🙂

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A Night in HEAVEN

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Last night, I went out with my friend from work, Vince.  Initially, we’d planned on meeting for a drink or two in Soho at the Duke of Wellington, and then head down to the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT for short) for their usual Saturday night ‘Duckie’ show (think drag show on acid…).

Instead, we ended up agreeing to meet a fellow ex-pat friend of his from South Africa at a bar called the Ku Bar, which was pretty decent … once we actually found it.  Since we didn’t know where it was, we both got out our mobiles and checked on the GPS, which was off by about 3 blocks, and had the completely wrong address.

img_0022Anyway, once we got there and met up with Vince’s friend Ian, we went in to meet some friends of Ian’s.  Next thing we knew it was an hour or so later, and they were inviting us to go to G-A-Y @ HEAVEN with them.  I’d never been, and wasn’t 100% certain if it was my scene (for those in Montreal, think Unity/Sky crossed with Stereo … but really cool), but I figured why not.  Never hurts to try new things, right?  Besides, by the time we’d have gotten to RV T, the show would have been about half over…

So off we went back over to Old Compton Street to get ourselves some wrist-bands so we could get in free before walking down to the club, which is right at Embankment Station, down the street from Trafalgar Square.

spotlightimg_0021Well, surprisingly enough, I absolutely LOVED it there!  It had nothing to do with what type of guys were there, or how hot they were (some were really hot, especially the one bartender…others were too twinky for my liking).  It was more about the vibe of the place, and the terrific music mix.  I think everyone went a little mad when they played mixes from Jennifer Hudson (Spotlight) and Katy Perry (Hot N’ Cold).

img_0027Vince, Ian and I spent the entire night together, dancing and drinking our asses off.  I think we all lost track how much we all drank last night … we’d been drinking doubles since Ku Bar, so we were stumbling and slurring just a bit here and there.  Well, Ian was before either of us were.  Don’t think he’s used to drinking that much.  LOL

img_0029To be honest, most of the night was a bit of a blur, but none of us really noticed.  We were way too busy having fun, and none of us seemed to be trying to find someone to pick up (not that I noticed anyway…).  Sure, all of us were constantly checking out the guys, but it was more about enjoying the music and each other’s company.img_0031

The funny thing is one of my flatmates, Agi, has been trying to get me to go there for months now with her and her girlfriend.  I’d always put her off because I didn’t think I’d like it there … now there’s no excuses.  Next time they ask me to go with them, I’ll have no choice but to join them.

Such a difficult life … 😉

And the Oscar Goes to…

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genericThat’s right everyone, it’s Oscar time.  Anyone who knows me reasonably well should know I absolutely love watching the Academy Awards, and for many years while living in Montreal, I’d get together with my friend (and former boss/roommate) Shawn.

Each year, we’d get together, either just the two of us or occasionally with a couple of others, and be glued to the tv screen as we watched the award show.  We’d order take out, get some munchies, and wouldn’t get up unless it was a commercial.

Now that I’m living in London, I don’t have someone to watch them with here (and probably wouldn’t be able to live…), but at least Shawn and I can still chat about what we think of the nominations.

Here’s my email I just sent him …  really hope he doesn’t mind I used it on here.  Oh, and to check out the full list of Nominees, please click HERE.


Hey Shawn,

Just read the nominations (actually, watched the recorded announcement on the Oscar.com website…), and thought I’d give you a shout and see what you thought of it all…curiouscaseofbenjaminbutton_pi

changeling_jolieaKinda an odd bunch, huh?  Brangelina are both nominated .. a little odd, but not completely out of left field.

Robert Downey tropicthunder_downeyjrrJr gets a comedy nod, but won’t unfortunately win darkknight_ledgerhno matter how good of an actor he is (or how much ‘Iron Man’ made at the box office) – it’ll all be about Heath Ledger getting the posthumous award.  I hope….

doubt_streepmTons of nominations for ‘Doubt’, including one for Meryl Streep, but I’ve never even heard of it.  I don’t even know if it’s open over here.  Shocking there wasn’t one for ‘Mama Mia’ … oh yeah, it was cute and all, but it really wasn’t that good!  Especially Pierce Brosnan!vickycristinabarcelona_cruzp

Penelope Cruz gets nominated again for playing a crazy, slutty Spaniard .. can we say type-casting??  HAHAHAH

rachelgettingmarried_hathawayaAnne Hathaway gets a nod?  I heard ‘Rachel Getting Married’ was good (although didn’t seem to make a blip at the box-office), but she’s totally getting it for not playing her usual bubbly self, cutting her hair, and trying to look all tough .. or maybe it’s something to do with that little scandal she had last year.  Hmmm…

wrestler_rourkemUmm… Mickey Rourke?!?!?!?!?  I’ve heard some good stuff about ‘The Wrestler’ and all, but … it’s milk_pennsMICKEY ROURKE?!?!?!  All I can think of is ‘9 1/2 Weeks’!!!  LOL  (Not even going to comment on the other former ‘bad-boy’ nominated … Sean Penn is such a good actor, he deserves it!)

