OK, it's coming up two months since I last updated y'all. Unacceptable! I definitely deserve a slap on the (limp) wrist. But rest assured the reason it's taken so long is because I've been busting my balls with work and absorbing as much of this gay ol' city as possible! In future I'll try to make them shorter, more frequent and more fierce, naturally.
Tomorrow (13th December) will mark exactly four months since I returned to London from my lil Euro summer (mis)adventure. Looking back on these months is giving me a slight head-spin - and no, it's not due to the fact that I'm on my third glass of Sauv Blanc while I'm typing this! The last four months have been a battle to say the very least - from homesickness to boy issues (Already! Who knew, gays are useless worldwide?!), running my savings into the ground and, of course, the almighty job hunt.
So where to bloody start?
Well the boy update is fairly brief: in four short months I've managed to meet, scare off and/or emotionally scar no less than seven and a half boys. I have now deduced that i a mentalist of the highest calibre. Border line stalker, obsessive texter, overbearing question asker and beyond hopeless in all forms of romantic persuasion. Hence, I'm still single and will likely remain that way for quite some time.
I do, however, excel in all qualities that make a good friend and so have built a strong group of peeps I like to call my 'urban family'. My gorgeous wifey was already living over here in Londres and I love that she's so close to me again. Eddie came along with me and other friends had also recently made the big move. So the urban family has developed like somewhat of a virus: you know one Aussie, they introduce you to another, that one introduces you to their Canadian housemate and Finnish workmate… You're old English office manager moves back to London… You fall in love with one of your colleagues and they become part of the pack… so on, so forth and voila - urban family.
The urban family are there for you when you need them. They are there to celebrate milestones and special days with you when your blood family isn't. They are essential when letting your hair down at the end of a long work week. It good to be with others in the same situation, who've made the big move to Londres, completely out of their depth and so look to alcohol for its medicinal benefits.
One such outing happened a couple of weeks ago for (Canadian) Erica's birthday. I had already drank quite a bit at a work farewell and was due to meet the guys at the Birdcage on Columbia Road in East London. I live on Columbia Road so perfect stumbling distance. Fast forward and there we were, a happy little group in the middle of the bar drinking and laughing and carrying on. Soon we noticed pictures of young woman up around the bar and flowers spotted about. A bit odd I thought, but anywho - next drink ploise!
What we had stumbled into was a wake for the girl in the pictures, Lisa. Her friends were celebrating her life at a private function. Awkward.
"We love you Lisa, you're full of life!"
"Well not anymore, honey"
So what do you do? Karaoke naturally…
We left there and went to the infamous Joiners Arms which was heaving with every odd type of hipster gay you can imagine and their ratty little fag hag. We had to leave. I'm too mainstream for these hipster gays. I don't have an asymmetrical haircut under my purple tea cosy hat, I don't wear crocheted pants, goggles, Dr Martins and a military issued trench coat. Apart from that we had to leave because we couldn't get a drink. They had three bears and a tranny working the bar and no one keeps this bitch waiting for a bevvie. Especially in a dive like that.
On the way home Eddie and I got our signature burger and chips which I managed to keep in tact even while face planting on Hackney Road in front of a crowd waiting to get on a bus. This is the point my drunk alter ego was born… Fantazia Lopez picked herself up off the road, fixed her hair and minced off home to eat her burger and chips in the dark.
More on Fantazia later.. she already has her own Facebook page and before long I'm sure she'll take over this blog...
I suppose to should document the job hunt. Unsurprisingly that has been the biggest hurdle in moving to a different city. Working in PR the biggest asset you can bring is your media contacts. In Sydney I had heaps, but in London I was completely dry… so no one was willing to take a chance on an Aussie PR fresh off the boat. I had no other choice but to swallow… my pride and worked for free at an agency who then ended up keeping me on for little to no pay per week. Them was dark days. I was getting really good experience but I was also haemorrhaging money like I'd attempted taking Jeff Stryker with no Crisco.
On the bright side, it has made me a much stronger and more resilient person - I now know that as long as my rent is paid, I have a fridge full of food and a topped up Oyster card, I can last a number of days with only 4.37 pounds in my bank account. Depressing to think about, but actually quite liberating when it's a reality. When you absolutely have no other options, it forces you to think about what you actually need, what you actually require to survive and you stop obsessing over things you wish you could have, but thankful for what you've got.
Now, I'm working for a fantastic agency in Soho which I'm loving. I'm learning more than I ever have before. In some respects I feel like I've started in PR all over again. The UK is a different ball game and it's definitely been a case of sink or swim… The Christmas party for said agency is tonight and my aim is to be on my best behaviour. Please, God, let me behave myself. Cringe at the thought. Those of you who know me well will be very aware of the point at which I lose my soul. Eyes glaze over and no one is home. With any luck this won't happen and Fantazia will just come out for a bit of a play… I'll let you know.
The wrap up on the last four months… As with any massive change there have been highs and lows, lots of laughs and buckets of tears. Some days I think it would be much easier to throw it all in and move back to Sydney where it's warm, where I had a fantastic job and where I still have the most amazing group of friends anyone could ever ask for.
But then other days London does something and I think to myself it's all worth it - I live in one of the most eclectic and electric cities in the world. It might be finding some fetch looking art gallery, hearing a cute boy's Essex accent on the street, watching Tulisa on the X Factor UK or seeing the Christmas lights along Oxford Street and Regent Street. Whatever it is it reminds me I made the right decision in taking this giant leap of faith.
So until next time lovers have a very Merry Christmas and a fetch New Year. I'll see y'all in 2013.