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Monday, 30 April 2012


Wow, I didn't quite realise it had been so long since I had wrote. 14th February in fact... when I was looking for a job! So much has happened, yet not big enough excitements to write lots of little entries. So a bulletpoint type of post I think!

  • I finally got a job and started on 2nd March- it's part time in a shop, the colleagues I work with a great, I know however it will be temporary as they won't be able to keep my job open when I go back to the Uk for 5 weeks later in the year.
  • I have booked a trip back to the UK, I am looking forward to seeing all my family and friends in both Worthing and Eastleigh/Southampton areas as well as some penpals and other friends around the country. I also get to go to two weddings while there and have my birthday in the UK for the first time since 2009 (last year I was here in San Diego and in 2010 I was in Australia in a camper van).
  • We went to Hawaii from 21st-26th September, I may possibly post some pictures in a separate entry at some point. We got to visit Maui and spend time in Waikiki. Also went to the wedding of two friends with three other friends. Perhaps I will also do a whole entry about Hawaii separately.
  • We went to the Brit meet at the beginning of March and the one at the beginning of April. We also intend to go to the one this Friday.
  • We have met another couple through the hubby's work and a couple through the British Expat Forum, both of which happened during April. I am now in the process of introducing all friends to each other so that it's a big group of people we see regularly or at least regularish.
  • Had a meal on Easter Sunday in Hillcrest, it was at our friends' house and a few other friends were there. They cooked a lovely Greek meal which included roast lamb. Delicious! Lamb is much harder to find here and when you do find it, it is quite pricey (in comparison to the UK).
  • We had two couples round the 2nd week in April for drinks, food, conversation and board games. The plan had been to have a BBQ but it was pouring with rain all day and evening.
  • 20th it was drinks with the couple that we most recently met through hubby's work. We met them at a place called Union in Encinitas, which it seems is a cougar bar. Oh and prior to meeting them we had dinner at Five Guys.
  • On 23rd I was contacted by the lady from the couple we met through the British Expat forum so on the Friday 27th we went for a lovely Indian meal at a new place called Bawarchi Express. Hubby had made reservations thinking it was a proper restaurant (I admit I told him to) but it was actually a cafe style place! No alcohol... but we did manage to go for a beer afterwards at TGI Fridays.
  • We went to a party on Saturday, it was a surprise party so hubby and I arrived early and hubby took the man of the couple out for drinks so he would not be aware of people arriving. They didnt get back til about half 8- an hour after most people had turned up. I had also invited some people along (3 couples) to start the introduction process between friends. Didn't get home to bed til 1am, and had to be up at 6am for work in the morning. It was a good night.
  • I had a meeting at work on Sunday from 7am-10am followed by a shift til 3pm, I was exhausted by the evening!
  • I feel much more settled here, working 20-30 hours a week does mean that I take more time to get to reply to emails and inbox messages I receive and has also meant that I have less to blog about and less time to blog. In fact, it's not just blogging that I haven't done since Mid Feb... Yelp has taken a back burner too. It takes a while to get used to the change in routine. I wouldn't say it feels like home yet, but I feel like I have a routine lifestyle and yearn less for home. Also I feel like I know the processes.
  • I dont feel entirely comfortable with mentioning people by names or showing pictures of people given that this is a public blog! So seeing as most things we do now revolves around seeing people it makes it difficult to write blogs. But now that I have written this entry and broken the writer's block I now have ideas for two more entries and perhaps will even get back to doing differences.
That is all for now... I shall return (much sooner) with another entry...

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

All the small things.

When we came over here originally we found ourself deep in the 'burbs (suburbs), hubby's work had paid for us to stay in this area and it was close to his work. About 3 miles in fact.

Well, we didnt have a great deal of time to find a place to stay so stuck with the same area, its safe, its pretty, its clean. Oh and not to mention boring, there is no action. There is no fun and the public transportation links are lacking. One bus South and one bus North an hour does not cut it.

Well. I was on Yelp, I was looking at the Sombrero's which is down the road from us. Sombrero's is a San Diegan chain of Mexican food.

What did I discover? Well according to Yelp, the Sombrero's near us was the one that Blink 182, the band famous for the songs "what's my age again", "All the Small things" and other hits used to eat in (possibly occasionally swing by there?) that Sombrero's as they were originally from an area only 2 miles away from here.

