About Me

Living in the Caribbean is probably like living anywhere else, with the same ups and downs. But it does have its own vibe and flavour and gives me a unique perspective on most things. I'm often sarcastic, mostly funny, always looking for a new adventure. I have not boxed myself into any one category of life. I love a lot of things and dislike a lot more. I write about them all.

2010 Recap; 2011 - Bring it On!

It's pretty damn sad when you get excited over an email announcing the sale at Sainsbury's. lol. Sainsbury's? Really?

But then, what else am I supposed to get excited about? I ordered some new bling, was promised it would be delivered in one day. One day later, I am blingless. Bear with me then as I jump up and down over the prospect of ordering pasta and orange juice at half price.

So another day has come and gone and today I did zero studying. My mind was just not in it. I woke up late, feeling groggy after taking stronger medication last night, and I just never really got into the swing of things. My email to the course director is still to be penned because it is alarming that in essence I have not even been afforded a hiatus from school work between semesters. I have been given 2 weeks off from the commute, but not from work. Not a robot, people. I cannot tend to my health as I would like because I am doomed to study every waking hour? Really?

High heel porn - I miss these shoes.
And another year has come and is almost gone. I cannot remember all the highs and lows of 2010 but there were some points that are kinda hard to miss. Let's see, I planned and executed my awesome vacation to Italy, and no Italians were harmed in the making of said vacation. I was an ardent fitness maven once more. I really love the gym. Really miss the gym. What else? Oh, happy year - it was a World Cup year. No explanation needed! Helped with the planning and hosting of the long overdue high school reunion - reuniting the best and brightest and most beautiful girls on the planet after eons. I gained a new cute nephew and became a first time aunt. I loved my job, hated my job, did well at my job, quit my job, and moved to the other side of the world, away from my world, my life, my people!!!! Moved miles away, with no job, barely any disposable income for the lifestyle I am used to, and paid people to be inconvenienced daily via assignments, studying and odd people. In case you could not ascertain the last part - I became a Masters student. lol. And after only blogging about my career, I started this blog in May to blog about life outside of the office. It's a good thing seeing that I have no job at the moment. lol

The other bits, which I do not blog about, went through some upheaval but all things happen for a reason I say. Leaving trash in the past and moving forward with only shiny, bright optimism.

I don't make resolutions - to be a better person, to diet or any of that crap. I do just try to learn from my mistakes and move past them, and try to make the new year more memorable than the last. And to be happy. And to ensure that the people I love most are happy and healthy. That's it really. Hopefully I will fall in love with London all over again in 2011 because as it is now, between school and illness and winter, London and I are headed for divorce. A bitter bitter divorce. More free time in semester two and good health, should be the therapy we need to keep the love alive.

Health. Hmm...there's a concept. I am on cup #100 of lemon flu tea and now I also have some weird stomach bug that is really keeping me on the NHS watchlist, so it's fun times at Casa de Estudiante. Really hoping to be at least 85% to ring in 2011 but if not, I know that the next 365 days have a lot of promise because I will it to be so.

Happy New Year guys.

Early Morning Questionnaire

I would kill for one of these babies.
Amazon.com, here I come!
The Market Research gods may find all sorts of issues with my meme but it is MY meme, and I will do what I wanna do with it.

Time: 3.05 am
Health Check: Dismal - yellow London ambulance on speed dial; bag of drugs within easy reach
Reason up so late: Reliability and Validity of Measurement Scales - the joy of my life!
Mood: Annoyed - But rest assured, it is reliable annoyance and quite valid!
Greatest Desire: That a humidifier will magically appear in my room, loaded with Menthol
Stark Realisation: I really loathe studying and exams and I am not prepared. While I may get better with age, my relationship with coffee-filled nights and textbooks continues to deteriorate
Craving: Caribbean sun and heat, and a roti, and some TLC
Most exciting chore of the day: Ordering something sparkly and more importantly, ON SALE, online. I caved!
Most excited for: Receiving said sparkly sale item in the post tomorrow. Gotta love one day delivery
What am I going to do now: Pack up the books and go to bed
But what about just before that...?: Oh, make a lovely cup of hot Lemsip
Greatest wish for the day: That I wake up feeling 100 times better.
Parting words: Would it be wrong if I steal some slices of ham to fill the gaping hole in my stomach before bed? Studying really builds up an appetite!

Mobile Phone Autobots

Breakfast of champions. It was foggy when I pulled the curtains back this morning and a bit chilly, but then in my present condition, I am constantly chilly. So I made myself a cup of hot chocolate and doused it with mini marshmallows. I have run out of bread, and forgot to ask my cousin to get me some yesterday because hell no, I am not gonna get it myself. I may just call him after his meeting and ask him to do his girl a favour.

Speaking of phone calls, I remember putting my mobile phone down one day and having a friend laugh at it because it had an antenna. I had never noticed it before - the antenna.

I had never really thought about the fact that my cell phone was a virtual dinosaur in the iPhone/Blackberry/Android lovin' world. I had always just regarded it for what it was - a phone: a connection between myself and people who may want to talk to me or text me. I barely use it because the most important people in my life can reach me via Skype and email, but it's always good to have it - in case you're stranded or locked out of the house. True stories! lol.

