30.1.11

Sunday morning






I did something different this morning and met some bloggers from Mortal Muses to go on a photo walk through Greenwich.  We went along some side streets that I had never been down before which provided some interesting pictures.  It was cold and I was impressed with the endurance of the group--two hours in...I called it quits out of exhaustion and they were still going strong.

I'm hoping that this week is a good one. Last week...life kinda made me call 'uncle' a bit. Going to pick myself up and start again tomorrow.

P.S.  I haven't stopped doing my 365 day project, just haven't been posting all of it here.  You can check out my flickr album if you'd like HERE.

24.1.11

A sense of Purpose

My prayers recently have been asking a lot to send me a sense of purpose.  I guess to me purpose means job, a title and a paycheck once a month.  I want to get dressed up every morning, ride the tube again with my 'metro' in hand.  I want to have my own income, to be able to treat myself to a new top or a facial without having to ask James or worrying about spending too much of 'his' money.  When people ask what I do I don't want to fib anymore and tell them a made up title.

I'm embarrassed about my unemployment.  I'm embarrassed with what people think of me and the fact when I say the last full-time job I had was 2007 it usually brings judgment like "what's wrong with you, or aren't you applying for positions?"  Well,  there's nothing wrong with me.  I have sent off countless applications.  I've just been a bit unlucky. 

I probably didn't think things through before I first moved here and didn't have a Plan B if I lost the job that initially brought me over.  For the last 10 years I've been flailing around trying to fix things with my career but it hasn't worked.  The long-term temp jobs that have kept me here have dried up and besides some short term work here and there and an internship, my last full time work was far too long ago.

Its painful to say that I've struggled to understand why this has happened.  I've wondered (and still do) if its because I'm an American in a foreign country or if its just 'me'.  I've thought well maybe if I return to the states it would somehow magically become easier.  Well, probably not.  I'd still have the same issues no matter if I lived in Italy, England, Paris, China or the states....I'd need a job. 

I thought that music was my purpose and I did everything I was supposed to and studied it at school.  I'm the only child in my immediate family with a 4 year degree.  But, as always, the universe has had other ideas and completely threw any plans I had for my life out the window.

The resources out there to help people here in this type of situation are reserved obviously for U.K. citizens.  I'm not sure if it would have helped anyway.  When James was unemployed, he tried getting help only to be thrown into a huge sea of bureaucracy. 

I get discouraged when I hear reports of employers only hiring those that are already employed.  Networking seems to mean hiring people you know...your friends which frankly seems unfair.  Going back to school isn't an option when you have no income and loans would only make a person's financial situation worse (if you could get approved at all).  How are you supposed to improve your life when you aren't lacking motivation but the means to do it?  What's the point of even considering leaving the country to get a job when that too requires financial resources.  It isn't like packing up all your belongings and traveling to the next city.  I live in a foreign country.  Its complicated.

Something like this strips you raw and its hard to find hope some days.  I'm seriously stuck and not surprised that I've struggled off and on with major depression.  However, when things seem the worst and you feel you can't handle it anymore...the blessings come.  I'm having to completely rebuild my life from scratch which is a good thing.  I've discovered photography (I even opened a shop) and writing which is something I've never thought I'd ever get into EVER.  I'm considering writing a memoir about my last 10 years abroad that maybe might just inspire others.  In April, I will be completing my first marathon here in London.  I'm learning to embrace uncertainty and the loneliness is being replaced with a gratitude and a connection with other things like nature and every day beauty that I see.   

Looking at my life in perspective, my prayers HAVE been answered.  I already have a sense of purpose just not how I expected it right now.  I'm starting to actually LIVE and worry less.  I can't tell you how much I'd love a decent paycheck ....but it will come.  The universe/God hasn't forgotten me.  I just need a little faith in the unknown and faith in myself that I can deal with whatever comes. 

In the meantime, I'm grateful that James has been blessed with work at his dream job at the Houses of Parliament.  I'm grateful that I've never gone hungry or that my situation isn't worse than it could be.  (Boy could it be worse)  I'm grateful for these experiences and who its made me into.  I kind of like who I'm becoming.  I know that I have a lot to share with the world and day by day I'm getting stronger and finding my voice. 

I'm not going away anytime soon and I'm not going to give up.  I'm going to keep applying, keep working on the new things that have come my way and just take one day at a time.   

