Europe 2012

It is has yet again been months since my last blog – I really need to keep my word when I say I will keep it up!! Anyway, I did mention that I would post a blog of all my travels in Europe, that being Paris, Greece and Germany. I won’t go into complete detail as my blog would be much too long but a summary and some photos of my wonderful trip should do the trick. Enjoy guys!

PARIS: JULY 2012

I had spent an overall wonderful 4 days in Paris with my sister. I can’t say my introduction to Paris was very welcoming though – French people cursed at me and bumped into me because I was ‘getting in their way’ and I was nearly getting chased down the street by a French beggar simply because I shook my head indicating I had nothing for him. Not only that, but the streets and main city of Paris is really overrated and not what everyone imagines it to be. I felt afraid and unsafe and getting lost for an hour trying to find out hotel didn’t make things any easier. On the upside though, the tourist attractions were beautiful, especially the Eiffel Tower and Champ Elysees.

arc de triomphe

eiffel tower

cafe

GREECE: AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2012 

Two weeks on the magnificent Greek Islands where there are clear waters, beautiful beaches and wonderful communities. Athens was an unsafe place to be but I’m glad my best friend and I had better impressions of Ios and Santorini. We both got really tanned and loved every minute of it! We both did a cliff jump which we at first were reluctant to do but we’re both glad we did it. We miss it so much and really want to go back again one day!

GERMANY: SEPTEMBER 2012

Germany is definitely one place in the world I fell in love with. I stayed with a pen pal of mine that I had met for the first time in the 9 years we had been writing to each other so it was a really exciting time for both of us. She showed me around the beautiful city she lives in called Potsdam and also took me around Berlin which I found to be a really clean city. 4 days wasn’t enough time to see it so next time I will have to make a longer trip!

I encourage everyone of you to travel, especially around Europe. There is much to see and you will have experiences that you will remember for life.

xxx

Miss Sleigh!

As you may or may not know, I am now a volunteer at my cousin’s primary school in the UK. This amazing opportunity came about when my cousin’s teacher was seeking assistance for anyone to help out with her class’ reading. Since my cousin knows I am going to be studying primary school teaching, she mentioned me to her teacher and now here I am.

I sat in on my first class yesterday and had so much fun with the kids! They were adorable and very inquisitive. They are an interesting bunch and it was great to work with them.

It was strange but nice being called Miss Sleigh. It makes me feel like I have so much authority and that I am a teacher now.

I cannot wait to study this and make it my career one day! Teaching is where I’m meant to be.

Give me Rhe Rhe!

I have not driven a car for about two months now! And let me say, I miss it so much I am having withdrawals! My car, who my best friend and I call Rhe Rhe because of the number plate, does me proud and I really do miss driving her around. She’s getting on now, but she gets me from A to B. I wish I could send her over to me!

Being in a country knowing you can drive but have no car is so hard to deal with at times. I feel less independent and feel like I can’t do as much. I caught a bus to meet up with a friend today and it felt so weird because I never use public transport and it made me realise how dependent I am on my car.

Another thing is that most cars here are manual and I only know how to drive an automatic. I have learned manual briefly before, but not enough to feel confident driving a manual car. My cousin is going to teach me how to drive manual in his car at some point though, so I’m looking forward to that. Then I will apply for an international driving licence too.

Other than that, I am considering getting a car here. I will need to save a bit to at least get something drivable. I am not really fussed as long as it gets me from A to B. My friend is considering getting another car and offered to sell me hers for a reasonable price so I wouldn’t mind doing that if I got the money together.

All this talk of cars and driving is making me so keen to get back into driving again. I know I will. And when I do, I cannot wait to get my bare hands on that steering wheel once again.

London town

Next month I am going up to London for a weekend and will be staying with my cousin. It has been 11 years since I have stood in front of Big Ben and been in Trafalgar Square where pigeons are now in absence.

This is going to be such an exciting time and I am looking forward to exploring this amazing city yet again, but remembering it and appreciating it more this time now that I’m older.

