Edinburgh Week One

Edinburgh, Scotland, Travel

I have been in Edinburgh for just over a week now and already my time has been filled with ups and downs. We trained from Banbury two days after Christmas. Yes, we are idiots. We didn’t have seats for a good three hours, we spent that time cramped with other disgruntled travelers in the small section between carriages. It could of been worse though and we got to Edinburgh eventually. As soon as I exited Waverley Train Station and was in the middle of the Christmas Market I was in love. Edinburgh is such a beautiful city. The bright lights, carnival rides and the sound of bag pipes filling the air. But you know the way the universe works, every high is followed with a low. So we hopped in a black taxi, feeling good and filled with hopes, dreams and all that jazz. As it happens we chose the stupidest possible time to move to Edinburgh. We moved the week of a little thing called New Years Eve – ever heard of it? Well Edinburgh does New Years big time with a festival called Hogmanay. This means that accommodation prices are ridiculous and all reasonably priced places are booked out months in advance so the only place we could find was a wee way out of the city. We told the taxi driver where we were staying which was Sighthill to which she replied “why are you staying out there?” As soon as we got to our accommodation I knew that it was the low I had been waiting for. The house was down a quiet, dark street, well away from the city. I had booked it through Air BNB but for the place we were staying it was the first time they had ever used Air BNB so didn’t really know what they needed to provide for two people to stay. I’ll give you a little hint – you need to provide two pillows. We got inside and were shown to our room which looked fine until I noticed the one single pillow. I asked if there were any others and the host got confused and said no. The place was also filthy and smelt like burning Chinese food but that’s neither here nor there. Let’s get back to Edinburgh itself shall we!

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We’ve spent our days exploring the streets and different areas of Edinburgh – Old Town, New Town, Tollcross, Bruntsfield, Grassmarket and Leith. Each are so different and so lively except for Leith but that’s another story. A lot of our time has also been consumed with trying to find a permanent living place to escape the aforementioned hell hole. I’m going to be honest guys it was slim pickings out there for houses. I thought New York had some weirdos looking for room mates but Edinburgh gives it a run for it’s money. Each place was stranger than the last. We had almost given up hope until the angel that is Maureen called. Maureen is our lovely new land lady who found a room wanted ad I had posted online. We came to view the place and took it straight away. It’s a two bedroom house close to Holyrood Park which is beautiful and filled with swans which kind of terrify me – also a different story for another time. So there’s another high for you and soon enough the universe tapped me on the shoulder to serve me that next low.

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First dinner at our new house

First dinner at our new house

A few days after arriving in Edinburgh I had a telephone interview for a job as a Travel Consultant which would be an ideal job for me. I thought the interview went really well but turns out I didn’t get it. Ouch. Onwards and upwards though and back on the job hunting grind. I am so happy we chose Edinburgh as our next adventure though. I think we’ll have fun here. It’s beautiful, the people are friendly and I get to hang out with Abi whenever the hell I want. I lived with Abi back in New Zealand and it’s pretty damn cool to be living in the same city again.

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Until next times friends
x

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Christmas and New Year

New York

Hola Amigo’s and a Happy New Year! Apologies for the extreme lack of posts, I appear to have lost all motivation over the holiday period. Well our New York Christmas and New Year have been and gone but they are something I will remember forever. I’ve been able to experience Christmas in both climates because of growing up in England and then moving to New Zealand. Christmas in New York is something else all together. The entire city has a different feel about it in the month of December. It is so festive, with all the stores lit up, Christmas trees lining the streets and Salvation Army workers dancing and ringing bells to Christmas Carols on every corner. I can definitely say I prefer a cold Christmas, it is what Christmas is meant to be. I find it strange that Christmas is in Summer in New Zealand but nobody thought to edit the advertising for the Southern Hemisphere. We still think of snowmen, reindeer and Santa in his big red suit. When reality is, there is no snow if there were the snowmen would melt soon enough, reindeer are nowhere to be seen and if Santa was running from house to house in that big red suit he would be sweating up a storm! A storm I tell ya! Although I prefer the cosy winter Christmas, New Years should always be in summer, no doubt about it. After spending 11 hours standing in -3 degrees in Times Square I can confidently say that.