22.1.11

Gray Days








The skies are soooooo gray today.  In fact I would say if you could just pick one color to describe London 6 months out of the year....it would be GRAY.  It adds such a moodiness  and romance to London but you definitely have to know where to look for the beauty otherwise it can get depressing.  I'm not surprised Londoners seem so grumpy during winter. 

The pictures above are a new type of film I've never used before (Kodak Tri-X 400) and I think it captures the London Gray really well. Well to be honest only the top and bottom pics are London--the rest are from our trip to the countryside last month.  But obviously the rest of England would be gray 6 months of the year too and not just this little world I live in in London.

Off to the cinema soon....finally get to see the 'Kings Speech'.  I think it will be great especially for James to see as he also suffers from stuttering due to his dyslexia.  He had a really tough week with job rejections that he feels like are a result of the first impressions his speech can give.  Seeing what even the former King of England overcame with what seemed like huge obstacles may be just the medicine he needs.

Love to you

Christine
xoxoxo

21.1.11

Walk to the Post-Office










Had to go pick up a package so I ventured through Deptford this morning.  It never ceases to amaze me how quirky the shop fronts are.  For you fellow Americans...notice the 99p store?  Yes the Brits have their own version of the dollar store too.  Also...the other Windsor Castle (aka the Gals House) made me chuckle.  I wonder if the queen knows they are capitalizing off the name of her home.  I think she's probably a little busy helping plan a wedding for her grandson William this April to worry.

The shabbiness and the peeling paint kinda work along this high street.  Anything can be made into a little shop here with people working their best to make a few quid (bucks) for themselves each day to feel like a human being.   I admire that cause that's all I and everybody else is trying to do as well.

Happy Weekend.

Christine

18.1.11

Trees














 Its 2 am and above me I've got screaming parents telling a screaming child to lie down and below me I've got a chap who just started his chanting for his 5x a day prayers.  No surprise I can't seem to sleep and decided to just get up.  (Ah the joys of living in a flat)  I've lit some incense and fittingly the birds have decided to say hello now and add to the party whilst I try to waste some time on the computer.

At nighttime in London all you can hear outside most of the time is birds.  I know that they are there during the day cause like I've posted before on this blog during the volcano flight cancellations London was filled with nothing but the sound of birds.

Birds leads me to trees.  Like I said yesterday I've been REALLY drawn to trees recently.  I've started noticing how in the winter the shape of them turns into almost like an abstract painting.  I love the lines, the occasional dots...the complete unique-ness of each and everyone.

So...I took these yesterday on my photo walk in Greenwich.  I feel pretty lucky to have Greenwich Park in such a chaotic city like London that is so chock full of trees and 4 seasons to look at them differently every time.

Now if only these trees could just convince the birds to sing me a lullaby tonight?

17.1.11

London pots










Today has been a good day.  I got on with lots of little things that I needed to do and then just before the sun went down I decided to wander through Greenwich on a photo walk.  Chimney pots and Trees seem to draw my attention the most recently.  So here's my favorites of the pots and tomorrow...I shall post my favorites from the tree photos.  I love how the pots are each beautifully different and how they are so, so London.

Hope you are all well.


Christine
xoxoxo

14.1.11

My everyday











Pictures 1-4:       Diana Camera over Christmas
Pics 5-9:            Jan 10-14, 365 day project
10-12:              Central London this week

When I've tell people I live in London usually they only think of the glamorous side of living in this city.  Sure, that's a bonus always having fun things to do but frankly at the end of the day you still have to come home and take the garbage out and do the pile of dishes waiting for you.

Nothing exciting happening in my life at the moment.  Feeling kinda burnt out with the job search, bored a bit/ slightly melancholy with not having a 'sense of purpose' but I'm working on it.  The weather has been rainy, we've been training like crazy for the marathon, I signed up for a class pass at TriYoga in the city and I'm loving how the days are already starting to get lighter.  Winter in the U.K.  is so dark and I'm sooo looking forward to spring.

10.1.11

Lazy Weekend









Nothing seemed to go according to plans this weekend.  Our long training 13m run didn't happen cause of an injury from Sat, movie plans to see 'The Kings Speech' were gone when we got to our local picturehouse to find tickets for like the whole weekend practically were sold out.  Cleaning the house just didn't materialize either as energy levels just went out the window.  So, I caught up on sleep...wandered round Greenwich and Canary Wharf after errands, read, got out Breakfast at Tiffany's again, left the piles of dishes/laundry and just did practically nothing....all weekend.