I plan to take a lot of photos while I’m there, like ones in those red telephone booths.

I am sure I will make many trips up to London, including going there this July for the Olympics which start the day after my birthday and what perfect timing too.

I’m sure London is just as beautiful, if not more than what I vaguely remember of it when I last saw it.

A blissful life

So things are once again looking up. As you know, it has been a slightly stressful week because of feeling homesick and feeling guilty about not taking the pub job but it’s safe to say that the stressful phase has passed like I knew it would. And I’m over the fact I rejected the pub job because I realised that it just wouldn’t be for me.

The weekend put me in such a good mood. On Friday I went to Torquay which is by such a beautiful sea front. I took some photos there. And I also fit in some shopping and managed to find myself a bargain!

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I bought this beautiful baby for only £4.40 (roughly 6 bucks) thanks to 20% off the original price AND a £10 off voucher. It’s in my favourite colour too 🙂 SCORE!

Work at Enigma tonight was so much fun like last weekend. The energy was amazing and I met some new friendly faces and it made me feel even more comfortable than I already was. I love my job 🙂

I also love spending time with my two little cousins who I absolutely adore. They keep me going by rushing around after them and playing with them. I love them so much.

Life can only get better and no words can really describe how immensely happy I am. I just feel so free and vibrant. I don’t mind if some people are bothered by it because I go on about it. Everyone deserves to be and feel happy. Why wouldn’t you want the world to know?

War of my life

‘Worry doesn’t help tomorrow’s troubles, but it does ruin today’s happiness’ – Anonymous

I’ve been somewhat stressed the past couple of days. I do accept that this is normal because not everyday is perfect. I’ve been feeling bad about not trying out the pub job I had a chance to experience and I’m really keen on getting a second job so I can keep busy and help my family financially. I’m frustrated I haven’t been able to find one, apart from the opportunity from the pub job I had. So it is making me feel a little lost and uncertain. I’m so happy I have a job at Enigma but I also want something with more hours and during the week, while my cousins are at school.

Not only has that been on my mind, but I’ve been over-thinking and looking into some things a little too much.

I also found out that the university I got into has deferred me until the wrong year; 2014 instead of 2013. I know it’s not the end of the world and it will all work out but I would be quite upset if they can’t change this to the correct year because I went through the process of applying for uni and getting it organised. It’s not a difficult process but I just don’t want to have to go through that again because of one minor error someone has made. I have emailed the university and have kindly asked them to change my deferral time to the correct year. All I need to do is wait on their response and the outcome.

I don’t like feeling stressed, as I can’t imagine anyone else would. It’s an uncomfortable feeling that leads you nowhere and only makes you worry unnecessarily. I know now how to deal with it better, since becoming a more optimistic person so I know what to focus on when I’m feeling like this. I have gone over my ‘Secret Shifter’s list which has helped and I have also listened to some upbeat music that made me feel like dancing.

‘It’s possible to forget how alive we really are. We can become dry and tired, just existing, instead of really living. We need to remind ourselves of the juice of life, and make that a habit. Find those places inside that jump for joy, and do things’ – Anonymous

Stress is common and even the happiest of people go through it so I know that this is only a phase. It just feels very strange to me since I don’t stress near as much as I used to, but I am proud of myself for that. The key for me is to just keep pushing forward, laugh everything off and smile the whole way through.

‘You want an elixir for life’s drama? Laugh!!’ – Robert W. Merriweather

Life isn’t meant to be easy, but that’s what makes me the stronger person I am today.

‘Yes, stress messes with your life. It messes with mine. However, that’s when you have to fight back. Fight back with everything you’ve got. Get mad then get even by finding a little bit of joy in the midst of your stress’

Behind the bar

I have now landed a job that I was aiming for in the UK. I work as a bar attendant at a local night club called Enigma. It is a typical industry to work in while travelling overseas but I’ve always had an interest in this work and I’ve always wanted to show my personality through this type of job role.