I used to be a really serious phone person. I remember when I got my very first cell phone, a Nokia, I would spend hours on it with my then-boyfriend. I mean, 3-4 hours just talking on the phone. Fast forward and people have phones but they don't really use them to make calls. This is where I guess, I am really un-hip and totally unprogressive. This is probably why I never noticed the antenna on my un-smart phone. People don't call anymore. Communication has gone from voice to text, BBMs and the like.

I am not as neanderthal as one may think. I am just a student, using a hand me down phone because I did not see the point of spending money on a new one when this one works just fine. In my previous life, as corporate superstar, I was part of the Blackberry tribe - with the world at my fingertips. But even then, I was not a texter, a BBMer, an emailer - except when sitting in waiting rooms, bored out of my mind. I was not the person taking photos all day of people and things around me, missing priceless interaction in the process. But I was the person who appreciated a phone call - an honest to goodness, ring ring, hello phonecall. I really really despise texting. The odd text to ask for a favour or something - sure (with a push), but carrying on an entire conversation using the keypad - annoying. The same went for BBM-ing. C'mon.

I am always challenged here by the hamsters on the trains, with their eyes glued to a smartphone screen, doing God knows what and not seeing the life around them. They're called smartphones but really, we don't look too smart using them - slaves to a tiny keypad. We look like robots unaware of each other. It's pretty sad. I think I will stick to my outdated antenna'ed phone, thanks.

And may I also add that life is fragile. Not trying to be dramatic or anything (okay, maybe I am cause I am a dramatic person...lol), but I was so sick last night that when I finally put myself to bed, I thought, God, will I open my eyes in the morning? lol. Seriously though - we take so much for granted sometimes. Think about it.

I have a full day of studying ahead, so turning both my laptop and my prehistoric phone off. Wish me and my sinuses good luck!

Heels? Flip Flops? Try...Life in Fluffy Socks and Fluffy Slippers!

The hottest feet in London these days...
I am so unsexy right now. Trudging around the house in sweats and layers of clothing, despite the heater being on because guess who's back? Fiery Fever! Woot woot! What a way to roll out of 2010, eh? And fluffy socks are part of any sick diva's armoury - I have them in pink, purple, black with sparklies, yellow. But who can match when you just want to lie in bed under the blankie all day?

But who can lie under the blankie all day when one has to read what has the most boring load of roasting hot turd ever conceptualised by idle homosapiens? Oh my God. Who cares about questionnaires and multivariate methods and sampling? It is so tedious. I think it is exacerbating my illness quite frankly!!!

I am not getting better it seems. I felt better yesterday but woke up this morning and  today I felt 100 times worse and I am now contemplating going to a GP but I am too scared to leave the house and go out into the cold. lol.

Looking forward to this...


Home, sweet home
You know I went to Tesco and saw Carib beer priced at £1.62 - and after doing the math quickly in my head, yuh know I left that right there, especially since the exported Carib is watered down for foreign palates and tastes like mess. But boy, was it a joy to behold nonetheless. Now if I saw me some Crix...well, that is another matter altogether!

Boxing Day - On the Mend

Boxing Day lunch - awesome!
Cooking always cheers me up. I think that was why my trip to Tesco on Christmas Eve was so exhilirating cause I was going to cook something beyond a ready-meal or macaroni and cheese. I did everything I promised to do with Boxing Day lunch and despite having a fever, and sinus headaches, lunch, or should I say dinner was a sucess. It was a very Trini smelling kitchen with a yummy ham, roasted pork loin with apple sauce, baked baby potatoes, mixed rice, pastelles, salad with garlic and herb dressing and I had a glass of mulled wine since I was too lazy and too feverish to steep my sorrel.

Been battling a fever for a couple days now but slowing on the mend. Just spent a few hours with the cousin, having cocktails and reminiscing. The truth is, I am not in the mood to sit in my room with textbooks. I am an holiday animal and try as I might, studying over the Yuletide season is impossible. I am not sure whose bright idea it was to put exams right after New Year's but it was a bad idea. BAD IDEA!!! I may surely fail these exams but God...this studying thing is a mess.

Next up is New Year's Eve. Still not quite sure what I will be up to but it better be fun! I usually alternate - with one year being quiet, at home with the family and another - out and about with friends. I did home with the family last year and seeing that I have no family here, save my cousin, who will be babysitting anyway, it's clearly going to be an out and about type of evening, isn't it?

Well, we will see how that goes.

I am really looking forward to having the house to myself tomorrow and running myself a hot bath to soak in, maybe with a textbook, but a bath nonetheless, maybe with a glass of a yummy liquid from a grape. I got a beautiful spa box set from a friend for Christmas with awesome smelly bath stuff and scrubbies, so yaaaay me. I am really appreciative of her sweet gift cause 1) I never get gifts, so this was very special and 2)  I am excited because I came over with my Bath and Body Works stuff and of course stocks are running low and it's nice to smell different too. I was getting bored of smelling myself. lol.

It's the littlest things that make me happy.

Ghost of Christmas Past


The creche at Southwark Cathedral
Christmas has come and gone. Something else which was almost gone, has come back. My cold, which was in remission, seems to be back with a vengeance this morning. I mostly sat indoors the past week, with the electric heater whirring so going out yesterday into sub-zero temperatures, and then sitting in Southwark Cathedral for 90 mins and more - a church that was deathly cold - well, I did not sleep very well at all last night. I had the shakes, a fever and my sinuses were out of control. It was horrible. I took a couple cold pills - in the drowsy formula - so you can imagine how I felt when I finally opened my eyes at 11am. Like someone rolled me down a hill and then stomped on me. Good times!

