Text

There I was
Sitting on the roof of the world
There I was
There I was
Not knowing how I got there
Or how to leave
-Dido, Sitting on the Roof of the World

In a matter of 24h I will be four hours into my flight back home to Canada. Just reading and typing that sentence feels weird. I’m still in the processing stages of all this. It’s just so surreal. I’ve been counting down to that moment of stepping onto the plane for months now. Ok, fine, for a year. These past couple of days I’ve had to say good bye to more people, but mostly to pack up my ‘London Life’.   I keep having to tell myself that I’m going back home tomorrow, that I’ll be sleeping in my old bed again and the main and saddest bit, that I won’t live in London any more. Sometimes I’ve forgotten about it and then it just pops back into your brain. I’m sure that once I’m home it will slowly sink in. Although……. It’s already beginning to feel like this has all been a dream……

In this post I don’t want to dwell on the negative of ‘not living in London or leaving my wonderful friends behind,’ but by writing the opposite of appreciating what I have done the past two years.

I still can’t believe that the last time I was home was two years! Well let’s just say that I can’t believe that I have lived and worked here in London UK for 715 days!! How many people can say that?! 

I’m honestly so proud of myself for having achieved my dream of living and working in London. Yes it was extremely challenging for the first couple of months, but in the end I managed to have found a great job, an amazing church, a lovely place to live, seen beautiful places around the UK/EU and checking things off of my Bucket List and a group of life long friends that I just adore and cherish. All this and I/we have created so many memories that I will keep close to my heart and will never forget. I feel truly blessed. So to all of my family, friends, co workers and strangers on the Tube, I thank you for helping achieve my dreams! 

Some of you might wonder what my favourite experiences or cities have been. I do have some favourites, but everything to me was brilliant! I really love Copenhagen! It’s such an underrated city. Venice is just stunning! The Norwegian Fjords and Scottish Highlands are simply breathtaking. Of course I’ve enjoyed the smaller things like; eating out with the girls (which was all the time!), going to the theatre, skating at Somerset House during the Christmas season, the Olympics. All those memories and everything in between! 

When I look back on those moments a smile comes on my face. However my time for now has finished in London, but that doesn’t mean I stop living. So, here’s to the future of whatever may come and I pray that whatever it may be or where ever it will take me, that I feel blessed an be happy.

Now, I can go and find a new dream!

Text

This past Friday was my very last day at Regent’s University London. My place of work for the past year and a half. I have been so blessed to have worked there! First off, the location. RUL is based in one of the Royal parks, Regent’s Park. Every morning I would walk out of the Tube Station at Baker Street, walk passed Sherlock Holmes’ House, into the park, past the different sorts of bird species pecking at each other over food, over the bridge and into work. I’ve seen movies filmed here, including one directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer, and yes I saw all three of them! Star struck! I’ve see gorgeous displays of flowers and colours and regal gates and a breath taking view of London on my lunch breaks all in one park. I hope you can see why It’s a hard place to say goodbye from.

Mostly though, I’m going to miss the people that I’ve worked with. I started out in one office and then have managed to sit in several different ones. So luckily I have at the chance to sit and get to know all of my co workers in the same team a much better! I’m going to miss the gossips, the tea time break talks, lunch dates and just the general day to day talks and laughter. I had my leaving do on Friday and the love and support from my co-workers was just so immense. Very flattering of course, but that just made the goodbyes even harder. Lets not start on those goodbyes!

I would however, quickly, want to make a shout-out to one of my closest friends at work, Laura…I would like to dedicate this post to you as you encouraged me to keep writing and for all the planning that you’ve done in the past couple of days relating to me leaving Regent’s! I’m going to miss our talks about anything under the sun and just your general bubbly disposition! x 

As I was leaving Regent’s for the last time on Friday, it was quite difficult looking back. But I had a brilliant time here that I’ll never forget! 

Text

It is officially a week until I go home, back to Canada. A week, ONE WEEK! 7 DAYS!! I’m freaking out! Its so strange that I’ll be leaving all of this behind. Tomorrow is even my last day at work at Regent’s. Trying not to think about it really.

For those that have done something similar like what I have done you realise how much “stuff” you actually accumulate over the time that you’ve been away from home. Me, it’s been two years and I seemed to have managed to collect; books, heaps of postcards, clothing, travel knick knacks and more. It actually hits you when you bring out the good old suitcase that you originally came with and begin the exhausting process of packing. Not just packing for a holiday, no, but actually packing up ‘your life’ in a 75x45x30 bag. You think, how in the World is all of this stuff going to fit?…… Challenge accepted!

