Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Working Gal

I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. ~Charles Dickens

I love Christmas. I feel like it sounds so phoney to say it’s my favourite time of year, but it really kind of is. I love the cold weather, and all of the twinkle lights, and having moments that show what the season is really all about. This is the season for love, friendship, family, generosity, companionship, and care for peace on earth and goodwill towards your fellow human beings. Even if I am a bit cut off from my family and my home, I’m still bound and determined to have a nice Christmas in London.

It doesn’t hurt that I got a pretty great present to kick it off. That would be, my new job AND a job offer for when I get back to the States!!!

Here is how it all started. Last week, I was sick. Like I am every single winter, with my cold and my coughing and all that crap that tied me to a bed for 3 days straight. Because of this, I couldn’t work for Johanna, and had to cancel a few shifts with Esprit. Needless to say, I was in a pretty low place. Whatever you do in life, make sure you have plenty of money to back you up. I also had an accident with my computer and a very drunk roommate stepping on it and cracking the screen. I am literally going to owe my parents my tax refunds for the next 10-15 years.

But, in a true Christmas miracle, I got a call out of the blue from one of the 6 temp agencies I am registered with, and never heard from. They had a gig in the Accommodations Department of King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. It was good until January 31, and had a possibility of being extended further. £10 an hour, and 40 hours a week with paid lunch hours. They needed me to start the next day at 9am, and I took it! I had three days to train with the girl I was taking over for, then I’d be on my own. The job itself is easy. Now, I know I have said in the past that I’ve had easy jobs, but you haven’t heard of easy until now. I share my office with Corrine—everything you’d hope an old bitty from Cockney would be. She’s retiring in March, and doesn’t care if the place burns to the ground. The office itself is in the basement of the hospital, so it’s quiet. We are here for people to find us. We book in on call rooms for doctors, or long/short term accommodation rooms for up to 6 months. In all honesty, we just give them the application, and then fax it to the landlord. Around 2-3pm, I put together the packets that have the keys for the on call rooms, drop them off at the front desk, then am just here til 5. This has let me finish a book, update emails, do remote work for Johanna, and write blog entries like this. ; -) It’s not a matter of lazy—half the rooms we have are being torn down in February, and everywhere else is booked solid. So I’m basically paid to deal with egomaniac god complex sob story doctors who think they deserve to have luxury suite apartments and bitch if they are told there isn’t anything, or that the tiny studios that are the only things available are further then a 5 minute walk. Its working in Residence Life with bigger brats. To add insult to injury, Sodexho runs the cafeteria. But the people are nice and friendly, there are lots of tea breaks, and yesterday I got to spend my afternoon picking music for the holiday party next week and stringing twinkle lights in the hallway.

I love twinkle lights.

For the other part of it, after 2 weeks of phone tag, Johanna and I were able to finally meet up and settle up. I went to her house last night, and ended up staying for 4 hours, leaving with £100, 2 bags of leftovers from her house (she was going back to the States for the holidays today), and a promise that when I get back to the States, I can call her and she will create a job for me in her company to do research on leadership, communication, and teambuilding. She’s the creator and the CEO. She can do that. Until then, she wants me to stay on remotely, and will send me money for my work periodically. On top of that, she and her husband have a beach house in LA (technically Manhattan Beach) that they ‘are more then happy to let you stay in. We don’t use it enough anyway.’ So I may be moving to LA when I get home.

I love the beach.

So life is going pretty well right now. I move into my place on Jan. 4th, have a job that will let me save up for something really good AND pay the bills, I’m spending Christmas with my friends at the hostel (we’re doing a champagne breakfast, Christmas dinner, and a Secret Santa, so it should be fun) and on Skype with my family, and as for New Year’s Eve…guess we’ll have to wait and see!

Oh, and I’m going to Bruges this weekend to the Christmas markets! I need to get out of London for a while, and remember all the wonderful reasons I came here in the first place. Like travel! Here is a website for the markets. They have an entire Snow and Ice Sculpture Garden based on Harry Potter. Can't seem to get away from it here, can I? ;-)

More to come soon,

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