Saturday, December 13, 2008

Update from London

Here's a little lesson from Traveling Yogini:

When you are feeling fearful, step back and assess. Where is this fear coming from? Is it irrational fear that is holding me back? Or, is there a legitimate red flag being waved? Quietly observe and wait for your heart's answer.

I really want(ed) to move to London. I love this city. Every city has a vibe and I fell in love with London's. This is one of the friendliest cities I've been in. People will go out of their way to help you. If asking for directions, people will give detailed instructions....start to walk away.....then turn back around to be sure you are pointed in the right direction. I've had people hear me asking for help and when the person I asked couldn't help they've followed me to tap me on the shoulder and lend a hand. During my travels I've met some beautiful people, but let me tell you it is amazing here.

I've always dreamed of living overseas. How great would it be to hop on a plane and go to Denmark for the weekend? To be immersed in a different culture? I was feeling a little freaked out (another word for fearful) about the opportunity to move here. So, as you can understand from how I've been living my life the last year, I felt fearful and said 'AHA! Fear! Screw you fear! I'm going for it!!' ....and that was it. I decided just to plunge in. I sort of had to take that approach as there seems to be a lot of work coming up in January and being that it was the beginning of December I didn't have a whole lot of time.

Then I started researching how to get my cats here. I thought I could skip quarantine as long as I showed proper documentation of shots. Yes, but it is still a six month process. My fear turned into concern. I started noticing my feelings. I didn't want to leave my cats for another six months while I waited for their paperwork. I miss them. I noticed the work I was being sent on wasn't exactly ideal for me. I felt stressed out and worn out by it....and isn't that why I left my last job? When I made the decision to step down as manager I wanted to focus on yoga more. My heart tells me I still do. In fact there is a program at an ashram in India that I want to attend Oct-Jan which I'd have to start paying off debt and saving for....which leads me to finances. After accruing some debt on this trip would it be smart or safe financially to relocate? I don't know.

Meanwhile, I bought my ticket to come home for the holidays and, once again, I noticed my feelings. I am excited to come home. I am jumping out of my skin to see the ones I love. I am counting down the days. I didn't know I felt that way until I bought my ticket. Until then I was so focused on one thing: 'stay in Europe as long as possible.'

All of this lead me to hold off on any decisions. Get home first. Again, assess how I feel. Do more research. Spend time with loved ones. Breathe. Then, see how things fall into place. I may be itching to get out of Connecticut again. I may want to stay put for a while. So, keep watching to see what happens!! And remember the lesson of the day: stay tuned in to your feelings.

Speaking of being tuned in....I went to Amsterdam for a short business trip. After the assignment I had some time to look around the city. I took the tram from my assignment to the center of town and started to wander (no map-something fun and completely freeing I've learned to do--of course that was after I mastered the art of map reading).

I found myself on a very touristy road and wanted to get off of it. I stopped and looked to my left. This is what I saw:
Notice the building to the far left. Under the first set of windows it says 'The Grasshopper.' I was very drawn to this place. Everything in my being was saying GO THERE. Being that I was hungry I thought maybe it was a good place to eat. When I saw the prices I thought better of it....but remember this place for later in my story.

I saw a hostel and stopped in to ask where I could get some good food at reasonable prices. I didn't like what they suggested, so I kept walking. One turn to the left and HELLO! I was in the red light district. Boobies and booty galore. I wasn't looking to buy, so
I found myself quite uncomfortable looking. I wandered some more and found some nice canals.And some nice squaresWith some urinals in the street? I'm glad we don't have these in America:I wandered....and wandered....and got hungrier and colder and progressively more grumpy. All of the places to eat were either full of marijuana smoke or just didn't appeal to me. Amsterdam has beautiful architecture, but from what I can tell if you're not into hookers or wacky-weed, then it ain't got much for you. I landed up seeing a new-age store and thought I could just go in for a while and warm up before continuing my food search. As I walked through the store I noticed some tables up front. Well wouldn't you was a cafe too!! I started with some hot, home made, chai tea (my favorite!) while I waited for my food. Everything was insanely delicious and healthy. Just what I needed. ....and guess what?? This place was right next door to that Grasshopper restaurant! My yogi-new-age homing instincts were tuned in and guiding me to where I needed to be in this city. After sitting here till closing and going to the airport I still had 3 hours till take-off. Uuugggg.

As glamorous as it sounds to go on business to Amsterdam, I was downright exhausted. All said and done it was a 20 hour day.
Just a funny pic....Paul had to stop into the doctor to get a check up and we got bored....take a look at the green board in the background.Paul's been working, so his friend Windog and I went out for dinner and a walk one night.There was a fair going onPaul and I fly home December 23rd. I'm so looking forward to showing him where I'm from and introducing him to those of you who are able to meet him! He'll be with me in CT until February 9th (unless London calls me back unexpectedly at which point we'll come back together!)
Sending love and light to you all. Can't wait to give you a biiiiiig hug in person!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Krakow to Berlin to London to Berlin to London (don't worry, my head is spinning too)

It's been a while, eh? Truth be told, my picture taking has slowed down to a crawl and my motivation for blogging has been nill. Have I said I'm tired at looking at buildings, churches, parks, monuments, etc. etc??? Traveling is often referred to as a 'holiday,' but if you speak to most travelers they'll tell you it's work. Now, I'm sure most of you at home are rolling your eyes, wishing for this opportunity. But, let me tell you, as amazing as it is....sight-seeing is rewarding, but exhausting. It sounds rediculous, but it's true.

