Dim Sum Saturday

Last Saturday I upped my game and went out to dinner with TWO Americans. Both work at my old employer and we all found each other by our colleagues pushing us to meet. I was pretty sure I knew all the Americans at old employer, but a couple more have joined since I left and one of my old colleagues made sure to make the introductions. I think it’s cute how eager everyone seems to be about getting the Americans together. I imagine this is how it works with expat Australians or various European nationalities but the relative scarcity of us means that it seems to be more of a find for the introducer. “You’re American! Do you know the American on the 4th floor?!” 

Anyway, we went in search of dim sum for dinner and took a taxi out to See Woo which is basically a Costco sized Asian market. This place is huge. So big that I never knew that they have a restaurant in the back that can sit 500 people. I think they do wedding receptions in there so all the tables are set up for 8/10 people and there’s a huge stage at the front draped in red and gold tapestries with 4 foot Chinese characters hung up. There’s also a 90’s pop CD on repeat and since we took our time having dinner we got to listen to it 3 separate times. Lucky us!

The food was really good and even though dim sum was only on the menu as an appetizer I totally enjoyed it. This was my first time having it, not sure how I’ve gone 26 years without trying it at all! One of my friends said that the full dim sum menu is on during the day so I might have to go back for lunch. 

We had hoped to shop the market bit after dinner but it was closed by the time we finished.    It was still too early to call it a night so I suggested getting a drink in the city centre. We went to St. Jude’s on Bath Street, ever my favorite since they once had Anchor Steam beer (from SF) on tap. I don’t even like beer but I do like San Francisco so they win in my book. 

On Sunday we went to Danny’s mom’s house as it was British Mother’s Day. All the family was over and we got fed massive amounts of food. She also seemed to have a never ending supply of wine for ladies and even though I think it was because of the Mother’s Day celebrations she kept filling my glass up as well. It was snowing and hailing like crazy that day so I’ve basically been hibernating since then. I refuse to accept that kind of weather by the middle of March. 

 

 

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My grown-up skin care routine

I’ll hop the pond for American deodorant or shampoo but some of my other favorite products are from UK drugstores. I think the UK does skin care better. The quality of the products that I can find in Boots or Superdrug far surpasses what I can find in CVS.

Two weekends ago during a whirlwind 24 hour San Francisco trip, I woke up after a night of partying and looked old. I hadn’t taken off my makeup, my skin was red and blotchy from the alcohol and I finally realized that at 26 years old I needed to start taking better care of my skin. I drink a lot water and have been wearing a daily moisturizer with SPF since junior high but I commit the cardinal skin of sleeping with my makeup on. I didn’t find any good products at CVS and wasn’t ready to spend $100 at Sephora, so I waited until I got back to the UK.

This morning I went into town and after wandering around Boots I settled on the below.

skincare

Super Facialist by Una Brennan – Rose Hydrate Radiance Day Cream SPF15
Botanics – Cleansing Foam Wash All Bright
Botanics – Hydrating Night Cream All Bright

I’m starting simple. The foam wash and night cream were both on sale and under £5 each. I made a deal with myself – if I wash my face and take off my makeup every night until the duo runs out, I can upgrade with pricier products. I’m basically bribing myself into being a grown-up!

The day cream has the mandatory SPF and a lovely rose smell. I looked up Una Brennan’s skin care line and might try the accompanying two-step oil and cleanser if I can stick with this nightly facial routine. If things go really well, I might venture into the world of serums and eye creams. I’m pretty sure the wrinkles show up soon after the first time you wake up looking old from too much partying. Late twenties, I’m almost there.

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.

rpvweather

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.

Self Service Medicine

Had to go to the doctor’s today to get my “bloods” drawn. Sounds more vampire-like than medicinal but it was quick and painless.

I only had to wait about 5 minutes for my appointment but spent it thinking about my experience with the NHS so far. Overall I love it (or like it a lot, suppose it’s a little weird to love a healthcare system). It’s a good system and I think it’s better than the situation in the States.

Having said that, I cannot get over handling my own bodily fluids in the NHS! In the States a nurse will take your blood and whisk it away to the lab. Today I had to walk my own samples down to the receptionist and hand them in. Now, I’m not squeamish and can handle blood but I find it quite strange to be involved in the process of getting my samples to the lab. The technician’s office is located upstairs and the receptionist downstairs but surely she can walk all the samples down at the end of her day?

Either way it doesn’t bother me that much, just a UK/US difference that I’ve noticed over the years. The one that really gets me? Taking charge of your urine sample. Oh yes. Your pee in a cup and you’re in charge.

Registering with a new GP requires a urine sample at the end of the new patient check-up. So far, normal. I’ve been to three different medical practices in the UK as you register based on your address and I’ve lived in three different areas. But this is worse than blood samples. With urine, you’re sent home after your initial check-up with a plastic vial and told to bring it back fresh. Yes, I’ve been wandering around Glasgow with my own pee in a cup three different times. One of my old colleagues had to take a sample in, forgot about it, left it in his car for a day and was faced with dumping it out and trying it again the next day. GROSS.

Why didn’t I just pee at the office? The strange thing is that they don’t seem to encourage this. They hand you the cup and usher you out of the building, no mention of the toilets down the hall or suggestion of waiting around to finish. From affirmations from Danny and as evidenced by my colleague’s predicament, this is just how it’s done. Well, I’m not taking it. I won’t chalk this one up to cultural differences. If we move again I’m drinking a litre of water before my new patient check-up and not leaving the office until I’m sure that I won’t have to be as “hands-on” with my care as the NHS asks of me.