Sunday, 30 December 2007

Christmas Travels

This year for Christmas, we spent it in Utah. We left London on the 19th and flew to Dallas, Texas where we had about a 3 hour layover before flying to Salt Lake City. The flight wasn’t that bad, as we consumed most of our time watching movies. Although one thing confirmed….airplane food SUCKS! We did have emergency door isle seats and no seats in front of us, so we had plenty of room which was nice.

We spent plenty of our time partaking in the last minute Christmas shopping, since we only brought a few gifts from England back. Typically, the Christmas crowds drive us crazy, but after living in London with crowds, crowds, and more crowds of people, apparently we were immune to it this year.

We were able to get some ski time in at Snowbasin. It is a wonderful ski resort and only about a 20 minute drive from our family. We had planned to do some XC skiing, but due to the weather and having a tight schedule, plus we both came down with head colds, we weren’t able to squeeze in XC skiing.

It was great seeing family and friends. There were several people we didn’t get to see that we had hoped to see. For those of you we were able to see, thank you for squeezing time into your busy holiday schedules for us, we really enjoyed spending time with you.

Hard to believe that tomorrow is New Year’s Eve! We are back in London now to celebrate the New Year. We will celebrate the New Year at some new friends’ house in Chiswick, Valerie and Justin. (Thanks Donna for introducing us!) We are also looking forward to seeing some friends from the states, Sarah and Patrick.

For those of you eager to partake in exercise for the New Year, I created an Angie’s Virtual Training Camp. If you are interested in doing it, let me know and I will add your name and give you access to the logging document and tracker. I really miss my workout buddies from the states, so I decided this is a great way for us all to still stay connected and help each other motivate one another.

I currently hear the trainer in the background. That means Jack is on one of our indoor cycling trainers, or testing out a bike he has fiddled with. We use them mainly when the weather outside is poor, and they help training by providing resistance. I expect to see less of Jack for the next 7 months, as he is getting ready to begin training for his upcoming Ironman. The house is already full of expensive cycling gadgets like power meters, training videos, etc., and they are all sure to be used significantly for the months to come.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Meeting of the Minds

This is one of my favorite pictures; this was taken right before we were moving to London. Mutual assets or meeting of the minds can be destroyed by actions such as duress, mistakes or misrepresentation, etc. With us both equally optimistic that we have made a good decision to move to London, there is always a tiny bit of us that doubts our decision, hoping that we made no mistake and the opportunities for growth and the positions we accepted weren’t misrepresented. Also, like many things, relationships are a contract which exist among individuals with promises and obligations. We were both involved in making the decision and aware of risks, etc., therefore, there was a meeting of the minds.
The photographers were Hazel and Tony Hong, who are great friends and do amazing photography.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Life in the Fast Lane

To sum up the biggest difference this far, is the fact that we totally rely on public transportation to get us nearly everywhere. Our day typically begins early, as we walk to the nearest train station which is about 15 minutes away. Our goal is to be at the gym when it opens (6:30am), so we can claim a pool lane. Another thing, we have to be really aware and manage our time more efficiently, because certain trains only come at certain times, and if we miss it, it delays us getting to the pool. I think that is what makes London such a fast-paced city; everyone has some place to get to, and a personal agenda, and everyone wants to squeeze more into their life. It feels like such an ordeal to plan to go into town due to the planning of how to get there, etc.

When we arrive to the main train station to catch the tube to our stop, (the tube ride is about 6-7 stops away), it always is amazing how many people are in the main stations. (It is particularly bad during the rush hours). It reminds me of the Jackson Pollock painting, “Lavender” because everyone is going different directions. Some times I watch carefully to see how many people literally run into each other. Usually though, it is like a carefully planned dance with strangers moving at a rigorous pace. Often times, I feel like I need body amour to protect myself from the impact when someone does collide into me.

