Christmas 2013

December is always hectic for everyone, so I’m not going to complain here how busy I was. I didn’t have plans to go to Poland to spend Christmas with my family, because I didn’t have many holidays left to use and the ones I had, I wanted to use on my trip to Israel in February. I decided to take up as many shifts in the RA shop as possible to save some money for the trip, because I wanted to buy belated Christmas presents over there.

So, in the madness of working 7 days a week from 5am till 6 or even 10pm for about 3-4 weeks and pre-Christmas Christmas parties, I was invited to spend the Holiday far from London noise at my friends’ in Farnborough. It wasn’t that easy to get there, because there was a horrible storm on that day and most of the trains were delayed 1-2 hours or cancelled, so my friends decided to pick me up from home.

There were floods and power cut in South West, but luckily my friends had their own power generator, so we managed to prepare Christmas Eve supper and didn’t have to sit only by the candles. I know it’s not humble to say that I made really delicious gingerbread and two kinds of herring: in beetroot and sour cream.

Christmas Day was properly lazy: slept late, had light breakfast, quick walk in the forest (the weather wasn’t that nice), long and amazing Christmas dinner with my friends and their parents and then TV and drinks in the evening. My friend’s dad used to tour with Eric Clapton, so whenever I hear his music, I remember that Christmas.

Next day the weather was much better and we went for a longer walk. In the afternoon my friends drop me off back home right on time to catch the screening of ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ in the nearest cinema.

the end of 2012

The last two months of 2012 weren’t particularly exciting. In the second half of November, I went to Poland to spend my birthday with my parents. We went for dinner to a restaurant which took part in Kuchenne Rewolucje reality show, which is the Polish version Britain’s Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and America’s Kitchen Nightmares. The restaurant is close to my home town and there was a lot of buzz around it in local newspapers, so I wanted to see what it was all about. The food was delicious and we were already full after starters! I really recommend it. It’s name’s Karczma Lesniczanka and it’s an inn, so you can stay there overnight if you’re not from the neighbourhood.

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For the whole December I was in the Christmasy mood, because of decorations in my cafe where I worked, the music playing on and customers being friendly and kind. I didn’t even mind that I would have to stay in London during holidays, because the shop was closed only for Christmas Day. Only one person from the staff could take a few days off and it wasn’t me (later that person who got time off got sick while on holiday and delayed her return plus one more team member got sick as well and it made the rest of the team lives miserable during the Christmas season which made me start thinking about quitting that job).

My sister and friends went to Poland for Christmas, so in the second half of December I moved to my friends’ apartment to house-sit and look after my sister’s cats. I spent Christmas Eve with my housemates where I rent my room. We had a little piece of Polish Christmas on our table and it was delicious, but the rest of my time this was my asylum. Don’t feel sorry for me, because I really enjoyed this quiet time after busy days at work. Is there anything more relaxing than having a cat sleeping next to you on your big desk?

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At the end of December, my sister came back and we spent the New Year’s Eve at our friends’ in Farnborough, near London. I had an amazing time. After late dinner we set up a bonfire and at midnight we watched something like Chinese lamps flying up in the air in the distance.

On the next day I had to be back at work. With a small hangover, big staff shortage with so many customers (it was mental! never seen that shop so busy since I had started working there) and my manager panicking and really not helping with his behaviour, somehow I managed to survive that day, but then I decided to change my job. When my sister had told me that they may need more staff in her shop during the next big exhibition at the Royal Academy, I was hesitating, because I felt comfortable at PAUL. But after that New Year’s Day, I was ready to go.

The RA shop job was only weekend gigs till April and I was hoping that I would be able to work at PAUL during week days (I did like working there and the people after all) and have weekends off. My manager didn’t agree for this kind of deal with me, so I decided to take a risk, leave PAUL, start working just at weekends and find something part-time in the meantime. At the end of January, I started working for the RA and at the beginning of February, I left my cafe.

And that’s how I finally reached 2013 in my blog updates and new chapters of my journey. Time to open champagne! 😀

ten days after

I don’t know if I can keep you interested in my blog after New Zealand and I don’t think my life will be as exciting as it used to be when I was travelling down under. But some of you has asked me if I’m going to keep on blogging and encouraged to do so and since I’m in London and intent to stay here for a while, I think there will be always something to write about.

I’ll also try to upload some photos on my photoblog now I’ve finally caught up with posts here.

It took me a while to get over the jet lag. For the first couple days I was ready to go to bed in the afternoon and was waking up in the middle of the night or early morning. After two days mostly staying in bed, I finally went outside on Wednesday and took a walk to the nearest park. The sun is really tricky here, because when you’re inside, you think it’s nice and warm outside, but when you leave your house, this is when it gets worse.

Nevertheless, it was great to go out, even though I felt a bit dizzy and enjoy English autumn.

On Friday afternoon, I went to the city centre. I saw an exhibition of Edgar Degas at the Royal Academy of Arts and portraits of comedians and actesses at the National Portrait Gallery.

But the main reason why I left home was to see my friends’ from Porirua youngest son performing in a play “Teechers“. He was great and after the show I talked to him and passed him the greetings from his parents. I also met coincidentally some more members of his family. It was lovely to connect with someone from “out-there”, because my memory of New Zealand has already started fading and the feeling that the trip has never happened started to creep in.

Probably that’s why it’s taken me so long to write those posts about the last days in NZ, because I wanted the memories to last as long as possible. But it’s time to move on. In NZ every day was important and different, and now they sometimes blur into one. I need to face reality and look for a job, get into routine and start earning and hopefully saving some money to go back. I’ve done the first step: opened a bank account this week.

Not that I’m not going to enjoy living in London! I already am and really getting into the mood of Christmas, because I can feel the cold. On the way to the theatre, I passed London Christmas Market on the South Bank and wandered around the stalls sipping mulled wine.