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So how is life in the UK, six months on? Well there have been many highs and lows, certain aspects of met my expectations, others have exceeded and others just baffle me.
I was very comfortable living in Canada, I had a decent job, loved where I lived and had many friends close by. I had a very good professional reputation and would regularly get cold-called by headhunters looking to bring me in. I received these calls not from employment agencies but from HR Departments in whichever company was looking to expand its workforce. So now in the UK I need to re-establish my professional reputation – I’m like a new borne babe in this respect, all any potential employer knows about me is that I am designated, have lots of experience but all in Canada. To say it has been frustrating to understate it.

I have to lower my expectations and start over in a sense. So I am perfectly willing to work as a Junior Accountant or General Accountant, as I am aware that I do need to start from somewhere. But it has been difficult. Because the UK is suffering economically there is a large number of applicants for any given role, so I need to compete with native Brits who are much more comfortable with work culture in the UK. I have received various excuses as to why I am not a successful candidate – I’m over qualified, I don’t have enough experience, I’m too negative, I’m not perky enough, I’m too perky, I’m too soft, I’m too hard. It’s been difficult trying to find that sweet spot between what I want and what an employer wants – leading to gainful employment.

Other than the career stagnation – which frustrates me to no end and sometimes brings me to tears – there have been some good points. I have seen my Ruthie a few times, visited Geeklawyer & Jess and their tiny Prince Silas. Have seen Cantrell several times as well. I have been exploring – this past weekend went to Winchester Cathedral and Hospital of St John’s Cross, a still functioning Medieval Almshouse just outside of Winchester.

Grocery stores baffle me somewhat. Yes, for those who enjoy alcohol consumption there is plenty to purchase from the store shelves. What baffles me is the amount of processed foods. There is so much to choose from if you are interested in crisps, rice cakes, puddings, jellies, biscuits, deep fried munchies, chocolates, candies, soups, bacon bits, onion bits etc. If you can’t be bothered to chop your own onions or choose your veggies to make a stew or casserole no problems – the grocery store has that sorted for you, just select what type of dish you want to make and it comes all pre-packaged, just unwrap and bung it in the oven.

I do like the fact that I do not have to go to a specialist butcher’s to get duck or goose, I can easily get this at the local ASDA (for those of you in Canada, it’s like a dirty Price Choppers). And there are food items you can get that you can’t get in Canada – goose fat in a jar, various types of pickled vegetables, spatchcock chicken, duck eggs, squash, jelly babies, pork scratching etc.

And I know the Brits complain about their trains, but the UK is miles ahead compared to Canada when it comes to Public Transportation. I can pop into London by train or go practically anywhere else by train. In December I had to travel to Derbyshire for business, but it was easily done via train. When I’ve had to take the train to Ottawa from Toronto we all had to line up before we were allowed onto the platform to get onto the train. Here you just go onto the platform and enter whichever carriage is closest to you when it pulls into the station – much more civilized and speeds up the boarding process, instead of having 200 people line up in single file trying to get onto a train. Buses here are crap though! I have yet to experience a single bus in Hampshire that is on time.

Despite my observations of the amount of processed food in grocery stores here, I am eating healthier. And that is because I can purchase a small amount of meat and veg for my dinner. In Canada most of the meat in grocery stores is packaged for families, which was difficult for me as a singleton as what was I going to do with the excess chicken thighs after cooking my dinner? Eat chicken for the next 3 days? So smaller packaging has offered me the opportunity to have a nearly different dinner each night .. huzzah!

I’m also watching less television than in Canada. The UK television channels are littered with way too much home improvement programmes, antiquing shows and game shows, all of which doesn’t thrill me too much. But there have been several programmes which I try not to miss and thank the stars for iPlayer if I do  such as Top Gear, Great British Menu, Masterchef Professionals, Great British Bake Off.

Sadly I have been exposed to too much WWE Wrestling by Munkie.