Weeks 5 & 6 Recap

I’m now at the stage where I need to check back when I last posted anything – not that it was that long ago but the days are going a bit oddly here. [check check] – I need to account for two weeks or so again.

[moving]

Most of the past block of time was revolving around me moving out of the “old place” and moving into the new one. This meant that strictly speaking of calendar weeks there wasn’t a lot to account for between Monday and Saturday of the first of the two, apart from the fact that the last few days in the rented house/room where I originally started was a bit funny because I had to move to a smaller room, which involved attempting to move the bed frame as well. That didn’t quite happen because the bed frame didn’t fit through the doors and upon disassembly we decided that it’s not worth the whole fuss, I’d just sleep on the mattress. That aside little happened in that place.

The moving to the new place was quite straightforward, at least on my side, as in I took my stuff and that was it. The furniture that I ordered was less straightforwardly arriving. I spent a good $300ish on shopping for various household items and food (mostly household items, but since there’s no decent cheap food here, unlike in London, I had to start cooking, again unlike in London.) I also got a present from the girlfriend (who is still in London), she bought me a rice cooker online, one of the nicer ones that is. Awww. I even bought a $1 mug, which was branded “Necessities” and it promptly lost its handle by Monday morning, so either that the handle doesn’t count as a necessity, or that I really didn’t get my money’s worth.

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As mentioned, the move date for me was the 3rd December, and the delivery for furniture was set for the 6th, meaning I knew I was going to sleep on the floor for a few days, which worked out reasonably okay, I got some decent sleeps and some crappy ones, largely depending on whether I managed to keep my makeshift pillow in one piece or if it’d fallen apart during the night. The delivery of the furniture was a bit messed up. I ordered three things, really, a bed, a desk and a couch, the latter two from a charity shop, the bed new. As it would be, the two delivery teams managed to arrive spot on at the same time, but luckily about five minutes after the post-earthquake inspection team has left. Here’s the rundown for what worked and what didn’t. The couch didn’t fit through the door, so it was eventually returned to the shop where I got a store credit, rather than cash back – fair enough, I still need stuff they sell and it’s not too bad. The desk came in okay, though we needed my toolkit to assemble it because they didn’t have one. The base of the bed also came in okay, but the bed itself was the wrong size, so it was returned. I got the correct one a day later.

The apartment allegedly comes with an internet connection but it hasn’t been set up yet. Apparently, it’s something on the provider’s side that’s not being handled properly, which means I’m offline for most of the time. This isn’t entirely terrible because my phone is still online and there’s a lot of free Wi-Fi in town, so for example I spent about two hours in a Burger King on Monday evening abusing the free “CBD Wi-Fi”, skyping w/ parents, downloading the latest episodes of Westworld and Ash vs Evil Dead. Also, while I’m trying to keep myself out of the apartment and be amongst humans, failing that I’ve smartly prepared for the offline period by pre-downloading some gem games from the mid-90s, such as XCOM 3, Diablo 1 & 2 and a few other similar titles. Diablo 1/Warcraft 2 need a Win2000 virtual computer to run, which I also have. Ninja.

At least the view from the balcony is nice. There are even stars around here when it’s not fully cloudy, unlike in London. One of my friends that live near Orpington (zone 6 of “London”) said that given that she’s living “in the countryside” she could also see stars. Well, it feels like living in the countryside here too! [from a good may points actually].

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[work]

Work has been ongoingly quiet and/or even non-existent. It’s interesting how open people are about the fact that they don’t do anything around here, or that they don’t like things. Specific example: we had a team meeting of sorts where we discussed that even those that do have proper remote access aren’t doing more than 2 hours of work a day. That fact by itself isn’t surprising but I find it unusual to say in front of management, especially with the tone of showing off – seems they’re pretty relaxed here. The other thing is that there’s a fair bit of resentment about how the whole “business continuity” process is being handled and how inconvenient it is – more to the point that it’s possible that disruption owing to the lack of access to the main office might continue for up to a year or beyond.
This puts both the employees at an inconvenience and the company as well, however the whole thing is a catch-22. On the logical side of things what happened was an earthquake that displaced some thousand employees across the city, most of which were previously working in single large offices that belonged to their employers – in our case we’re talking about 1100 people in a 12 storey office building (well, half of that space was us, so 6 levels with the same number of people) – there are no free office buildings in the city that can accommodate this number of people at short notice, especially not enough of them that can accommodate a number of companies with similar volumes of people. Moreover, a lot of corporate and personal items have been left behind in the office that are still off limits for all sort of reasons. Get the problem? Long story short, shit hit the fan. The more emotional side of the problem is that obviously, this cannot be simply solved in the short term by anyone. What’s amusing is how employees are voicing their concerns. Some have openly said they’d quit if certain things happened or failed to happen, such as being moved to an off-Wellington location (which is likely and doesn’t entice me either too much) or keeping on being disorganised as a company (which is also likely), and so on. Interesting times ahead. As much as I don’t plan on having kids, however long I stay here, it will be quite an interesting story to tell “the kids”.

