So, I last left off in the process of moving to London, and now, here I am, in a small studio flat in the north of London along a busy road. I’m typing this now nearly 10 o’clock at night, but it won’t be posted until I can get connected to internet tomorrow morning. I don’t have internet at my apartment, so I walk a few blocks up the road until I get to a place where I can plug my laptop in and do what needs to be done.
Looking for a job currently, so I can start earning money instead of spending it. Being a student who is a foreign national, I’m only permitted to work 20 hours a week while school is in session. Twenty hours is better than nothing, especially when one finds oneself spending 100 pounds (around $165) in the span of two days. To date I’ve dropped off my CV to two pubs, one Franco gastro-pub (where I had an interview… and didn’t make the cut, it seems) and two shops. Really hoping to hear back from someone, especially the pubs, even more especially from one pub in particular.
And here I will segue into my pub story.
I recently had trouble with my electrical wiring at my flat; the fuse had blown and I didn’t know where the fuse box for the apartments were. I had power, but only to the outlets–my ceiling lights were out. The main room wasn’t that terrible, as the agency I’m letting from has neglected to take these ugly lamps out of my flat, so I was able to use them as a light source, but the bathroom had no light, and there isn’t a window, so it was pitch if you closed the door. I’d been calling the leasing office all day about the issue, told that someone would be by, until finally it was 6 o’clock and the person who was supposed to have shown up didn’t arrive.
When living in a new city where you can count your friends on two fingers, and you’re watching your bank account deplete with no way of filling it back up, and you’re missing the things you’re used to and the friends you adore, and you can’t seem to get a stupid part-time job to save your life, getting ignored by your letting agency was a bigger blow to me than it should have been. Maybe it was the rain. Maybe it was the little catalyst that caused the bigger problems–money anxiety, loneliness, lack of the familiar, disappointment with myself–to bubble up.
So, after a very short mini-breakdown, I went out to a pub. Not just any pub, as I walked past at least three different pubs and bars to get to this one particular pub. It is the pub which was recommended to me by a friend of a friend (one of those two friends), the pub I have adopted as my “local.”
There, I was greeted by one of the staff who remembered my name (and I hers, as she is really nice) and the drink I had when I was last there. I couldn’t get internet connection, but that was okay, because I started reading and drinking my cider, and everything began to slide a bit back into place. The rain continued to fall outside as I contemplated food, and yes, I ordered the gnocchi with pesto and salad, along with a half-pint of London’s Pride Ale. The sound of the cheered conversation around me by the locals and the fantastic staff filled the room, and each bite of the potato dumplings filled my previously bleak existence with a renewed joy, washed down with a most complimentary ale.
The local pub restored my faith in humanity.
Long live the British pub, for making a lonely American feel all right again.
Anyway, tomorrow, after I put this up on the internet for all of the world to see, I have to go to Harrods. That damn place is bananas, but it was the first place I had managed to come across measuring cups. It wasn’t the last, though, as I found cups for (much) cheaper the same day in a place practically down the road. Thus, I have to go back to Harrods to return the set of measuring cups and spoons I bought for around 17 pounds, which isn’t all that bad, but I already have measuring spoons (found at a Waitrose last week), and I don’t need two sets when I’ve got another set in the mail from across the ocean (thanks, Ma and Pa). I saved the receipt and didn’t unwrap the package, so it’s just as I found it on the shelves, so hopefully I can get my money back. It’s not as if they didn’t get me for other things, some of which I later found for cheaper as well… but unfortunately already unwrapped.
My reward for dealing with all this is that I might get another Krispy Kreme Doughnut while there. I went to the Krispy Kreme area and paid a pound ten (whoaaa… they’re like 59 cents back home!) for an original glazed, and the guy behind the counter, bless him, gave me another one “on the house!” Random, because I wasn’t doing what I normally do in a Krispy Kreme, which is dance a happy dance or jump up and down and go “Omigaaaah, Krispy Kreeeeme!!” I was being well-behaved, really. But man, once I bit into one of those doughnuts, it was magic. The hot light wasn’t even on, but oh, still, I could taste the oil, that delicious oil, that the doughnuts are fried in. It was sweet and good and happy, but yet a weird experience, eating something so familiar in a place like Harrods, because your mouth is telling you “Home! Hot damn! That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!” whereas your eyes and ears are all “Ack! People everywhere! Where am I? Where am I supposed to be?”
So, yeah. Maybe I’ll pay the equivalent of $1.80 or so for a doughnut (or two, if I get another generous fella behind the counter). Or maybe I might save my senses and just get out of Harrod’s with my 17 pounds and bake something sweet at home instead. I’ve got my measuring cups, and I might have some ingredients to cobble together something. Can’t get too used to clinging to Krispy Kreme or anything else I had before.
Must go forward.