Out of Hibernation

 

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This morning marked the first time in a long while that I awoke to bright sunlight streaming through my bedroom window. Indeed, apart from the occasional lashings of wind and rain, it appears that the first hints of spring are upon us here in London.

I’m sure regularly readers will have noticed that I’ve been quite for a while – my last post was on 11 January. After an eventful 2015, I decided to take some time to hibernate for a bit.

But alas, two months is long enough! And with spring coming up just around the corner I’m officially coming out of hibernation.

With that, I’d like to catch you up on a few things.

You’re Lookin’ at the UK’s Newest Grad Student!

University of Birmingham

Photo Credit: Flickr User ell brown

One of the many benefits of receiving (perhaps achieving would be a better term!) Indefinite Leave to Remain here is the UK is that it makes you eligible for UK/EU tuition fees at public universities. Earning a master’s degree has always been a goal of mine, but it was never really feasible in the US thanks to high tuition fees. The tuition fees for international students at UK universities are equally eye-watering, so I’ve patiently waited 5 years to apply.

In December 2015 – a whole two months after receiving Indefinite Leave to Remain –  I submitted my application to the M.A. in Applied Linguistics (distance learning) program at the University of Birmingham, and I’m happy to report that they extended a conditional offer to me in late February! I formally accepted the offer this morning and contingent on sending in some references and official transcripts, I’ll be starting my graduate studies in February 2017 :)

Upcoming Trips-a-Plenty

Things have been pretty quiet on the travel front for me since arriving back in London from Bangkok in mid-December 2015.

All that’s about to change.

Skiing in Crans-Montana

Crans-Montana

Photo Credit: Flickr user lynnsta

This upcoming week I’ll be hitting the slopes in Crans-Montana, Switzerland! It’s a short trip with only two days of skiing, but I’m determined to make the most of it. And don’t worry, I’ll be taking lots of pictures (hint: don’t forget to follow me on instagram).

Fossil Hunting in Charmouth

Jurassic Coast

Photo Credit: Flickr user Iamoney

I have been patiently waiting to visit the UK’s famed Jurassic Coast since making the leap across the pond in 2010. Later this month it’s finally happening. I am as much a natural sciences nerd as a I am a linguistics nerd, so this trip is kind of a big deal for me. The S.O. and I will be renting a car from London City Airport and driving to Charmouth, a little seaside town right smack dab in the middle of the Jurassic Coast. We’ll spending a few days fossil hunting, enjoying the local scenery, and celebrating our 9th anniversary (wow, has it really been that long?)

Much More to Come

That’s all for now folks, but I promise you there’s much more to come in 2016 😉

 

Get to Know the UK: Sheep-Worrying

 
sheep worrying

I don’t think I managed to worry any sheep!

As a writer and translator I deal with language all day, everyday. And the longer I live in the UK, the more my eyes are opened to the huge chasm between US English and UK English. While (or is it whilst?) there’s certainly a lot of overlap, there is still no shortage of words and phrases originating the UK that would have the average American scratching his or her head, so I’ve decided to highlight one per week in attempt to share with you all the wonderful world of UK English.

This should be a lot of fun for all you Anglophiles and word nerds out there.

I’m kicking off the series with a truly bizarre term: Sheep-Worrying

sheep-worrying (ˈʃiːpˌwʌrɪɪŋ))

Noun – (agriculture) the act (of a dog, sheepdog, wolf, etc) of chasing a flock of sheep and biting or injuring the sheep.

Ex. Farmers were allowed to shoot other men’s dogs if they were caught sheep-worrying.

(Source: http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/sheep-worrying

Yep, sheep worrying. I know what you’re thinking: surely this is some sort of archaic term no one uses anymore. Nope. Sheep-worrying actually pops up quite a bit in newspaper articles here in the UK, especially around lambing season.

Here are a few examples:

“Farmer shoots £800 family dog for worrying sheep.” (Full article here)

“DOG owners in Derbyshire are urged to keep their pets under control following complaints of sheep worrying.” (Full article here)

“We are urging dog owners to be responsible around sheep and warning them that sheep worrying is a crime.” (Full article here)

Announcing: Girl in London Guides

 

Girl in London Guides

It is with great excitement that I am announcing the launch of Girl in London Guides!

