Bad teeth and fried chicken.

Since I decided to come up for air after having browsed through a million of my favorite websites and watched all of my favorite shows that I’ve been missing due to NO internet, I decided I would do a post….as I FINALLY have wireless!

Let me just start off by saying that somewhere along the line, someone, no one knows who, or WHY for that matter, decided to bestow London England the fried chicken capital of Europe. No, probably the world. Lets not exclude all the planets with various life forms. Yes, I know you’re out there fried chicken eating aliens with missing teeth and crooked smiles, and I find you sickening!

HONESTLY PEOPLE. I cannot walk 10 seconds, or 10 feet really, without seeing 800 fried chicken joints in this city… There are people constantly emerging from these stores, drumstick in hand, grease on their lips, and they are in heaven. They must be, because I have never in my life experienced a cultural phenomenon such as this. It is so bizarre to me. Why chicken? And why FRIED chicken? I didn’t realize that London’s staple food item was not “mushy peas and mash” or “bangers and mash” or “sticky toffee pudding,” but rather a disgusting piece of flesh that clots your arteries the moment it enters your body. And the names for these places are ridiculous, albeit a tad amusing. For example, I have seen: Favorite Fried Chicken, Special Chicken, Chicken On Top (?), Friends With Chicken… and my favorite so far was called Chick-Inn and was a HOTEL!!!!!!!!!!!!! With a fried chicken place at the bottom… yeah lets just get right on booking a room in that pretty establishment. NOT!

Okay, enough of my chicken rant. But at least now you know what I have been looking at for the past few weeks.

And I just wanted to say something regarding the whole bad teeth stereotype… I won’t confirm or deny, but will leave you with this final picture. I was on the tube today (yes, I’ve turned) and sat directly across from a lovely gentleman who, honest to my animal spirits, had ONE TOOTH. It was situated directly in the center, top, and to my added pleasure, half rotten. Imagine sitting across from that for 15 minutes without staring the entire time…. yeah, not happening.

In other London news, I went to Portobello Market with Candice and some fellow Nipissing friends on the weekend and it was wonderful! It is located in the beautiful Notting Hill, so naturally I looked for Hugh Grant to profess my love, however, I was unlucky. I did get to see some really cute houses (all different colours) and some great little shops all through the market. There were endless booths of amazing food, antiques, clothes, and lots of other nick nacks. I will definitely be going back to do some serious Christmas shopping once I stop spending my money on myself and emptying my bank account on clothes and purses.. ha, just kidding mom… maybe.

This weekend I may venture to the London Zoo, as I didn’t get to do that with Adam and I really want to see it while I am her, weather permitting. I am looking into going to Ireland the last week in October, as I have one week off because it is “half-term” here. And…. Candice and I booked a trip to Norway (WOOHOOOO) for a weekend in November which I am very much looking forward to!

So that’s that. I am going, to NOT eat, a piece of death chicken.

Love,

Justine

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Hello London, goodbye savings account…

SO. It has been about a week or so since my last post and I am sure you have all been waiting anxiously to hear what has been going on here. HA, how self-centered of me. I have been the one who has waited anxiously to get the internet, and alas, I have it for one lovely evening courtesy of Candice’s (my roomie) sexy Irish boyfriend, who will from now on be refered to as just that, the sexy Irishman.

Since my last post Candice and I have moved into our cute little house in a small town here in East London. For East London, the area is pretty nice and we have quite the number of amenities available to us. There is a 99p Store (dollar store) which sells everything… EVERYTHING people.. you can buy 99p condoms. I don’t know if you would want to buy a condom that retails for 99p, but hey, if you don’t mind some chafing, burning and possible offspring, I say go for it! We also have a Subway, a library, a post office, a McDonald’s (for my inner sow) a place to buy liquor, and we are about 20 ft away from both the bus and tube station which is wonderful for us travelling teachers.