I didn’t realise how easy it is to get into hospitality around here. The interview I had didn’t even feel like an an interview at all. It was so quick and easy and the lady that interviewed me was really laid back. I remember how nervous I was going for this job, but at the same time I had a good feeling about it. And what do you know? I end up getting it! Positivity and belief really goes a long way. My family and friends have also been very supportive and behind me all the way.

Once I had got passed my nerves from the interview and getting the job, starting the actual job brought about more feelings of being nervous. I had never done bar work previously before this job and was so worried everything would be so hard. I felt better knowing there were two other new starters with me, although one already had experience in a pub.

When we were showed to the bar and how it works, everything was going in one ear and out the other. It all seemed too confusing to remember what buttons on the till did what and where all the drinks were and how to fill them and serve them. I was almost going to have a break down! I was so nervous to serve customers so I was happy that the club was quiet for a good hour.

Serving my first customer was nerve wracking and I almost ripped him off giving him the wrong change by mistake but it wasn’t long after that, that I suddenly picked up everything so quickly. I don’t even know how it happened but the serving and the pouring all became so easy. All my nerves had disappeared and I was just having fun with it. The atmosphere and energy was fantastic! The music was blaring and everyone was just having a good time. You just feel like dancing!

I also work with some really friendly and helpful people which made things a lot less stressful. I did have to open up myself a little more to people who who weren’t so talkative, but we seemed to get on well.

I’m not a pro or anything, but this job really is easy once you get the hang of it. I’m still learning but I do know the basics and have dealt with the most common drinks that people order. I’m just not so confident with beers. I need more practice on knowing the different ones and pouring those, otherwise I’m fine. I can’t wait for my next shift 🙂

On top of Enigma, I also will be starting a pub job at some point after today. Everything is just happening for me at the moment! These are good times.

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This is my Enigma shirt. I love uniforms! You feel so apart of something 🙂

Self belief

I have been in England for just over a week and I have already been able to get two jobs: one at an inbound call centre only a 7 minute walk from home and one at a local nightclub called ‘Enigma’ as a bar person once a week every Saturday.

I’m so amazed that this has happened all so quickly. I feel like I have been here for longer than a week because I’ve settled in so well and adapted to things quite quickly. I really feel England wants me here. It’s all just working out so well for me. I’m so happy and loving life.

What inspired me to write this blog is the fact that the reason I have got to where I am now is because I believe in myself and I always have a positive attitude and keep an open mind. Of course being here is a new and different experience which has caused some nerves but it’s all about giving things a go and trying things out and seeing how far you get.

I’m so proud I have come so far in my life by having the opportunity to travel at such a young age. America was a great head start in travelling on my own. And now I’m in the UK! Life is just so great right now and I have already learned so much in this week since being in the UK. I have already had doors of opportunity in front of me that I am experiencing and I’m going to gain so much out of them.

Working at the bar will be a great way for me to meet different people and use my social skills that I’ve had my whole life. What I love about my personality the most is that I love talking to people, I’m friendly and very sociable. Now I can apply this to my job and make new friends!

I love that I’ve had the confidence and courage to get out there and experience the world and do different things. I’m never going to stop believing. Having faith is the key to a successful and happy life. I’m so excited for the year ahead!

Feels like home

I haven’t even been in the UK for a week and things really seem to be on the bright side and going really well. The first two days were hard because I was so jet lagged, sick and my sleeping pattern was all over the place. But since mid week, things have been looking up. I started to look for work and I went into Job Shop on Friday and I had been given a job which I start next week. I have also been given an interview for a bar job and fingers crossed that works out but I’ll be okay if it doesn’t because I’m just glad I’ll be giving it a go.

I’m so happy I have settled in and adapted to things quite quickly. I’m pretty good with adapting to new things anyway so I knew I just needed a little time to adjust.