It’s just gone 8pm and I’ve manged to fill two bags of clothing and things for charity donations and currently working on the third. Honestly where did all of this stuff come from?! If I have to put the blame on anyone its all on Primark!………..fine! I blame my self control too!

20:04 I’ve just put on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2…as background noise but I think we all know thats a big mistake….
Right here I go…wish me all the best please…

20:15 SHOES! SO MANY SHOES!!
20:18 I wish I was a wizard….
20:25 third bag done!
20:26 oh Ron (Weasley) you’re so funny
20:29 gives up on packing/organising and continues watching Harry Potter…..

Video

Singing the anthem from West Ham United ‘Forever Blowing Bubbles’ when Eliza and I were there.

Photo Set

Eliza and I at the West Ham United vs Liverpool FC match couple of sundays ago. Had such a good time, even though we lost 2-1 for Liverpool. The banter of the fans between the two teams was brilliant, especially when a Liverpool fan was carried off by security as he tried to jump the fench and the West Ham fans waved him goodbye! HAH! It feels great to check another thing off my Bucket List!

Text

Forty two. Forty two days until I leave London and move back home to Canada. I may seem cool and collected (sometimes) on the outside, but on the inside, there is a rollercoaster of emotions.

Sad- -of course i’m sad to leave this amazing city. London for me is the best city in the world! History, culture, vibrant, exicting! London for me was my dream. My dream of living here, working here, exploring and travelling. And now that dream is coming to an end. I’m of course so blessed and thankful for this oppertunity and experience that some people don’t take or have. But leaving a life that you’ve built, habits you’ve gotten into, friends you’ve made is difficult to leave behind. For a year and a half now i’ve woken up, gotten ready for work, take the Jubilee line from Canada Water to Baker Street station and walk into a Royal Park to go to my job. It’s going to be weird not doing those things any more.
Besides missing the London life i’m going to miss my friends so much! We are basically a little family here. We love, support, each other, explore cities and have managed to built relationships that will last a lifetime. Having these people as your support system, family and your home away from home and then all of a sudden not be with them any more is sad. I think what makes it worse is the fact that they’re all from Australia and I’m the one from Canada. They move back and see each other in Brisbane and continue their life there and I’ll be the one stuck on the other side of the world with a 14h difference. Of course we’ll see each other again, there’s even talk of a reunion in N.America and I’ll definitely make my way down to Australia!…..I’m going to miss those girls.

Back on the rollercoaster of emotions; I’m feeling scared to go home. Why would I want to be scared of going to the place I’ve lived in for over ten years? Well it has nothing to do with my actual home or family etc., but just the fact that I have to start up life again. Of course life hasn’t stood still when I left two years ago, life goes on. So it’ll be weird coming home to this and that person is married, have a baby, broke up, moved away or be just part of a new routine at home and trying to fit myself into that. Having to find work again won’t be a picnic. I’m absolutely dreading it. Oh the misery of finding a job, how I loathe thee! When I started this whole ‘living abroad’ process I had two years (kinda) planned out. I was to live in London, get a job, travel and then come back. Now that time has run out and I need to start planning life again. Lots of people have been asking me what I’ll be doing when I go back home. First response is; enjoy my summer, laze by my pool and snuggle with my bunnies, bcause honestly I’ve definitley missed all of that. After mastering the art of relazation, I will be, like I said above, look for a job and save some money (London is very expensive!). Then I will be looking into going to Uni…so who knows where that will take me…….

Let’s continue this rollercoaster of emotions to something uplifting! Besides being scared and sad to leave i’m of course happy! Happy to see my family again, getting back into old shenanigans with Amanda and Breanne, snuggling with the bunnies, BBQs, Ketchup flavoured crisps…i mean chips ( I guess I need to go back to the Canadian way of speaking). Honestly, this part of the blog doesn’t have to be long and me blabbing on about why I’m happy to go back home…the answer is easy….food and family!

Whether I’m sad or happy about this, it shouldn’t matter right now. I’m just going to enjoy every last bit of this experience for the next six weeks. My Mum will be in EU for a work trip and then I get to see her and my family in Holland, Breanne is coming for a week to visit me, which I’m so excited for and then of course i’m sure I’ll be up to something with the girls. If it’s a play, or an estate or another city….bring.it.on.