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Christmas we spent with our friends Matt and Rick and did Secret Santa. We spent Christmas Eve at theirs so we could all wake up and open presents together. The rest of the day was spent lounging, eating and watching TV.

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We decided we would each cook something from our home country, so it was a no brainer that me and Willem would do a hungi in Brooklyn. Where there is plenty of places for us to dig the ground up. Ok jokes and sarcasm aside we actually made roast potatoes and sweet potato, which is pretty much like kumara, sausages wrapped in bacon and egg salad. I wanted to make ambrosia or a pavlova but American supermarkets give me an instant headache and I couldn’t find vital ingredients. Matt is American but his family is Spanish so he made bagels for breakfast, quesadilla’s for lunch and empanadas for dinner. Just like Christmas back home we began drinking with breakfast. It was important we pace ourselves as that night we went ice skating and nobody wants to hear the end of a story that starts with drunken ice skating.

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Ice Skating is something that you’ve either got it or you don’t.. and I don’t. I was terrible, clinging on to Willem for dear life while he dragged me round the rink. I only fell once but was the cause of other peoples accidents. I’m sure their fine…I hope. It was an incredible experience though, mainly because we did it at Rockefeller Center my favourite building in New York. I love it because of the NBC shows that are filmed there like Saturday Night Live and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon also 30 Rock is based around the building. If you haven’t watched 30 Rock shame on you! Watch it now, it is amazing. But the Ice Skating rink is a really famous area and you have probably seen numerous photos of it without realising where it was.

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We were then lucky enough to spend NYE in NYC. We had wanted to spend it in Times Square for ages because of what a big event it is, we thought we were in New York so we might as well. I read multiple articles and blog posts on tips for going to Times Square for NYE and it terrified me. You have to be there by noon at the latest. Some lunatics were camped out since the night before. I say lunatics because once you’re in that’s it. If you exit there’s no getting back in. Also once you are in there is no where to buy food or drink and more importantly no bathrooms. Which if you read my previous post on NYC bathrooms should not surprise you. Because of this there was talk all over these articles of people using adult diapers and all sorts of contraptions to get around this problem. I was not going to let this New Years steal my dignity like that. We were prepared, we did not drink anything at all that day and it worked, our bladders did us proud and held it till we got home. We had a big meal before heading in and took small snacks to eat throughout the day.

Processed with VSCOcam with t3 presetWe got to Times Square at about 1pm and all the entrances were quickly getting closed off. When we eventually got in we had an AMAZING spot. Right by the stage, perfect view of the screen and where the ball would drop. But NYPD soon uprooted everyone in that area and sent us 5 blocks back to get security checked. We were in a line for probably 45 minutes waiting to be security checked. If there is one thing I have noticed about New Yorkers, they love a good line. Once we got in it was 4pm so that meant only 8 hours till New Years! The proper show with all the performances kicked off at 6pm so from 4 to 6 we got to listen to the sound check which was pretty cool. There was Icona Pop, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Blondie and Miley Cyrus.

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Throughout the day I sat down on the ground and played Candy Crush with my phone brightness right down to save my battery. The day actually went surprisingly quick, they had countdowns each hour for when midnight hit somewhere in the world and to get us warmed up for the real deal. When midnight came it was all worth it. It was absolutely incredible. Seeing the ball drop, the fireworks and confetti covering Manhattan was like a dream.

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Quick side note about the confetti. Throughout the year you can go to the Times Square Visitors Centre and write down your 2014 wish on a piece of confetti which gets included in the tonne of confetti that drops at midnight.

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New Years has completely messed up my body clock. After 11 hours being vertical, I spent a good 24 hours being horizontal in bed to recover.

Adios for now

xx

Life of Leisure a.k.a Unemployment

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Still unemployed and applying for 10+ jobs a day! While my self esteem gets battered from no one wanting to employ me, I have been exploring, moving and going to famous NY traditions!

We’ve moved into an apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn with 8 people and others coming and going all the time. It’s so nice having our own space and not living out of a suitcase. We couldn’t get our bed until the day after we moved in so we used our room mates airbed. Quite frankly, I wish I slept on the floor. It was one of those airbeds that are massive and is like having a bed base as well. Quickly deflating, things turned deadly. Each time one of us moved the other would end up rolling down to a corner of the bed and getting stuck against the wall, unable to get out. We came to an agreement that once we had found a comfortable position we wouldn’t move because if we did, the other would suffocate. After a torturous first nights sleep in the new apartment we got our new bed! It is divine. Way to comfortable which means I sleep way too much.