[social life]

One of the key points of settling in and generally feeling like a human being is to have others around – well either I am, or my environment is failing at that miserably and annoyingly. After a month and a half, I managed to have a whopping total of 1 coffee with another, not work related person. That after a good dozen meetups or more. Part of the problem is that there are no meetups here, or at least very few, and even those get postponed/cancelled too often. Even “festivals” are small scale, when they even happen. This Saturday was supposed to see the “Very Welly Christmas” festival, which wasn’t really advertised anywhere, but nonetheless they closed down Lambton Quay for the whole weekend for it. That’s like closing Oxford Street (or more precisely, given Wellington is considerably smaller than London, closing the whole of Westminster altogether), difficult to miss once you’re in town. Well, Santa was scheduled to appear at noon, followed by a variety of activities over the weekend. By 2pm when I got there, everything was gone. Even the bloody stages were being packed up at the time. At least I hit my daily step count.

Life is really structured differently here. Based on conversations I’ve had with various locals on where and how to socialise, it appears to me that most people prefer bars and pubs and because most of the younger people don’t have the money to live by themselves, they’d meet people via university or shared houses. Neither of which applies to me. Being PC isn’t much of a thing here though. A S-American colleague of mine suggested a few places to go out if I want to meet people (all clubs, which I’m not interested in) – but warned me against some specific locations are frequented b by “a lot of large, brown people with strong body odours”. Political correctness above all. I’ve heard a few other comments regarding just about everyone by now that’s not white. Not that I cared, I don’t teach protocol, but it’s amusing after all these London years, where even hinting at the fact that someone factually has a skin colour (rather than being transparent altogether) carries a capital punishment.

[food]

I’ve mentioned this before but I started cooking. Even ingredients portions in the store are family sized. It’s nigh impossible to buy half a kilo of chicken (boneless) because of course a family would eat through much more than that in no time so meat ingredients are 800-1400gms. Yeah and for me it’s a struggle to eat the same stuff for days on else they go off. Joy.  Same for flour. The smallest package I found in the second largest store in town is 1.5kg. I’ll be back in Europe by the time I finish up that much….

In terms of producing food, rather than complaints, I managed to do a few steaks (some more rare than others but I like it that way, more of a coincidence at this stage though), as well as experimenting with basic fish foods etc. I’ll try something Hungarian early next week, now that I found sour cream and some spices too. I also have some Chinese dumplings to do at some stage. Aside from successes, I had to discard one of the cheap plastic kitchen tools after it has proven not to be heat resistant. I guess that wasn’t a necessity either.

WLG in a bit of a lockdown

By now probably everyone has read or seen in the news that the South Island was hit by a major earthquake about 36 hours ago, just about 2 minutes into Monday morning (00:02am). While being about 200 kilometres from the epicentre of the EQ, we also felt it, I never quite managed to figure out what magnitude it “felt” like here, but I think 6ish is reasonable.

Just to put this into perspective, there haven’t been an awful lot of strong earthquakes over the past years in Wellington or its surrounding areas. If anyone interested I’ve uploaded an image w/ stats here.

Thing is, I don’t want to go on into how it was because apart from the strong/odd but not explicitly violent shaking here in WLG I think it’s been a lot less bad/terrible than in Kaikoura. It’s more like being in an airplane while during turbulence but without the safety belts.

The city is in an odd state at the moment. I went to wander around downtown Wellington yesterday, and found that there has been mostly minimal damage to structures. While I did take a few photos, they aren’t particularly exciting to look at, no doomsday buzz anywhere, probably for the better. Despite all that, there have been hardly any people in the city yesterday – a few streets were cordoned off, but while the area was theoretically open for business, all offices and services (cafés, restaurants, etc) were closed. Lambton Quay, probably the local “high street” was void of people, save for a few tourists. WLG became a proper ghost town.