The day itself was alright. The choral service at Southwark was just lovely, albeit freezing. I was bundled up in my jacket, scarf, hat etc, but the message was timely.

Spent the rest of the day with my cousin's family. I don't want to comment too much on it but needless to say I missed my family back home. I managed to have a brief, halting video call with them all as they sat at my brother's house for Christmas dinner - my mum, my brother, my aunt and cousins. A rollickin' happy bunch. So different to the vibe at lunch here. The kids had a bumper Christmas though - so many gifts. When I was a kid, I was happy to get one present from my parents. They had bags and bags of presents, including a ticket to go one of the X-Factor tour shows. Lucky buggers. I also called my dad who was not feeling well and thus stayed behind - with the ham. lol. I know my dad too well.

I had told my cousin I would cook today but he insisted on doing it. Dude really thinks he is the world's best chef. He cannot say I have not offered to help, but needless to say, nothing on the menu looks appealling and I will have to cook for myself. Trying to think of doing it in a way that is not offensive but I have not had a really good Christmas type meal yet,  and after all my shopping on Christmas Eve, that meal will indeed happen!! Today!

Hope everyone had a great day yesterday. I may check out the sales online in a minute, after morning coffee. I should also check out my textbooks. lol.

Merry Christmas!!!

My personalised Christmas card this year.
One of them anyway...
Well, it's almost here and thus almost over. I am sitting here wrestling with the decision on whether I should actually get on a bus and try this Christmas shopping thing again after Wednesday's disaster. I am never usually a fan of Christmas Eve shopping - all the people, the crowds. But especially since I live with someone whose idea of Christmas is a pot of pelau - a pot of pelau that is usually not very good I might add - I really am inclined to finish Christmas food shopping at least. Even though we will probably not spend the day at home and thus I will be served a proper Christmas meal, Boxing Day will not see me eating pelau either. It is also a brilliant day today - as brilliant as it can get here. It is not grey, not snowing, I see something that looks vaguely like the sun, so I am going to go out in it, if even for a little while.

I will be going to church tomorrow though. I have not gone to church in years but with the options rather limited here for Christmas enjoyment, I have decided to go worship, listen to carols and hope that God forgives me for being such a brat. It puts a whole new spin on the day though - it means I cannot sleep in late, it means my planned outfit may need a bit of revising, but it means I will be around others and hopefully feel Christmassy. Ha. Long shot.

I am glad though that the snow did not delay my Christmas cards to my parents. My cute and specially selected cards got to the recipients yesterday, so yaaay. Sure they are just cards, but they were sent with lots of love, and I know they will be appreciated and at least they will have me near the top of mind and not forget about me. lol.

I have also been doing my Santa duties with my neighbours out shopping and dropping hot cash in a mall somewhere, while I sit at home - and being the only available resident in my part of the street, all the bigger deliveries are being nicely left with me for them to collect. Oh joy. I have been spying on where they have been shopping - Body Shop, Amazon, nothing totally exciting.

Not sure about the Boxing Day sales here either. I love a sale but being a student does not make sales as sexy as they should be. Additionally, the wonderful tube workers have planned their millionth strike of 2010 for that day so transport will be a nightmare - between the 1million+ women trying to get to Harrod's and Westfield, and the 2million+ men trying to get to the Boxing Day football matches, I am not sure I want to be part of the public transport hamster mash. I will lust from a distance, with the click of my mouse...hopefully.

Sadly I have also finished off the top tray of the chocolate marshmallows. They are just so good I could not resist. I am less inclined to get another carton today but at the rate I am going, I may need it.
Really gonna try and get some work done today but I have failed all week. I am thinking of voicing my concerns about the timing of these exams so this tragedy does not befall next year's cohort. I mean, trying to study over the holidays? Really? It's not easy. I have done zero. It's crunch time now.

In any event, Merry Christmas to the 2.5 readers out there and hope you have a great Christmas Day with your families.

Christmas - Just not meant to be

Chocolate, whipped marshmallowy bliss.
Coming to a couch near you!
This morning I woke up and decided to end my self-imposed exile from the world and go out into town to do some "shopping". Note the quotation marks. This is not shopping as I am used to. This is student shopping - bargain shopping, window shopping, lust shopping. So anyway, I pull on my trusty winter gear, loaded up my MP3 player with Christmas songs to keep me smiling and to hopefully get me into some kinda spirit, and stepped out into the Tundra that is London and hopped on a red bus to the mall.

It was not as nauseating as I thought it would be. Trinis really do it much worse, but then it is still a few days away, right? Right? It's Saturday, right?

I did the essentials first - needed some tights to finish off the Christmas Day outfit, needed some batteries, some juice. One thing I really needed and try as I might I could not locate them - chocolate covered marshmallows. It is not Christmas without marshmallows and I went into Thornton's, Sainsbury's, TK Maxx, BHS - to no avail.

Heaven!!!
It looked bleak and the depression deepened. Then I went into good ole Poundland and there, on the bargain shelves of my bargain store, were boxes and boxes of Cadbury Chocolate Mallows. I pounced on a carton and shoved it into my basket with the gleam of victory in my eye. The world was right again. I also got some mini marshmallows for Christmas Eve hot chocolate, when I will hopefully be watching Love Actually while sitting in fluffy socks on the couch.