Staying with family is also a huge bonus because I don’t feel so alone and they’ve been a great help to me showing me around and making me feel very welcome. Sometimes it feels I haven’t even left Australia because I feel so at home here. The food isn’t all that different, and the community here appear to be quite friendly. I haven’t met anyone properly but in passing and being served in the shops, most people I have come across seem nice and approachable.

I’m a little nervous about my job not in the sense of the work as such but more so the people. I’m a very sociable and friendly person myself and I can’t handle snobby people very well because I’m not used to it and I don’t like those kind of people. So I hope I’m in a friendly environment. I’m just going to go to work with an open mind and nothing can go wrong.

I really love it here and I’m staying with my amazing family who I get along with so well, especially my two young cousins who are absolutely adorable! It helps to have that kind of company around if I ever feel lonely and miss home.

Sometimes I can’t believe I’m here but for the most part I really feel like I’ve been here longer than I have and it just feels so natural to be in this country. I’m so blessed I have this opportunity to experience different places and different things. And I’m very grateful that I can work here. It’s only going to open up more doors of opportunity.

England you do me proud! You haven’t failed me and you’ve been everything I’ve dreamed about and so much more.

Experience, adventure and a big world ahead

I left my homeland of Australia on November 20 for a cold and wintry England. There was a bit of a stuff up at the airport. I went through passport control at about 9:30pm,
going through the scanning procedures and reaching immigration which took a good 10 to 15 minutes. Thinking everything was fine, the officer asked me if I held another passport other than my British one. Totally forgetting to remind mum I needed my Australian passport, we didn’t bring it and so I didn’t have it on me. I was stressing out because mum and my family had already said their goodbyes and were on their way home. I basically had to turn back and exit passport control so I could make the phone call to mum for her to bring my Australian passport. Mum didn’t think I’d need it because I was heading into the UK so the British passport would have been fine to use. However, I was told I needed the Australian passport so I can return back home. Well that makes sense! I wouldn’t want to be restricted from getting back into my own country!

Anyway, I was stressing out a whole lot when I was back in the main international terminal because mum wasn’t picking up her phone and then we both tried to call each other at the same time and couldn’t get through. I was stamping my feet on the floor and hitting the wall going crazy over the fact I went through all the security procedures only for me to come out again and wonder if mum would make it back in time. I would call every 5 minutes to find out where they were and kept looking at the clock hoping the minutes wouldn’t go any faster and that time would just stop for me in this moment. I called my best friend who kept me calm but at the same time I was still stressing out. And it was weird for me since I’ve changed my attitude over the past couple of months and have been a lot more positive and relaxed. That’s why I wanted to keep calm. Because in the end, everything would have it’s way of working out. For some silly reason I kept thinking I’ll miss my flight and that maybe this happening was a sign I wasn’t meant to go to England. But that was just irrational thinking. These things happen and at least I was getting my passport back to me.

It turns out that things worked out, my family came back about the time my plane was due to board. I said my goodbyes again and thought to myself that seeing my family again was the reason the passport incident happened.

I rushed back through security and immigration and everything turned out fine. I made it to gate 11 and could see there was no sign of anyone boarding which I presumed would be the case because plane flights never board on time. Boarding time for my flight was at 11pm but I didn’t get on the plane until after 11:30.

The flight to Doha which was the stopover didn’t feel long at all, nor did the flight from there to the UK. So I was happy. I saw my cousin at the arrivals terminal and was greeted by a hug from him and my auntie Kate. It’s so nice to see your family when you haven’t seen them for a while.

I didn’t realise how big of a stretch Heathrow Airport is!

It’s now day three since I’ve been in the UK and I’m still adjusting to things. I am homesick but that will pass. The weather is very cold and England looks very different but I’m staying in a nice area. I’ve been into the local town and have got to know the main area and shops to go to. I also know the bus system and used it for the first time today when taking my cousins to school.

I’m looking for work and have been asked to go to a job shop in town tomorrow to be registered which is promising. Hopefully all works out and I am successful in finding work.

In the mean time, I’m trying to get used to things here still and hopefully I will find some new friends and feel more at home.

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