Friday, April 30, 2010

The Answer to a Prayer

Everyone who loved him, not just the family, had been praying with all their might these past few months. Dear God, be merciful. Please don't let him suffer any more.

Yesterday, our prayers were answered.

He is finally at peace and back together with Nana again. And I close my eyes and whisper a fervent Thank You.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Book Review - Espresso Tales

The "research" into Scottish culture continues with this offering from Edinburgh based writer. McCaul Smith first captured my attention with his series about a feisty lady detective set in Bostwana. 

Espresso Tales is the second volume of stories about a random collection of people living in a block of flats. I am curious to know if some of the landmarks like shops and cafes he mentions actually do exist and look forward to exploring more of the city in the upcoming months as I begin work there.

Working Girl

This past week saw me join a group of people of whom I have been wildly envious of these past few months. After being ingloriously shipwrecked by the evil and villainous pirate (also known as my former employer), my rather dilapidated life raft finally found its way to the shores of employment.

And so, Wednesday saw me scurrying off to catch the underground to the city centre. It was Day 1 of Job 1. Rather uneventful really, but I was just so damn happy to be there! My duties are simple; to man the customer service counter and assist shoppers with their queries. Which really translates into sitting at desk and directing people to the washrooms. In a 7 hour shift, I told 167 people how to find the washrooms. Of course, I only started keeping track in my second hour, so I might have missed a few.

Friday was Day 1 of Job 2 which right now is sitting at a part time contract at least until the end of May. Ironically, this job has me doing exactly what Former Boss Man had hired me to do. And also for another building company. Let's just hope that this company is better run!

Job 3 with the Edinburgh tour company is scheduled to begin in early May. I don't yet have a schedule, or have any paperwork from the company, but I'm hoping to hear more at a meeting with the team leader next week.

Job 4 doesn't begin until early July. I'll be spending 6 weeks in England - 3 at Southsea and 3 at Oxford. I'm looking at this as a two for one deal where I get to live and work and a new places in the UK.

Its been hectic to say the least and lots of running from one job to the next. After just a few days, I'm exhausted. But I'd rather be dead tired than dead broke. I'm sure that things will settled down into some sort of a routine over the next few weeks. For now, I'm just enjoying being a working girl again!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Plan B

Any post written between the 15th and 20th of this month was supposed to have been written from the seaside town of Schoorl in the Netherlands. However thanks to evil dust particles from erupting Icelandic volcanoes with unpronounceable names, I'm stuck in G Town for the next little while.

Ironically, in spite of being surrounded by the ash of all evil, G Town has been having the most amazing weather of late. Loath to waste all this excessive sunshine I spent most of yesterday afternoon wandering around the west end and finally settled down on the steps of the Kelvingrove museum for a long read in a warm sunshine.

Later in the evening Gingersnap, Colossus and myself took a drive out to Carmunnock just south of the city. From our vantage point, we had a great view of the sunset over the city. We had hoped that the volcanic ash would provide some interesting vistas, but perhaps we were a day or two too late for that. Still its hard not to find beauty in a sunset and ash or not, this one was just as lovely.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Anatomy of an Incredible Day

10:00 am
Catch the bus to Edinburgh. Once there, meet up with a friend from Canada and head over to her place. We chit, we chat. Then she leaves me to settle down and prepare for........

12:30 pm
Phone interview with an English language school for a 6 week summer placement job as activity coordinator for the students. The recruiter is really nice and friendly and it doesn't even seem like an interview. About 10 minutes into our conversation, she confirms that this is just a formality and that I had landed the job based on my CV and written application (Hurrah for brilliant essay writing skills!)

2:00 pm
I head off to my test tour. It goes on for 2 WHOLE HOURS and is really really really tough! The assistant manager, who was taking my test, had a deadpan expression the entire time I was talking, and that gave me no idea if I was on the right track or not. Anyway, I tried to pretend that I was presenting to a group of wildly interested tourists and gamely went on!
At the end, he told me that although he really liked my passion and the delivery and my presentation skills, he felt that I hadn't yet gotten totally comfortable with the material and that I needed more work on my script. And so, he told me that he was going to recommend that I be given a "conditional pass". This would mean that I would need to take another test in a few weeks time so that they can be sure I was totally ready.
It wasn't the answer I wanted to hear... but hey... at least it wasn't an outright no. So I left that feeling quite good.

5:00 pm
As I'm on my way to catch the bus back to Glasgow, my phone rings. Its the recruitment agency that I had met with 2 weeks ago. They were calling to ask if I would be interested in a part time opportunity for next week. By the end of that phone call I have 3 days of work confirmed for next week, with the potential for it to carry on into the week after as well.

