Monday, March 30, 2009

London... and...

This past Saturday Matt and I went to London. I had my interview with the A&F people for the MIT position so we decided to make a day out of it. We left Southampton at 8:30 in the morning and by 11:30 we were in London. My interview wasn't till 2 so we decided to go to a part of the city that was close to where my interview was going to be and wonder for a bit. We didn't want to do the typical touristy things so we figured we'd just have a wonder and see what we ran into. We went to Notting Hill first and wondered down Portabello Street and viewed all the little market stalls they had open. There were tons of stalls and there was everything you could think of. Lots of vintage stuff and antiques but more modern items as well. From there we had lunch and ventured to find the A&F Offices where my interview was. Now my directions and reading skills can be a little lax sometimes. I read one thing but see another in it's place so sometimes it leads to problems! I had printed out a map from Picadilly Circus to A&F... but read it and told Matt we needed to be at Paddington. We got on the tube at Notting Hill and I realized I had mixed them up so we got off and spent the next 15 minutes running through the tube stations to get on the right tube and to the right station. We made it to Picadilly for 1:52pm and ran down Regent Street and down the others till we got the the A&F offices. I had just enough time to put on my flip flops and get up the stairs before it hit 2:00pm! PHEW! The interview went well. It was an odd group of people and out of 8 people who were in my interview only 1 was actually from the UK. Everyone else was born somewhere else in Europe (along with me from the US) and had immigrated to the UK. We all answered the questions and then got our photos taken so they could "remember out faces" and I was on my way out when I recognized one of the other Recruiting Managers. Turns out he's from California and worked at one of the stores near me. He must have covered for one of my managers at one point or another and that's why I recognized him! What a small freakin world!! After my interview Matt greeted me with a Diet Coke (cause he's the best boyfriend ever!) and we headed off to see more of the city. We wondered around the rest of Regent and Oxford Street (the 5th Ave. of London) then headed to find a pub cause Matt wanted to watch the England game. We found one as we wondered through Chinatown and had a few drinks while watching the game. By the time that was over it was time to catch the bus and head back home! I really liked wondering around London and just seeing random sights. I've been many a time before and done the whole touristy thing so it's good to do something different.

In other news... I had my interview for the University job last Friday. It went really well and I got called back for an informal chat today. Basically... I got the Job and I accepted her offer! SO I HAVE A JOB!!! I would have liked to see if I could have pursued the A&F position further but I won't find out for a week or so and then I still would have to go through two other interviews to even get the job. And I have a feeling all the training has to be done in the London store and I can't do that if I live in Southampton. So playing it safe I took the job at the University. I'll be Assisting the Annual Giving Department in their fundraising and alumni projects and working with a team of individuals who seem really like good people to work with! I can always go back and apply for the MIT position again once the store in SH has started to establish itself and they start training people in the store. But for now the Uni job will do!

Now Matt and I can start saving and find our own place!!! FINALLY!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Interviews

As predicted I now have three interviews this week, the first of which I already had on Monday. The other two are on Friday and Saturday. My interview on Monday was pretty much a let down! It was for a company called Parker Worldwide, never heard of them but their job post looked pretty promising and I got a call last week for an interview. I got an email with all the details and went to find a website but only found one that was under construction, but they're a new company so I let it go. The job had explained them as a new marketing company that was looking to expand and train people, so I thought Great! just what I want! NOPE! When I arrived for my interview at 2:30 pm I came to find an office space that was totally empty with the exception of a desk for the girl who was shuffling papers and listening to Kings of Leon at an ample volume. There were 7 other interviewees waiting before me so I sat and waited for my turn all the while thinking the situation was really odd. I waited an HOUR AND TEN MINUTES for my interview! When I got in there I introduced myself and made small talk as you do and then the guy who was interviewing me went into the job prospects. Basically it boiled down that they were a direct marketing company that started in the States and is now moving into the UK, with something like 1000 offices in the US and 20 in the UK. When it boiled down to it they were interviewing for sales managers. You got trained and then put in charge of a team of people and then moved on to manage a sales office... Not really what I was looking for. And the kicker was this as said by my interviewer: "We thrive in a recession. People are more watchful of their money so they think about what they are buying more making indirect marketing less affective. But we use direct marketing to get our consumers interest, leading them to buy our product before they realize they have buyers remorse!" Right there I was out! How dishonest! In a recession your company should be helping your consumers to feel secure in their investments, not making them to feel that your taking their money and laughing all the way to the bank! So needless today I told them I wasn't the right person for what they were looking for and with surprise on their face they thanked me for being honest and I went on my way. And now I feel more and more that they whole thing was a scam. If a company has over 1000 offices in the states and more in the UK I would expect they would have some sort of website! But nothing... very odd.

