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April 2011

The List: Number 5 – Move to London

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So, I’ve done it. I have an NI number, which was easier to wrangle than I thought it would be. I have a job, where I work with people from all around Europe. I have a place, which is cute + cosy and in a very London part of the world. I catch the tube an awful lot (and have been squished and pushed and prodded as more people try squeeze onto the train) and I meet people in bars for cocktails. I’ve learnt to ignore pub food completely, and that any night of the week there is a happy gig happening somewhere to dance around to. I’ve stumbled upon Space Invader pieces and am trying really hard to like baked beans + mushy peas.

I walk the streets often, and past landmarks like Big Ben and the London Eye, like The Gherkin and the British Museum. I don’t use the red phone booths, but I do use occasionally the big red double decker buses. I mock the chav accent because it grates on my ears, in a similar manner to the rough Australian outback accent does. I’ve celebrated Pancake Day (a day in which I ate nothing but pancakes. What a great day!), and I’ll use this amazing city as a hub for more amazing travel (Italy! France!) and when the Royal Wedding happens I’m more than keen to take that day off and raise a toast to the happy couple.

I’ve been caught out on a number occasions for my use of the words pants instead of trousers, or jandals instead of flip flops, and I have worked out which of the laundry degerant I like and which I do not. I’ve learnt not to drink the water straight from the tap, and how to use those weird low-flow water heater shower contraptions. I own an oyster card + can walk through a busy crowd (mostly) unmolested. I’m getting better at understanding different accents, and refraining from throwing myself at boys with Irish ones.

I’ve done it, you guys. I travelled 18800 kilometres away from home, and moved myself to London.

Photo note: This is by far my most favourite London Touristy shot. It’s not even anywhere, really. It was taken outside Somerset House, when The Fourth Quarter + I were trying to walk along the river and got ourselves lost. I do have touristy photos of Big Ben, the London Eye, and St Pauls but none quite capture my London tourist experience like this one.

The List, Number 5 – done!

London calls me a stranger, a traveller. This is now my home, my home.
I’m burning on the back streets here sitting in the back seat, and I’m blazing on the street
And what I do isn’t up to you, and if the city never sleeps then that makes two
– Ed Sheeran, The City

The List: Number 8 – Get a tattoo

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Last year me and Heidi (from Stress Sponge) had lots and lots of discussions about ink. We agreed that as ‘Get a tattoo’ was on both our lists, we should do it together. It made me a little more brave about getting inked up.

I knew wanted something small, something that felt quite frivolous. I didn’t want there to be this big cliché behind my ink. There wasn’t going to be some big story about how much it meant to me, about how it reminded me to be young or old, or less/more responsible, or about how its dedicated to someone I love. (It’s entirely possible I’ve spent way too much time on Fuck yeah, Tattoos!) I wasn’t going to have any of that melodramatic anything behind my ink. It was something for me.

Originally I found a small little elephant that I liked. A sketch. I promptly put wings on him, printed him out, and put him everywhere. He was on my desk at work, on my bedroom mirror at home, in all the bathrooms I’d ever visited on a regular basis. I carried him around in my wallet, too. And for six months I looked at him. And I looked and I looked. And after a while I just kind of saw through him.

And then I came across John Tenniel’s Mad Hatter. And I fell head over heels, and I completely forgot about my little elephant with wings. My mad hatter just felt right. A few months later (with my ‘Move to London’ flight getting closer and closer) Heidi + I organised a consultation appointment with brilliant Emma from Demographics. A friend of ours had recommended her, and I felt much more comfortable with a recommendation than picking an artist at random.

When I agreed to the consultation, I’d forgotten completely that it would be the day after I had my wisdoms out. This meant I was high as a kite on all sorts of lovely drugs. So when Emma asked if I’d get him done now, right this very minute, I said yes.

And then I got him inked. Right then + there, just above my left ankle.

He’s cute, right? Getting tattooed wasn’t as bad as thought it would be. But then, high as a kite and all that. It was a bit like being scratched over and over.

Heidi got hers a few weeks later, and I made the mad drive over from the shore to be there. A cute little something that suited her wonderfully.

So yes. Number 8 on The List. Done!

The List: Number 58 – See the Leaning Tower of Pisa

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I flew into Pisa, and I had two hours before I needed to be Pisa Centrale to catch a crazy long train trip to little Chiusi Chianciano. Which meant that I had just enough time to catch a bus out to Piazza dei Miracoli, otherwise known as the Square of Miracles. It’s pretty brilliant, filled with many amazing buildings (like the Duomo Cathedral, a bell tower (which I think is called Campanil? Campanile?) and a few other amazing buildings which look pretty, but I can’t remember what they are called right at this moment.) There’s also the Leaning Tower of Pisa:

That little green blob is me.

It wasn’t quite as tall as I thought it would be. It’s something like 56 metres tall on the tallest side. Still, it was a pretty amazing place to be. I didn’t go up (I didn’t fancy walking up carrying all my gear) but I did listen in on a few tours at the bottom. Apparently Galileo threw two cannonballs of different sizes from the top, to show that they’d get to the bottom at the same time despite being different sizes. It’s only really confirmed by his secretary, which apparently isn’t credit enough. Still, they have a plaque in his honour, which is quite cool.

Sadly, I was super conscious about what would happen if I’d missed even one of my connections (possibly being stuck an any one of the many little italian towns between me + my destination), so I high tailed it to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the whole time there I was torn between leaving + seeing what I was there to see. Made for some quite anxious viewing. Next time I’d like to have a bit more time. Still, mostly I was glad to see the tower at all!

Number 58 – Done! Yeah!