In addition one of the band members used to live in this same area as us. I wonder if he was in one of the 1200ish apartments or in one of the huge houses.

Also, the song "Josie" they sing about Sombrero's.

I found this Youtube video-

This is not my video, I do not own the copyright.

That place they are eating at is the Sombrero's right round the corner.

It may only be a "small thing" but you know what? I now feel that the area I live in is a tiny bit cooler than it was before. Hey, if one of the Blink 182 members were living here then its fine for me.

Still, doesnt mean I wont be looking for an area with more to do and better public transportation come October when our lease is over!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

No license, no job.

So, a bit of a different entry!

As you all will be aware I got my work permit on Christmas Eve. I was excited to look for work, after all 4 months (as it had been at that time) without a job is very unusual for me.

First discovery was that many of the job adverts state "Must have driving license".

Oh. We have a problem. I do not have a driving license. For 13 years since failing a driving test I had avoided getting behind the wheel. I had built up a huge barrier against driving. So, this... well. Sheesh. I realised that I would need to overcome it in order to find something suitable for me.

First barrier was overcome, I got in hubby's car and drove for 20 minutes, only around the industrial estates and quiet roads but still a start.

I knew a driving instructor was required, so one was aquired, a 2 hour lesson was had and three hours of practice in hubby's car was had prior to the second lesson.

I have to admit I was quite surprised at how quickly I was learning new stuff with the driving instructor, he had me doing almost everything and told me at the end of lesson one that the next lesson would be include freeways and roundabouts.

Let me just say now that the whole of lesson 1 I had the "OMG I am driving, this is scary, please let me stop, please tell me the lesson is over and that I am never going to be capable to drive" going through my head. People who dont have a fear of driving probably wont even understand HOW I could be feeling that way.

The first time in hubby's car was the same- except possibly worse in the fact that I had COMPLETE control of the vehicle. Plus... it's not just any vehicle it's a Mustang and it's his pride and joy! EEEK. I managed to drive it without scaring him and without crashing or killing anyone (seriously, this was a concern).

Second time started off the same but after an hour I felt quite ok with it, though I wasnt too happy when I almost ended up on a freeway.

Third time, well that was about parking. I can't seem to do pendulum parking, need more practice.

Before I talk about the second lesson. Let me talk about the job hunting I have done.

I have had 4 interviews- 2 on the phone and 2 face to face, all for retail jobs. Of course for retail I can get there with public transportation or walk so no license needed. A stop gap job if you will.

The first retail place was a 35 minute walk from home, yep, that would be fine, I have done that before. In fact a number of my previous jobs have been about that distance. I was offered the job there and then. I had to think about it. Why? Well first the money was not great but secondly, 5am starts.

A 5am start would mean getting up at 3.30am, leaving by 4.20am and walking alongside a major road and a golf course in the dark. The fact I am not a morning person is part of the issue, but the main part is safety! I could get a bike, but again, where would I lock it up? Oh and I dont fancy going back along the cycle lanes at 1pm after a shift has finished.

Additionally, communication and organisation issues. Getting hold of them to try and get the correct password to do the online bits or to even decline the job- IMPOSSIBLE. I just get this feeling that I would find myself on my own at times and covering other shifts when people didnt turn up. Thanks but no thanks.

The second face to face interview. Well, it was a group interview and I really expected to have to do group activities and the like. Nope. Actually the manager was calling all us one by one into an office. I was first, I had been there super early so I went in, he discovered I was not willing to do weekend evenings and then was dismissed. DO your research, HECK, just read the application form. I had stated on the application form that I was not available those times. Perhaps instead I should see it as a compliment that they see me as worthy enough an applicant to try and be swayed to work weekend evenings.

I wasnt exactly depressed at the fact I didnt get the job, the grey shirts the employees were wearing were disgusting. Additionally it was a 20 minute walk to the nearest bus stop, which was outside hubby's work of all places. I had missed the bus and ended up walking for 40 minutes back towards home before I was able to catch a bus- I hate to think just HOW I would get back from work if I was to work until 1am (when the shop shuts, and yes thats every single day) if hubby was away.

Third and forth interviews were phone interviews which was a shame really as the location of both were only 20 minutes on the bus and I was quite up for a visit to that mall. Both it seems are also no goes due to the not wanting to work weekend evenings.

