KonMari

I KonMaried my clothes today. It amazes me that just 18 months ago I got rid of four huge Ikea bags full of clothes, and I still ended up with a pretty hefty pile today. I am the worst at getting rid of things but this method works out for me. It’s probably all the anthropomorphism going on, to be honest. I loved thanking my clothes for what they had done for me. All the attachment I had to a ratty old college t-shirt that was stained and probably smelled a bit? Gone. All the nostalgia I felt for countless Forever 21 dresses (really long shirts now that I think about it)? Gone. My closet is now a random assortment of joy sparking clothes.

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Not sure where my style is going to go from here. I kept that top shirt because it looks good on and it’s my guilty pleasure that reminds me of a Real Housewives of the OC top. Does it “go” with the rest of my wardrobe, no. I was also pretty joyful about a pair of metallic blue jeans but no clue where I would wear those. That’s another reason I like this method. I could never get on board with the 20 piece wardrobe or whatever. I can keep the random outfit choices that I love and still feel organised.

There’s more to come though! This whole process was started because of our impending move. I thought I would get all our packing done today but I still need to KonMari my jewellery, shoes, makeup, magazines, kitchenware and books. We get the keys to our place next weekend, move in the following weekend and I do not want to bring any joyless objects in the new house.

2014

Hard to fit a full year in one post, but this about sums it up (and yes, we still have Fernando).

2014

I’m back in America and the ex-pat title has switched over to Danny. It’s been a year since I moved over, and even though I’m not jetting off to Europe or trying to figure out Scottish life, I figured it was time to dust off this blog and document our new life in California. More to come!

Unemployment to Canary Wharf

So, since my last post:

– I got struck down with the flu and spent my week before work in bed, watching TV and Netflix and moaning. On the bright side I watched all three seasons of Downton Abbey and the Godfather trilogy.

– Started work on April 1 and due to a variety of circumstances ended up being almost the most senior member of the team.

– Told that I might need to go down to London to train for a week or two, sometime in April.

– Trip was finalised on Wednesday, left on Sunday and now I’m here for three weeks!

Oh and I spent the weekend in Coatbridge for an engagement party and had to catch my flight to London very tired and praying that I had remembered to pack everything. The flight was BA from Glasgow to London City Airport and it was so easy. I got to check a huge bag, got a free drink and snack and the distance from the airport to Canary Wharf is literally 15 minutes. Of course I got the only London cabbie who doesn’t know the area that well so the trip was more like 30 minutes, but I finally got into my flat and set out to explore the area before work on Monday.

Since then it’s been days at the office and evenings trying to navigate around this tiny area of London that is packed with huge banks, busy people and more food choices than the whole of Scotland. I’m in a serviced apartment so it’s nice to be settled in and feel at home here. I’m currently doing a load of laundry and all my clothes and stuff are all put away in dressers and drawers. I eat breakfast in the flat but am taking advantage of all the aforementioned food choices for lunch and dinner. So far I’ve had fro-yo, sushi, a spicy tofu wrap and goat’s cheese ravioli. Hoping that my walk to work and back will cancel all this out.

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A quick snap on my walk. This beats ScotRail any day!

Two more days to go

Ventured into town as soon as the shops opened yesterday. Danny’s work schedule allowed him to drop me off at Sauchiehall Street and I spent the next four hours wandering around Glasgow, shopping and running errands. Running errands is such an American thing to say, btw. The Glasgow/west of Scotland term would be ‘get the messages’. Although I think that relates more to food shopping not general running around town trying to get a bunch of random stuff done.

And I did get a bunch of stuff done along with today’s trip into town. I bought US dollars, Mexican pesos, dropped my jeans off at the tailors and bought presents and warm socks for the flight. Yesterday afternoon I walked home but today it started snowing a bit so I got myself on a train as quickly as I could. It’s freezing out there! We haven’t had much snowfall this year so I’m really hoping the snow doesn’t show up this week and mess up flights.

So looking forward to the sunshine.

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It’ll be cold at night but I think I can handle that with some wine and cute new sweaters from all the shopping I’ll be doing.

Two more days. Dinner tonight will be chicken and Israeli cous cous salad but our food supplies are dwindling and I think it’s going to be a mish mash of eggs and left over veg from here on out.

Happy Birthday

A very happy birthday to two lovely ladies. It’s the Duchess of Cambridge’s birthday of course but most importantly, the Duchess shares a birthday with my mom!

