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London Day 1

Once again, I found myself drawn to the U.K. Maybe it was the terrific trip I had there six years ago, or maybe it was the fact that my travel buddy had never been abroad before, and an English-speaking country was a good initiation trip. Before you begin reading, let me apologize for the delay in posting my travel musings two months after the trip’s completion. I will say that the delay allowed me to write, edit, and rewrite these entries, and I’ll argue they are all the better for it. So as not to do an information dump, I’ll post these weekly. Enjoy!

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Our first day was beyond difficult. We both worked full days on Thursday, December 21 before dropping Teddy at the dog sitter’s, and heading to Dulles for our 9 pm flight to Heathrow. We were seated in the middle two seats of the four seats in the middle of the plane– we were in the sucker seats. I had previously ridden in the very tiny Lufthansa seats so I was used to the grueling challenge of endurance. But Kenny was not. Being the height of the beanstalk talked about in the children’s tale Jack and the Giant Beanstalk, Kenny didn’t get to sleep for any of the journey, and his knees were flattened by the time we landed seven hours later.

Exhausted but excited, we went to immigration at 9 am where we split up for our interviews. (We didn’t know that because we were traveling together, we should have gone for the same interview, thinking only that because we weren’t married, we should have separate interviews.) After a slap on the wrist and a roll of the eyes from a very irritated immigration officer, we got our bags and a taxi to our hotel.

I don’t know if I’ve ever had a more frazzled tourist moment than when our taxi driver asked “Where to?” in his thick Cockney accent. I could feel this Leave Voter staring at me as I searched in my phone for the hotel address. I was unfamiliar with the city’s quadrants when the driver asked me if the hotel was in “Southwest Victoria One.” Perhaps that’s why we ended up paying 70 pounds for that first cab ride– because I was too exhausted to pay attention to the route, and too scared at the 50 pound milestone to say something to the driver. It was highway robbery, or M4 robbery if you like, but I was just focused on getting to the hotel at that point.

We had been up for 24 hours by the time we reached The Windermere, and it was not welcome news to learn we would have to wait a few hours for the room to be ready. We dropped our bags with the front desk and wandered around the Pimlico neighborhood looking for breakfast. We collapsed in Le Pain Quotidien because it was familiar, and rested for a while. It came as a delight over brunch to discover that my work phone had cell service, so we could make emergency calls and navigate the city with Apple Maps and CityMapper. CityMapper told us that if we were insistent on taking a stand against cabs in London, we’d have to use the London Underground to make the 30 minute trek to Wembley Stadium for the Andre Rieu concert that evening. So we walked to Victoria Station to get Oyster cards.

When it was finally time to check in to the hotel at 1 pm, we crawled back to the hotel, and collapsed in our king bed for three hours. It would be the only three hours of sleep we would have in a day that lasted 36 hours.

At 4 pm, we woke up to get dressed and eat dinner in the hotel restaurant before attending a performance of Andre Rieu’s Johann Strauss Orchestra. This concert was the purpose for our whole trip. I’ve followed the Orchestra since I started playing their arrangement of The Emperor’s Waltz in my college orchestra. It was helpful timing that the Orchestra was playing in London at a time that Kenny and I could take off work.

The performance was terrific and we definitely enjoyed it. But nature dictated that we had to sleep. So we used the Underground to navigate back to Victoria station, then to the Windermere for some much-deserved sleep. All-in-all, a less-than-enthusiastic first day in London, but our exhaustion was tempered by our excitement of being in a foreign country.

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Chore Division in My Home

via Chore Division in My Home

Read the results: Tracking our chores for one week.

“Did ya nick it?”

The workplace, negotiating, and moving cities: all here on bibbyandthegretz.wordpress.com

Bibby and The Gretz

People move for different reasons, but with each move comes a chance to reinvent. Which is why I was so thrown off when, after starting my new job in a new city, my previous city followed me to my new one.

I don’t have the Boston accent I’m expected to have when I’m first introduced to people. That is for two reasons: 1.) I didn’t grow up in Boston proper and 2.) When I first meet people I am extremely out of my element. As an introvert, I would rather talk to a select few than meet new people each day. Sometimes nerves sneak up on my tongue and I end up speaking The Queen’s English, then have to back peddle that I am not, in fact, British.

