Sunday, May 22, 2016

A funny thing happened on the way to...

I'll explain the title in a few, but first, a quickie update.

It's been nearly four months since my last update. Life in the UK is really settling into a rhythm. Life a the post office is like any job really, you have your great customers and you have your really asshole ones. I can think of one in particular, but that's for another time... maybe in a resurrection of my old "Tales from the Hotel" anecdotes and stories, but ya know... at a post office.

About a month ago, I finally received the rest of my things that I had shipped over from the USA. Now, my move is officially complete.

I can now begin my photography in earnest. In fact, I'm scheduled to have my first large event shoot next month. I'm working on my macro photography and might even be working on websites and product photography for customers (I mean my clients) ;-)

So anyway, as to the title...

One of the big items that I had shipped over was my Canon Pixma Pro 100 printer. It's a $500 professional photo printer that prints 13x19" sized paper (that's pretty big folks). I was about to load it into Richard's car (taking it to the post office for a photo and ID photo printing service I'm offering) and I tripped over a floor rug, then over a big foot stool and I landed on top of the printer in the middle of a doorway, banging my chin and fracturing two ribs. UGH. All I can say is that it's painful... and I'm not just talking about my body. The printer was NOT working.

This also gave me my first experience with the thing known as A&E (Accident and Emergency). Richard took me to the hospital and we had to wait about two hours to be seen. Not too bad really. All they did was take my basics in the triage evaluation room (blood pressure, pulse/ox, temp) and then I saw a nurse, who gave me a weak painkiller and told me to suck it up (OK, she really didn't, and she was really nice, but what can you really do about broken ribs?) Didn't cost me a ten pence.

Not too bad for something that's included with being a taxpayer. In fact, If you can gloss over the fact that the healthcare industry isn't as hands on as American healthcare, it's really great. They focus more on letting your body do as much as possible and don't readily prescribe the meds like the USA will. It's definitely different that American medicine, but not really better and not really worse. Each has it's benefits and pitfalls.

I'm on the healing end. It's been three weeks now since the accident. Still a bit sore, but I'm on the mend. Today, I did manage to crack open the casing on the printer and FIX the printer! WOOHOO! I feel very accomplished!

I'm also trying out making chocolates. I've already learned how to temper chocolate and today, I've also made my first truffles from a mould. white chocolate outside and mint infused milk chocolate ganache on the inside. It's AWESOME!

So that's really it for now. Things are moving along and I'm really enjoying life as a Britton in Britain.

And yes, the accent is still changing. I've got more of a Canadian or mid-Atlantic (somewhere between American and British) accent. I can also mostly pull off a British accent. Wheee!

While you're here, click here to check out my photography website.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Two Months in...

So I've been in the United Kingdom now for just over two months and I've got a few things to share:

  1. My accent, while still most definitely NOT British, is more akin to Canadian now than American (much less Alabama). I take it as a compliment!
  2. I'm STILL learning a lot of cockney slang. Who knew that if you said you were having a Ruby Murray that it means you're having a curry?
  3. Yes, I do experience some homesickness. I miss my friends, especially Eli and Don, Will and Ron and all my Grace friends. 
  4. I am really not getting used to all the rain we've had. It's been a LOT. Winter? WHAT WINTER? It's barely gotten to freezing temps here...just barely.
  5. I'm still not used to the whole driving on the left hand side of the road although I'm getting much much more used to it riding my bike around.
What else? Well, I'm becoming an official productive person here. I've got my national insurance number, which is a lot like a social security number in the states. I've also got my bank account set up here. 

I LOVE the food here. Granted, some things like KFC not having mashed potatoes and their coleslaw not being like the KFC in the states... that I could never get used to. Oh yes... I haven't had McDonald's food since I left Kentucky... which was almost four months ago! Do I miss it? Yeah I do. Just the fries though. The rest I can live without. Speaking of food... evidently, I'm a good cook according to Richard and his parents. I haven't made a bad dish yet! (from scratch). My Mexican bean salad seems to be the big winner.

Also, since receiving my national insurance number, I've gotten tentative approval to work behind the post office counter as an actual postal worker instead of working retail... and the only thing I had been doing thus far is what's called drop and go (where the customer leaves their parcels and a manifest and we take care of doing all the postage out of a prepaid account), but Saturday, Richard was the only one behind the counter and it was getting massively busy. I decided to try my hand at doing the real-time postal stuff. With Richard's help, we powered through a massively busy half day's worth of customers. It felt really good to be able to do as much as I did. So really for the first time since I've been here, I felt like I was really needed to do something and it felt great!

I've also gotten my photography page renovated so go visit!

And the best thing of all besides Richard since I've been here? One of the posties (post carriers) being a HUGE AUBURN FAN! Yes, he's a British citizen and he was simply amazed that I attended Auburn University. WAR EAGLE!

That's all for now. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Post Christmas Update...

I'm dreaming of a WET Christmas!

Yeah yeah yeah... I was warned. It would be WET, but DAMN not THIS wet! When I arrived, it was somewhat cold and very windy and wet. Today... same thing. We might have had a total of 96 hours of actual sunlight since I've been here. Ugh.

Good news... it's definitely getting colder an Winter seems to be arriving. Thank God I say, because we can't take much more rain, and I know that Cumbria and Scotland can't take much more either.

So for Christmas, I was a very lucky ginger, because I received a nice Trek 7200 bicycle (got a really good deal on a used bike in excellent condition) and I also received a SodaStream (which is freaking AWESOME!). It was especially nice having my first ever authentic British Christmas dinner (yes, crowns, crackers and all).

The Christmas season at the post office was very busy as expected... and we are busier than normal because of my oh so very charming southern American accent... oh wait, I meant Canadian!  Yes... the first few days I was at the post office, I had no trouble being identified as American, but now, I get asked 19/20 times if I'm Canadian! My accent has definitely shifted!

We are moving into new territory at the post office... mainly because we are going to start adding services that we've never done before to earn extra money (and compete with those around us). It's very exciting!!

Other things that I've done... yes I like the rest of the world went to see Star Wars and it was AWESOME! I've walked and biked along the beach (great paved paths going down the seafronts!!) and I've also tried new foods to me including pork pies, anything Piri Piri, many many new cheeses (and authentic cheddar cheeses) and my new favourite... PRAWN CRACKERS! Oh. My. God. For you Americans out there who have no idea what those are... imagine shrimps that have been minced up into a paste and starch added to help it stick together, then cooked into chip-like forms. There's also a really nice bakery just a few doors down from the post office and while their sweets aren't the best I've ever had, the savoury items are! They have some wonderful curry pies, Mediterranean pastry and Cornish pasties are just FAB!

Oh yeah... and Richard. God bless him. He's just the best thing EVAH. (gush!!!!!)

Can you tell I'm loving it here?