6:00 pm (ish)
On the bus back to Glasgow. The phone rings again. This time, it is the
Edinburgh tour manager.
Well Pixy, he says, I think you know what I'm going to say.....

Me: Yeah, AM mentioned that I was.......
Him: YOU'RE IN (big yell)
Me: Eh? Say what? But..... I thought.....AM said...... (lots of blabbering)
Him: Yeah yeah.... AM said conditional, but I really think that's bollocks. I've seen you, met you... and I know you can do the job backwards. Whatever problems you have with the script can only be ironed out by you practicing it. And the best way to practice is to actually DO the tour.

Bottom line, I begin the week of May 3rd!!

And so dear readers, if you've been keeping track, this means that somehow in the span of one day, I managed to land not one.... not two.... but THREE jobs! Totally crazy.... but there you have it! The long drought seems to have finally passed and the rain clouds are on the horizon. And waddya know? Every single one of those clouds seems to have a bright and beautiful silver lining!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Usual Suspect

Over the past few weeks, I have been training for a potential job in Edinburgh. There's a lot of research involved and accordingly, I took myself to the library to get the required reading. Part of the research is on Scotland's Stone of Destiny and its role in the country's military and political past. Specifically, how it was "borrowed" back in the 50s by four students from Glasgow University.

I presented my list of books to the library assistant. She looked it over. Frowning slightly, she peered up at me through her very librarian-like spectacles. Interesting list you have here young lady. Are you planning another heist?

I didn't know it at that time, but it turns out that when planning the heist, the students had checked out an almost identical list of books from the very same library! I wonder there are most wanted lists in the Glasgow library system. If so, my card number is probably at the very top of the list. I'd better behave myself over the next few weeks, and make damn sure I return the books on time, or I might have half the Strathclyde Police force out on my doorstep!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Embracing my Inner Gleek

Last season's surprise hit TV show has gotten everyone talking about the age old high school rivalry. Supposedly, if you're in Glee Club (or a version of it) that automatically makes you uncool and the bottom feeders of the high school social hierarchy. Having never attended high school in North America, I don't know just how much of this is true. If it is, then I cannot express just how sad that would be as a reflection of American society.

Why is it that kids who decide to participate in school activities are termed "geeks"? If that is the case, well then, I was (and probably still am) the very biggest geek around.
Drama, music, art, science, handicrafts, dance, band, squad, guides; I was part of all these clubs back in high school. And I loved it! I knew I sucked at sports, but that was ok. I was happy to play with my classmates during P.E class, but when it came to competitions I preferred to leave it to the experts. But other than that, I signed up for anything and everything that the school offered. It was the perfect excuse for a "get out of class free" pass!

And boy did the over enthusiastic participation work to my advantage! One time I was punished by the maths teacher as I hadn't completed my homework. The punishment was to stay in at recess and get it all done. Problem was, practice for drama class was scheduled during recess and we had a play to perform at the sectionals in a mere 2 weeks time. The teacher in charge of drama got me out of the punishment. 'Course, I had to promise to have the homework done by the next morning, but hey, I'd have done that anyway. No one was stupid enough to cross the math teacher twice!

I know for sure that I was nowhere near being cool when in school. Or in even later in university. For that matter, I'm still not allowed anywhere near the cool kid's table! What I do know is that being part of every one of those clubs gave me an education far better than any classroom lecture. And I say that with no disrespect to my wonderful teachers. Being part of those clubs may have been gleek like, but they are what form some of my best high school memories.

And really, what is so wrong about wanting to participate in these activities and win accolades for the school? If that's going to keep me at the bottom of the social ladder, well that's perfectly fine by me. In any case, I'm terrified of heights!!

Above: Grade 8 class picture with the Principal (centre), Vice Principal (left) and class teacher.
Can you spot the 12 year old me?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Storm Clouds and Silver Linings

When you live in Scotland, you will run into many a storm cloud. And I'm talking literally. Suffice to say, my life of late has resembled a veritable mine field of storm clouds. But, dear reader as you well know I have been striving to "Find the Awesome" and focus on the rainbows and bunnies and fluffy cotton candy and anything else that falls under the awww that's nice category.

Today, on the bus ride home from Edinburgh, I realise that sometimes, the storm clouds themselves are the silver lining.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Spring-like Thoughts on Bunny Day

With the blossoming of the Spring flowers, there seems to have been a bit of change in the air; and I don't just mean the weather.

For starters, last Tuesday's meeting with the Edinburgh tour manager went really well. I have two weeks to train on mastering the script and doing the required research. On the 13th, I will have to do a test tour for the manager, and if I pass that, well... I'm in!

Its not just Springtime. Its make or break time.

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