So the two interviews I have at the end of the week are for the University on Friday and for the new Hollister on Saturday. I've been waiting for both of these since mid-February so it's good their finally here. For the Hollister interview I have to travel up to Londontown, so we're gonna make a day of if and see some sights before my interview.

I feel confident about both of them so we'll just have to go and see! I'll keep it updated!

Monday, March 2, 2009


So here it is the 2nd day of March and I'm still waiting. A few weeks back I had a meeting with the Head of Development for Southampton University. I had applied for a job but was unsuccessful and he wanted to talk to me about another opportunity they had come available. The position was still with the Development and Alumni Department but a more entry level position and one that was really more suitable for me. He told me that although I didn't get the other job they were still "very impressed" with my attitude and they wanted to keep in contact in case such an opportunity arose. Finally a positive! After hearing nothing and hearing "thanks but no" it was a little bit of a relief to know that someone saw that I was valuable... even if it meant I had to apply all over again and wait. The closing date for applications is the 5th of March so I should hear something within two weeks of then. As well as applying for that job I took on the task of applying for yet another job with an Ad firm, this time an entry level job that over 100 other applicants applied for as well. Yikes! I always follow up when I apply for a job and when I applied for this one I emailed and called my recruiter to make sure she got my app. Two week and nothing... so I wrote her another email, this time with a little more of a "return my email and do you job" kind of attitude. And wouldn't you know, I got a response! She HADN'T received my application in the first place! I wanted to reach through my mac book and slap her. I resent it and now more waiting. Nothing is off the table now (well with the exception of working for McDonald's). Full time jobs, Temp office jobs and retail, I've applied for them all! I've signed up to volunteer at the local hospital as well, but more waiting is to be has with that as well.

Since I have so much time to sit and think during the day I think of ways that I would rather be spending my time if I had the means. I'm really thinking about getting my Masters. The University of Southampton is a really good school and they have an Advertising Design course that looks really good. I just need to find out more and get my facts in order before I commit to anything. I think having my Masters would help me get a job in the ad world and having a degree that's from the UK would make me more desirable.

Still living with housemates for the time being. Until I have a job, Matt and I can't move into our own place. Living here is fine and all but one of the other girls and I just don't get along. Apparently I'm not nice! Ha, maybe if she actually took the time to get to know me instead of judging she would find out I'm actually a very nice person. After trying to resolve the issue once and no positive results, I've gone to ignoring her now. I can't physically be nice to someone time after time when all they want to see is that I'm the bad guy. It gets to me, I get mad, I raise my voice and get upset, and no one wants that :)

So waiting is about all I'm doing at the moment

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Job Seeking:

Still at the seeking stage unfortunately. I had an interview mid January for a position at the university but I'm still waiting to hear back on that one. Something about one of the decision makers having to go to the states for an emergency so the decision was on hold. I've applied for 10 jobs in the past 3 weeks each with a different cover letter and CV. So I've gotten really good at writing those. Of those 10 job applications I have heard back on 3. The first was a thanks but no thanks, which is fine. I'd rather know I'm not being considered for a job than left wondering what's going on. But this seems to be the philosophy in the UK, and this is not just me saying that American's are better than the UK, I've had people over here confirm the fact that customer service skills in the UK are pretty much crap. In the US if you send in an application for a job (and for an actual job opening, not just a random shot in the dark) someone WILL get back to you, and in a reasonable amount of time, whether or not you've been successful with your application. Over here your left to assume that your application is unsuccessful if it's been 2 weeks and you've heard nothing, even though you sent a follow up email. It's just so inconsiderate and rude! And it's even worse if you've interviewed and gotten the "We'll call you", and in a sincere way, never to here anything after. SO RUDE!