I hadnt done any applications this week due to these 4 interviews, I had another call Thursday, had to do  a personality test (and awaiting a callback about a potential interview) Perhaps the other 18 companies read the application forms correctly and my hours dont suit? Perhaps my personality doesnt fit? Who knows.

One company flat out declined me- its no wonder seeing as I wasnt able to enter any of my work or education issue due to it being outside USA and Canada!
I looked into working from home, but how to tell the real companies from the scams? I dont want to shell out $1000 dollars or any amount of money actually in order to earn money. It kind of defeats the point.

Next step which will start this week will be the most ineffective one going- sending my cv and a covering letter out to companies (read that as offices) which I can walk to or get a bus to selling my skills and asking them to consider me for any positions they may have going. I cant imagine this will be successful, but it's trying right?

If I want to continue to have a life and see my hubby then working in retail seems to be a no go. If I want an office job I need to apply via craigslist, recruitment agencies and other jobs sites but first I need a car.

San Diego city is enormous, the county is even bigger. Public transport is not good (more on that another time!). A car is required.

So, the second lesson- It was full on, I took on the freeways and drove around a lot. I need a lot of practice. I actually feel at this point that I will never be ready for a test... but it is early days.

We went for a meal last night and I drove there and I drove back, all good practice. Need to get in some practice whenever I can. I actually prefer driving in the dark.Driving is a skill to learn and it's likely to be a long process
Its all going to take time. The driving and finding a job. Patience is not always a virtue I possess. As I have a work permit I feel I should be working (and feel that others expect that I should be working) yet I don't have to work. But that may change after I visit the dentist tomorrow!!

Perhaps by June I will have both a license and a job, though I would love for it all to happen by next month. That would be the impatience talking.


Thursday, 9 February 2012

February 1st-9th.

So, its already the 9th January. I mean February- though I have to admit that I am really confused about what month it is so excuse me if I suddenly turnaround and call it August. It could be any month what with this constant same weather! hah!

I thought I was getting somewhere with getting caught up, but of course that is up to the end of January! Time is still ticking onwards and we are still doing other stuff to talk about.

So first off beginning of February (1st in fact) I went to the San Diego Safari park with a friend. The Safari park is up in Escondido which is closer than the main zoo but we had never been for some reason. I know me and hubby didnt go when we came away on holiday in 2009 and 2010 because it seemed expensive and we only had limited time each time.

Well, the safari park has a parking fee- $7 or $10 if you arent an annual member, a bit steep really and unusual given that the main zoo which is in the park in Downtown is free parking. The Safari park is much smaller than the main zoo, however I really liked that the animals were free to roam. There are many options for the safari, only one of which is included on the annual membership so we went with that one and it was fine.

Really enjoyed it there so need to drag hubby back at some point in the near future.

Friday 3rd we picked up our Scottish friends and headed down to the Shakespeare pub, those who have been reading previously will remember that there is a Brit Meet up group there once a month and we had not been since November so decided it was time. We got to see quite a few of the same people that were there before and met some new people too, including someone who was born in the same hospital as me- yes it was around 3 years later, but still? Dont expect to move thousands of miles away from home only to meet people who lived pretty close.

Saturday hubby and I decided to have a bit of a staycation. First stop was the Flying Leatherneck Aviation museum, a place where my brother and dad had been when they were over, this is based in a military base in San Diego. The museum is not huge but it is free and worth giving a go. We did of course give them a donation.

Next up we headed to Little Italy for a wander- hubby had never been but I went with my Scottish friend so he was wanting to see it for himself. We had a wander around and then headed to Landini's for pizza. I had wanted to try somewhere else but as I had been there before hubby wanted to go!

We decided after that to wander around Seaport Village, Embarcadero park, along the harbour past the USS Midway and the Maritime Museum and then back to Seaport Village. We need to at some point go to both the USS Midway and the Maritime Museum. There is seriously so much to do in San Diego and the area!

 We still had a couple of hours til we had to meet our friends for dinner, so decided to check out Shelter and Harbor Island. Not many pictures taken there.

Lastly we headed to Mission Bay park and Mission beach to watch the sunset.

We headed onto Hillcrest after that for dinner with our friends- the place we ate at was Hash House a go go we have been informed that this place is mega busy for breakfast but at dinner time it was relaxed. The food was good. Some of the portions were huge where as what we shared was a reasonable size!