But the day went downhill after the small marshmallow triumph. I am not sure whether it was the anxiety from not being able to buy this awesome red, white and black sweater dress (just made for a Trini!!!), the lack of the financial catalyst to walk around in the mall, the throng of people or the obvious, a missed meal - but I started to feel rather ill, the familiar faint feeling I get ever so often when I do not eat breakfast and then prolong lunch, and compound both by shopping. lol. But with my body giving me the tell-tale signs that trouble was around the corner, I decided after cashing out at Sainsbury's that I would have to get the cousin's present another day, and I headed to McDonald's to get a soda and fries to hold me over til I got home.

Needless to say, there are more strollers per square kilometre in London than there are pubs and as I walked in Mickey D's, I was assaulted by dozens of bawling babies and strollers in front of the counter. I was feeling okay so the kids were not annoying me yet but in no time at all, my blood sugar went from A to Z and everyone was annoying me and my hands were clammy, I was getting the shakes, and my head was spinning. The girl who FINALLY got to me (the world's slowest cashier ever) took zonks to fill my order. I watched, as though in slow motion, as she filled my cup with the Sprite I desperately needed to prevent an embarassing fainting episode in the middle of frickin' London. I almost did not believe it was me when I heard the voice say "Excuse me, princess. Would you speed it up, please...seriously!" I was feeling the life draining out of me and I just needed sugar. This girl was taking her frickin time to scoop some ice, to bag some fries. By the time she put the Sprite down before me, I did not even want the straw. I just grabbed it, threw off the lid and devoured the sugary mess because I was literally 10 seconds away from fainting.

And that was the end of all shopping today. I sat eating greasy fries and drinking nasty soda trying to undo the damage done by poor eating over the past few days, and the subsequent low blood sugar. But I am still glad I got out the house for a few hours. Going to have some lunch, though it is probably closer to dinner and then a choccie marshmallow and maybe a glass of something squeezed out from a grape. Then a nap, and hopefully, some studying. Santa has done me no favours as usual, so a night with the books is in order.

When exactly is Christmas??

Photo courtesy Caribbean Pot.
My camera's battery needs recharging
I had resolved not to blog when I don't feel chipper and for the past few days I have not been. I spent each day in bed, feeling horrible, sleeping a lot and just not embracing the world, except via online streaming and Sky. Not much has changed today, but I have exams looming and so I need to open the books and get into a productive, non-moping frame of mind.

I did manage to use the few days to catch up on emails, Grey's Anatomy (the best show ever!!), Desperate Housewives, Bridget Jones (both movies, but nothing beats the first. She is so me it is scary!) and cooking. I had been wanting a meal of curried chicken since my birthday and so with the supplies I picked up in Sainsbury's on Friday (smart girl to pick up stuff after class on Friday, so I do not have to leave the house until after Christmas), I turned a pot yesterday, making the house all warm and spicy smelling. It was a highlight.

I also tried finding a centre at which I could volunteer and kill the "sad" bug but seems London is not only filled with lonely people, but filled with lonely people with the same idea and the woman told me that they did not need any more volunteers. Imagine that. So that leaves the books. Oh joy. lol.

My mother has started the holiday madness at home, and when I spoke to her via Skype on Sunday, she was covered in paint from the house painting and flower pot painting. She is a trip, lemme tell ya. It is a very Trini phenomenon - this topsy-turvying of the house for Christmas. It is part of what makes it so special for so many people. It's a renewal of sorts and a sadistic way of families bonding. lol. Honestly, I do not miss that part. I hate housework. But I do miss the cooking and the baking and the Christmas parties and dinners and seeing friends and family. Nothing is happening here. I had brought pastelles with me, and dried sorrel, so I can have a taste of home that way. If I feel like it, I may bake a cake, but I don't feel like it actually. Not sure what I am doing on the day. I am not even sure what day it is (checking calendar in head...too much effort, so stop). I have zero spirit. Zero.

But I do have curry and clean laundry after a very productive Monday so that is a blessing. I also have Inception, which is also a great thing and I will save that for a free moment. Until then, wish me luck with the textbooks. God knows I will need it.

London Under Snow, Again

Image courtesy Getty Images via Times LIVE
So it's snowing again, and again, London has been paralysed. This time though, it can snow all bleedin' day as far as I am concerned cause I have no school, no nothing, so I have no reason to go outside. I just snuggled up with a glass of white wine, which should send me straight to dreamland in a few minutes, and I am officially in hibernation for the next two weeks. The weather has created problems for friends trying to make their way home for the holidays though and for this, I am sorry. For me, that was never an issue, cause as the world knows, I am not able to go home, and the depression is very real, but I promise not to dwell on it. I am thinking of  volunteering at a centre over the holidays to remind myself that life is pretty damn awesome.
School is closed for the next couple weeks but we have 2 exams as soon as the break is over so I have stuff to keep me busy and to keep my mind occupied. Not the things I would have anticipated but hey...

I have not been bitten by Rudolph, or elves or whoever or whatever is supposed to bite a person to get them feeling all Christmassy. Between school and this nasty, persistent flu, Christmas has, until now, been the furthest thing from my mind. Now with the snow, I am loathe to change out of my comfy, warm pyjamas to attempt going out into London to do anything. But I have noticed the neighbours putting up trees and strings of lights and Santa hats. One neighbour has a sign up that says

WELCOME SANTA! WE BELIEVE!

I really hope Santa does not disappoint them. He has disappointed me on many a Christmas so my sign should read:

SANTA! BEWARE!