slumdogmillionaire‘Slumdog Millionaire’ … it’s the one movie that’s come out of nowhere, and EVERYONE is talking about it. And I think it’s now become a front-runner for Best Picture.  Weird… but in a cool, interesting sort of way.

wrestler_tomeimAnd how the hell did Marisa Tomei get ANOTHER nomination??  She can’t act her way out of a torn, wet paperbag while holding a pair of scissors.  LMAO

Of course, the sad thing is, other than ‘The Dark Knight’ and the animated movies, I haven’t seen a single one of these movies!!!  Hahahaha  Our internet was down over the holidays so couldn’t d/l or watch anything online (not even YouTube… it sucked), and I’ve only been to the movies once over here … on a date, and he dragged me to see ‘The Women’.  It was cute and all, but I wanted my money back.  😉

So, what’s your take on the nominations?  Like my Facebook status says, I have no idea how I’ll be able to watch them over here.  Definitely not live … I’d be getting to bed at 5 or 6 am, and I get up for work at 6:30!!  Oh well… sure I’ll figure that one out.

Talk soon … and Happy Award-Show Season!!!  LMAO

M

PS:  After re-reading what I just wrote .. this is today’s Blog entry.  It’s all about multitasking.  😉

Looking For a Few Good Friends

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As most people in my life know, I moved to London about 4 months ago from Canada and I’ve had an amazing time setting up my life here.

Unfortunately there’s a few things missing, namely some romance (see Eternally Single) and some good friends.  Sure there are other things as well, like a decent career (don’t get me started on working in call centres, please!) or a place to truly call home, but I don’t want to go into those right now.u0205_colton_03_x322

I literally mean that I need to find myself some people I can truly calls friends … and haven’t either already slept with them, or want to.  I never claimed to be an angel, I just come across that way … well, maybe in my dreams.  😉

Since moving to London, I have met a couple of people that I can call friends, but none of them would be even remotely considered a ‘best’ friend, let alone a close one.  To me a close/best friend is someone who wants to talk to you basically every day, and right now I’m lucky if my mobile even rings once a day … and that’s usually a text message, not someone calling.

Also, some of these new ‘friends’ are people I work with, and I’ve noticed that when you’re not at work, you don’t hear from them.  That doesn’t work for me either.

Once again, I’ve been given the same advice regarding this as I was about being so painfully single: that I need to be patient because I’ve only been in London for 4 months.  I understand the advice, but you’d think after 4 months I’d have met at least one person that wouldn’t mind hanging out on a fairly regular basis.

I think what I’m having trouble adjusting to living here in London, is that people here are always busy.  They always have somewhere to go and someone to meet.  They always have something to do, and right now I feel like I’m floundering.

Luckily, this is something I can do something about.  Thanks to my friend Andrew (who I briefly dated a couple of months ago), I’m joining a gay bowling league of sorts.  It’s actually a softball league, but they bowl in the off-season, and this could be a good way for me to start making some new friends … in a non-sexual way.  I’d been contemplating joining some kind of group like this for awhile now, and it was just good timing when Andrew mentioned it to me over drinks just before New Year’s.

So, hopefully joining this group will not only give me something to do once or twice a month, but it’ll hopefully lead to me actually meeting some new people in London.  My fingers are crossed … just have to relax and remember it won’t all happen in one night.

Wish me luck!

Flying to London

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So, after all that preparation, waiting and anxiety, there I was on September 3rd at Pearson International Airport (Toronto) with my parents.  It was finally all happening!  I was leaving Canada to set up a new life in London.  What a scary freakin’ thought!

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Of course, we had the usual mess at check in:  my bags were both WAY over weight and I had to open them up right there and repack.  There’s nothing like a last-minute repack in front of a bunch of strangers.  To this day I still have no clue what crap I left behind with my parents.

Which reminds me… they still have to send that stuff to me..  hmmm.

Anyway, we got to the airport WAY too early, like 3 hours too early!  So after checking in my bags, and having some supper in one of the over crowded restaurants, my parents and I just wandered around the terminal, checked out the gift shops, and I ducked out for several cigarettes.  The closer it got to my flight time, the more nervous I got… on top of moving to another country, this was my first time flying!!

Once it became time to go through the security check, emotions were definitely running high.  There were loads of tears, kisses and hugs.. who knew Dad was so emotional.  😉

Oh, who am I kidding, I was bawling my eyes out too!!

So, because I was so emotionally distracted, I went through the metal detector without removing my belt, keys, and change in my pockets.  How embarrassing!!  And the security staff weren’t very friendly either… in fact, they mumbled and I had to ask them repeatedly to speak up.

Alright, let’s just jump ahead of all this boring crap.  Next thing I knew (after finally getting my belt back on), I was crammed into my window seat with my laptop between my feet (didn’t fit under the seat like it was supposed to… so I over-pack, alright?), and holding onto the arm rests for dear life.  I definitely freaking out a little.

