Monday, June 27, 2011


I was reading "R's" blog earlier and one of her posts actually made me miss Africa. I'm not sure how. I didn't think it was possible. I did not love the Africa, as Carina once put it. But her post made me remember my dream, which I've forgotten with time. Well, not really. I just have two competing dreams: one to live in the UK and have a really enjoyable time here and maybe never leave, and another to go to India and save some sick people...without doing any doctoring or nursing, cuz I'm not qualified for that...not sure exactly how that will work.

Anyway, I have these two opposing forces inside me, one to save money for when my visa expires and have to go out into the even wider world and seek my fortune, and another to live it up while I'm here. And I was thinking about it just now, about setting myself a budget for the next 9 months in order to save £1000 (which seems like so little but will be such a struggle to save). And I got to thinking about how much money I've been living on for the past year. I have been paying well over 50% of every paycheck to rent. I could certainly cut back and save more money than I do currently; I could stop eating out full stop, I could stop buying prepared lunches when I'm too lazy to make mine ahead, I could stop buying discounted clothing from work and exclusively buy charity shop clothing. But I think I have to give myself credit for just how little I've been living on for quite a while. Give myself credit, and then buck myself up for further cuts, because I could definitely do better.

Wish me luck. It's going to involve lots of things I'm terrible at, namely, planning ahead and cooking. Blech. And possibly giving up my addiction to the internet, because internet is flippin' expensive!!! In this country, you have to have a landline in order to get internet, so you have to pay a monthly fee for the landline (even if you NEVER CALL ANYONE) and another monthly fee for the internet. Not to mention the set-up fees for both. And most companies charge you an exorbitant fee for the wireless router. When I heard that Amy and Diana didn't have internet, I thought they were crazy! Now I realize, they're just grown-ups who have to pay bills. Since I've lived with other people (or in residence halls) up to now, I haven't had to deal with any of that. Bills were just included in the rent, and that was that, happy go-lucky. Now I'm forced to consider every minute expenditure. It might break me!

I spend a huge amount of each day online. I'm not sure I can live without internet. But I might try to see how long I can last. Uugggggghhhhh...It's for the children; for the sick, little children...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Crafty stuff

I had the day off today and the weather was mees-air-aw-bluh! so I spent all evening on the web, mostly video chatting with Becky, but also checking out crafty blogs. Now I feel inspired to do some crafting, but as I'm living out of suitcases and all my crafty stuff is in boxes at Corrado's, I'm going to write notes to myself of things I want to make.

1. At work, they are doing a company-wide contest for an employee to create a new apron. I don't know how to sew and know nothing about fashion design or textiles, but I thought I could brainstorm ideas anyway!

2. There was a tutorial here for making a mini magazine. I thought the idea was cute, but didn't really have anything to make.

But then I was looking for yarn shops in Edinburgh, and remembered that I wish I had a special map of the city where I could mark places to check out/go back to (shopping in this city is AMAZING!!) So maybe I'll make my own little map book using this technique...if I can find a color printer somewhere.

3. I saw a baby onesie in a magazine that had applique ballet slippers on the chest and an attached tutu, but I totally didn't see ballet slippers; I saw lungs and thought, "Awesome! But what's with the tutu?" Then I realized they were ballet slippers and felt completely let down. So now I need to learn how to applique so that I can make a lungs t-shirt. Because that would be awesome on so many levels.

Don't they look like lungs??

4. Um...I forgot what was gonna go here. It'll come back to me later. Oh yeah, I remember!! I was telling Becky about this earlier. On the corner of Corrado's street, there is an off-license (a kind of crappy convenience store that is ubiquitous throughout the UK). I noticed that they had a couple old, metal shopping baskets shoved in the window and forgotten. One of them is rusty and unappealing, but the other has kind of a yellowish enamel and looks like a flea market treasure (something we would sell in our shop for £35 or more). I really want it but I'm too chicken to go in and ask about it. Becky said I should go, though, and have no fear, so I think I'll pluck up the courage. It would be great in my new flat, maybe for storing my yarn stash.

5. On the same topic of flat decor, I was in a shop a couple weeks ago called Nomad's Tent. They sold some cool stuff from all the world, mainly Persian rugs, but they had this BEAUTIFUL metal trunk from India that I fell head over heels for. It was painted bright blue with big pink roses painted on the lid. I waaaaaaaaant it! I wish I could find a picture of something similar. Maybe I'll just have to go back and ask the man if he minds if I take a photo. Anyway, it's £65, which is a staggering amount of money...buuuut...I mean, it's way cheaper than we'd sell it for in our shop. I think it's too low to double as a coffee table, sadly, so I can't justify it as a furniture expense. And I couldn't really use it as luggage, even though that was it's original use back in the day. I don't know...I'll think about it for longer.