I am not sure how people even contemplate having a social life in these conditions. I am unwilling to even go walk the few hundred metres to the jerk chicken shop to get some jerk pork, far less, stand at a bus stop or train platform to go into London for a good time (been really craving the jerk pork though...I wonder if they deliver?). I am making my good time at home tonight, though if my cousin has his way, we will be at another Caribbean party not too far from here. I guess it all depends on how soon I start going stir crazy in here. I am busily searching for sites where I can watch movies online since Sky really is shit. Looking outside every 5 minutes though, and seeing only white, sure does cure me of any wanderlust.

Awesome Trini weekend in London

Well, the birthday had the potential to be a real stinker. I was depressed most of the week, and frustrated with an assignment that try as I might, would not let me finish. I had also hoped for some specific plans which also, try as I might, just would not develop nicely. So come Thursday, I was in a horrid mood, crying and wanting my momma. But willpower is a great weapon against idleness, and with a wave of my mascara wand and a couple emails, life was good again.

Friday night, I finally met up with the other Trini students at my school and we headed to the Trinidad and Tobago High Commission in London for a Christmas reception. I love Trinis. Always looking out for the poor ready-meal dependent students. The food was very welcome. The Trini hospitality more so. The High Commissioner was very pleased to have us raid his larder of all the goodies they had prepared for us. For most people, it was the first real meal in weeks. I thought I was the only one eating meals out of a box but nope...noone cooks. Lots of books, but no cooks. Great Trini food, with great Trini friends. Perfect.

Then the birthday. I had a really nice day on Saturday, starting with a mimosa breakfast. I totally LOVE mimosas. I had mentioned it to my cousin earlier in the week and lo and behold, there were mimosas as I waddled downstairs for what was supposed to be a cheese sandwich type of breakfast. Gotta love the cousin. I then got dressed and put all the books aside, incomplete assignment and all, and headed into London to mail off some Christmas cards to the 'rents and the sibling unit and family, including the nephew and spend some proper me time in the city. I have not done a London day since my first week here. So with okay weather, I toddled into Soho to meet a gf for lunch. I felt like having either Trini food, Cuban food or Thai and we ended up having Thai because neither of the other two were available. I man-gaped for the entire time I was there as well. Always good gaping in Soho. There was also a pretty decent market near my train station  before I got to London Bridge, where I saw a nice portrait I may probably get the cousin for Christmas.

Though I did not have a lot of time because my cousin sent me a text demanding I return home to have birthday drinks, we still managed to grab a couple cocktails and do a sprint through National Gallery, which is undoubtedly one of my favourite places in this wonderful city. I had really wanted to see the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square but sadly, my fellow students had burnt it to the ground earlier in the week. Needless to say, images of Churchill's statue being defaced and a young girl swinging from the Union Jack were alarming to me and I am not even British. You can be angry and yes, they have a right to be angry but this is your national heritage you're defacing. But that's just me...

Anyway....

Yes, I dug right in to that bad boy! Yummers!
When I got home...the cuteness. My cousin's kids had gotten me a card, cookies and there was also the sexiest looking chocolate cake ever. Mojitos and more champagne and good friends. My dad had called first thing that morning, and my mum called later that evening, with the sibling unit sending an email from work. And the two words that are music to any student's ears on their birthday - wire transfer! lol

The evening was spent with Trini friends at a Caribbean, though more Trini than anything else, party in London, which went into the wee hours, meaning, 1) I had a fantastic time and 2) I had to take a night bus to get home and of course, as with all my late night bus adventures, I missed my stop. I was sober. I was awake. I still missed my stop. I blame not knowing the area, not having chance to check the little grid on the bus shelter to see just where my stop was in relation to the journey because I was pelting down the street at 5 in the morning to catch said bus, I blame the cackling women who overpowered "Erica*" and I did not hear said stop being announced.

* Erica - the name I have given to the female voice used by London public transport. I love her especially when she says "Welcome to the Southern service to Sandwich". lol. Oh, I have also disvovered some new towns with stupid names - Hook, and also Ham. Really???

Anyway, after maybe about, oh, 10 stops I realised I had indeed passed my stop, but it was not an issue cause I knew where the bus was going and I decided to chill out and then get off at the stop nearest to my house and get my regular night bus, the one I was supposed to get at the stop I missed. The point of all this waffling on is I had to sit in this cold bus and then on the cold corner waiting for said bus, in nothing but one coat over a not so warm and snuggly outfit (one built more for the hot temps of a nightclub than the cold streets of London) and now I have a post-birthday cold that just came out of nowhere. This morning I woke up with a sore throat. This evening, without warning, I have a full blown cold. Funny. But I was a happy and sexy icicle. I needed it. I really needed the weekend and needed the birthday to not suck. I was really having a horrific week and to top it off with a sad, desperate birthday would have killed my spirit. And no offence to the Brits and Europeans, but I really really really needed to be around Trinis. The homesickness at this time of year is insane so to hear the sing-song lilt from every mouth, and experience the vibes that only a Trini can create, and bask in the warmth. thoughtfulness and good nature of Trini friends - I was a happy bunny. Where there is life, there is hope. Where there is a Trini, there is the potential for fabulousity, folks. Never forget it!

