My hometown for the next 5 months..

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hot in the City

This past week we have had a huge heat wave go through the city and I have been finding it VERY hard to be indoors at work while I see people on the street walking by in their bathing suits. Speaking of work, I finally feel as though I have settled into my position. These last few weeks have consisted of lots of new information and some frustrating days. But I am actually starting to feel as though I am getting the hang of it and am gaining a little bit of confidence in my serving abilities. I have come realize though, that working in the F and B department is not something I want to do in the future. I am much more interested in how the Guest Relations department runs and operates. Saying that though I think it is very useful that I am getting this experience now and am learning to fully understand how a restaurant works and how it all plays into the operation of the entire hotel.
Okay enough about work. With the weather being so so nice this week I did manage to go to Hyde Park on my day off and soak up some sun. It was only a short tube ride over (10min) and then just couple min walk from the tube station. Although somewhere in those 2 blocks I somehow managed to get lost and had to ask someone for directions. I am so thankful for having a Canadian accent when it comes time to ask for help of any sort, whether its directions or asking for recommendations for a good place to eat. Because people here seem to love it! People I work with tell me that the Canadian accent comes across really friendly and genuine sounding. Yay for us  Anyways once I finally made it in the park, I was shocked at the shear size of it. It stretches over 600 acres and is full of trees, manmade lakes and jogging trails. It really is beautiful. It was packed full of people, which made it prime “people watching” conditions for me and I was quite content sitting out in the sunshine, eating my gelato and just relaxing.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dark and Damp Our new flat has proved to have some problems that I was not expecting. Firstly being a basement suite, we seem to have ALOT of spiders. These little guys don’t bother me that much, but Quinn on the other hand has somewhat of a phobia of them I have quickly learned. I feel like every 5 minutes I’m jumping up to the sounds of her hysteric cries and her begging me to “Kill it, Kill it!!” Secondly this morning upon walking into the bathroom I notice a lovely mushroom patch growing out from under our bathtub. Let me think back to Grade 10 biology..what are the ideal growing conditions for a fungus? Dark..check…Damp..check..Dirty..check. Yuppp that pretty much sums up what our bathroom looks like. And lastly our shower is not working. Well it was..until Quinn and I went through all our hot water in 2 days. You see here, instead of paying your bills monthly, we have this kind of pay as you go gas card that lets us load money on to it and then insert it into our gas meter and provide us with heat. We were told that loading 20 pounds onto this card would be plenty for the next 2 weeks. They were wrong. I was attempting to shower the other morning and the water went completely cold, like ice cold. I yelled at Quinn to go check how much was left on the meter and sure enough, we had managed to go through20 pounds worth in a mere 2 days. Boo hoo. At this rate I don’t think Quinn and I will be able to afford gas that is that expensive. I may have to take a look into how good looking the showers are at work.
Okay I am done ranting..all that aside our flat really is quite spacious for London and as I said before it’s a short walk to work. And did I mention that it is one of the fanciest neighbourhoods in London? When people here ask me where I live and I tell them Chelsea they always “Ohhhh” and “Awwww” If only they knew that I currently have a mushroom patch in my bathroom, spiders running rampant and will shortly be having to shower at work. They don’t need to know any of that though, I’m quite content having them thinking I’m living the glamorous life in an upscale Chelsea flat.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Change is good..

This has been a week of big changes and lots of exploring! With saddened hearts Quinn and I left the comforts of Feimehs wonderful hospitality and moved into our own flat. As sad as we both were to leave behind the home cooked meals and the free accommodation, we both agree that is so nice being able to walk to work from our flat in 20min instead of the almost 2 hour commute we were doing! Although on the plus side all the commuting has given us both lots of practice riding the tube. At first the underground system here can be a bit overwhelming with the many signs, maps and escalators that lead in every which direction, but I’m starting to feel more and more like a true Londoner everyday and can navigate my way through almost any tube station with ease :)
I had a day off this week and Quinn was unfortunately working so I went for a walk and ended up at the Natural History Museum. I spent almost an entire day there. With exhibits ranging from dinosaurs to how the human body works you can really lose track of time and get caught up in it all. The building itself is even somewhat a work of architectural art. It’s so wonderful that the city of London has been able to also make most museums here completely free of charge, which is VERY helpful when you’re living on a budget and most everything else in London is sooo expensive.
Work is still a bit of a struggle. I am finding it very difficult to pick up on things when I have no one to really train me and almost every single person I work with is ESL. It certainly makes for a big learning curve for me. I guess it doesn’t really help that the only serving experience I have is from the little bit from school. But slowly and surely I hope I am able to catch on, it’s just taking a bit longer than I want it to.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Finally here and working!

After the week and a half delay from the volcano and a VERY long journey (including three different airports) I have finally made it!
I am currently staying with a family friend in a town called Edgware which is about 30min north of central London. This wonderful family has provided Quinn and I a home away from home until we are able to find our own apartment (which currently is taking longer than I would have hoped!)But it really is wonderful here, we are both being looked after so well :)

Today was my first day of work at The Kensington Hotel (Doyle Collection) as a server in their lounge-restaurant. After an hour and a half commute on the tube station I arrived at one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever seen. With 3 million dollar condos surrounding it and a Lamborghini dealership across the street it really is in one of the most expensive neighbourhoods in all of London. The hotel is beautiful from inside to out, with an amazing blend of traditional and modern decor.

To my suprise I was thrown right into serving, as they seem to take a more ``learn as you go`` approach. I was already serving tables on my first shift!I was kept busy all day and have met so many wonderful people from all over the world. Other servers I met today have come from places like Luithian, Spanin and Iran. It seems that the hotel business over here is a very global sector of the career market. I havent even got to hear that many English accents yet!

Anyways enough for now my shift starts at 7am tomorrow which means I am waking up at 4am to get there in time! I will be sure to keep you all posted on how everything is going and how my job progresses over the next few weeks!