Homesick in London | Living Abroad

I’ve been in London now for 12 days, and I have to admit that it’s been hard! Of course there have been great times exploring the streets last weekend, wine and cheese, and afternoon tea – but it’s still been a challenge.

I’ve never travelled or lived alone before, so this strange feeling of both sadness and happiness is unusual for me.

I still feel quite out-of-place and not a part of any close-knit groups; which is something I had at home. Many of the other interns in my program enjoy partying and drinking, which I don’t really like doing anymore.

I would just rather be fully present in my surroundings and have full control of myself than have that uncertainty of going out.

I’m hoping that this weekend will cheer me up – I plan on picking up my residence permit tomorrow, doing healthy groceries (a break from all the pasta, bread and cheese), and maybe a little shopping and visiting some interesting sights.

I would love to take more pictures and try to connect more with all that London has to offer. Because believe me, I know this is an amazing place! It’s just difficult to feel like I’m a part of it rather than just an observer.

Fingers crossed I get over this hump and start to fearlessly conquer everything I set out to see and do! No one else here seems shaken at all by the life-change of living here, so I am starting to feel quite dramatic. I can’t turn a switch and be a cheerful partier, though.

Can anyone relate?

Adapting to London

I have been in London for a few days now and am slowly getting better at finding my way! I haven’t tried the tube yet, but I plan to within the next few days.

I also got around to asking the front desk how to work my stove. I can now successfully cook pasta in a pot, though I still don’t have a strainer so it’s been an adventure.

One thing that I have noticed is just how stylish everyone is on the streets. No offence to Ottawa (Canada), but this place is much more expressive!

I haven’t seen one poorly dressed person yet, which makes me glad that I decided on two suitcases instead of one.

My internship has also been excellent so far; everyone is really nice and the tasks are interesting. Being allowed to look at clothing websites for research? Yes, I can do that.

As for brands that I’m loving, MANGO and COS seem amazing! MANGO originated from Spain, and COS from Sweden, but we don’t have either in my hometown.

As for working in fashion, these are my Day 2 and Day 3 outfits:

Day 2
Top: Guess | Cardigan: American Apparel | Pants: Smart Set | Purse: Guess
3rd Day
Top: Guess | Cardigan: American Apparel | Leather leggings: Dynamite | Purse: Guess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I guess I should try to sleep now, seeing as it’s 3 a.m. Does jet lag ever wear off?

Also, Sainsbury’s or Tesco? I am out of food…

Arriving in London, UK

Well, the day finally came! Apologies for no posts this past week; I barely had time to sleep and eat, let alone blog. Even now I’m going off of three hours of sleep since Friday night.

Flying for the first time was crazy! I have a 10 minute video just of my first take-off. We hit a lot of turbulence on my flight to London, which the screaming child in front of me wasn’t too fond of. Before the flight, I thought: ‘If a kid can do it, so can I!’

There went that dream.

My second day has been much more calm. I started my internship today, and although that was a little nerve-wracking, it provided a nice, structured routine.

Work I can handle! It’s everything else that is hard. For instance, I just boiled pasta in the microwave because I couldn’t figure out the stove and was too tired/hungry to ask the front desk all the way down on the first floor.

I’ll be posting again on Thursday, so maybe by then I will have mastered how to live and survive by myself! (Another distant dream.)

Some pictures:

Leaving TorontoChasing the SunBefore landing in LondonDay ViewDeliciousnessMy View

That building is “commonly” known as the Gherkin building. I googled ‘rocket building in London.’ You’re welcome.

Let me know of any things I absolutely must do around this area! So far I’ve only managed to go to Boots and Tesco.

T Minus 10 Days | Travel

So there are only 10 days left until I leave the country (Canada) over to London (UK)! I work every day until right before I leave, and yet I still have so much to do!

Figure out how to unlock my iPhone while still on contract, talk to my bank, buy luggage necessities, meet up with friends—the list goes on!

I’ve never flown before, so I’m also getting  nervous about all of that, especially navigating my way through airport security and baggage checking/claiming.

I have a track record of always getting lost amidst the chaos (like Toronto when I visit) which is terrifying when you’re by yourself and especially when you don’t have access to wifi.

Google can’t always come to the rescue! I guess that’s what paper maps are for?

If any of you have any flying tips, don’t be shy! I have a layover in Toronto (I’m flying from Ottawa) and I don’t even know what goes on with my checked luggage. As long as I make it on the second plane with everything intact (including my sanity), all should be good!

Wish me luck. xx

Going Out More Often (GOMO) | Travel

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The past year hasn’t succumbed to much going out for me. Saving money to travel and intern abroad has taken its toll! Both by not having money to spend on events, or time to try new things due to work.

This is all about to change!

In less than two weeks I will officially be living in London, interning for 4 months and travelling around on weekends.

As my social hibernation comes to an end, I’d like to share just what I have in store for the first few weeks of my internship!