In any event, I have taken some meds for this stinker of a cold, and I am going to take a nap so I can wake up a bit more cognisant of my environment, to start assignment #100. School closes for the holidays this week. I should be hopping and skipping but I have to study during those 2 weeks. But at least I can sleep in late every morning. Small blessings.

p.s. Can I just say as well, that Bank underground station is the f...g worst!? It sure beats back the one at Elephant and Castle. My goodness. But Vauxhall is another stinker. I should do an entire entry on the underground stations. Waterloo and London Bridge are among the better ones, along with Westminster. But that's another entry isn't it? Mind the Gap, peeps.

Cheers! To Me!


December 11, 2010. Another year to be thankful for. Blessed.

My Favourite Christmas Movies

So my friends know that Christmas ranks right up there with Valentine's as one of the worst days of the year for me. lol. God...it used to be a lovely time for me. I loved Christmas. My mum would be up all hours of the night baking and I would get new pyjamas and new curtains for my room. One year she got me Smurf curtains - awesome. We would stay up late waiting for Daddy who would do his traditional Christmas Eve parangin' (visiting friends and loading up on free drinks and eats) with his friends. Christmas morning we would open our presents - my brother and I - and we would have breakfast and then head over to my grandmother's house. The 11 million cousins and aunts and uncles would all be there and us kids would show off our presents and eat cake and the adults would drink rum and whiskey and give us sips of this warm goodness (my mum, not my dad...I think he is in denial that I even drink even at my age...lol).

Then the cousins moved to the US. The Christmas Day celebrations got smaller. My grandmother got sick. It was no longer fun for me. It was depressing. I have never recovered from this loss. I think saying I hate Christmas is a bit much, because I do enjoy what the season means in terms of family and loved ones, but the other crap I can do without. The aimless and nonsensical spending. The lovebirds canoodling in public. The screaming kids in the town centres. Oh God...the screaming kids. The housework. My mother is anal with the housework. Needless to say I have dodged that bullet this year. I doubt my cousin is going to be changing curtains. I may probably bake here, and I have brought my pastelles in advance but I can honestly say I will miss being home for Christmas, just for the family factor. It's my nephew's first Christmas and my cousin will be home and my mum will miss me and vice versa. Yeah, I will be spending my first Christmas ever away from my family. Not to mention, it will be my first Christmas ever studying. WTF! In any event, one thing I do love about the dratted holiday are the movies and these are the movies I always always watch every year while downing the Bailey's and the Hennessy.

1. The Ultimate. Christmas is not Christmas without this one. I love Hugh Grant and his floppy haired sexiness. I love Bill Nighy. I love Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, but not Keira Knightley. I don't like her. I love the entire cast (except Keira Knightley). I love this movie (but not Keira Knightley...as good as she was in Pride and Prejudice as well, she really spoiled the whole thing for me). Love, Actually is a classic by now. Ahh yes, is there anyone out there who does not love Love, Actually? Give me some wine, some chocolates and a Kleenex and I am good to go.




2.My hero. Grinch has some stiff competition here. Watch out buddy. I am on your heels.




3.My other hero.  I never miss the first half hour. The f@!* stick scene and the I am Not Gay scene - classic. Classic. Billy Bob, I salute you. He's like the dirty old man living alone on the corner, isn't he? Frightful but delightful!




4. Cuddly soft and cute enough to save himself from the pot. Trinis love a good bowl of deer. Rudolph, I love you and your red nose. So you're safe my friend.



5. And though it is not a Christmas movie per se, it opened every Christmas Day for 3 years and on the last year I actually left the house, much to my mother's horror that I would dare leave the house on CHRISTMAS DAY, to go sit in a cinema to see it as soon as it opened. She was not impressed. But I was. It was great. One of my favourite movie trilogies ever.


Once my movies are on, I will be okay. I think.

I could not resist...

G on my Chest - The Garlic Master

What a difference a few days can make to the world, to my emotional health and sanity.

Thursday morning.


Dismal backyard view - what's that white stuff?


This morning.
Almost bbq weather in London today!

It's amazing. I almost did not recognise the place. And there was this strange yet familiar looking yellow orb in the sky all day. Fantastic. Pity I could not go outside and enjoy it. I swear, by the time I am done with this Masters degree, I will loathe every brand known to man. God...these assignments are insane. I got 2 hours sleep last night, woke up this morning, took a shower, had some breakfast while realising Muse was on one of the music channels all day (I love Muse) and then came back up to this f#@!y. lol. I am such a sucker for progress.

But I also made another disturbing discovery.

It finally hit me - the reason I am single.



Yes. I love garlic. If you asked me to give up chocolate for a week, I could do it. Wine, in this weather, it would be a challenge but on a normal day, yes, I could give it up. Garlic? It would be near impossible. I was sorting out my groceries and realised I am a garlic master.



I got garlic bread, soft cheese with garlic, garlic and onion pasta sauce, a new bottle of garlic seasoning, and of course fresh garlic. Let's not forget my new favourite snack, Boursin garlic and herb cheese. It goes great with sauv blanc and Ritz crackers. Really good.



It's not the most romantic fetish, I admit but it has health benefits and with just a bit of garlic you can avoid using loads of salt and fat in your cooking. My cousin attempted to cook a curry one day without garlic and I was beyond alarmed. I mean, the mainstay of a good chunkay* is frickin' garlic. I keep telling this dude he has been living in this country for way too long.