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In times like this public transport shuts down, there are no trains running, and most people stay at home waiting for news on what to do. It also doesn’t help that the WLG wharf is shut down due to damage. At least food was still available as the supermarkets have opened, but that’s mostly it.

In the meanwhile, things have been slowly “quieting down” here. The number and strength of the aftershocks slowly diminishing:wlg_eq

It’s now Tuesday here, many offices, including ours are still closed, and it’s likely they won’t open any time soon, at least this is what we’ve been told – in fact our offices will be closed all week, probably due to flooding but not sure. I think while the office building is structurally safe there has been damage to the internal parts, probably things falling off etc. The semi-official plan seems to be to keep people out of the offices for as long as they deem it’s okay, so we’re all getting free holidays (save for the awful weather). The company has been sending out emails with information on e-counselling in case someone needs it, how to cope w/ post-EQ stress, and so on. Luckily in my case this hasn’t been necessary but it’s good to know there are options. Things have been made worse by extreme weather. WLG has received around 100mm of rainfall over the past 24 hours, which has resulted in severe floodings, which, coupled by the up to 90kmh winds doesn’t help anyone. To put that into perspective, London gets around 600mm a year, Budapest gets 500mm. Wellington usually gets around 1200mm.

Welcome to Wellington, the coolest, rockiest, windiest little capital in the world!

Thoughts after the first week

So thoughts after the first week:

People are super nice here, none of the Londonesque “dare-to-think-about-looking-at-me-and-I’ll-kill-you” attitude. Everyone is very helpful random people in the streets, shops, ones at work that I haven’t met, etc.

The place (city) is undoubtedly small but it’s pretty spread out. On multiple days I’ve walked over 20km from the airbnb place to work, around the city centre and then back to where I’m staying. This is largely because I’m lazy to get on the bus though, there’s plenty of that. To contradict myself Wellington is also very compact. Where I am now is considered suburbs and really, anything that’s over 15-20 mins straight walk from the city centre is suburbia. Most things can be found in the CBD only (central business district) or Cuba street, which is the party street, really.

The locals seem to think of Wellington as a ‘small Melbourne’ or a ‘small Montreal’. I think the whole of NZ has a bit of American feeling to it but in a good sense, not the bad sense. Maybe Canadian? :). Oddly enough though nobody I’ve met so far said that they’d want to leave the city. They all seem to be unusually happy that they’re here rather than in Auckland or Queenstown (the two other relevant places).

Weather is so-so. It’s been very nice and sunny this week but apparently that’s out of the ordinary, even with summer on the way. The evenings get rather cold. Some of the guys at work told me that in the winter, winds of 120 (!!) kmh are normal and they are very cold, so even though the temperature never goes below 0, wind makes it pretty bad. Winter is quite far away for now but I’m unimpressed with this bit of information.

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Money matters: this place is pretty expensive. The websites that say it’s less expensive than London are using some weird logic. The underlying problem is that there’s a massive lack of newly built flats and they are pretty expensive. Older flats that are very poorly constructed and houses that are even worse are cheap. Also oddly enough there’s hardly any price difference between 1 and 2 bedroom flats, so generally speaking larger flats that accommodate two people are the same price as smaller ones. In that way it’s quite cheap. Add to this that most places here come unfurnished, which is extra investment.
That said, if there are two ppl (couple), it gets pretty inexpensive. The flat I’ll be renting is around $2000 per month, and when someone on a meetup asked me about renting a flat alone they went 😮 – it’s uncommon that single persons would have a place to themselves here because it’s prohibitively expensive unless working in well paid roles. Houses in the suburbs are a lot larger and lot less expensive but the commute is more prevalent there (obviously), and those places are mostly for families.
Buying on the other hand is comparatively inexpensive. A 2-bedroom flat in the city centre that’s brand new build is around $500k. (People working in the IT sector would earn around $100k, which is $6k net a month so for a couple that’s well over $10k household income) Food is also more expensive than in London, both in the shops and in terms of going out. Notwithstanding the GBP going up and down recently (down, mostly), I’d say things in the hypermarkets are 40-80% more expensive, largely because there are none or very few private label brands (like Tesco pasta etc.) and because there is less variety (plus the place is perhaps farther away from the rest of the world than London?) Booze is considerably more expensive than in the UK.

