Sunday, February 26, 2006
When I moved over to the UK four and a half years ago, I was only planning on staying for a year. So, I packed two suitcases and put the rest of my stuff (the contents of a one bedroom apartment) into storage, and trucked on over to the UK.
But as you've no doubt figured out by now, it didn't quite work out like that. Turns out I like it here, and decided to stay. Now that I've bought a place and have a more-or-less permanant base, my parents decided that it was time to send my stuff over. And of course, I heartily endorsed that decision.
Becaue my dad is ever so organized, he went through everything in storage, took photos and asked me what I wanted to keep and what could be sold/given away. I decided that most of the furniture could go, since the hand-me-down ugly but comfortable peach swivel armchair didn't really fit with my planned decor, and the cost of shipping over my Ikea coffee table was about the same as buying a new one. So, I pretty much gave away all the furniture.
That leaves books, CD's, videos and general junk. Oddly, all of my DVD's have mysteriously disappeared, Dad. Don't think I won't be checking out the parental film collection the next time I'm home.
Anyway, last Saturday, my stuff got delivered. 26 boxes. Well, there were a few things not in boxes, like the little triangle tables and the leopard print butterfly chair, so there were maybe 22 boxes and four assorted bags of other stuff.
But that's still a whole lot of boxes.
Now, I bought these great shelves on eBay, which are 2 metres high and 170 cm wide with six shelves. So, lots of storage space, yes?
Well, when I put all my books that I've bought in the four and a half years that I've been here, and the 9 boxes of books that came from home, and put two rows of books on each shelf, the shelves are full. I may have to do some weeding out.
I've spent the last week finding places to put all my stuff. I've still got to find places for my grade 7 math award and my high school music award. Though I am proud of my achievements, I don't think I really want those bad boys on display.
I had some very emotional times when I was unpacking. And yes, I did speak to my things. And no, I don't think that makes me crazy. I mean, the Minnie Mouse figurine and I have known each other since I was about 7. It would just be rude if I didn't wish her a warm hello. And the Winnie the Pooh figurine was purchased at Disneyland when I went to California with Wendy when I was 16. Good times, I tell you.
I now have all my school stuff from when I was a kid, including all my school ID's and I've also got my Cabbage Patch Kids and all the books of my childhood. I'm currently re-reading Don't Care High by Gordon Korman and the Emily books by L.M. Montgomery and I've got some Christopher Pike books and a few RL Stines (Fear Street, not Goosebumps. Please, I'm not a child.) and some Judy Blumes and about 30 Babysitter's Club books in the line-up.
It's a bit weird having all my stuff here. Everything I had before it got here was purchased in the last four years. So, none of it was really ugly or unfortunate or unattractive. Because I've got pretty good taste. But now I've got some stuff that I love, but that I really don't want on public display. I'll have to figure out how to merge that with the stuff I've got and not have it be hugely unattractive. I'm clever. I can make it work.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to read Babysitter's Club #8 Boy Crazy Stacey.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Now, I don't know if you've seen this movie, but it's a delight.
Not only is it delightful, but it has the single best scene I have ever seen in a movie ever, in all time, ever, ever, ever.
Harold and Kumar are in a car, listening to soft rock of the 80's. A classic tune, one which I currently have on my iPod, known as Hold On by the fabulous Wilson Phillips comes on the radio. And they sing along.
Now it might not seem like much. But I laughed so hard I almost cried, and then I rewound it and watched it again, and again laughed so hard I almost cried.
Best. Scene. Ever.
Friday, February 17, 2006
And say it looks like this:
Sometimes the answer is so clear, isn't it?
People, it's the First Annual Styrofoam Hat Day. And I could not be more excited!
How cute do I look?
Jessica's gone for more of an upturned brim, which I find quite sassy.
And I'm serious when I say we're making everyone wear them.
