Wednesday 27 October 2010

On the Third Day... (of job hunting)

Day 3 and still no job.

What a disaster!

I was secretly hoping for a top editor to pop out of nowhere and say,

“Hey kid, I’ll show you the ropes but don’t expect a million dollars...”

I’d turn up in her chaotic office and she’d give me a brisk once over, her eyes narrowing behind her chunky designer glasses.

“For starters I want you to get me a tall, extra dry mocha with a coat of cinnamon and no cardboard handle.”

“Why no cardboard handle?”

“Goddammit, do you need a reason for everything?”

It would be tough but that first task of getting a coffee would lead to numerous published features, vital contacts, invaluable confidence, excellent computer skills and ultimately a best-selling novel.

I know, too many films and not enough degrees!

Meanwhile I’m finding it difficult to begin looking for a flat before I’ve got a job.

Perhaps my Fiancé won’t mind living with his in-laws for a few more wee... mont...years?

Alternatively he could leave me behind for a posh studio and we could text each other from time to time.

We could be like one of those modern couples who have their own separate apartments.

Except my apartment would actually be my childhood bedroom in my Mum’s.

Chin up!

Day four is approaching and there’s bound to be a reply from somewhere soon.

Though I’m slightly worried that if I check my mail one more time the glare of my computer may reverse my laser eye surgery.

I must simply remember that Rome was not built in a day.

Although technically, if the world was only built in 7, then Rome should’ve taken much less than a day.

Like half a quarter of a millisecond.

The time it takes to make a decision to stop procrastinating and do something about not having a job!

Sunday 24 October 2010

WANTED: 1 job, London

I’m back in London and I need a job.

My CV is awaiting a polish up.

Registering with a temping agency is the first thing to cross my mind, then teaching in an English Language School.

Everyone is talking about a crisis. Are there vacancies out there?

I got myself a Journalism Diploma last year.

The classes had a strong focus on the impossibility of breaking into the industry.

“But you have to try,” the tutor would add.

The effect of this message is, that despite all the studying and a cosy little distinction on my certificate, it doesn’t even occur to me to look for a job in the media.

That said, I’ll now spend a moment looking wistfully out of the window while I imagine this blog was a column in a newspaper.

How I’d love to be able to write for a living!

I’m disciplined, I’m determined, I love the satisfaction of meeting deadlines and I love tea.

In Bogota I was able to dedicate entire months to my novel.

It was the first time in my life I’d been able to do that.

Up until then I’d always written in moments snatched before and after work.

Being able to write every day actually made writing easier.

I started to get into the zone more quickly; my ideas developed and the novel began to take shape.

Now two weeks have passed without me looking at it and I already feel it drifting away.

I just need to find a new routine so I can keep at it.

I want to get something good enough to send off to an agent.

Of course meanwhile I need a paid job, a job which might teach me something and help me develop my skills.

This blog has brought me a lot of luck, a lot of support and a lot of advice... so if any of you readers know of any opportunities out there, or have any tips for me, I’d love to hear from you!

Saturday 16 October 2010

What a Sight!