Work: General feedback is that life is a lot more relaxed here than in London. For example, the team I’m in is responsible for the whole inbound data flow of transactions and just about everything of a top bank. The office is empty by 6pm but if you’re in at 5pm ppl start asking questions as to why you’re still there. The morning stand-up-chat is in a café, taking about half an hour. Larger companies here love overseas candidates because they bring experience that’s not available here.

First 24 hrs

So I’m now in Wellington. This post will be a bit of a summary of time spent between departing London and now.

The flights went okay – took a Xanax and managed to dull my senses a bit for the first leg of the journey. Parting from girlfriend was a difficult situation as one can expect. Apart from that I decided that I really didn’t want to put up with the drama my brain could create for leaving a place that I once called almost-home (I never felt home in London so I don’t want to give it the honour now). The second leg was with Air New Zealand, which I think, at least for their international lot are the jolliest airline I’ve travelled with so far. It also may be for their 787-9 but for example they had a library of books wallpaper in the loos with titles such as public toilets in New Zealand and a few other similarly amusing ones that I can’t recall now. The only one thing I found odd about the loo is that it flushed itself a few times while using it. Automatically. Ball cooler I guess. Air NZ’s air safety video is rather awesome by the way. The customs and immigration process went smoothly and basically nobody cared that I was emigrating, no questions asked, nothing. Also didn’t get any hugs for being a new addition to the country. In fact I think I’ll have of hugs of any kind for months before I make new friends. Me be hugless! ;(

Upon arrival to Auckland I managed to find the hotel I booked in and then sleep probably about an hour or two even though it was around 1am. Most expensive hotel per hours slept ever. The last leg of the journey to Wellington was super quiet. There’s a funny thing about the luggage allowance on domestic Air NZ flights. Probably about 80% of the airport announcements were concerning weight allowance, 23kg for checked-in luggage and 7kg for carry-on. The airport also had numerous scales placed all over the place. Guess what, nobody cared at all. My total luggage weight combined was around 37kg. The backpack was 13 of that.

Once in Wellington I got brekkie and then used public transport to find the airbnb house (room of the house as such in this case) I booked in for the coming two weeks. It was reasonably simple. Bumped into a few of the housemates, they seem friendly but we didn’t talk much. I guess at some stage later. The room is poorly insulated and while there’s a heater that does help to some extent the wind cools off the place relatively quickly. I’ll see if I can get the place warmer soon.

Once kindof settled in, I then decided to wander around town and went up to the local “windmill”, a wind turbine. The hike up was rather nice with clouds coming and going and me getting lost a few times. One thing I noticed relatively straight away is the lack of people. I know Wellington is a comparatively small place but despite the numerous houses I passed by for a long while I met nobody at all. The path to and from the wind turbine (I took different routes) went through not only homes and houses but also numerous hiking paths and forests. Eventually I made my way down to the city centre, where I found the people! Well, some of them. At that stage it was around Sunday noon/lunchtime and the city was oddly empty still.

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Appreciating this isn’t London, but even compared to Edinburgh I found the city deserted. I can already see that while one of my major issues w/ London was it being as large as it is this is going to be the other extreme. The same goes for meetups. I remember that my first year and half was very difficult in London because I had nobody, no friends, nada; then I found meetups and it’s been considerably better as a result. There are rather few of those around here. I’ll see if I can get used to this over the coming year or so. If not, well…at least I will have tried.

As I’ve been to Wellington as a tourist before I didn’t really wander around the downtown area too much for now. I’m sure I’ll have ample time to do this in the future but I felt rather tired by around 3pm and decided to walk back to Newtown where I’m staying. I’ve been in since, probably ready to sleep by around 7pm. First day at work tomorrow, then a pub quiz meetup (at least there’s that!).

Packing Sans Sense

So I’ve been smart enough to come up with a plan for packing – the otherwise foreseeable problem was (is!) that my stuff has been taken away by the movers last Wednesday, whereas I’m not vacating the flat till this Thursday, leaving a gap of 8 days which I need to survive on stuff that I will then theoretically be able to squeeze into a 80 litre luggage (not exceeding 21 kgs.).