The house is reasonably priced and we have one other roommate who seems okay thus far, and then two possible roomies that have looked at the place. One happens to be named Justine, which is pretty cool, however, I don’t think she will know what hit her once we get to know one another, and most likely she will probably be ashamed that I share her name..

I have been supply teaching fairly regularly in a variety of schools which has been great, and the staff have been very helpful and very accommodating. The kids on the other hand…hmm… I am having a hard time using words to describe them, but something along the lines of: life-sucking demons who shoot lasers out of their eyes while planning to kill you with knives and flame throwers and kill unicorns in front of you…. okay, a slight exaggeration, but still, they aren’t the sweetest kids to grace the English population. Some are really sweet and want to help you and make their fellow students behave, but lots are disrespectful snakes who don’t listen and just really don’t give a shit. But I am hoping they get better and my classroom management skills only get better as time goes on!

My birthday was last Thursday (thank you for all who wished me a happy birthday) and it was as wonderful as it could be, being away from most of my loved ones. Candice, who is amazing and so thoughtful, surprised me with tickets to Oliver Twist for Thursday night, and we had a great time. The show was wonderful, the set was brilliant, and the acting and singing were also great. Now I just want to go to ALL of the shows here in the city, including Thriller- mom we’re going and Wicked). The Friday night we had a lot of Canadian friends from home come over, and it was basically a Nipissing reunion which was fantastic! I had a magical time (just ask anyone of the tube-goers who had to be graced with my drunken presence) and we danced the night away. Many a bar patron ate my hair as I was wildly flinging it in every which way in pure delight and happiness.

I promise I will post pictures when I have more time, of my birthday and of our new house. Until then, you will just have to picture me here, having the most amazing time with a constant smile on my face. That said, I have spent a lot of money in the last week and a half settling in and getting introduced to the city. Going out and transportation is what kills you, however, both are necessary (no I will not sacrifice a drunken good time) and worth it at the same time! Groceries aren’t terrible, but not the cheapest things in the world either. And a huge wad of cash went to first months rent and my deposit. Oh, and my cell phone. And buying house stuff. And also eating out… the list goes on and on. I get paid soon though so hopefully I can revive my account, even if I have to give it mouth to mouth.

That is that. I miss you all. Especially a certain someone who happens to give hugs that make you feel like you’re riding a unicorn through the air, while eating creme eggs, while winning the lottery, annnnddddd getting a foot massage. Oh, and he happens to fly planes too.

One last thing. I would like to pose a question to those who have either been to London or who have always wanted to visit and therefore have a list of things they would love to do:

What is one, or two, or three things I MUST see and do while I am in the city (reasonably priced friends) for the next year?

Love,

Justine

Monkeys, dolphins, and camels oh my!

Hi all.

It has been a wonderfully long and adventurous three weeks, but I am back to my new home and I am very much looking forward to this new experience awaiting me in London. Adam and I arrived on Friday, under some not so great circumstances. Adam was very sick, our camera had been stolen the previous night, and we received some sad family news on top of that.

I left you all hanging before we left for the beaches in Spain (which were AMAZING) and Morocco. Our overall thoughts on Spain was.. hmm.. I guess.. underwhelmed? We did have so much fun together, and the sights were really great, but some of the people and places we encountered were not what we were expecting. Because we didn’t speak the language it was very frustrating at times, and out of all the places we went where English was not the native language, we found Spain the least accommodating to better help us in our travels. However, we did have some amazing times and laughs, and grew as a couple here as well. In stressful times we are getting better at working together instead of one storming off and screaming and looking like a donkey (referring to myself here).