The other two job applications that I've heard back on were from another local ad agency letting me know they "definitely" got my CV and will be sending out emails for interviews on Friday. The other is for the new Hollister store opening in our mall. Those of you who know me, know that I worked at Abercrombie & Fitch for a number of years and really like the store and the company. I worked there so long that I knew how the store ran inside and out and was only not able to be a manager because you need a degree to be one. So now I have my degree and have an interview on Saturday. As Emily said "They better hire you, your from Cali - Fucking- fornia" so here's hoping.

Driving Lessons:

I've had two lessons with Matt and so far so good. Driving a manual car (with no power steering) is like learning to drive all over again for me. According to Matt I have really good clutch control. I'm still really tentative and think about what I'm doing far too much, but I'm getting there. I need to work on pulling away, I don't stall I just need to give it more gas to make it smoother, but that's only when I'm going straight on. If I'm pulling away and turning a corner at the same time I'm really smooth. Why I have no idea! And my shift changes are fine. I just have to do it little by little and I'll get there. And Matt's a good teacher :)

Living in the UK:

I think I've adjusted really well to be honest. Not too concerned about the weather, yeah it's cold but I put on a jacket and I'm fine. And Southampton is quite sunny compared to other places in the country so it makes it seem not so bad. I think if it were grey and crapy all the time I'd feel different. Still miss all my friends back home but I've become good friends with Matt's two cousins and their other halves. One lives in the city with us and the other lives not too far so we go up and visit them quite often. The people that Matt and I live with are nice and one of them has turned out to be a really good guy, but the others are acquaintances and I don't really see me becoming friends with them and we're just here till we can get our own place. I long for the day when I will walk into my own kitchen in the morning and it's clean and there's no fighting for space at dinner time! I'm just done living with other people, and the inconsiderateness and pettiness that comes with it.

On a better and more positive note, IT SNOWED yesterday and Monday! And like heavy snow at some points. It's melted now but it was awesome when it was goin on.


Matt leaving for work in the snow!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inauguration in the UK

3 HOURS EARLY! After giving his speech at the Lincoln Memorial, Denzel Washington arrived at the Capitol Building THREE HOURS EARLY to watch Obama be sworn in as 44th President. That's dedication and makes me love him that little bit more!

For most of yesterday I waited and watched the BBC news coverage of the Inauguration, it was even on when I went to the gym. And it's amazing the amount of pride people felt about the new President, even more so because everyone around me is British! But it made me feel good to be an American living abroad and to finally have a leader that was accepted by pretty much the majority of people. With Bush as President everyone was always asking why we voted him into office (we'll not me personally I voted for Gore) and why he was so... well, useless. But with Obama people now tell me how much of a leader he seems to be and there's something about him that makes them feel apart of everything and makes them feel good that because America's now getting it's act together that other nations will soon follow and benefit from Obama being in the White House.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Weekend of Walking

This weekend Matt & I walked... a lot

On Saturday we traveled to Lyndhurst to visit the New Forest ( It's a HUGE forest just outside of Southampton where you can do a variety of outdoor activities. This being our first time in the forest, we opted for a walk. We bought a map of the forest, found a walking trail near by and set off. The night before I was reading up on the forest and was really excited to see the wild ponies they have in the forest. Since they're wild it's hard to say where they might be so when we went on Saturday I hoped we might stumble upon some, and WE DID! We saw 6 of the New Forest Ponies just wondering around, eating as they pleased. We walked and wondered and eventually found our way back to the car park.

New Forest Pony!

