A Travellerspoint blog

April 2010

The Safety Net Of Everywhere Else

How moving abroad once has impacted how I look at job hunting.

sunny 15 °C

As I wrote about a few blog entries back, January wasn’t the best month. Within the space of a couple weeks, I found out that I would neither have a place to live nor a place to work in short order.

Since that time, I’ve been a bit quiet in the blog on the job and house hunting front, so now I shall provide an update. I prioritized the job hunting, and have over the past couple months settled into that. Unlike my previous experience looking for work here in the UK, things were pretty active, and I was pursuing a number of opportunities.

The problem with opportunities, at least in my mind, is that they often become a reality - if you are lucky then by becoming something more concrete, but unfortunately more often winding up with a rejection letter. I’m always happy and excited when pursuing a new job, and will admit that getting that letter that says, “we had a number of qualified candidates, and have decided to go in another direction,” always bums me out.

I have, though, managed to remain pretty even keeled during this time. I noticed something interesting that was keeping my mood up. It was this little voice in the back of my head that kept saying, “worse comes to worst, there’s still all those other places...”


When I’ve been force to job hunt in the past, back when I was living in Canada and prior to moving to London, I always felt the pressure of finding something from the listings I could find for Toronto. “There’s only a finite number of jobs out there that I want,” I would think to myself. “I need to land one of these few options.”

This time around, though, I didn’t feel that same pressure. “If things don’t work out with one of these London opportunities,” I would tell myself, “I can always look somewhere else.”

In a sense, the rest of the world, including my homeland back in Canada, became a safety net for me.

Whether the rest of the world is actually a safety net is debatable, but that thought was there in the back of my mind, and that relieved a lot of pressure.

Before I moved here to London, the thought of starting a new job in a new city - in essence starting all over again - seemed too much to take on at once. It was too big a mountain to climb. Thinking about not getting a job in Toronto was too stressful, because it meant I would have to face that mountain.

Now, though, that I’ve moved to a new city, secured a new job and found new friends once, doing it again doesn’t seem that big a deal. I’d look at my options here in London, and if things didn’t work out, I’d look elsewhere. Looking for a job was no longer was about grabbing one of the limited set of opportunities where I was. Looking for a job is now about opening up to all the possibilities out there, where ever they may be. With a view like that, suddenly the world seemed a lot more fruitful of a place.


= = =

That being said, I won’t be travelling off to Dubai or Singapore or Panama City for a job. I have found one here in London, though like my previous jobs its as a consulting so I’ll likely shortly be back on the road and up in the air again. I start next Tuesday.

With the job sorted, it only took a week to sort out a new place to live as well. From my current North London base, I’m heading west to live squashed between the hip-rich of Notting Hill and Holland Park and the Aussie enclave of Shepherd’s Bush, straddling the line between the two. Yet another area of London to explore after I move in early in June.

So, with a new job and a new place to live, the fog of uncertainty is lifting and the future is clearer. While I have discovered that the world is my safety net, I’m looking forward to spending some more time setting up my life here in London.

Posted by GregW 03:10 Archived in England Tagged business_travel living_abroad migration_experiences Comments (1)

St. George and The City

The St. George's Day Pageant through the streets of London

sunny 15 °C

At some point back in the 3rd century in what is now modern day Libya, there was a well guarded by a dragon. The well being the only source of water for a nearby town, the villagers used to bring a goat round each morning to draw out the dragon, distracting him long enough to get water for the day. Then the village ran out of goats, so they started sacrificing virgins. The virgins were selected by a lottery drawing every morning.

One morning, the lottery drew the king’s daughter. The King tried to buy off the people with all his gold, but being in the desert the folks valued water more than gold. Luckily for the princess, a Christian warrior happened to be in the area. He slew the dragon, saved the princess and got all the locals to convert to Christianity.


The slayer was canonized in 494 by Pope Gelasius I, and afterward was known as St. George.

Most modern historians don’t believe that the dragon slaying story is real, the reason most strongly given being that dragons are fictional, however most believe that the man credited with the slaying was in fact a real person. George was a Roman soldier who was executed for refusing to renounce Christianity.

St. George is the patron saint of England, among a number of other places. The feast of Saint George is celebrated on April 23rd, and as the patron saint of England, April 23rd is the national day of England.

The flag of England, the St. George banner

The flag of England, the St. George banner

Crest of the city of London

Crest of the city of London

Strangely, for a city that goes all out to celebrate the national days of Canada, Australia, America and Ireland, London (and for the most part the rest of England) puts on a pretty muted observation for their National Day. It isn’t a national holiday, and many of the English people I have met don’t even remember what day it is.

However, this year a tradition that hasn’t taken place for 425 years was revived. The St. George’s Day Pageant, which sees a parade through the streets of the city of London. In addition to some soldiers and bands, the parade includes the King, his daughter and St. George himself.

Nothing more English than a Germany liquor dropped into a Thai/Austrian energy drink

Nothing more English than a Germany liquor dropped into a Thai/Austrian energy drink

April 23rd is also the birthday of William Shakespeare, who wrote the play Henry V, which includes the line, "Upon this charge, cry 'God for Harry, England and Saint George!" 

After the parade, I headed to a nearby pub, where I had a pint and pie. Nothing more English than that, is there?

A pint, a pie for Elizabeth the second, England and Saint George!


Posted by GregW 09:12 Archived in England Tagged events Comments (2)

Boat Race!

The 156th running of the Oxford vs. Cambridge 8 man boat race, run from Putney Bridge to Chiswick Bridge in London, England. The crews are known as "the blues," with Cambridge in light blue and Oxford dark blue.

overcast 10 °C

Where I went to university, if someone said there was going to be a boat race, I'd be getting ready to drink. Boat (Beer On A Table) races at my university meant that two teams would line up against each other. The race would start with the first member of each team chugging a beer. Once the first member is done drinking, the second one picks up their beer and chugs it. This continues until you hit the anchor, who downs two beers. First team to finish all their beers is declared the winner.

Here in England, boat race has a very different meaning. It is the annual rowing race between the two oldest universities in England - Oxford and Cambridge. The two universities have been picking a team of eight (plus a coxswain) since back in 1829. The event became an annual one since 1856, excepting during the two wars.

The teams are known as blues, with Cambridge in light blue and Oxford dark blue. The race is obviously quite popular with current students and alumni of the two universities (known colloquially here in England as Oxbridge), but also is popular with known Oxbridge folks. According to the Boat Race's own numbers, a quarter of a million people line the banks of the Thames to watch, with 8 million watching on TV in the UK and 120 million watching world wide. Personally, I doubt those numbers are accurate - do 120 million people around the world really care about a boat race between a couple of posh schools in England?

The course is 4 miles and 374 yards long, snaking its way from Putney Bridge to Chiswick Bridge upstream. Even though the race is upstream, this race is timed so that the current is with the teams, as the Thames is still tidal at that point and the tide was coming in, causing water to flow upstream.

I went down today to watch it. I watched at Hammersmith Bridge and Furnival Gardens, about halfway through the course. I took a few pictures and some video, which I have edited together for your viewing pleasure.

If you can't see the video, view it on YouTube at this link. I understand that the video may not be available in Germany due to using bits of music in the video. I think that using short clips of music is fair use, but whatever...

Cambridge won this year. Congratulations to Cambridge, and chin up, Oxford. You'll get 'em next year!

Posted by GregW 15:11 Archived in England Tagged sports events Comments (0)

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