Laser eye surgery... how do you imagine it?
I imagined a huge green laser beam ready to burn off my eyebrows if I moved a hair.
Not so.
It’s incredible.
Incredibly quick.
Five minutes an eye.
It’s not pleasant. There’s glaring lights, the sensation of a sticky plaster being pressed over your eye, the sound of an electric drill which turns out to be a gentle dryer.
Later you spend three hours with your eyelids taped closed and your eyes stinging.
But it’s still not as awful as that wax I once had in Peru.
Because of my surgery, I have been off the computer for a few days and I haven’t been able to share last week’s special event: Our official engagement party (Colombian style).
It was only fair to celebrate our commitment to each other in each country and include all our friends and family.
Our party began at 7.30am with the Fiancé and I sticking single flower stems into a sandpit in the drizzle.
We were in the finca, the house in the countryside belonging to my sister-in-law and her family, and it had never been so cloudy.
“Look, the sun,” my father-in-law said, pointing at a tiny spec of white amidst all the grey. “It will clear.”
As the rain increased and our dream of an outdoor celebration looked like it wasn’t to be, we began emptying the house and preparing to move all the tables indoors.
But a few hours later, while the guest started to arrive, the sun made a miraculous appearance.
The simple and beautiful ceremony was held outside as planned with a reading by the local priest and a blessing of our rings.
“I never thought I’d ever say ‘yes’ to a man before I’d met his mother,” I began my speech.
It meant a lot to me to be able to address all these people that had come to share our special day. Many of them I’d never met while others I’d still not got to know fully.
My sister-in-law made the occasion feel particularly complete.
She had researched different wedding traditions from all over the world.
I stepped on an egg, my fiancé on a glass, my father-in-law threw acorns over my head while my mother-in-law held up a green leaf to show her approval.
I can’t match the countries with the traditions now, except the Polish one, where we tasted bread (‘may you never go hungry’), salt (‘may you overcome all bitterness’) and wine (‘may you enjoy the sweetness in life’).
The local band, la papayera, burst into a chaotic melee of drums and trumpets as we finished off a rodizio (rotation) of succulent meat.
Then came the Mariachis to woo us in the night.
All our guests had come to enjoy themselves and there was no holding back as the music played.
I danced all night, exchanging my heels for flip flops and best of all, barefoot.
As it grew colder, the party moved inside beside a roaring fire.
The Fiancé and I were the last ones standing.
When I felt my eyes starting to close, he took my hand and we went outside.
Amidst the eucalyptus trees we sat and watched big, blurry stars.
It was a perfect day and a perfect way to bring to a close my time in Colombia.
I can’t thank my new family enough for taking me in with such an open heart.

Friday 1 October 2010

The Little One

I’m convinced my newly acquired nephew is drinking Red Bull on the sly.
This wouldn’t be a problem if he wasn’t 4 years old.
In fact he’s 3 years and 10 months and he knows he’s not a baby anymore.
He hasn’t stopped for one minute since he arrived in Bogotá a week ago.
The sword fighting starts before we’ve even had breakfast.
Then comes the fall outs and reconciliations between Tiger and Mr Donkey, the plasticine creations including the fish with a tumour on his face, the hospital made of chunky lego, the piecing together of Sponge Bob, the re-piecing together of Sponge Bob and of course the acting out of scenes from superman, batman, spiderman, the fantastic four, transformers and the green lantern.
By 5pm I’m knackered and craving a soothing glass of wine, (by glass I mean bottle).
Meanwhile he’s just warming up.
After my first play day with my little nephew, a thought occurred to me.
What if baby animals were anything like humans ones?
Little calf: No Mummy, I don’t want to eat grass! I want chocolate!Baby Seal: Why do I have to go in the water? Baby bear hasn’t gone in!
Baby lion curls his lip after one bite of antelope: I don’t like it. I want zebra.
Mummy Lion: You asked for antelope. Eat it.
Baby Lion: No!
Mummy Lion: All superlions eat antelope, don’t you want to be a superlion?Baby Lion: No they don’t! They eat zebra!Yes I’ve resorted to talking animals. That’s what relentless playing does to you.
In short, baby humans are inconsistent.
One minute my nephew loves me, the next he is attacking me with a cardboard tube under the guise of Optimus Prime.
Admittedly I’m not much different.
When I’m tired and he’s being grumpy, I think having kids is an absurd idea.
Then there are those other moments.
When he’s giggling his socks off because I’m giving Tiger a silly voice,
When he’s sitting on the sofa explaining to me something very seriously and looking so little,
When he sneaks into my room and switches off the light, then runs off squealing with nervous anticipation of me chasing him to tickle his tummy...
Those moments give me an insight into something special, something you would fight every superhero in the world to protect.