So the last couple of days have been busy. At least its getting so that I’m so exhausted when I get back to the crappy hostel, I fall and stay asleep, and the smell doesn’t bother me until I get back from the shower (I have French men in my room. French men apparently don’t shower. Its really disgusting).
What have I been up to? A fair amount, actually. After I moved in here on Sunday, I got up realllllly early on Monday and headed into Bunac. London is divided into Zones, Zone 1 being the center of the City, Zone 2 being more residential, but still considered City-ish, Zone 3 starting to feel like Westbrook or Gorham—smaller communities, but still have some sort of life to them, and then Zone 4 is way out in the boonies, mostly residential. My stop on the Northern Line of the Tube is literally on the border of Zones 3 and 4. Not that this is way out of the city, but it takes me 45 minutes to an hour to get back into any central part of London. The Tube is costing so much that I'm cutting back on food, which can't be good. Today I get to pick up my bank card, which will help me feel a little bit better, but I still haven't touched the stash of cash in my passport wallet. I'm terrified it won't be enough for a deposit (tho it should be) and that I may lose a really good apartment or something. Ahhh, stress.
Anywho, Monday is a Bunac day. I went into the office early in the morning, and set to work looking for a job and apartments. I registered with this site called spareroom.com. They have a lot of listings for places, and once I narrowed it down to Zones 1 and 2, and made sure to say I was looking for 2 rooms (for me and Nicole), I was able to find a far amount. We're trying to stay under 400 pounds a month (again, trying not to think about the conversion rate as that would just cause immense depression) with the idea that as long as we get jobs where we get paid 250 a week, we should be all set. I ended up contacting 15 different people, and set up some appointments to look at places. I then proceeded to send out my CV to every job listing I could see. I was holding back because I had been waiting on Kelly Services and to hear from Aunt Kate to see if she had a contact here. I haven't heard from either, so I figured it wouldn't hurt. And I can hear my parents going 'you idiot, of course you apply to EVERYTHING first, not hold out!' Thank you, I'm aware. :-) I ended up emailing out 14 CVs, and Bunac said to give them a week to answer back. So now we wait.
After being productive all day, I ended up going back to the International Students House (ISH) with Jac. We went to the pub and I finally had my first British pint. They had really cheap good food too-I got a fish sandwich, and it came with good thick cut fries and a salad. When we were up at the bar ordering, this New Zealand guy I met at Bunac came over to say hi. I had run into him and his friends last week at Bunac when they were looking for a new hostel to switch to. I told them how my friends had like ISH, and maybe they should check it out. They moved there the next day, and had been there all week. It was pretty cool to see them again. They ended up joining us (Paul, Bradley and Rob) and Rob even bought us a round. It was a different vibe--there wasn't any real girl/boy pressure of flirting or anything--we were just meeting and getting to know each other. At home, you do that, but even with your friends, there is this underlying...tension. None of that here. May of helped that Paul said that North American girls were too outgoing, and therefore, they wouldn't be interested in them.
Came back to the hostel--the tube stopped twice on the way back so it took me almost and hour and a half to get back. London Backpackers has a curfew at 10pm--they lock you out after that unless you leave a deposit for a key. Honestly, I'm too sketched to be out alone at night for too long anyway, so it works out for me. I need to get the key for tomorrow night and Friday tho--Thursday, Jac and I may be going out with Dominic and Abbie-Brits we met on the street when we went to the bank last week. They were the ones who sold Jac the makeover day thing we're doing together. Even after she got it, we stayed on the street and talked for 20 minutes. Dominic gave us his number in case we ever wanted to get together, so Jac texted him and he said he'd check with Abbie. Then Friday night is Halloween, which is not a big deal here at all. Seriously, the kids don't even really go trick or treating or anything. But Bunac is having a pub night at a place thats having a Halloween come-in-costume party. I'm going to go as Alice in Wonderland. Again :) I mean, white skirt, blue shirt, black headband. I get a costume, but also can pass as just looking really dressed up.
Yesterday was a little more hectic. I ended up spending the morning at the British National History Museum. This is the Museum that is near my old hostel, Hyde Park. It was so funny to get off at South Kensington and feel like I was back in my neighborhood. I met this girl Jenny (From South Carolina, met on Facebook) who has been here a few weeks, but is going home next week. She said she did a lot of traveling in the UK and just felt like she didn't want to ruin London by becoming part of the Rat Race within it. .....ok..... When I finally got there, there was a 30 minute line to get in. Most of the museums are free here, and all the kids are out on school holiday right now. This is where I was in line when I first got there.
The museum itself was really nice, but had a bajillion kids in it. We went through the minerals room, the vault (which has all kinds of precious gems in it) the human biology section, mammals, and underwater creatures. The line to see the dinosaurs was 45 minutes long. They had signs. It was insane. I want to go back on another day when its not so crazy.
After the museum, we headed to Bunac. Jac and Nicole were both there, and I talked to Nicole about apartments and what ones we could go see that night. Jenny took off, and later that evening, Jac, Nicole, myself and Natalie (from Quebec) went to another all-you-can eat cheapo Thai place for dinner. It was really great to be able to hang out and chat with some girlfriends. Nicole and I left around 7, and out of the 3 flats we were suppose to see, we only saw one because the tube was late, and so were we. The flat we saw was....ok. Basically, it had a kitchen and bathroom, and then we would get the top floor--a single room with a single bed, and a double room with a double bed and a couch/hang out area in it. It smelled like cigarettes were used as the air freshener. It was in our price range, but was off a side street that seemed a little weird, even tho the woman living there said it was near a lot of Council housing and was safe. We gave it a 5/10, and are looking at 3-4 more today.
Overall, things are ok. I don't like coming back to this hostel, so that always puts a damper on the end of the day, but hopefully that won't be for much longer. Same goes for the job searching. I like my friends here, and London, but I feel like the stress is outweighing that right now and making things clouded. I just want to settle, and then I feel like things will click--I can plan trips, and cook food, and finally let myself be happy. Everyone said the first few weeks were the hardest. They got that right. There was one thing last night that was kind of cool....
More to come soon-
PS Here is a link to more pictures I posted: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2025817&l=02bb6&id=53000651