Here are a few cool pics from the end of our trip to Krakow, Poland.
It was quite rainy when we were on our way to catch the bus to Berlin. Paul said I looked like a giant jelly bean. I have to say...he was right.
When we arrived to Berlin I was nervous to meet Paul's friends. What would they be like? What would Paul be like around them? Would I like them? When we got there Andrew (Windog) and Jorgen were out partying, but the next morning upon waking Paul promptly jumped into their bed and they all hugged each other. After seeing their affection toward one another I thought 'I can handle these guys.'
After a short scare of loosing my wallet, which I soon recovered, we went to the local outdoor markets....where there was (of all things) FOOD....
AND fun stuff to try on....
Other than that, we didn't do a whole lot. Hence, not many pictures. I was sooooo happy doing a whole lot of nothing. I was exhausted from all my travels. I was looking forward to a whole lot more of doing nothing....then I got an email from Oliver, an ASL interpreter who's been living in London for 6 years, saying he had work for me and could I come over? So, I hopped on a plane and off I went to London.

Oliver and I worked together on Halloween and then he graciously invited me to a dinner party. It was in this beautiful studio...His friends made a fantastic dinner.....I helped chop a LOT of shallots. No vampires bothered me that night (or many nights thereafter).
They insisted I dress up with some make-up provided in the 'staging area.' In honor of my beloved feline friends, Gabby and Merlin, I dressed up as a kitty. Meeeoooooeow. I rode the tube home like this.
The rest of these pics are totally out of order, but it was too much work arranging them all. I figured you wouldn't mind.....

One night Oliver's friend and fiance took me out for sushi (fuckin yum--it's been, like, months...imagine that Bre!). On the way to get dessert we saw fireworks...for Guy Fawkes day....a celebration I still don't understand since the dude tried to blow up the House of Parliment. Look at the end of the row of buildings and you'll see a firework. Then we went out for dessert at this very well known place in London's SOHO
We ended the night at a hole-in-the-wall/basement bar where has-been actors/musicians belt out show tunes. Great fun, great company, great entertainment.
Another night I went off exploring on my own. Here's China town:Complete with whole ducks hanging in the windowAnd SOHO....complete with drag queensAt a apropos
Covent Gardens, which from what I can see has no gardens--just shopping centers. The only street performer I've ever given money to:
He was playing a dog and shouting at people to take him home as they walked by. See his little 'treat' dish? How could I resist??

The flower market:
Lots of clever named joints around town:This is a leather-goods store:
British pride (turned Austin Powers-esque):The Brick Lane markets are a favorite attraction so and fun artisan goods:Another day I went to a Yoga Expo. It was good....and bad. It was good because I met a girl from the friend-of-Oliver's dinner party who is super sweet. It was 'bad' because the vibe there was really weird. Very consumerist, needy, greedy, sell-me-this-crap. But I got a few free yoga classes/workshops from it and I got to connect to another really cool yogini, so it was worth the trip.

The night before I left London was election night. I was awoken by a room mate at the hostel who was leaving at 5am (12 midnight EST). I snuck downstairs to check out who won the election. As I walked down the steps of the hostel I could hear Obama's voice on the TV and I knew he'd won... as I got to the bottom of the stairs I jumped up and down. I listened to the end of his speech and cried. I was shocked by my reaction. More so, I was shocked by the reaction around the world. As Americans we don't usually follow other country's elections. But other countries follow ours.

As Americans we hear 'America is a WORLD POWER' all the time and don't really think anything of it. At least I didn't. Coming here, especially in the midst of an election, I've realized just what a world power America is. People watch. People hope. People pray for us....because ultimately our politics effect them. Here's how Brits felt the day Obama became president:I went back to Berlin the next day. Another friend of Paul's, Andrew, had arrived and these boys and I spent the next week and a half together doing a whole lotta nothin.
I cooked roast chicken for them (except Jorgen who's a vegetarian--he just ate the roasted veggies). It's Jorgen's place and he rents a room on the 5th floor of a building with a shared bathroom, kitchen, computer room. Left to Right: Paul, Jorgen, Andrew, Windog:

Da Boys:
Saying bye-bye to Berlin: Paul and I were sad to leave his friends. They're good guys. We weren't sad to leave Berlin though. It's cold and gray...not to mention the people are grumpy. The sunrise gave a gorgeous view on the way to the airport thoughWhen we got to London Paul was pretty psyched to find 'pasties' at the train station. For us Americans I translate this as a pot-pie pocket with warm goodies inside. Apparently they are very popular in Australia (which I can't understand since they're cold-weather food). So, here we are back in London....Paul trying to find work....and me....figuring out how to make the move across the Atlantic. For those of you who didn't know (me included--well I guess I've been in denial) it looks as though I'm going to be moving to London. There's work here for me can I pass up the opportunity to live in Europe if I can actually work as an American Sign Language Interpreter here? Right now I'm in the midst of figuring out a work visa, accommodation, getting my cats here, renting out my apartment, etc. A lot of pieces have to fall into place, so keep your fingers crossed for me.

Here are some pics of our sight seeing (in between job/accommodation hunting)Buckingham Palace:

Me: so excited to see Buckingham PalaceI had to take Paul to the Brick Lane markets. I got a great hand made hat (seen below) with an eel skin (of all things--eel skin?) wallet that is perfect for London because it's got a place for bills, credit cards, and plenty of coin (which there is tons more of here than in the US).
The day wouldn't be complete without mulled wine
And men dancing in the street
So, my loved ones, that's where I leave you for now......more to come later on the progress of the move. I love you all. Take good care and be well.