It's also part of the reason he is now moaning and groaning as men are inclined to do when sick. He's got a cold, not pneumonia but you would never believe it the way he is carrying on. But while I make fun of my Sainsbury's pasta drawer, I also try to eat well, with a fresh soup, a fresh salad or legumes or high protein and fresh juices. So it's the tropical cousin - who is "enjoying" her first winter ever, who wakes up at 5am to brave the British breeze at the bus stop to get to class, who sleeps 4 hours or less on many a night, completing inane assignments - who is fully alert, healthy and perky. And it's the British by proxy cousin, who has been here for 20 years, who is battling the winter germs. Maybe if he ate some garlic-infused fresh meals, a  fresh salad ever so often, instead of Tesco's cole slaw and a pasty for dinner, then he would be as super as I am.

By the way, I was walking through the mall one day and was ravenous and got myself a Gregg's cheese and onion pasty, which to my non-Brit friends is like a cheese pastry. It was without a doubt, the nastiest thing I had ever sunk my teeth into in my life. After suffering through 2 bites of this thing I had to throw it in the bin - waste of my  £1. I think it was the cheese. I am used to NZ cheddar in my cheese pies and I am not sure what this was, but it was not a fun experience. It was oozing and white and ugh.

Maybe next time I will pay tribute to cheese, something else I don't think I could live without - unless it's in a cheese and onion pasty.

p.s. However, the cheese and onion twists at M&S and Tesco - awesome!!!
-----

*chunkay - (the process of adding heated oil infused with cooked garlic; process of frying aromatics and spices in oil - a process especially associated with preparing curry in Trinidad and Tobago)

The Great London Thaw

Well, first let me show off my award. I love awards.



Thank you, Facing50WithHumour. I enjoy reading your blog because it is hilarious, real and full of fun. I need that every day. As for bestowing the award, that's always a bit harder because mostly my non-blogging friends read this blog and not too many other bloggers. :-( But if I can give it back to you, in thanks for being a regular, and one I adore, then I will.

Secondly, today was, surprisingly...



...despite the closure of the District Line, which meant I had to take a series of buses and trains instead to get to Dagenham. But I got there without any major disruption which takes me to my next point.

Thirdly, I now have clipped ends and spunk back in my locks. Money well spent from the unemployed student's coffers. Another week could not have gone by with my hair in such a state. My motto in life is, you may be poor, but you can still be fabulous, and hell...hell, if I was going to look like some heathen in December of all months. If I have to eat Sainsbury's crackers for the rest of the month to make up for it, I will but I don't have to be nervous if the wind blows my hat off anymore. Yaaay.

But...as soon as I walked out of the salon, it began raining. Really, England? Really???

Getting back to my part of London, I went to Sainsbury's, got a heap of vegetables, some pasta for the pasta drawer (of course!), some garlic bread, some apple doughnuts (for the sweet tooth), some pork chops (for my inner Nigella), some chicken breasts and a bottle of wine (for my inner lush), and yet I came home and felt an intense craving for corned beef. Corned beef. Something I rarely eat but when I crave it, I enjoy it immensely. Luckily, my cousin always buys stuff, never uses any of it, and I am the expiration date stalker. And there was a tin of far from expiration date corned beef in the cupboard, and I added some onions, corn, tomatoes and sweet peppers to it and put some garlic bread in the oven to get warm, golden brown and crispy. Queen Elizabeth never had a better lunch/dinner!!!

There were a lot of *drip drip* sounds across London as the snow and ice melted and a lot of *thud thud* as cakes of ice fell off windscreens and windowsills. God answered my prayer and gave me excellent Saturday weather and I shudder just typing that because this is by no means excellent by tropical standards, but trains were running, buses were not skating off the roads, and salons were open, so yes...it was EXCELLENT weather today. So next up, Friday and Saturday climate excellence. I will not be greedy and ask for the entire week but I have places to be on both days and I would appreciate if it were not snowing or raining. I never thought I would say this but I can tolerate the cold. I cannot tolerate, however, precipitation of any kind so please...

And in winter fashion updates, female hamsters really amaze me. Here it is, I am dying to get me a pair of sexy high heeled boots but with my rational mind I know these would not work for long walks on the icy pavements, not to mention walking in London in general. I have felt my boot on the edge of many a skid in the past week, witnessed many a fall yesterday, including one gentleman who just sat on the ice and started laughing hysterically - and all in flat, practical snow boots. Why on earth then are the female hamsters in boots that look like these?



I am really beginning to question the character of some of these women. I love looking good but at the expense of my limbs? At the expense of my safety? At the expense of my pride? I say a silent prayer with every foot fall on the ice on my walk home and pray to God I don't go flying down the pavement with a thud. Yet these hamsters are clippity clipping  and treading carefully in non-skid-proof platform and stiletto-heeled boots and shoes. I am really concerned. But then maybe they are more skilled in navigating the ice than I am.

Maybe. I pray that none of them fall in my presence because I am not sure I would be able to stifle the laughter.

Finally, I really hate the garbage bag jackets. You know...the shiny jackets that look like an inflated garbage bag. And worse, they're quilted. The ones like these...



The really scary part is when larger women wear them. I am not a matchstick myself and I will NEVER wear a jacket like this. But ladies, in general, this jacket should be worn in maybe a brown or white, but not garbage bag black or blue, and certainly, if you're over a certain size, you really should avoid these jackets because then you look a bit like...well...like this.


The Michelin Man

I am seeing more and more of this jacket around London and I am not sure if they are trendy, expensive or just on sale, but God...please let the madness stop.

Amazons - fierce women. Amazon.com - fierce shopping.