And yes, Jess and I are sitting at our desks right now with the hats on. And we look SO GOOD.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Remember when you were in the second grade, and the day before Valentine's Day, you decorated a brown paper bag to stick to the side of your desk to act as your Valentine's mailbox? And then your mom took you to the store, and you got to pick your Valentine's cards. It's always a tricky decision. Too obvious and cheesy and everyone else will have the same ones. Too esoteric and unexpected and your classmates will think you're a freak. You finally decide on your selection, and then the tricky part comes. Allocating the cards. You sit down with the list of your class that your teacher helpfully handed out the week before and start divvying them up. The cutest boy in the class clearly gets the most suggestive card. Or at least, the most suggestive card that the Care Bears selection has to offer. The gross boy that everyone hates gets the one with a bad pun and a drawing of a frowning lemon. You don't want him to think you like him, do you? There's always one "best friend" card, and it's always tricky to think of which of your seven best friends to give it to.
I miss those times. I also miss getting thirty Valentine's cards.
In a tribute to the Care Bear card days of yore, I give you my Valentine's treat to you.
Happy Valentine's Day, from me to you.
Enjoy it like you're eight years old.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Saturday, February 04, 2006
The flat search begins. After much internet searching, I realize that I cannot afford to buy a flat in North London. This is a somewhat scary proposition, as I've lived in North London for four years - the entire time I've been in this country. In fact, I can count the number of times I've been south of the river on one hand. (Not counting the south bank, because let's be honest - that's not really south is it?)
So, I begin searching and call some estate agents and going to look at places. The first place I look at is really nice, but I get all "oh, you can't put an offer on the first place you look at, that's stupid, blah, blah, blah", and by the time I decide to put an offer in, it's gone. The lesson? She is learned.
The looking continues. I see some gross places, some nice places and some places I could actually live in. And the looking continues.
The looking continues. I get involved in a bidding war on a flat that's pretty cute. I lose. It's upsetting. But, I find another flat in the same estate and take a look and it's not too shabby. And, I put an offer on it. And exciting news! It gets accepted! Woo hoo! I assume it will be a matter of weeks before I am able to move. I am an idiot.
I get myself a solicitor (or "lawyer" to you North American folks) and a mortgage advisor and get started on the horrifically lengthy process of buying a flat. Seriously, you have no idea. I get approved for a mortgage pretty quickly, which was a relief, because I have bad credit. My solicitor gets things moving on the paperwork front. There is a LOT of paperwork. Lucas, who I work with, told me that it would take three months to get into my flat. I laughed at him and told him to shush because there was no chain and it would all be super quick.
(As an aside, a brief lesson in British property buying. Until you actually exchange contracts which happens right when you exchange money, anyone at any time can back out of the house buying and/or selling procedure. That means you could have spent money on things like surveys and mortgage stuff and if someone swoops in and offers more money for the flat, they can just HAVE it. You've got no rights at all. It's called "gazumping", which is a cute word for a crappy thing to do. If you're in a chain of people buying and selling, if one part of the chain falls apart, the whole thing does. It's weird here people. Weird.)
Anyway, it's all moving along. I tell my solicitor that I want to move in before Christmas. My lease on my flat that I'm renting runs out at the end of December, so if that doesn't happen I'll possibly be homeless.
My solicitor calls me at the beginning of December to tell me that there is no way I'll be in before Christmas. I am annoyed. Fortunately, I can extend my lease for a month. Still - annoying. The paperwork continues. It moves ever so slowly. So. Slowly. Christmas comes. Christmas goes.
It's the New Year. We're post the "Incident" (which we are still never speaking of again, by the way). I begin packing, in the hopes that I will be moving on the 8th of January. I get a call from my solicitor. I'll complete on the 18th of January. Annoying. But at least I don't have to pay another month's rent. I buy a couch (which is a WHOLE other story of annoyingness that I will get to later). I book movers. I buy a new TV. And finally, finally, finally three months (damn that Lucas and his rightness!) after my offer is accepted, I get to move in . FINALLY. The movers I booked were awesome. Seriously, so amazing. The move itself went pretty smoothly, which was a relief. And now I'm in.
Sigh. Aaaand relax. Now just to renovate a bathroom, get the new carpet and floors installed and paint the whole place. And learn to garden. How long can that take?
I've got a few photos of the place, which you can see here.
Seriously, can you believe it took three months? Madness, I tell you. Madness.