So my nomadic journey began in Taiwan, which was amaaazinnnggg. I won't go into details or I'll never stop, but ask me about it if you wish!
I then spent the first two hours of my time in London battling the underground with the 27ish kgs that is now my life. This involved countless flights of stairs and getting off at the wrong stop a good 3 or so times. Lucky for me it was blatantly obvious that I was a foreigner and people were more than happy to help me - one lady even paid for my ticket (with her 'oyster card') as I ripped mine on the epic 7 metre walk from the ticket booth to the machine (sigh)
I made it to Piccadilly station (eventually) alive, and wow, after the not so desirable first impression of London that I'd had this definitely made up for it. And from there everything was smooth sailing until I tried to pay my taxi driver with Taiwanese coins (whoops, this is something I do not advise)
I spent the next morning wandering around the Euston Station area looking for a post office (in the end I had an entire pharmacy arguing about which post office was easiest for me to get to - and people say the English aren't friendly!?) and I stumbled across 'The Place' (hub of contemporary dance in London), very exciting!
I figured/hoped that I was in a business district as everyone was male, 40, wearing black and looking as though they hated their lives. I feel as though I added a little colour (literally) into their day and for doing so I got plenty of curious looks ha.
So rather than get hopelessly lost I figured I'd just board the train to Liverpool where I was soon to be sitting opposite friendly note writing man (FNWM). At this point I hadn't noticed that there were little electronic tabs above every seat with either occupied or free written on them, and of course, I had to sit in an occupied one. FNWM sat opposite me and didn't say anything but later on one of his colleagues walked past and looked up at the occupied sign and said "hmm I think I'm meant to be sitting around here but I'll just sit at the back". At which point I clicked and said to FNWM "ooh sorry did I steal your colleagues’ seat?" etc. He was like "oh it's fine, I have to spend all week with them anyway and you're a much nicer view" (harhar, smooth)
He then drew me a map of England (?) and asked me what I was doing here etc, and told me that he was sure that everywhere I go I surround myself with positive, attractive people (ha, what???) But the grand finale was the note (and email, and phone number ... forgot to mention that on facebook) which, thankfully, he gave to me as he was getting off the train or I would've switched into super awkward Jenn mode x100. And on the flipside, if everything doesn’t work out perfectly like he said I know how to track him down. Top marks for effort I suppose, but, wrong person to woo with such sentimental gestures.
So my past six or however many days it’s been since I got here are all a bit of blur (mainly thanks to jetlag, which on reflection I haven’t had too bad I suppose as I’m not wide awake at 4am and passing out at 2 pm or anything, but still, incessant weariness and being hit by a sudden wave of tiredness at 7pm which involves having to fight the urge to fall asleep leaning against a shelf in the supermarket or somewhere equally as public sucks, a lot) but jetlag aside, I have been into Liverpool a few times (I’m actually based in ‘Skelmersdale, which I’ll go into soon), met many people whose names I’ve already forgotten, been to the gym (where the locals seem to go for their daily dose of the 21st century as they certainly don’t get it anywhere else), a dance class (SPEW) and gone for numerous runs (I have a morbid fear of turning into a pastey, podgey English person – not that I’d EVER let that happen, ever, but I’m all about taking precautions)
So Skelmersdale (which I think can only be pronounced correctly with a Scouse accent, too bad I’ll never have one) is an absolute goldmine for people watchers such as myself, and I’ve quickly come to the conclusion that I do not fit in, at all, but that is quite alright with me.
It’s about the size of New Plymouth, and its main attraction is ‘The Connie’ (The Concourse Shopping Centre) which makes Centre Shitty (City) look like the mall of all malls. Naomi and her mum have asked me numerous times not to make any harsh judgements about the Skelmersdale population based on the inhabitants of ‘The Connie’ (not that I can help it) as apparently the only requirement to work in such a place is having an IQ of less than 20 and to be a regular visitor involves much the same level of brain activity.