After years of blogging I’ve had countless people tell me that I should write a book about moving to London and living in London. Well, I’ve finally taken all that advice to heart and have started writing a set of guides to help my fellow Anglophiles move to, live, and thrive in the UK capital.

The first guide that I have available is … (drumroll please) …

Applications for UK Work Visas and Indefinite Leave to Remain: Getting it Right the First Time

This is for all of you out there who are currently going through the [excruciating] process of filling out your visa or ILR application. I’ve done it three times myself and each time it took days of research to get everything right.

The guide translates the UKBA’s ambiguous instructions into plain English, and provides lots of examples so you can fill out your application(s) with confidence.

The guide is £9.99, but since this is my first ever e-book, I’ve got a discount code for you all!

Use the promo code girlinlondon and you’ll get 50% off!

girl in london guides

Happy reading!

xoxo
Girl in London

My New Panasonic Lumix GX-7!!

 

Panasonic Lumix GX-7

Ok, I’ll admit this is a bit of an odd follow up to my previous post which was all about how smartphones come with really impressive cameras these days. But, hey, what’s a girl to do when she gets an early birthday present from her boyfriend?

A New Camera – YAY!

After almost two years of smartphone-only photography, I finally have a brand spankin’ new camera with some manual features that should allow me to take better shots. It’s a Panasonic Lumix GX-7, and it’s super cool. I just got it yesterday so all its little feature and doodads are still new to me, but so far I’ve been really happy with the snaps :)

Panasonic Lumix GX-7 vs Samsung Galaxy S5

Earlier I went out and took some test shots using the Panasonic as well as my Samsung Galaxy S5. Both cameras take 16MP photos, but I definitely saw sharper quality photos with the Panasonic.

Panasonic Lumix GX-7

(L) Panasonic Lumix, (R) Samsung Galaxy

Panasonic Lumix GX-7

(L) Panasonic Lumix, (R) Samsung Galaxy

Why Now?

Well my readers, I’m glad you asked. I find myself in the possession of this nifty new device in preparation for an upcoming adventure. Next week I’ll be embarking on a cruise trip around the whole of Iceland, stopping to take in the scenery along the way. Needless to say I’m pretty excited to get out there and start snapping photos — there will be much more on the Iceland cruise to come!

A Walk Down Memory Lane

 
A Walk Down Memory Lane

A Walk Down Memory Lane

 

It’s not often that I make it to West London these days, and when I do, I scarcely head further west than High Street Kensington (unless I’m off to Heathrow, of course). So visiting my old neighbourhood of West Kensington is a rare treat indeed.

Since moving to the Canary Wharf and Limehouse area almost four years ago, my journeys take me back to West Ken once or twice a year when I pop into the local dentist’s office for a checkup. Normally I have a morning appointment and am off to work straight away. This last time, however, I booked a leisurely 4pm time slot and took the afternoon off.

Perham Road in West Kensington

Perham Road in West Kensington

After getting my teeth thoroughly inspected (they’re in good shape, btw) I decided to take a little walk down memory lane and stroll past our old flat. Long time readers of the blog will know that I wasn’t particularly fond of our old West Kensington flat, but it will always hold a special place in my heart as our first real place in London.

Perham Road West Kensington

I lived in the top flat of this building

The street, Perham Road, has held up pretty nicely over the years and many of the Victorian-era buildings have received a bit of a facelift since I lived there. The building housing our old flat looks like it still needs some sprucing up though – nothing a little white paint couldn’t fix.

Leafy street in West Kensington

Leafy street in West Kensington

West Kensington is largely a residential area. It’s about a 20-minute walk from High Street Kensington and another 20 or 30-minute walk to Hammersmith. It’s quiet, leafy, and I’ll admit there are times when I miss living there. It feels very “London,” whereas my current neighbourhood has more of a generic urban feel.

Gandhi’s former flat

Before heading back on the tube I turn onto a street about a block from Perham road and happened across a Blue Plaque I had never seen before. For those who don’t know, Blue Plaques are pretty common around London and mark the place where a famous person (or people) lived and/or worked. This particular plaque marked where Mahatma Gandhi lived as a law student. How cool is that?

Walking through West Kensington brought back a lot of great memories of my first year in London. Hopefully it won’t be too long before I have a chance to visit again.