Text

If you’re reading this and thought I got the title wrong then you are mistaken, yes, I did go to Zurich for 25 hours. I thought that all the previous weekend trips I’ve done that we’re 36 hours we’re hectic and short, well this one takes the cake (a delicious cake I might add, we had some in Zurich and they were scrumptious! see picture at the bottom).

First off, let me tell you why it was 25 hours. The answer is simple, it was the cheaper option. There were flights that were leaving the sunday night, but we would have arrived quite late in London. Also, Zurich being a small little city, it was/is possible to to do it in a day.

Right, like every trip I’ve done it always involves getting up at a ridiculous hour, this one was no expection. The Friday night before Eliza and I were at the Shane Filan concert in Hammersmith, London (post to come). We didn’t end up getting back to her place and into bed until midnight. Unfortunately for us, we had to wake up at 3am in order to get the train down to Gatwick. Yes, a three hour sleep, not fun, not fun at all. We got to Gatwick, onto the plane and were in Zurich by 10am.

(Eliza and I not happy at the 3am wake up call-Blackfriars Rail Station)

We dropped off our bags at the hotel and I would like to add that the first picture that we took in Zurich was of the massive Lindt Chocolate sign. Eliza had some acquaintances here and so we met up with them. We had had a lovely time with them, Dean and Mailen. We had some Chai lattes and a delicious platter of cakes (the ones I mentioned earlier). After seeing them and walking around, Eliza and I went on our tour around the city and surroundings.

This tour brought us around Lake Zurich, up the mountain to the Dolder Grand Hotel, a really expensive one, and also through the city, over the lake on a ferry and up for some beautiful views of the area. The weather was perfect! As I said before, we had three hours of sleep. This eventually caught up to us and so we were knocked out at some points whilst we were driving. We finished the tour, which was lovely, got some chocolate from the shops and ventured back to the hotel, mainly in persuit for our beds and a shower. After a couple of hours of relaxing, *cough cough* napping *cough cough,* we had a very difficult time deciding if we should make an effort to change back into our regular clothes and go out for dinner or stay inside, wear our pajamas and eat the chocolate we bought for dinner. We eventually did go out, but not very far, we just ended up at a very cute Italian restaurant down the street. Wow, the food was delicious, can’t go wrong with pasta and then a drool worthy chocolate mousse for dessert!

After that we went back to bed . The next morning there was no time for a lie-in as we had to catch our flight back.

Over all, we had such a lovely time in Zurich, I absolutely love Switzerland! Even if was only 25h, it was definitely worth it!

(The cake I was telling you about before)

Text

My my, how time flies. Here I am once again writing a post of my travels. It feels like just a week ago that I was writing for our Rome trip. I am now freaking out that time is flying by like a speeding bullet and in a blink of an eye I’ll be sitting on a plane back home to Canada. 'stop freaking out Melissa, stop freaking out….and breathe………..'

Right, this post is about my weekend trip to Barcelona not me babbling on about time. Let’s get started! Kaylin and I flew out on Friday night so that we didn’t have to wake up hours before the sun was due to come up. Let’s face it 3am wake up calls, not really a picnic in the park is it.


Our first day in the city we walked down to the city center to meet up for a walking tour. The tour itself was lovely. I loved our tour guide, he was British and I thought he was hilarious! Did the whole lame, cheesy joke thing, who doesn’t love that in a tour guide. This tour brought us around to Barcelona Cathedral, several squares and churches, the park and also the steps where Christopher Columbus climbed when he came back from the New World. I did not realise that Barcelona and the Catelonia region had such an interesting histroy. We finished up in the park after 3 hours of walking, so we just relaxed and soaked up the sun and had ice cream, naturally. After that we walked around the streets, marina, a visit the famous La Boqueria market, where we became vegetarians for about a minute after seeing the meat section (some things can never be unseen), and also had some churros. That evening we joined up with the same tour company to do a Tapas tour. We went out to a couple of restaurants where we had tapas like Patatas Brava (potato with garlic mayo), Catalonian sausage, baguette with different toppings and more. We even drank out of this medieval glass pitcher and had a spanish shot to add to the mix. This was mine and Kaylin’s best attempt ever to go ‘out’ on all of our trips combined. Yeah us!


The Sunday we went to the famous Sagrada La Familia. This piece of architecture is so unique! The details, the windows, the inspiration behind some of the designs is brilliant. I loved how the sun streamed through the windows into the nave. Kaylin absolutely loved it! After spending about an hour and a half there we grabbed lunch and headed up to Parc Guell. Besides the crowd and gazillion of tourists, this place is beautiful, Gaudi is a genius! The view of the city is absolutely incredible. The weather was gorgeous as well, no cloud in the sky! We finished our trip by visiting a Gaudi building, we eventually found it, and with some Paella.