Today (Sunday) we walked around the Southampton Common, fed the ducks and envied all the people with dogs. So naturally I want a dog now. After that we really didn't want to stay cooped up in the house so we went to a place called Calshot. It's right on the coast just south of Southampton. We walked along the coast taking artsy pictures and enjoying the ocean.


I don't think i've walked so much in one weekend and in three different places, but it was fun!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas makes me sleepy!

I am sooooo sleepy! And after not getting to bed till after 1am on both christmas day and boxing day (bank holiday on the day after xmas in the UK) one can see why I'm so tired! Christmas Day was lots of fun, we did the present exchange and had a christmas lunch, then later had a group of Matt's relatives come over. We ate some more and played party games till about midnight, one of which contained a cereal box, scissors and each person to be as flexible as they could be. The object of the game was to pick up the box from the floor with just your mouth, and you could not touch the floor with your hands or knees. So as the box got shorter and shorter people began to drop out, until it was matt's 54 year old aunt, his brother and myself. Matt's aunt lasted until the box was 2 inches in height and brad and I lasted with the last inch where he was unable to get to the box and I was. And just to make my victory even better, I had them cut off the last half an inch and proceeded to pick up what remained of the box. Needless to say we were all soar the next day! Boxing day was spent watching the local rugby team lose and visiting Matt's Dad side of the family. Matt's Dad is one of 6 and each brother has their own family with multiple children, so get-to-gethers are always a fun party (same goes for matt's mom's side, she's one of 7). So more food and games were had and the clock read 1:43 am when we got to bed!

I just want to sleep or rest and watch a movie for the rest of the day! I think a showing of the Dark Knight is in my immediate future!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

City girl on a farm... e-i-e-i-o

Today at 5:00 A.M. Matt and I were up and getting ready to meet his dad at work. The reason we had to get up SO early is because his dad works on a Dairy Farm! He was already there when we arrived and had been so for a good hour. I've never been on a Dairy Farm before and at the moment this farm has about 200 cows only used for milking and 45 calves, two of which had been born just the night before! When we arrived Matt's Dad was mixing the milk for the calves to drink and about 6 cats came out looking for whatever was spilt on the floor. We spent 2 hours with his dad "feeding up" the calves with their milk, water and feed cake which looked like Oat Bran with rasins. The older ones drink their milk out of the bucket and they all Moo like crazy until they are fed, after which they go really quiet and it's time for a nap. The younger ones who have just been born have to drink their milk from a bucket which has a single udder on it to act like a mommy cow. Some of them don't really get what's going on and you have to stick your hand around their mouth and then guide them to it and show them what to do. So you end up with a really sloppy, drooly hand. And if you leave your hand in there they'll just continue sucking cause they thing your a mommy. It's one of the weirdest sensations I've ever come across. You're generally told NOT to stick your hands in animals mouths but since cows only have bottom teeth and cover the bottom ones with their tongues (which are like cat's tongues but more rough and hella long!) it obviously won't hurt, especially since they are only sucking on it, but I don't thing I ever would put my hand in the mouth of a grown cow, which are massive when you are standing right next to one.

Here are a couple of pictures from my morning at the farm.

Favorite calve #1

Favorite calve #1 and #2

Me in my farm regalia!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Here we come a caroling..

I've spent Christmas over here many a time before but really didn't notice the differences in celebration between the us and the the UK until now. Everyone celebrates the day of Christmas differently so I'm not really talking about that, I'm talking about the way society celebrates the season.

Holiday Movies: Right about now in the US I would be on Christmas movie overload. I'm sure that on TBS "A Christmas Story" is playing everyday and on Christmas day, the traditional 24 hour marathon of the same movie will be playing over and over. Christmas movies start the day after Thanksgiving in the states and don't stop till Christmas day. I love it! I love Christmas movies!! But in the UK the only christmas movie I've seen on tv so far is "Elf" and that was last Sunday. So far this holiday season "Elf" is the only Christmas film I've watched, and that's only cause I bought it 2 weeks ago. Apparently the movies I love so much will be on tv starting this weekend, cause all the kiddies get out of school for the holiday break on Friday. I feel gypped! Christmas makes me feel like a big kid and I want to sit around in my pj's and watch christmas films through out all of December! AND they don't even have "A Christmas Story" for sale in any of the shops and no one over here has EVER heard of it! Shameful!