After dinner it was a quick walk around Hillcrest before an early night.

Sunday was a quiet day which consisted of food shopping, driving practice, girl scout cookies and SuperBowl. To be fair it was needed after the hectic weekend and the busy Monday which was planned.

I had two interviews on Monday- one I got offered the job (but have declined because the hours are just crazy) the other I was not offered because I wasnt prepared to work weekend evenings.

Tuesday I had a phone interview- same problem as the second interview in that I wouldnt work weekend evenings- well, I want to spend time with hubby at some point you know?

I have another phone interview today, after having applied for 24 companies up to next week this week has been time off from applications. The forms are dull.

Thats all for now.... back with another update soon...

Monday, 6 February 2012

Catching up. Part 4.

This SHOULD be the last of the catch up entries. I hope so anyway! I dislike the fact that I am having to condense everything down to one paragraph per event.

So, I finished off on 18th January. So what else has been happening?

  • 21st January it rained and rained and rained. Luckily by the evening it had stopped as we had plans in the form of a 40th birthday party for a friend which we had met at one of the Brit meets. The party was at their house, they had a Mexican caterer in for the food. The party was a lot of fun and we got to talk to people we knew already together with a lot of people we had never met before.
  • 22nd January we decided to head to the zoo, whilst we have the passes hubby had actually not been since we had them. He really wanted to see the Koalas. We got to the zoo and discovered that the Koalas are currently not on display as they are in the process of building them a new home which will take up to 6 months to build. San Diego zoo has the largest amount of Koalas outside of Australia. Whilst we didnt get to see the Koalas we did see quite a lot of animals- as usual it was only a few hours there, the zoo is so big that you could probably spread it out over a number of days to see all the animals. We took a ride on the cable car also.

  • 25th January I was meant to go meet my friend from Scotland. This did not happen as there was a slight issue with the toilet overflowing with water upon flushing. A day of cleaning the bathroom and rest of the bathroom followed.
  • On the evening of the 25th hubby and I met with a couple we know through his work for dinner, we ended up at a place in Mission Valley called Luna Grill which is a Mediterranean Cafe. Read that as Greek and Turkish food. I had a Lamb kabob (yes that is how it is spelt out here) whilst hubby had a chicken one. It is rare to find places which sell lamb for some reason out here. Saying that I have seen very few sheep! It was a good evening.
  • I had my first driving lesson on 26th January, given that I hadnt been behind the wheel (other than 20 minutes round an industrial estate down the road from here) for 13 years when I failed a test I was expecting to have a nice easy warm up and recalling lesson. As it happened I did most manoevuers and drove on a lot of roads with all different speed limits! I have a lot to learn but overcoming the initial fear and realising my knowledge was better than I thought it was is a good start! I dont suspect I will be writing anymore about the learning process or about my driving test as and when it happens (unless I pass and then I will talk about it!).
  • Saturday we headed down to Mission Beach and parked up then walked to Pacific Beach. We had made loose plans with friends that if we saw them we would go for beer and burgers. As we reached the pier we found them. Good timing or what? We went and had lunch at Pacific Beach Ale House and were sat up on the roof terrace. Perfect sunshine, good beer and good conversation. It was just a shame that the food was not 100% it seems they had a few computer issues which caused havoc to their system. Hubby and I wandered round PB (Pacific Beach) a bit more then walked back. Worked out after that we had walked 5 miles! Wow. It didnt feel that much.
  • Sunday we decided to head out to Seaworld- we had not been since 2009 and quite a few bits had changed, first of all the horses which are linked to the company who own Budweiser were not there, there was nothing in relation to Budweiser at all in fact and in the place where the Budweiser part had been there was some other animals and some items for sale. They are currently in the process of rebuilding the home for the dolphins so we didn't get to see them (we missed the show by 10 minutes!) and a new rollercoaster. We actually ended up getting annual passes because it only takes two visits to get value for money.

  • Monday I got lots of great stuff in the mail from the UK. I still love receiving mail especially DECENT chocolate

  • Last but definitely not least we went round to some friends for dinner on 31st, there was quite a lot of us there- 11 in total, we had lasagna followed by cheesecake, the food was good, the conversation was good and I somehow managed to drink a whole bottle of wine ooops!
So... thats me up to date at least to til the end of January! Back to normal (for me) entries soon :)