Barcelona is a gorgeous, chill and cool city! I highly reccomend it!

Text

Well, the first trip of 2014 is under the belt! Couple of weekends ago, myself and Kaylin went to beautiful Rome, Italy. Not just for a couple of days…nope it was a matter of 34 hours! We got up at 3am to catch the bus to Stansted Airport for our 6:30am flight…it’s never fun to wake up that early. Our flight went well, we flew over the Alps, but unfortunately our landing was, well in my book, the worst. Thank you Ryan Air for the bumpy landing, always a pleasure. 

Anyway, we eventually got into the city, checked into our B&B and headed out for adventure! We made our way through the streets towards the Colosseum. On the way we had a Cannoli, it’s been on my Bucket List to try…but in the end, it was gross…and Kaylin.made.me.eat.it! Anywho, so we took on the wonder and ancient splendour of the Colosseum. It’s so surreal standing there, so much history, so many events that unfolded there so many years ago. From there on, we walked through the Roman Forum, an open space of ruins and churches. our stomachs were rumbling by then and so of course sat down for some pizza and dessert. It was so scrumptious!

After satisfying our taste buds we headed along the streets of Rome, through crazy traffic and busy shopping areas to Trevi Fountain. It was quite busy there, but still beautiful. Of course I threw in some money over my shoulder for a wish! We then carried on to the Spanish Steps where there was some fireworks on display and a beautiful view at dusk. After that we wondered through the streets to Piazza Navona where there is a church and a couple of gorgeous fountains. Here is where we had a delicious dinner outside by the fire consisting of home-made spaghetti and meatballs. I wasn’t gonna go to Italy and not have spaghetti and meatballs! Finally feeling how exhausted and cold we were, we got our Gelato and headed back to the B&B for a good nights sleep. 

The next morning we were greeted with breakfast on a trolly…how cute! Today’s main plan was to visit the Vatican City. Coming there, it was really crowded. Turns out there was a special ‘Peace Manifestation Event’ happening and the Pope himself would deliver a benediction! We, of course decided to stay. It’s not every day that you get to see the Pope! So after waiting for forty five minutes he came out to speak, What I thought was amazing was how quite it was among to huge crowd when he was speaking. Of course it was in Italian, and I could only pick out a view words, but it was still amazing to have experienced that. 

When it was finished we grabbed some lunch, where we had a Roman speciality of Spaghetti Amatriciana and the best Tiramisu I have ever had. *drool*. After being in food heaven we wondered down to a cute and rustic area of Rome called Trastevere. Lots of adorable houses and cafes. One cafe’s speciality was literally melted chocolate and whipped cream! We also visit a beautiful church called St Maria in Trastevere Basilica, one of Rome’s first Christian churches. Our time was slowly but surely running out, so we headed back to our B&B to grab our bags and then out again for our last meal and gelato. From then on we ventured back to the airport and eventually back to our beds at 1:00am in Londontown.

Text

Well, it’s the 31st of December, the last day of the year. This year has flown by! I’m sitting on the couch by my aunt and uncle in Holland listeng to the ‘top 2000’ (a very popular thing here), reminiscing the past year of 2013. I can honestly say that this year has been brilliant, amazing, awesome, beautiful…unforgettable. I’ve had the experience of living in London, being surrounded by beautiful buildings, history, and culture. This city never fails to amaze me.  I’ve also been blessed to travel places like, Venice with my beautiful sister, Prague, Ireland, the Scottish Highlands, sunny Mallorca, adorable Copenhagen, do a cruise with my parents to the Norwegian Fjords and so much much much more. My bucket list has been busy! One thing that made this year possible are my wonderful Aussie friends; Kaylin, Jo, Erin, Eliza and Sarah, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I cannot ask for a better group of friends. Some of us have gone back home and I’ve missed you since the moment we said goodbye….so I can’t wait for our big group reunion!!! I’m also blessed to have a job I love…how many people say they get to walk in a royal park every day to work?! I’m also thankful for the church I attend and of course my family. Even though we can’t see each other everyday, I’m so happy for your love and support.

2014. What can I expect from you? Who knows. I know I’m planning on enjoying my last couple of months in London/EU and then summer time back home in Canada. Whatever it is….bring it on!!!