I made it to the end of my first work week in London and job-wise, I didn't achieve much. We have been having some computer issues, so my boss said that my first priority should be to find somewhere to live and to get myself settled. Easier said than done, my friends. I'm browsing 3 or 4 flat-sharing websites simultaneously, and friends are helping out with emailed recommendations, but it's a slow process. I need to remember that I've only been here a week though and just like Pantene, this "won't happen overnight but it will happen".
I have also been spending the latter part of the week on a friend's couch in an area of town called Bermondsey. It is a pretty spot, with parks and gardens dotted around and the place is well serviced by the tube and rail. That doesn't mean of course that I have had a smooth time getting to work. I'm still as geographically-challenged as ever. The dilemma comes when I emerge from the Tube at the giant Waterloo station and I get caught up in the crowds of fellow commuters, all zooming off in different directions. I am never sure which group to follow and as a result, I've taken a different walking route to work every day - none of them the correct one.
The security team at work laugh at me and every day they ask me what weird and wonderful route I took to work. Yesterday I was able to give them the traffic report from Westminster Bridge (walking towards Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament). Trust me when I tell you that this was WAAAY out of my way. At the same time, it's not surprising in the least. I have a terrible sense of direction but even I'm surprised at how easily I lose Waterloo Bridge. I mean, seriously. Waterloo Bridge itself is enormous, and the pedestrian-only bridge right next door is equally monstrous and yet I have managed to follow commuter crowds out of the station, down windy backstreets, and bypass both bridges entirely. Crazy. I guess my only saving grace at this point is that I'm always running ultra early for work every day, affording me some time to amble across foreign bridges and past some of the most beautiful monuments and architecture I've ever seen. Plus I'm also using the wandering as an excuse to locate coffee shops, hotels and cute restaurants that I might need to visit later on (if I can ever find them again).
I got my bank account organised the other day too. This proved to be much less painful than the experience in Scotland, where I recall we were effectively interrogated, cavity-searched, rigorously background checked and generally treated like criminals. Thanks to the recommendation from work of course, the process of opening my London account was very quick and easy. My closest bank branch is also located right behind St Paul's Cathedral, so I got to visit another gorgeous monument just by chance. Score! I didn't get to go inside St Paul's of course, but my colleague said that church services run as usual on Sundays so I could always go inside for free then. The ABC (Another Bloody Church) Tour has begun.
Some good news is that all the walking here is doing me good already. I didn't realise that I had thigh muscles until they started groaning and twinging around about Thursday. All this up & down stairs business at work and on the Tube, not to mention navigating the uneven terrain - cobble stones and such - I may actually be headed towards that mysterious thing they call fitness. Help.