Carolers: Twice this week there has been a knock at our door and upon opening the door we've had children singing Christmas Carols! They usually get into the first verse of whatever song they are singing and stop and then we are expected to give them change, which we do. Nothing really significant but if they go around to a good number of houses on multiple nights they'll be making some serious cash for a 10 year old. Usually in the states you might get carolers roaming around the streets but it's in a group and usually for some charitable cause like change for kids or canned goods for the homeless, not for personal gain. It is a bit weird.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Of job seeking and other stories

So I've been avoiding writing in my blog for well over a month. Why?? you ask... Well I would have hoped by now that I would have found a spot for myself in the job market! But no, this lovely recession is making it very hard for someone in the marketing/advertising sector to find a job. And all those economists who harp on businesses and tell them to cut their marketing budgets as a means to "cut costs" are really beginning to get on my last nerve! YOUR PUTTING ME OUT OF A JOB, and regardless any sound business person will tell you that cutting your marketing budget at a time like this is the last thing you should do! Sorry, rant over! Back to my update.

Since I last updated I've been doing my best to find a job and went on an interview with a recruiter about a month ago. She's been of little help and I think I've heard from her twice since then. I also had a meeting with an advertising firm a month ago and three weeks ago I had a 2nd interview... and have been waiting and waiting to hear back ever since. When I left the interview, i felt really good about it and was pleased with what I had accomplished. I had to literally claw my way into that company even for them to take a look at my portfolio, which they were impressed with, and I thought that SOMETHING would happen after that 2nd interview. But nothing. I sent an email last week and made a phone call yesterday to see what the status was, no answer. At this point it's really annoying. I got a degree in advertising because it was what I wanted to do and because it was something I was good at, even without my classes to make me enjoy it that little bit more. And now I'm left wondering if any of that will be put to use. Now I'm sure your wondering why I don't go to another firm, and the answer is, all the other Ad firms are in London and with a 4,000 pound train ticket (for the year) and 3.5 hours on a train commuting everyday, it just isn't an option. So I've been considering the option of working in the communications or fundraising sector of the local University or Hospital. Youth organizations don't exist in Southampton.

I just want to work! I've worked since I was 14 and since the age of 18 i worked 2 jobs and wend to school full time. It's in my nature to be busy and be a productive individual! And then there's the financial side of it. Ah money! something everyone is having an issue with at this time. I'm ok for the moment but that's now, not two months from now. And I don't want to claim off the government cause I just think it's the easy way out and the lazy way for people who don't want to work at all.

I do have to say that I am very lucky however to have Matt. He has been unbelievably supportive. I can't imagine being without someone like him at a time like this!

Life is good other than that! I'm really liking Southampton. Matt and I have taken day trips on the weekends to other cities, usually shopping in the high street (like an outdoor mall) and taking in any local sights we might find. I've also had the chance to meet a good majority of Matt's family. His cousin James and his Fiance Rachel, live 45 minutes away from us so we've gone to visit them a few times as well. In fact, last weekend we went to visit them and went to London on the train for the Frost Fair and another fair in Hyde Park. We had crapes and walked along the Themes River enjoying all the little booths. We then wondered around the SOHO district of London and I decided that even though I have been to London 3 or 4 times that I need to venture into more of the non touresty parts of London. AND we went to IKEA!! Those who know me know I love Ikea so when we went last Friday I was so excited. They were open till midnight and even better, Matt had never been, and he liked what he saw. So we're going to plan on moving into our own place when the one in Southampton opens this spring, silly but efficient!

I've finished all of my Christmas shopping and can't wait to spend the holidays in Devon with Matt and his family! We'll be there this Sunday through the 5th of Jan!

Hope everyone has a great holiday!!