Has it really been 7 weeks?! I feel like I moved to England literally yesterday, time has been going so fast. And I know that time will absolutely fly between now and when I leave for my Christmas trip. Here’s what I’ve been thinking about this week!

sunset-york-home.jpg

My life actually feels real here

Between last week and this week, I have felt so much more settled here in England. It’s like I actually have a real life here. I have a job and I go to work and things are starting to feel normal. It is such a great feeling. Life is good.

york-shambles-christmas.jpg

Travel-wise, things are much quieter

I guess it’s part of going from unemployed to a full-time job…but in terms of travel, life is a lot quieter for me now. I have less time for exploring, especially since I don’t get my work schedule very far in advance, and I probably won’t have traditional weekends (because #customerservicelife). But I’m okay with that for now—I have an exciting trip over Christmas to look forward to, I know I’ll have a few things going on in January with friends visiting, and there’s always more to see and do in York for those precious days off. For me, the stability of having a full-time job and money coming in is worth it right now.

york-minster-trees.jpg

Mold: 2, Maja: 0

England has a very damp climate: lots of rain, very little sun. I knew this when I moved here, but I’ve felt like I’ve been waging a war on mold this week and I’m losing. I lost my makeup bag (which I’ve had for about 10 years) to mold in the bathroom, since I had it on the counter and didn’t realize that there was condensation on part of that wall. And I had to move most of my clothes out of the closet, because there’s a vent that directly connects to outside on the wall of the closet (?!?!?!?) and when the closet doors are closed, there’s condensation all over part of a wall. It seems like I have to tiptoe everywhere and be vigilant against mold, all the time. I knew mold would be a problem here, but I just didn’t think it would be as annoying as this. Ugh. The war continues.

sunset-york-home-backyard.jpg

Work: meeting new people!

I don’t want to talk too much about my job on the blog besides these few things, mainly to be private and professional but also because it’s not all that exciting. But one of the nicest things this week has been meeting lots of new people at work! And it’s especially nice to meet people my own age. Everyone is really nice and easy to get along with, which is always the best you could ask for with co-workers. It kind of makes me miss my Black Dog family and the community in Lowertown though!

york-minster-tower-sunlight.jpg

Work: the language barrier

I can’t imagine how hard it would be to move to another country that spoke a different language, and work a customer service job where you’re constantly talking to people. Because the language barrier has been so real for me working here in England and technically we both speak English! Part of that is because Yorkshire accents are just really difficult to understand. But part of it too is that British people use different words for things, or pronounce things totally differently. Silverware is cutlery, whipped cream is just “cream,” wheat bread is called granary, pudding is a catch-all phrase for anything that could be dessert, French fries are chips and chips are crisps, and I don’t totally understand what scallywags and fat rascals are (I know they’re both pastries). Brits pronounce it lat-TE, instead of LA-tte. And mochas are pronounced like “mock-a,” like mock trial or a mock exam, instead of the “mo” of mocha rhyming with “flow.” And this is just the start. Whew. I’m working on learning it all!

maja-riga-blackheads-house-latvia.jpg

3 years since Riga

I got super nostalgic this week about my trip to Riga, Lativa, three years ago in 2013. It was my first solo weekend trip in continental Europe (I had gone solo in Britain to both London and Edinburgh before that), and was one of the best and most important trips I’ve taken. It was monumental in shaping my year abroad, in giving me confidence, and in empowering me to continue (safely) traveling solo. Had I not visited Riga, I don’t think I would have been ready or able to go to Russia by myself for two weeks—and my trip to Russia remains one of most important experiences of my life. Latvia was still using Latvian lats for their currency (they’ve now switched to the Euro), and Riga is such a great city with lots to explore. I met great people at my hostel in Riga, got asked for directions after having been there for less than a day, and thoroughly enjoyed traveling solo. It was a great trip, and both Riga and Latvia still have a special place in my heart. The Baltics are such an underrated but amazing area of Europe! It’s a big milestone for me, and I still can’t believe it was three whole years ago.

London.jpg

London TOMORROW!

It’s been a long 7.5 months, but tomorrow I’m headed back to my favorite city in the world—London. My love affair with London has been going strong for over 5 years. There is no other place in the world (with the exception of Minneapolis) that I love quite as much. I can’t wait!