6. Not a craft, but whatever: this is what I'm going to buy in July (as if I'll make it through the month having only bought one article of clothing; it's good to have goals).

I think it's perfect for the Scottish summer and will go well with my dresses. Also, I love these, but they are still a bit pricey for my budget.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Okay, this is only three and a half weeks late...

I left London by train at 7am on a Friday. The plan was to stay in a youth hostel, but they were all booked up so I found a self-catering flat that was cheaper than staying in a bed and breakfast. It was such a gorgeous flat! It was on the top floor of a nice building in Leith, the coastal neighborhood northeast of the city center. I immediately pulled out my camera and took a picture of the view:

That's the Firth of Forth (the sea) out there.

Carina's friend, Tom, texted me the day before saying that his friend might have a flat I could live in, so even though I felt shy, I texted her to meet up. I'm so glad I did because she is super nice and wonderful. Sadly, her flatmates didn't want her to sublet her room, so I couldn't move in there, but we had drinks anyway. Then we went to meet a bunch of her friends in a pub, and I got chatted up by a boy. Bear in mind, I'd only been in the city for 12 hours.

In the bathroom at the pub, instead of the usual trashy graffiti, I found this and it only further validated my feeling that I'd made the right move in my life.

After three days, I had to leave the self-catering flat. I moved in with Corrado and his partner (who knits!) and their friggin' adorable two-year-old daughter, who calls me "Ciocia" (Polish for "aunty"). It was so nice of them to let me stay, they are my saviors! But I was having trouble finding a flat, and after two weeks with no luck, I needed to move on before I became a guest of indefinite duration. You know what they say about house guests and fish: both start to stink after three days.

So I talked to Sian again (Tom's friend) and she said her flatmates wouldn't mind me staying in her old room for a week, so that's where I am now. It's an enormous flat, and this room is the biggest. It's absolutely massive and has two big windows with window seats. And I managed to find a studio flat that is decently nice, not extortionately expensive, and really close to work (in the nice part of town)! Yaaaaaaaaayyy! Unfortunately, I can't move in until next Monday, which means another week of living out of suitcases. Oh well, it could be worse! I could be in a youth hostel. :-S Grim.

Now I can't wait to move, and use all my pretty new dishes, and decorate my new place, and start knitting again, and have lots and lots of lovely people come visit me!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I wrote this on a day several weeks ago when I came up to Edinburgh just for a day to scope out flats.

Reasons I'm moving to Edinburgh:

The bus seats are upholstered in a tartan pattern.
People speak in Scottish accents.
People are friendlier and happier than in London.
It takes 15 min by bus to get to the beach. (And that's proper beach, with sand and all.)

Monday, June 13, 2011

What I like about this place

This place is eff'd up. It's 10 o'clock at night, and the sky is still completely light. It is only just now slowly getting dark. In the dead of winter in Seattle, at 4:30 in the afternoon, it is as dark as it is right now. That's eff'd up. The other night, I was walking home at 1:30am, and it was twilight. There was still light on the horizon. I am far enough north that it doesn't get completely dark for any period of time during the summer. How crazy is that? The crappiness, or rather, unpredictably of the weather here, which puts Seattle's unpredictability to shame, coupled with the lightness in the sky, has completely thrown my body into confusion. At any given time, I have no idea what time of day or even what time of year it is. I keep thinking, "Oh, that will be fun to do in the summer," and then I realize that it IS summer, and I'm wearing a jacket and wool scarf.

I love it. I mean, I hate cold, but for someone who is constantly seeking out change and novelty while still wanting to be rooted in familiarity, I feel like I've hit the jackpot. Edinburgh reminds me of Seattle. It's beautiful here. Travel 20 min north or east and you hit a major body of saltwater (the Frith of Forth). From any point in the city, you can see Holyrood Park with its impressive Salisbury Crags and Arthur's Seat. To the south and west, beautiful grassy hills dotted with quaint villages. And then there's the city center. The ugly shopping district looks across a small green valley (through which the trains run) to stunning craggy cliffs topped by Edinburgh Castle. It's breathtaking. And that's smack dab in the busiest part of the city.

Edinburgh Castle

And people here are friendlier, happier than in London. They're helpful. Even before I left London, when I met my new managers while they were training there, they offered me their phone numbers after having just met me, in case I needed any advice or help finding a flat. When I got up here and couldn't find a flat, everyone at work put me in contact with friends looking for flatmates. One coworker I hadn't met walked up to me, introduced herself, then offered me her spare bedroom.

Okay, I need to stop waxing poetic. Eventually, the honeymoon period will end, I'm sure. But for now, I'm happy here. And that makes me happy. haha!