Luckily, the two ladies that were seated beside me were chatty, and this distracted me somewhat.  Until the engines started and we started to taxi down the runway…. All I remember thinking was, ‘What the fuck was I doing?!?!?  Am I freakin’ crazy?!?!’, but once the jets kicked in (cool feeling, that), and we got up in the air, I was totally fine.  I’d freaked out for nothing.

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The flight itself was completely boring.  The most interesting thing that happened was I had to be moved to another seat because my headphone jack was bunged up… got to be able to watch the movie.   lol  And lucky me, it was right by the galley and the bathrooms.  They really shouldn’t serve curry chicken on those flights.  LOL

So, after a fairly boring 7 hour or so flight (and I surprisingly didn’t drink…), we started circling to land at Gatwick Airport in London.  Everyone was straining to get a glimpse of London and all of England below us… and I would have had a terrific view if I hadn’t been moved because of a stupid earplug.  Damn whomever did that!  😉

Anyway, the airport wasn’t that exciting… although it was cool that I got to bypass Customs and Immigration cause of my British Passport.  Irrational as it was, I half expected someone to stop me and ask to hear my accent!  LOL

Of course, I did get lost twice trying to figure out which train I had to take into the city, but I eventually found it and arrived at Victoria Station, right in the heart of the city.

Now I just needed to figure out how to find my way around….

Lead-up to the move

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So here I am, a little over 3 months living in London, moving over here from Canada.  This was something I’d always dreamed of doing, but never thought it would even happen… at least not without winning the lottery or something!

Moving over here without really knowing anyone has been the biggest challenge of my life, and at times I wonder what the hell I was thinking!

The rest of the time I keep kicking myself in the ass for not doing this sooner!!!!

I admit, moving to another country, regardless of what country you’re moving too, is not an easy task.  It can be stressful, annoying, crazy, scary and pretty much any other emotion that can get your heart pounding so fast you’d almost think you were about to have a heart attack.

But once you’ve done it, even if it’s a country where they speak the same language as you (regardless of the accent), you get this feeling of euphoria and empowerment.  You come to realize that there’s nothing that truly stop you from whatever your heart desires.

Surprisingly, I arranged this move fairly smartly, with TONS of help from my family (especially Dad).  For those that don’t know the story, I sat down to think August 2007 about where I’d truly love to live.  At the time, I had been living in Montreal for over 7 years and needed a chance of scenery.

Upon reflection, I’d decided I really didn’t want to live in Toronto (sorry guys… totally pales in comparison to Montreal), Ottawa, or Vancouver, but I had always wanted to live in London, or anywhere in Europe for that matter.  I thought about it for a few days before emailing my Dad, who was born and raised in London before moving to Canada about 40 years or so ago.  I simply asked him what I would need to do if I decided I wanted to move to London.  He took that simple inquiry and ran with it…

Next thing I knew, we were applying for long-form birth certificates, passports, and looking at flights to London.  I don’t remember when I made the actual decision to move here, but I do remember realizing it was actually happening… and almost chickening out.  Several times.

Long story short, I spent the next 9 months doing research online into life in London (nothing like the brochures… and that’s a good thing!), flights, accomodation, transportation, and saving as much cash as I could.  The money came in real handy, as it allowed me to not work the first month I was here, but too bad it wasn’t enough to last forever, as I eventually did have to find a job.

Of course, just like any other well laid out plan, things didn’t go as I’d originally wanted.  My original arrival date was supposed to be around the first week or so of July, with me leaving Montreal at the end of June (with a bit of time left in between to spend with family, obviously).  Due to delays with my British Passport (that’s right, baby… I’ve got dual citizenship!), I still left Montreal as planned, only to go stay with family in my home town for the entire summer.

That definitely wasn’t in the plan… but it turned out to be a great thing.  It allowed me more than sufficient time to spent with some of my family (the rest, well, just didn’t seem interested…), and it allowed me time to de-stress from my job in Montreal while lazing around my sister and brother-in-law’s house.  I spent the summer doing nothing more than playing with my little nephew, surfing the internet, smoking way too many cigarettes, and playing around on my bro-in-law’s XBox 360.  Oh, and spending 2 weeks at my parent’s trailer on Lake Ontario…. still got a bit of that tan left.

Anyway (so much for a short story), my passport eventually came in and things got really real for me.  All of a sudden it was time to actually get things going after it had been in a holding pattern for way too long.  Talk about a complete freak out!  That night I drank my face off, smoked about a half pack of cigs, and eventually puked my guts out, thinking. “OMFG, I’m moving to LONDON!!!!!”.

With two days of getting the passport and realizing I actually had to do this crazy, f’d up thing, I had secured myself a temporary place to live in somewhat Central London, had changed over a large chunk of my cash into British Pounds, and had my flight booked thanks to my parental units…. and I was actually leaving in about 2 weeks!!!  What a roller-coaster.

During that last two weeks, I think I freaked out about a million times, and almost backed out daily, but I stayed the course.  I was about to do something most people could only dream of, let alone actually do.  I was moving to one the most magnificent and historic cities in the world… all by myself.  Talk about scary.

But I’m so glad I’ve done it.  I’ve been enjoying London immensely.  Guess I’m writing about that next….