Cheers to that!

My mom doesn’t have any big plans for today but I know my dad took her out to breakfast and I think she’s going to settle in with a nice takeaway tonight. A low key celebration as 10 days from now, I’ll be in the States and we can really celebrate with all the family. I’m thinking lunches by the sea, some shopping time up on the hill and maybe a couple of cheeky lemon drops.

Whatever we do, I am so excited to spend some quality time her and wish her the happiest of birthdays. Hope you’re having a wonderful day and see you so soon!

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Something Kinda Ooh

Danny’s away to his work’s Christmas night out/leaving do. I saw him off at 3 pm and don’t expect him back before 3 am.

I’m left here in the flat with Fernando, a half bottle of Pinot and Saturday night telly. To be honest, I don’t really have much to watch since X Factor finished but I’ve settled on a Girls Aloud documentary for now.

Don’t know who Girls Aloud are? You must not be familiar with noughties Britain. They’re the product of a talent show called Popstars The Rivals from 2002. I was obsessed with them from 2007-2009, then they decided to take a break and work separately on other projects. So basically as soon as I got here, they broke up.

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But luckily, one of the group, Cheryl Cole née Tweedy went out on her own as a solo artist and did pretty well for herself. So my obsession transferred to her. Keep in mind I was 23 at the time so I really have no excuse. She got married in July 2006 to a philandering footballer and shameful to say, but it was part of my wedding inspiration.

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Um, yeah. I think a kilt is a lot better looking than a shiny gold jacket, but we can’t all marry a Scotsman. Once I bought my dress (completely independent of her) I looked to this wedding as an inspiration for all my accessories. See, SHAMEFUL! I also took this picture to my hairdresser’s for inspiration and almost bought a tiara like hers until my mom talked me out of it.

Now Girls Aloud are back with a new single and a new ‘Best Of’ album. And what do they come out with? Identical orange dresses.

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Thankfully, I didn’t ask my bridesmaids to sport a topknot. That’s something that needs to be confined to nights in like tonight. But Girls Aloud are touring in 2013 and I think this is a sign that as the soundtrack to my (very) early twenties I need to be there!

Team USA

Although the Olympics are held in London, many of the preliminary football matches are held in different stadiums (stadia? I’ve heard that recently, not sure if that’s correct?) around the country. One of these stadiums happened to be Hampden Park, Glasgow and one of the qualifying groups to play here included the US women’s football team. Now I’m not a football fan at all but I felt like I had to be a good American expat and cheer on my home team. Plus, when again would I get an Olympic event practically in my back yard? Hampden is so close to our flat that when they hold concerts there, we can hear the music with our windows open!

The match kicked off at 5 so we caught the train over to the stadium around 4:15. I was expecting the train to be packed as they usually are on game days, but it wasn’t that busy at all. The hype was much more than the reality. In the week leading up to the Olympics, Glasgow Central had been outfitted with tons of barriers, signs and Olympics volunteers in pink vests. I was expecting the train station to be absolutely overrun with tourists and fans and the compete chaos that the media have been going on about. While there were a lot of police and volunteers from the train station to the stadium it was a lot less busy than an Old Firm game. Out of anyone, Scotland knows how to do busy, crowded and rowdy soccer games!

As soon as we got in line to pick up our tickets I started hearing my first American accents! I almost never hear an American accent in Glasgow so I was kinda excited to be amongst my people again. I’m not sure if the Americans were tourists, living in Glasgow or living in the UK and travelled to be here for the game, but about half of the crowd seemed to be American. Some were really dressed up! I wore a red, white and blue outfit with a star print scarf and got mistaken for a French supporter.

French? Also you know this is a football game in Scotland because of the Irn-Bru truck. Wouldn’t get that at an Olympic event in London!

Anyway, the game! As I’m not the biggest football fan I lost interest about 2 seconds into the match. Danny thought it was a really good game and by the end, I had to agree as we won 3-0. What I did notice is that the game got really physical. Maybe I noticed it more because I wasn’t just watching the game on TV, but there was a lot of shoving, pushing and even an instance where a Colombian player clawed at an American player’s face! Our team played really well though and I can see why they’re world champions.