Every year I would make my birthday wish list, send it to my friends and I did not expect anything really, but it was always great fun cause they always liked getting my crazy email with my wish list. It was actually my friend, Lyndon who one year actually got me something off my wish list, and my mum as well. I then stopped doing wish lists and started travelling for my birthday and just loved getting emails and texts from my friends and family. I am really easy to please.

But I have done a wish list, (to your left) which was really born out of the fact that I realistically cannot shop as I am used to and this list is a hybrid of my lust list and my necessity list. You will be able to spot the differences - which is lust and which is a necessity. lol. You will also see missing from this wish list the one thing I really want, but Amazon has not partnered with British Airways for some odd reason. The horror!!! I have kept prices at a minimum in the off chance someone actually gets me something but really...give me my moment to cyber shop and satisfy my cravings.

Also, working from home is a real challenge. I idle when I am home. I got nothing done all day - except for the wine and the chocolate fingers. Yet I am still hoping it snows hell hard tonight and tomorrow, so I don't feel any residual guilt about taking another day off and saving myself from going out into that white madness. I am too tropical and hot blooded for my own good!

And I empathise with the Brits on losing out to Russia. It would have been a spectacular tournament no doubt. But still, I got to look at Becks. That's your trophy right there, England. Russia ain't got nothin' like that!!!

Photo credit: BBC Online
David Beckham in a last ditch effort to bring the World Cup home. Pity.

London Paralysed Again


Photo courtesy BBC -
Rail line between London and Brighton under snow.
I had decided yesterday after freezing my booty off on the platform waiting for my train, that the 9am class today was not worth the trouble and though I don't like missing the 1pm class, I was not going all that way, and through all the trouble of readjusting my journey plans to get a train that actually is running for one class either. Thus I had written off Thursday December 2, 2010 as a home-day. So when I saw the email from school that campus was closed, I felt vindicated. I was also a tad bit alarmed because what if I had decided to put the "S" on my chest and to actually go today? The email came at 7.44am by which time I would have been out in the Tundra already, maybe on my way to campus. I would have been so pissed. But intuition won and the school was spared a torching and I am a bright YELLOW today. The public transportation system has been under serious pressure and God, I can only imagine the chaos today.

It's really cold outside though and I envy noone out there today. I am working on assignments today, though I am more inclined to get back under my blanket and sleep. It's really a challenge to study and be productive when the view from the front door looks like this...



The view from my window is pretty cool, but snow is only beautiful when you're not outside in it.

My main concern now is not the snow and the hundreds and thousands of people stranded somewhere out there, but will this damn snow mess with my salon appointment on Saturday? That's the real crisis! I hope the weather gets better. Dear God, I just want 8 days of okay weather starting on Saturday, so I can get my hair done, get my birthday on and just be a happy bunny. Is that too much to ask? I think it might be, so let's just work on Saturday morning and I can be content with that. I have a great week ahead and great week and great mood has to start with great hair...even if it is under a hat all day.

I am happy I am home to watch the World Cup bid announcement live as well. I am rooting for the Brits on this one. I wonder if all the people out there at the stations are even thinking about it. So sad.

Winter Fashion Update


So I have created a public transport mood chart since I do not want to harp on the crappy London transportation every day since it is clearly going to be an issue for the rest of the winter. Today had the potential to be a RED alert but I took the bus this evening and it was the first time in living history that I enjoyed the bus ride from the train station to home. I had a seat at the back, near the engine so I was toasty, and I had an Evening Standard with Becks all over it, looking as sexy as ever (he is getting better with age I tell ya). Bliss. So after the horrible morning, where I waited almost an hour for my first train following cancellation after cancellation, and where the day at that point was hot red, it ended on a more subdued orange. The other colours are red, as previously discussed; blue for days when I am just either indifferent or just plain depressed, and yellow for the smurfy, happy days when they get it right. Something to aim for, London transport peeps. I imagine the people who had to sleep on the train to Kent or wherever it was last night, were a boiling red.

Anyway, I manage to surprise myself every time I face the stove. With the chill gripping my bones every evening after school, I decided to make myself another soup this morning before class. And after Sainsbury's not having my pre-cooked chicken breasts last evening, I was left with the task of making a veggie soup instead. I did find some scraps of ham and some mushrooms and I got some potatoes, onions, garlic, scallions, pumpkin, cauliflower, carrots and broccoli. What a wondrous concoction this was. I just had some with some crusty bread and it was pretty damn awesome. Add some orange juice and rum and it was a really warm experience.

And in winter fashion news, I am secretly stalking my neighbour's dog. Not having a dog of my own and missing having one, I listen out for him when he goes out into the backyard to chase foxes. He is a little thing, a Westie, but he is quite fierce in his own mind. Anyway, this weekend, in the deep chill, I saw my lover run out in the cutest little red coat and I actually found a spitting image of what he looked like.




Cute. I really love the doggie winter fashion. I love seeing the dogs in their coats and love that their owners love them enough to keep them nice and warm in this awful weather. And they are really stylin'. I mean, these dogs look better than some people!!



And it's not just the little dogs either. Brutus gets cold too.


It's so fun and sweet and can really put a smile on the face of someone stuck on a train platform for what seems like zonks.

And good luck to England tomorrow in Zurich. It's funny that the Brits are depending on a Trini (FIFA Vice President, Jack Warner - key to the 3 CONCACAF votes) to win their 2018 World Cup bid. Can I then demand perks tomorrow?

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