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On December 4th we went to the Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting which is a famous Christmas tradition over here. They have performances leading up to the lighting and it is all televised. Have you ever wondered “I wonder what Ashanti is up to these days” or “I haven’t heard anything from Jewel in a while”. Well it appears they have been rehearsing vigorously to lip sync at the Rockefeller Christmas Lighting. Leona Lewis, Mary J Blige and Mariah Carey were also in attendance, passionately miming to cheesy Christmas carols. Just like the parade you need to get their hours in advance to get a decent seat. We got there at 7pm and were in the mass herd getting ushered around by NYPD. The tree was miles away from where we were but they had a screen showing everything that was happening however no speakers. It was a fun atmosphere, we just didn’t get to see the tree because after the lighting NYPD shut the whole area down.

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We went back the next day and got to walk straight to the tree. Once this had finished we weren’t ready to go home because there was such a great feeling in the city. We wandered round looking at all the Christmas lights and chowing down on cupcakes.

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At the Rockefeller Center they also have the NBC Experience store where they sell merchandise for all NBC shows including The Office, Friends, Parks and Rec and Seinfeld. I was in heaven. Being the massive NBC nerd that I am, I of course applied for a job *fingers crossed*. Only after buying this sweet Office shirt though.

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After going back to see the tree the second night, we also went to see the ‘Love’ sculpture by artist Robert Indiana. It was awesome, I loved seeing it, especially with all the Christmas lights around.

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Until next time.

xx

Week 2 – The job hunt begins

New York

This week reality set in and I decided to dedicate my life to finding a job. I need to feel inspired to start job hunting though so we headed to East Village to find a somewhere to hang out for the day. We found this place nestled away down a quiet street, a lot different to the hustle and bustle of Starbucks. We walked in and there was just one guy working and cool looking people scattered around reading or on their laptops. I ordered a hot chocolate and the guy asked if I anted it with dark chocolate almond milk, I’d never heard of it but thought YOLO and went for it. It was disgusting. The guy had told me if I don’t like it to take it back and he’ll make me one with regular milk. As a New Zealander, or maybe it’s not even that, but I hate complaining and causing a scene. New York will soon kick that out of me though, you’ve got to speak up here. Once at a café in New Plymouth I ordered a salad, as I was going through the lettuce I saw a snail, just chillin. The friend I was with (also a New Zealander) was disgusted and forcing me to go and complain. My response? “At least it shows how fresh the lettuce is”. ANYWAY, back to the story at hand! I went back to the counter and asked if he could make it with regular milk and he did. The tipping culture is not imbedded in my brain yet, it’s taking some getting used to. So when I went to pay, the guy said it was $2, that was all I gave him and left. It wasn’t until after that I realised what a bitch I had been to make him make me these two different drinks and not even give him anything in return!

We had the privilege of being introduced to a new friend this week. A loyal friend who is always there for us in times of need. Goodbye Blue Monday’s – our new local bar. It’s an awesome little dive bar in Bushwick that you can easily miss from the street. They have amazing food and cheap drinks. Personally I think they have the best grilled cheese this side of the Mississippi. The night we went it was Open Mic Night. There were some talented people and some just straight up crazy. This is now one of our favourite hang outs.

Most things are done in cash over here, apparently it’s for business to avoid tax. It is taking a while to get used to because in NZ I never carried cash but its cool at the same time. Because we were living the unemployed life we were making the most of cheap beer and free things. So this week we went and walked The Highline which is in Chelsea. It’s a walkway that runs along an old train line on top of the buildings. It had amazing views of Chelsea and was so rad what they had done to incorporate the old train line. IMG_1947IMG_1948 From Chelsea we walked up to Midtown to see The Empire State Building. I had ditched Will to go shopping at H&M, hours passed and suddenly it was dark. Walking up 5th Ave towards The Empire State Building was incredible. It was all lit up and the trees that lined the streets were covered in fairy lights getting ready for Christmas. Thank you to my male model below.

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