The weather was okay during the game but got really cold toward the end. We didn’t bring any cash with us and didn’t realize the stadium was cash only with no cash machines. Would have been nice if they advertised that somewhere before entry gates!  Poor Danny was starving and we only had the free tap water to get us through. Immediately after the game we stopped at the nearest takeaway for chicken pakora and a garlic chili chicken pizza. Was amazing! We ate the pakora while waiting out a downpour and ate the pizza while watching the men’s gymnastics at home.

Freezing, ready to get out of there and get something to eat! We could have stayed for the North Korea v France match (I was already dressed for the event) but my football attention span is not that long. I did my bit to support Team USA and now I can say I’ve been to Olympic event!

Skyping With Pets

We’re taking care of my sister-in-law’s dog this week, a sweet Lhasa Apso named Holly. A year or so ago my grandma got a dog, a Lhasa Apso named Aly. So when my mom went down to visit my grandma this week she brought her computer and the dogs got to meet over Skype.

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We didn’t have our weekly Skype date last week but this was clearly not an occasion to be missed. Aly’s a bit more of a SoCal, spoiled princess but I think they would be great doggie friends if they met in real life! I do this sometimes (almost always) with Fernando as well. Hold him up to the screen, make him say hello, try to make him stay in my lap for the whole call. My mom will often try and find Dodger, the family cat, to say hi as well. He’s getting old though so he’s not always up for long Skype convos. Being far away from people is hard but at least they can come and visit! I’d love to be able to bring Fernando with us so he could visit California and I suppose it’d be good to have crotchety old Dodger over for a visit as well!

And no, my mom and I aren’t the only animal mad people in the family. Danny took the picture – he’s right into this as well, don’t let him tell you any different!

Rainy 4th

Summer in Glasgow is nonexistent. I didn’t believe anyone when they tried to tell me that Scotland doesn’t get a summer, save for a week or so in May where the temperature might reach 23 C for a day. I thought at least the temperature would warm up a bit and the sun would come out for the months of June and July. I wasn’t asking for 100 F degree weather or pool weather or even shorts weather. Just a a bit of a change from overcast skies and rain.

So because I am ever the optimist (not really I just forgot on my way out the door) I didn’t bring an umbrella to work on Wednesday and ended up like this.

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I was soaked!! After I got back to work I had to sit like that until quitting time and slowly dry off. Glasgow not only manages to be cool and overcast but a bit humid in the summer as well. I was a clammy, damp mess by the time I got home. And my hair was all frizzy! This California girl has never had to deal with that before. I never used to understand what people meant by humidity causing bad hair. I definitely do now.

In order to cheer myself up I made margaritas for the 4th of July and since there was a sombrero on the cap of our tequila I tried to get Fernando to wear it. He wasn’t amused at all but I thought it was hysterical and it definitely ended my rainy 4th on a happy note!

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My mecca, my Target

I uploaded all my vacation photos to Facebook a few weeks ago, labeling nearly every picture with food as ‘Reason #93834 I miss America”. Only one non-food picture got that  caption and that was the below.

TARGET.

There’s nothing in the UK that compares to Target. Maybe a mix of Tesco/Matalan with the quality of Next but cheaper prices. It’s one of those stores that you visit intending to only buy a bottle of lotion and then you walk out an hour later and $100 poorer. I love it.

When I was in school the nearest Target was 30 minutes away and in the same town as the nearest Costco. As a normal 90’s family, we shopped at Costco for TP, paper towels and all the free samples. A trip to Costco every few months meant a trip to Target. A pilgrimage to Target in my mind. I think all the makeup and CDs of my teenage years came from these trips. And most of my cardigan wardrobe.

Target was there for me when I moved out for dorm life. Closet shoe organizers, shower caddy, umbrella for my new rainy life in Portland, notebooks. And more cardigans for my new college student wardrobe.

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So collegiate!

A couple of years later I moved out of the dorms and into a house with three other girls. Now I could get into the Target homeware! We had thrift store/Craigslist furniture but I could go to Target and buy laundry detergent, a new lamp, pens, potato chips, mascara and the new issue of Cosmo! Brilliant. Danny will protest that Tesco serves the same purpose but personally I think there’s too much food at Tesco.

We finally got a Target in my home town a year ago. The slow growth enthusiasts voted against it for all those years. When I went back in November I went at least 4 times and bought a lot of clothes and toiletries. And some new cardigans for work! I didn’t have any luggage space to take stuff back for the flat but it was nice to look at everything and be jealous of what my American friends could buy for their apartments. At the end I got a soft pretzel. That part is definitely better than Tesco, Matalan and Next combined.