1. Afternoon Tea 

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Bea’s Cake Boutique

Such a quintessential British experience! The first weekend of my internship, there is a tea-going experience at Bea’s of Bloomsbury planned for us interns. Fancy drinks, sandwiches and deserts are to be expected!

How delicious do those treats look?

Photo Credit: Bea’s Cake Boutique

2. Secret Gardens of London

Now, I know these may not actually be secret; but a lovely Vogue UK article alerted me of their presence. It’s always great to know the non touristy places, perfect for capturing special pictures or just enjoying some quiet in a busy city.

Photo Credit: Vogue UK

3. Cliffs of Moher | Ireland

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A close friend of mine from university is randomly starting her Master’s program in Cork, Ireland when I’m starting my internship in London, England. What a perfect chance to get together and spend a weekend trip sight-seeing!

I’d love to see the Cliff’s of Moher, as the area looks stunning. There are various day packages that include transportation.

5. The British Museum 

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The British Museum, London

One classic tourist destination is the British Museum. I love walking through museums and galleries in general, so I’m expecting to have a great time in a place with so much culture!

You might catch me here more than once casually strolling along, or sitting on those fancy white steps, people-watching.

4. Networking Events

Always liking to be prepared, I scheduled different networking events related to beauty/fashion/PR into my calendar.

Eventbrite has been my main supply for these events! You can even track your events with their online RSVP page. It’s a great resource for different cities, wherever your location.

For instance, there are events for bloggers like #BloggersFestival and Bloggers Xmas! Now try and tell me those don’t sound like fun.

I hope I’ve inspired some of you to try new things and get out of your comfort zone! You never know who you might meet.

I mean . . .

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“The further you get away from yourself, the more challenging it is. Not to be in your comfort zone is great fun.” —Benedict Cumberbatch

Photo Credit: Pinterest

If you know of any cool things to do in London, let me know! I’ll be living in Zone 1 this fall.

The Compulsive Need To Do “More” | Anxiety

I had a different idea in mind for today’s blog post. But after feeling anxious in general all day, followed by watching Charlie McDonnell’s YouTube video on anxiety also posted today, I decided to write about what was really on my mind.

I have always felt the need to do more. Pick up more shifts, create more content, learn more skills, adopt more hobbies, work out regularly—pretty much, fill up my schedule to the hour.

Dont get me wrong—I love to be busy! I live off adrenaline and caffeine, and most of the time I adapt great. But continuing without breaks (including from the online world) can be detrimental, at least for me.

During university I would sleep 3-6 hours per night, but have one day per week for a sleep-binge of usually 14-16 hours. This isn’t even too healthy of a sleep schedule, but now I regularly get 3-6 hours per night with no recharge!

With the need to fit more into each day that is considered too much by others’ standards—why do we do this?—we leave ourselves to burnout.

The main thing that helps with workaholic anxiety: Perspective

I met someone new today who told me after hearing a bit about what I do, that it sounds like I actually do a lot. Coming from friends, this usually goes over my head, but from a stranger, my perspective shifted.

There is a reason to be anxious when your mind is never at rest. This type of anxiety of I should do more isn’t the best mentality when you only create more anxiety for not having done what you set out to do. Then the feeling grows until you stare at a wall for an hour. Fun times, right?

Let me know if any of you have experience with putting a lot on your plate! I’d love to hear any tips or general comments. Seriously.

 

 

Travel 2016

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I’m starting to get more excited about my upcoming travels interning in London, England from September to December! I’m currently applying for my Tier 5 Visa which has been interesting. 

I’ll be in London with others who are also doing internships, and we’re going to be staying in student apartments. I’ve never lived on my own before so I’m both excited and nervous!

I like sticking to a planned budget—doing groceries will be something new. I’ll be using my XE currency app all the time to figure out what I’m actually spending.

Despite all the possible challenges, I think it will be worth it for the experience.

Sleep Schedule

With such a varied work schedule, it can often be hard to pencil in sleep. I had a beautiful streak a few months back where I was going to bed at 10:30 p.m. and waking at 6 a.m. Alas, that didn’t last long.

Last night was the first time in weeks I had a solid five hours of sleep without waking up—quite the achievement! My friends think I’m crazy for being able to run on three hours, but I always think nothing is impossible with caffeine at hand.

Sure, you get those pesky eye twitches, jittery hands and occasional brain fog, but the insane amount of energy received is worth it! Having the motivation inside your mind match the energy needed to get things done is a great position to be in.

Do any of you night owls rely on caffeine as much as I do? Early birds, please share your ways in the witchcraft of normal sleep cycles!

I’ve heard of these mystical guidelines:

  • Turn off electronics an hour before bed
  • Have a routine every night
  • Only use your bed for sleep
  • Do not eat a large meal or drink a lot before bed
  • Do not exercise preceding sleep

These tips seem as foreign as my knowledge of politics. How does one do these things? Is it nature or nurture? These are the questions I have late at night.