Sunday, April 06, 2008

First week in England

The remainder of my first week here in England has been fantastic. To start things off, I had two job interviews on Thursday, both of which went wonderfully. I felt like I had done an acceptable job of impressing them, and when I spoke to my recruiter, he said they were quite happy with how the interviews had gone. The first company I interviewed with wanted to arrange for another interview on Tuesday with their development team manager. The 2nd company I interviewed with, Flirtomatic, made me an offer on the spot. I was rather torn, because it came down to a choice between what I felt would be a more fun working environment at Flirtomatic, and the higher salary at the other. After a bit of negotiation, which my recruiter did an excellent job of managing for me, I said I'd think on it over the weekend, and make a decision on Tuesday, after I'd been back for a 2nd interview at both places. On Friday afternoon, I had an interview with a 3rd company, however, after that interview, I realized that I had my heart quite set on the job at Flirtomatic, and there was really no sense in procrastinating any. After checking in with my dad to make sure I wasn't being too rash, I called them up and accepted the offer. I start my new job right away, on Monday.

While I was wandering around the neighbourhood on Friday, before the interview, I checked out some of the electronics stores along Tottenham Court Road, which seems to be the place for that sort of thing. I visited Yoyo Tech, which seems to be London's equivalent of NCIX, though with only one store, and they were able to hook me up with a power cable for my laptop's power adapter with the proper British mains plug, so I don't have to carry the adapter for the laptop any more. I expect I'll be seeing a lot more of the inside of that store over the coming months.

This weekend was quite nice and relaxing, which was good, because I discovered on Saturday that I was quite exhausted. All the pressure of trying to find work and accommodation, of adjusting to the timezone change, and of coping with the overall experience of moving to a new country finally caught up with me a bit, and left me feeling rather tired. Richard and Elizabeth showed me a bit of the surrounding countryside on Saturday. We drove up to a little town called Snape, in Suffolk, for lunch in a nice local pub after browsing the farmer's market at the Snape Maltings. While I was there, I picked up 3 bottles of beer from a local microbrewery, after trying the samples of them. Lunch in the pub was fantastic. I had the best fish & chips I think I've ever had, and Richard had what he says is the best lamb stew he's every had. Elizabeth had something with crab, though I'm not sure what the dish was called. I tried sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream for dessert, and quite liked it. I also had a pint of the local bitter with my lunch, which was tasty, but didn't help much with my sleepiness situation. I nearly fell asleep in the back of the van after that.

The next stop after Snape was Lavenham, which my sister also visited, with all it's tilted houses (photos to come eventually.) We spent an hour or two just wandering around the village, which was nice, though it was a bit chilly out. We came home after that, and after a bit of chatting in the living room, I decided to get an early night, which I certainly needed.

On Sunday morning, Rebecca came over for a visit. It was wonderful to see her, as I think we were both something like 8 years old last time we saw each other. We all had some wonderful apple cinnamon pancakes for breakfast, with real Canadian maple syrup on them, which was a nice touch of home. We relaxed around the house for most of the rest of the day, with Rebecca and I making one short trip out to Tesco to pick up some milk and bread, and we ran into her boyfriend Ian while we were there. This is particularly amusing because I've been here less than a week, while Richard has yet to meet Ian after, oh, let's just call it "a while", and leave it at that. It was a fun trip in her peppy little Fiesta ST, one of the many wonderful small cars here we just don't get in the North American market. Sunday dinner was a delicious lamb roast, which was local, with all local vegetables. There's so much food grown in the area that it seems like one can buy almost all ones produce locally.

I'm going to look at another room in a house for rent on Tuesday evening, after work. I decided that leaping into the only place I've looked at probably isn't a good idea, without at least checking out a couple other places that sound good. The one on Tuesday actually sounds a big better, as far as location, at least, though it will of course depend a lot on the roommates as well. Until I actually find a place, I'll be having to leave here at 8:15am in order to catch the 8:34 train into London. That should get me to the office around 9:45am, which will hopefully be acceptable until I find a place closer. The return trip is just as long, so that means a total of 3 hours each day commuting. As you can imagine, I'm eager to find a place as soon as I can, so I can cut that down to less than 45 minutes each way.

My commute on Wednesday will be a 'bit' early, unfortunately. Richard and Elizabeth have to be somewhere early on Wednesday morning, so I'm getting a ride to the station with their neighbour, who leaves to catch the train at 6:55am. If I go straight to work once I get into London, that will mean getting to work shortly before 8am. I certainly hope I don't need to do that terribly often.

I'm quite looking forward to my first day of work tomorrow. It's been a week since I've really done anything technical, so it'll be nice to start getting back into the swing of things.


Unknown said...

Flirtomatic, eh? After BDG, here you go for another non-frivolous business domain ;-) Congrats, man!

Unknown said...

That is so awesome that you can get so much local meat and produce! Did you take any photos of the farmers' market for me? :)