The people around here (the 12-30 group especially) are FASCINATING though, as I’ve said, and I don’t fit in for the following reasons (happy to report Naomi doesn’t either, she is a relative after all)
Terracotta face syndrome (orrrrannngee). I think you’d have to see this pandemic to believe it, seriously. I’m not sure who these people are trying to kid considering I’m yet to see any real sun and it is still winter, but the fact that at least half of them seem to be pregnant means they must be attracting someone (or something) I still hold the belief that makeup isn’t an everyday essential, especially not five layers of it teamed with false eye-lashes (they are quite seriously everywhere) and either ill fitting leggings and ugg boots or a matching tracksuit (??) I can’t quite emphasise this enough though, I am talking about at LEAST 90% of the under 30 population, it’s actually quite depressing. =\.
But even with my lack of makeup I’m still the blackest white person in the entire county of Lancashire it seems which certainly gives people something to ogle at (I swear at times it’s almost as bad as China), or maybe that’s because I’m not trying to hide my flaws behind a head of stripy, highly hair-sprayed, crispy looking, teased hair (the amount of time and dedication they must put into it is actually quite impressive) I don’t even own a comb or hair brush after all, low maintenance ftw.
So that might all seem as petty as hell, but I don’t care actually.
Liverpool itself is actually a really cool city. There are these things called Lamb Banana’s everywhere. They are quite literally a cross between a Lamb crossed with a Banana, and my research tells me that the original (The SUPER lamb banana) was created by a Japanese artist and was all about warning people about the dangers of genetically engineered food. I really like it, but I suppose I am from Wind Wand city. I’m definitely going to purchase myself a mini one before heading off to London though.
And speaking of London, I’m faced with the tough decision of deciding when to go. As here I have free board (food contributions when I’m working obviously, but that isn’t much) a pretty much guaranteed job in a weeks’ time and people to show me around (Naomi and I are looking into ten pounds flights to Dublin, woop) But the serious lack of dancing here is killing me. I went to an ‘advanced’ level contemporary class on Thursday night and wow, without meaning to sound like a complete and utter bitch (or maybe I do) it was terrible, as was everyone else there. I’d rather not reflect on it too much but it’s the only thing I’ve found after numerous internet searches, emails and phone calls that’s at least somewhat suitable for me. I left in such a despondent state that I got totally lost and ended up seeing a whole new part of Liverpool city centre at night (quite pretty really, so the night wasn’t a total loss I guess) and yeah, boo. So if I take this job (which would be good, I really want to start earning pounds and save a bit more before I move to London) I have to stick around for two months or so, but that means no real dancing, so hmm, I don’t know. The sensible 1/32 of my brain is telling me to hang around, so I might listen to it for once (already done the impulsive why not move to the other side of the world thing, so it wouldn’t be a bad thing to do) and I’ll just have to continue with my Michael Parmenter style 7 am ‘self maintenance’ sessions (thank you Charles) and rediscover once more my love of running.
I’m also thinking about spending a month or so in Bulgaria (in August maybe? If my auntie’s brother needs an English speaking bar worker), and a potential student loan interest holiday early next year could be in the pipe lines. All this thinking ahead is doing my head in though.
I should also mention that Naomi is awesome and her mum is really, really nice (she even bought me soy milk. I didn’t even buy myself soy milk! Although I guess I didn’t really buy groceries besides my mandatory yoghurt and muesli, and even that was pushing it sometimes)
They think I’m like, the epitome of the typical New Zealander with my ‘go with the flow’ attitude on a lot of things (not sure if I like that or not ... should perhaps start forming stronger opinions on what to have for dinner and what to watch on TV as that is where it seems to have stemmed from)
Also, the way I say butter is hilarious (Said the word butter in the last week more times than I have in my entire life. Pretty sure it had never really been a part of my vocabulary before so I hope I’m repping the kiwi accent correctly here ha)
So I’ve now finished my cup of tea (I’ve set myself a daily limit of 3 cups so that I don’t turn into a real English person, been hitting the coffee hard instead) and I’m going out tonight after Naomi finishes work (ooOOoo) so I better go get ready!