The plan therefore was that I would have first packed the 80 ltr luggage and then whatever stayed out would have gone into the boxes, leaving no excess crap in the flat. Smart, but I wasn’t smart enough to follow it through, so of course I now see I have extra, say 30 litres worth of clothes and other crap that I can’t seem to put anywhere. Sigh. Question is, do I need underwear, or other clothes more. Lol. Tbh I’m sure I don’t need a dozen pair of socks, plus everyone wears flipflops down in Kiwiland (or they just sell socks anyway), so I need to pack, and repack, reanalyse, rethink life-universe-and-everything and then chuck out some crap. In all fairness all I really need to squeeze in is about 3-4 tshirts.

In other news I’m flying Friday morning, and as mentioned the flat is largely empty. I even packed (into the boxes that is) a shiny new IKEA lamp because the one thing there certainly is not in NZ is an IKEA.

Packing and life goes on.

Visa news, timing news II

Roundabout the time I was born there was a song from Pat Benatar called Love is a Battlefield. I kind of feel like being part of that now. The original version of this post involved a paragraph about me having become single, that’s been put on hold. Interesting times to come but close relationships aside, “it begins” – causalities of the move will mount eventually. Unhappy times ahead, new connections ahead too.

In other news, I’ve got my flight ticket to NZ. I’m flying 28th October, London via Singapore on an A380 and then onward to Auckland on a 787-9/Dreamliner and then some domestic flight on a more common plane. With the upcoming flights included, I will now have flown on four different carrier’s A380 (Emirates, Etihad, Korean, Singapore). Somewhat curious about the Dreamliner. Supposed to be good. Probably just another plane to be honest.

Still haven’t decided on the accommodation for the initial time in Wellington. Plan is to either AirBNB something or get into a hotel that does weekly rentals for rooms. As much as I was looking they do around $250NZD a week, which is decent, but I haven’t properly investigated alternatives yet. Suggestions are welcome, although so far the blog had a total of one hit, even that I don’t know how (it was from the USA…), so I’m not expecting relevant comments on time. Do madmen talk to themselves? [or just elderly women on the bus and bloggers online?]

The moving company will pick up my stuff sometime mid-October. I’ve moved the date to a mid-week day rather than Monday so I can spend the weekend(s) trying to be sociable and digging virtual friend-graves. The lettings agency are already poking me to allow prospective renters into the flat. It’s a bit like having a terminal disease and then people already wanting to shove you into a coffin, really, just a bit less terminal.

Visa news, timing news I

I moved to the USA for a year when I was about 17. My mum completely freaked out when we told her it was going to happen. The flight was shortish, and the one thing I remember (of the flight) that I was semi-arguing with an American kid that I was looking for the toilet and he kept telling me where the bathroom was on the plane. Not that I’d wanted a shower – my English wasn’t too well suited for the American lingo.

I remember my thoughts of when I was sitting on the plane from Budapest to London in September 2007. The plane was about to take off and I said to myself “my life is about to take a 180 degrees turn”. As my NZ work visa has been now approved, it’s only a matter of time before life takes another many-degrees turn. I got the email when I was away at the girlfriend’s place – she wasn’t too happy about the news but I’ve been trying to be fair with everyone, her, work, friends – I’m attempting to keep important people in the loop.

I’ve informed work that I’m leaving, also organised the boxes and the pick-up date for the shipping company to take away stuff. My parents are inheriting my plants as I wouldn’t be allowed to take them (not to mention they’d die during the 40 days boat trip). I don’t have a ticket yet but the preliminary flight date is 27th October or a day on either side. But first things first: I need to buy a domain name for this blog.

Tired of Life…?

So there’s the quote that “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”. Maybe I am. After all I’m Marvin’s [from THHGTG] proconsul on this planet Earth so don’t talk to me about life. That aside it’s one of the odd moments when I don’t feel like my life is a complete waste of time ahead of me.

When in 2007 I decided to leave Budapest for the UK, things were very different. I was unemployed, living w/ my parents who pretty much overloved (and -annoyed) me, I disliked the country, I didn’t have anything I personally felt responsible for (in terms of achievement) and I didn’t have much of a future plan. Then of course there was a female friend of mine that moved to the UK and in hopes that we’d get together I moved a year later. Funny thing is, I never told her about my hopes and by the time I ended up in the UK she was already gone to Spain or Malaysia or Japan or some other country. (She kept country-hopping for a while, I don’t recall the details any more). Life is a bit different now but not too much different.

