Place

The problem with being harried and busy is that you can be harried and busy anywhere and everywhere, such that the whole “living in another country” thing fades into the background noise. That’s been the last week for me. I’ve been continuing the process of moving, which really has been a process and not a single event. Setting up new accounts, getting addresses changed on things, it’s one big pile of paperwork. (And somewhere in that big pile I’ve lost my receipt for the hotel I stayed in last month in Newcastle and my reimbursement from work is on the line. Sigh.) Yesterday was all about prepping the old flat for the moving (or “Removals” in Brit-speak) people coming on Wednesday to finalize the packing and moving process. (I really find the word “removals” disturbing, as it seems to imply to me taking things away from one place without putting them back someplace else–I want my stuff to end up being moved to a new location, not just removed from the old one!)

This morning I awoke at 5 am after all of about 3.5 hours of sleep, which was fitful at best. I’ve got further things to do before the move, and then of course the move is conveniently the day before I’m leaving for the US for my annual Outer Banks beach holiday and visit to MN. And there’s that small matter of the day job that is impossible to juggle well with moving, which is itself approximately a full-time activity. I’ve been so harried and frazzled lately that I keep thinking I should bring work to the beach, just because I might actually have time there to think about things more deeply, as opposed to just running screaming from one paperwork crisis to another, as I’ve been doing lately. The big picture, grand thinking thing has really been impossible in 2010, and 2010 is disappearing very quickly. It will be Christmas before you know it (eek!)

The good thing, on my end, is that my new flat is making me very happy. It being flush with modern conveniences, my time is no longer spent bemoaning the British propensity towards two tap sinks and refrigerators sans freezers. I’ve been quite happily cooking up a storm, both due to the ultra-modern kitchen facilities and the enormous Tesco within ten minutes’ walk. I’ve realized over the last few weeks that local opinions on grocery stores are as strong as they are on newspapers, and for some reason (that I don’t really understand) people really love to hate Tesco. I don’t even know where to begin with trying to understand that one. For me, it’s a large and well-stocked “superstore” as it says on the road sign, that happens to be the shop closest to my new digs. So for me, it’s working just fine and I don’t know what more to say about the politics of whether it is or is not PC to admit one shops at Tesco. This is where being foreign is fantastic, I plead ignorance!

When in the US, I’ll likely be “off the grid” for a while, as the beach house I’ve rented the last few years did not have internet access when last I was there (although one could sometimes sponge off the neighbors and pick up a signal at random). I’m sure I’ll be a very happy girl when I return from this trip, as I have the prospect of several months with no travelling lined up, the move will be done and I can continue with the business of settling into the new flat. Until then, I’m continuing to be harried and frazzled and in all likelihood rather sleepless.

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5 responses to “Place

  1. Can’t the hotel in Newcastle issue you a duplicate receipt? That might save hours of wrangling.

    That hating Tesco thing. Hm. Yes, curious. I suppose it’s because we like to imagine England in a bygone era, with small green-grocers, bakers, butchers, on the High Street, and we think that supermarkets have destroyed those businesses (rather than blaming ourselves as the disloyal customers).

    Personally, I always feel very manipulated in a supermarket. I know I buy what is on special offer, or what is displayed most prominently, and I resent that. I feel like I’m a sheep. Of course it’s up to me what to buy, and I don’t HAVE to go with the flow (I can hear you saying this), but one thing that annoys me is how hard it is to compare prices. Some of the produce is labelled by weight, some by package, some in lbs, some in kgs. It isn’t easy to work out whether something is a good deal or not.

  2. Hope you have a good, and restful, holiday.

    (When I tried to add this, WordPress told me “You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.” What are they? The thought police or something? I’m fully expecting to be told “eat more fresh fruit” when I try to post this again.)

  3. I can’t wait until you get back! I miss you dammit.

  4. Personally, I always feel very manipulated in a supermarket. I know I buy what is on special offer, or what is displayed most prominently, and I resent that. I feel like I’m a sheep. Of course it’s up to me what to buy, and I don’t HAVE to go with the flow (I can hear you saying this), but one thing that annoys me is how hard it is to compare prices. “
    ***

    Iota, you’d not only need a degree in psychology and/or a knowledge of how the human brain/mind works, but a strong will-power to resist/overcome those sub-conscious tendencies that are exploited by experts hired by the super-stores to make us buy certain foods. Definitely such knowledge and will-power is beyond the capacity of an average jane on the street.

  5. First off — I’d like to wish you a wonderful relaxing holiday in the outerbanks! Secondly, give up on hunting for that receipt. After many hundreds of hotel receipts lost, I’ve definitely learned the power of the duplicate receipt! Just call them up and whiz-bang you’ll have a duplicate in your email or fax within minutes! Best of luck in your travels!

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