We also travelled to Gibraltar during this portion, which was definitely a highlight for us both and one of our favorite times spent during our trip. We originally went here because it is the only place in Europe where you can find monkeys (obviously only Adam and I would seek this out…which is why we are animal spirit soulmates..in case you didn’t know). We took a tram car thingy (yes that is the technical term) up the mountain where beautiful, furry, and playful monkeys awaited us….. Okay… they should not advertise this, as most of the monkeys were overweight and therefore fatigued, and some looked as though they had been street fighter monkeys all there lives and Adam and I were just waiting for them to pull out their do rags and switch blades and jump us…

haha no, in all seriousness it was really neat to watch them interact with one another, jump on tourist ladies backs (Adam and I were enjoying this probably a little too much), and see their true personalities come out. I did end up getting bit by a small one (of course I did, and I secretly loved it) because Adam was egging me on to get closer to it. It honestly pulled a friggin’ George of the Jungle on me and swung onto my back using my hair as leverage and bit my arm. It didn’t break the skin, thankfully, and I know he only did it out of playfullness. So that was fine. We did have an awesome picture of the monkey mid-bite, but of course that is gone now that that bastard stole Adams camera.

We also went dolphin hunting while in Gibraltar and that was also wonderful. There were SO many wild dolphins, like 100s, and there were various types and lots of mothers with babies as well. So basically Adam and I were in animal heaven for these few days, and enjoyed our time there immensely.

From Spain we went to Morocco, and after a long 10 days in hell country, we were SO excited to be going here. We spent the first day/night in Marrakech. This city is so full of energy, so lively, very beautiful, yet scary at times. There are people constantly coming up to you and trying to sell you things and show you to your hotel for money. This was fine in the beginning because it’s all part of the experience, but on our last night, which also happened to coincide with the end of Ramadan, it was not so fun. We saw so many things in the markets there, street performers, snake charmers, women doing Henna tattoos, millions of clothes, all kinds of foods (boiled goat and sheep heads were common) and the list goes on. It was really cool to see the city and how the people live in that area and what it has to offer, but I can safely say, I never need to go back to that place again.

After Marrakech we wanted to get out of the city, so Adam and I travelled to the Sahara desert, which was a two day in car journey, and we saw LOTS of beautiful scenery on the way. They have so many ┬áKasbah’s all over Morocco and they are so beautiful to see. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kasbah) Go there to see what I am talking about, as I have no photographic evidence to show you myself. All along the way to the desert we saw traditional nomads who live in the mountains, lots and lots of sheep and goat herders, wild camels, and amazing sights as well. We drove through to Atlas mountains which was great, a bit scary at times because of all the sharp turns and windy roads but when we finally arrived in the desert, it was soooooo worth the long car rides and semi car sickness. The Sahara is absolutely beautiful. It is so enormous I can’t even begin to describe it to you. We rode camels to our camp, which was a lot of fun, but Adam didn’t enjoy that as much as I, taking our genetic make up in to account….. if you catch my drift… ┬áThe ride was about 2 hours there and 1 and a half on the way back in the morning. I took a video of myself blogging on the camel, but it is being difficult to load so I will keep trying. But I did get to hump and blog at once.. ha… see what I did there??

We camped under the stars and ate some delicious food (the food there was my favorite of all places… go picky Justine!) and experienced some great music as well from our guides. We awoke at 5:30am to watch the sun come up, and that was probably one of the greatest things I have ever experienced. Sitting with Adam in the sand, in the Sahara desert, watching the sun come up… ahhh life is good. We made our way back after that on the camels and after that we drove for about 10 hours back to Marrakech for one last night before we flew home in the morning. We got back much later than anticipated and there were honestly thousands of people in the streets celebrating the end of Ramadan. This would have been nice if we didn’t have our packs with us, and if Adam’s camera wasn’t stolen. However, we are getting over that because we truly did have the most amazing trip and we had SO much fun together.

Now I am settled in a house for a week and then I have to find somewhere else. I have a bed, and I am so close to the Tube for work this week so all is good. I am working 5 days a week at the same school so that will be great, getting comfortable with the area and the school will be nice. Adam left for the airport a couple hours ago, and I am doing okay. Better than expected actually. Initially I felt like someone ripped off my arms and beat me with them, but I know we will be okay, and I am a very very lucky girl to have someone who is so supportive and encouraging and painfully good looking.

I will leave you with some pictures to help your eyes feel better after reading this ridiculously long post…