After we reach our final tube stop, the walk to the gym isn’t too far away. The gym is below the railway which adds some rumbles to our workouts! It is really nice, but when I think about how far under the earth I am, and when I can slightly hear the underground tubes running parallel to the gym walls, it freaks me out a bit. We pay a small fortune to belong to a private gym.

Once we finish with our workouts, we either walk to work or catch a bus if we can manage to squeeze ourselves on. Some times the buses are so full, that at times we are literally pushing ourselves into strangers just to get a lift. The walk to work is about 15-20 minutes at a fast pace.

Jack and I work at the same building, in the same room, about 50 meters away from each other. This was a surprise to us, as we knew we would be working in the same building, but didn’t know it would be in the same floor or same room. Our downfall is the little Starbucks that is right across our building’s front door. At least a couple days a week we meet for a latte.

One of my favorite people and someone I look forward to seeing on a daily basis is our building security officer, John. He is Irish and is such a delight. He greets us each day by name. At times, it is as though he knows when some thing may not be going as planned for me; he is always there to say “Ang, what is up Love” or “Ang, are you okay?” He was the first person Jack and I met when we popped into check out our new office before our first day. Unlike so many people in London, he is always cheerful and smiling.

When our days are over at work, we usually start the commute home together. We only live a little over 5 miles from work, and it takes us either between 1-1 ½ hours to get home due to the chaos and dense population.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

The West of Ireland

We decided upon the Bend in the River since we live in Battersea, and it is around the bend in the Thames River in London. We thought starting a blog would be nice, so we could keep you all updated on our lives here in London, and share new experiences with you all.

We have been in London now for a little over two months. We are finally getting settled now that our furniture and other items have arrived. We are all unpacked and mostly organzied; there are a few items such as bookshelves that we still need to replace due to the move.

We have had two friends visit London, Dave and Bob. It was so great to see you and spend some time together. Thank you for making time for us in your London traveling schedule. We look forward to future visits from family and friends.

Last week, we went to Ireland to take advantage of a long bank holiday here, and also to celebrate my 35th birthday. During our time in Ireland, I kept my eye out for the little green leprechaun, in hopes I would find one which would led us to a crock of gold! I did however drink my first Guiness!

The stereotypes of Ireland are true. For as far as the eye can see, there are fields of rolling green hills or pasturelands, separated by stone/large rocks used as fencing to separate livestock.
We spent most of our time in the lower Shannon area and a day in the West of Ireland. Some of the places we visited were Limerick, Killarny, Galway and the Cliffs of Moher. We saw many castles, a few we visited were Carrigafoyle, King Johns and the Bunratty. We also visited many great churches and travelled through some great villages.

We rented a car for our travels and Jack drove. It felt strange being in a car since it has been months since we have been in one. I really have to get use to the changes - driving on the opposite side of the road and using the gear shift with my left hand. As a passenger while in Ireland, I found my left shoulder was often tense due to me pulling myself inwards, probably due to stress because of fear of how close we were to the left hand side of the road. The roads are often times very narrow and winding with shoulders made of small rolling hills, hedge or stone. There were a few close calls were we both squealed due to how close the passing car came to us when we passed. I had to do some serious yoga breathing to reduce the adrenaline rush from the fear. We both have decided that our favorite part of our trip was the Cliffs of Moher.

In a little over a week, I will be heading to Edinburgh, Scotland with my colleagues for an off-site work meeting, and a day of rest and relaxation at a day spa. I am looking forward to visiting Scotland. As for our jobs, we are both settling down and learning our new roles at work and enjoying our jobs.

We have began a BT London Carbon Cycling Club, so it will be fun to see how many join and how it develops. I am the team captain, so now everyone can call me Captain Cartwright this time. :) We live near Richmond park; it is an amazing park with fields. On our bike rides, we often see people riding horses and elk or deer in the streets or nearby fields. It is a great escape from the city life.

We will be downloading photos to share with you all soon. Ciao for now, we miss you all!