Why do I want to leave London then? A few years ago, when I was very actively pondering on breaking up w/ my then-girlfriend, a good friend of mine suggested that I should use paper and pen to jot down a list of things I like and dislike about her and our relationship. The list came to be rather interesting. The dislike part was long and full of specifics, the like part was short and full of generic things (cute smile etc.) – I feel that my relationship with London is much the same. I’ve been here for 8-9 years (nine in the UK, eight in London) and I feel that if I haven’t yet started to feel at home in this city then it’s very unlikely that I ever would.

Likes Dislikes
Friends. Size of the city (indirectly affects some of the ones below).
Variety of jobs. Number of people (way too many).
River Thames. Commute times (way too long).
Some of the parks. Lack of sensible opening hours.
 Meetups. Lack of cafés with decent outdoor seating areas.
 Standardisation. * The Tube – It’s old, hot, crammed and shit. Oxford Circus by itself is a reason for dark thoughts.
The unions – Bane of every Londoner’s life. Mostly the RMT but the rest are equivalently evil.
London is dirty.

* standardisation: this is more of a UK thing than a London thing but I realised I came to like it quite a lot. See the brain tries to find links to what’s familiar to it in general until it learns the details – and the British are good at standardising stuff in terms of people knowing what to expect. Small things like classifying microwave ovens (Class E is 900W+, don’t need to search online for a manual to find out what you’re looking at in the kitchen), or making sure that road signage is consistent, where you can park, where you can’t park, all that stuff. At least in Central Europe, such standardisation is non-existent. I’ll be curious to see how much of it is around in NZ.

Note that most of the things above are super-superficial. They’re largely just excuses. Maybe I’m trying to escape from myself, maybe I’m bored. Matters not. I’ll be there wherever I go, there’s little escape from that. So I might as well try an adventure.

I was thinking though, now that the idea of not being here anymore is taking shape of sorts I start to wonder if there’s anything left in London that I really want to do. Visit the Parliament? Tea at the Ritz? Unsure. I still have a few weeks – I’m away to Hungary in most of September.

I’ve just been told

Jul 28, 2016 5:30 AM

I’m sitting around staring out of my brains at half 5 in the morning – the brain that woke me up a bit too early is now only capable of being stared out of. I knew that I was going to get some sort of email this morning from one of the banks in Wellington – my first job application to NZ. A similar role as to what I’ve been doing recently (SQL Developer), just at the other end of the world.

Amusingly enough Scorpions’ Wind of Change is playing on my random playlist. I’ve been made an offer I cannot refuse, and there are no dead horse heads around. Or can I? Should I? It would be pointless I guess, as I’ve been meaning to make a move for a number of years now and I who knows how many more opportunities would present themselves again?

While I’m looking around, trying to get things in their virtual place – where will they go? Pack? Bin? Give it to someone? Ah someone. Clearly, moving to any other country will have a profound effect on my human relations. My otherwise small family lives in Hungary and I don’t see them much, though my parents will have very mixed feelings about this. When I initially presented the idea of moving the NZ/AUS about two or three years ago to them they were pretty freaked out that they’d never see me, it’s too far, and so on. I don’t really see this as being a real issue, because I can always visit and generally speaking I don’t think things should be considered that drastic. Then all the crap in continental Europe took place with the migrants and bombings and killings and stuff and now my parents actually want me gone – like literally they’ve become an active supporters of my plans. Go figure. Most of my friends live locally – this is the tougher cookie. I’ve always considered myself to be an introvert to a large extent, and though I have my life here, the majority of friends are at the stage of settling down and poking their kids or other halves.

At the moment there are 21 contacts in my phone’s main list. I initially typed up a numbered list here to say something about each person but then I realised that would be unfair to them, so more to the point, out of the 21, 1 is not an actual person, 5 are two and half couples with kids, 3 are definitely looking to move away from the UK, 1 doesn’t even live in the UK, at least 2 I never talk to and 1 doesn’t live in London so we meet like twice a year. Reality is, that most of the ones I feel close to are either in the family stages or are in a relationship that seems to be working out for them, which is all great but our friendships wither. Still, some of this feels like a massive breakup with 10-20 people at the same time rushing towards me. Somewhat annoyingly I also have a budding relationship in place, though I have been keeping her in the loop regarding my moving plans – I still think she’ll be unhappy about this; maybe the fact that our vision on having kids is vastly different will help.

Anyway, lots of paperwork ahead. Time for the morning tea. Gotta keep things British. For now.