I once watched a show called Miranda (which is British) and Miranda Hart says to her best gal pal: “You know when…

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What to do when you can’t negotiate?

Read The Gretz’s terrific reflections on negotiating with HR, or what to do if you are in a job where you can’t negotiate your salary.
And while you’re there, please follow “Bibby and The Gretz” bibbyandthegretz.wordpress.com, I greatly appreciate it!

Bibby and The Gretz

What if you’re in a job where negotiating your offer really isn’t an option? Obviously this can be the case if you’re working at a big retail chain or a grocery store, where their wages are apologetically low and they’re not interested in negotiations. But it can also be the case for other reasons.

I recently signed a contract with my current job through December 2018. While I love this job and the people I work with, and I truly believe that my not-for-profit educational institution generally has the best interests of its employees at heart, still: the person looking out for me is me.

The reason I couldn’t negotiate is one that many people deal with every year but which is not typically considered in workplace advice columns: due to my immigration status, I don’t have much leverage. I’ll save the story of how I found this job for…

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So You Want to Move to Canada…

My amazing friend has imparted her wisdom born of experience into this How To Guide Blog. For those of you considering moving to Canada, read here!

Source: So You Want to Move to Canada…

Navigating Washington, D.C.

Read here to follow my initial thoughts about navigating Washington, D.C.!

Bibby and The Gretz

us-capitol-landmarks-at-dusk (left to right) Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and Capitol Building

1.) Make the decision to move.

I first began my love affair with this city in the summer of 2015. I was interning here, and a lot was happening. Then Secretary of State Kerry came back from Geneva with a broken femur and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The U.S. opened its Embassy in Havana. Campaign season was not yet in full swing.

It was a good time to be in the city and begin to firm up my D.Sea. legs. I learned quickly that the area was not as House of Cards and Scandal had portrayed it to be for women; I was not as well dressed as Claire Underwood nor Olivia Pope and I had the sexual prowess of neither.

I was not completely directionless; I knew I liked to write and I liked international affairs…

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Simmons World Challenge: Day 4 Reflection

keep-calm-and-swap-clothes-11

Today was perhaps the most physically and mentally exhausting day of World Challenge thus far. My team and I worked ceaselessly from 10 to 5, breaking only to brainstorm over lunch. We did research, and really tried to think through every important detail of our Swap Meet from every angle. We were able to iron out a budget, potential stakeholders, and the communication strategy for our Swap Meet.

Praise creativity, don’t diminish it. Read about one team’s experiences with a big corporation, let’s just call them “Aramark” *wink wink*, and how our team is progressing on the idea of a sustainable swap meet. Enjoy!

http://simmonsworldchallenge.blogspot.com/2015/01/day-4-reflections.html

Simmons World Challenge: Day 2 Reflection

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Good Guide is a website which allows you to check the health, social, and environmental products you buy. Sustainability is not just about doing more with less, but being conscious of what we consume. 

Read more about my exploration with conscious consumption here: http://simmonsworldchallenge.blogspot.com/2015/01/day-2-reflections.html

Simmons World Challenge: Consumption Scan #2

GarbagePile

Garbage is definitely taboo. It’s gross and no one likes to think about where it goes after it hits our Hefty bags.

This is the second of three consumption scans I am doing for SWC. It encourages us to look at our waste and recycling, and determine what we can do better in the future. Also explored in this blog is the importance of recycling education, and mobilizing a new generation of global citizens.

The link to read this blog is: http://simmonsworldchallenge.blogspot.com/2015/01/consumption-scan-2-where-oh-where-does.html

Simmons World Challenge: A New Adventure

hands-on-world1As some of you may know, I am beginning a new journey ay Simmons College. Over the winter break, I will be participating in Simmons World Challenge, a program that can best be described as an exclusive opportunity for twenty students of the sophomore class (Class of 2017) to explore their world through a series of special lectures, field trips, and research opportunities.

This year’s World Challenge topic is sustainability as it relates to social justice. A lot of this program will require self-reflection, which will be done in a blog format.

I have attached the link to my blog designed especially for the Simmons World Challenge, so you can follow my growth and development on the subjects as I learn more about the topics (and myself!) in the next few months.

I will also post here, on my original blog, to update when I have posted in my World Challenge blog. Happy reading!

http://simmonsworldchallenge.blogspot.com/