Trip Start Aug 27, 2007
Trip End Sep 17, 2011

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hey Guys,

Well its been over a year since I first arrived here in the UK and after having spent the weekend celebrating all things Kiwi in honour of Waitangi Day I thought what better time than now to reflect on my time here.

It still feels like only yesterday i was sorting through my two suitcases humming and harring over what I was going to need on my big expedition overseas. I am pleased to report that I did manage to use every itiem I brought over with me...even if I was cursing my luggage every second of the way from Heathrow airport to my house.

I am also pleased to announce that I still use the 6 kg duvet everybody mocked me about bringing overseas but with the freezing cold temperatures it was well worth it!

So I guess the big question is what have I achieved in my last year? Ive gone from being unemployed and homeless in a foreign country to having held down a job for a year now and living in a three bedroom house. Ive gone from knowing no one but the lovely Sonia to having meet a bunch of crazy, adventurous, outgoing and great people. Ive watched friends come and go from back home and Ive also had to say goodbye to one of the most amazing people I have ever meet, Kim.

Kim if you are reading this my time here would not have been the same without you. Some of my best memories here were spent with you, whether it was being squashed along with 38998 other people while being pelted with tomatoes, going cheeserolling, speed sightseeing while eating Currywurst through Berlin or hunting for robin hood in Nottingham.

I definately love it over here and nothing compares to the livliness or energy that London has to offer but I can feel little old NZ starting to call me home. Ive still got another 9 months before its time for me to leave and I still have a lot of exploring to do. Last year was focused on travel but this year although I have few trips planned is all about living the London lifestyle.

I guess one of the big things i have found hard to adjust to is food. The are some things the Brits got very mushy peas! Yup I admitted it i am proud to say i am a big fan of the green smush and also Pimms...although technically alcohol and not food definately agrees with me.

Now on my list of 'what were they thinking?' the top item is baked beans.....urgh. You cant escape them in this country they come with everything, well that and fries....but seriously....baked beans? they even serve it at KFC instead of potato and gravy! You read right NO potato and gravy....also on the topic of KFC they dont season the chips here....god what I would give to dunk a seasoned fry into the miracle that is potato and gravy.

Another thing the Brits got right is public transport, despite it being the top item to be complained about over here I cant fault it one little bit, to me its the best thing since sliced...actually make it the best thing invented since KFC potato and gravy. It may break down alot, it may have delays and as much as being crowded on a train at peak hour with some stranger dry humping you urks me, I love the tube. I can be in the other side of the city in no time and compared to NZ where you cant get by without a car its a godsend. No traffic jams, no warrants, no speeding tickets and no massive petrol bills.

On the downside tho I still havent got used to doing grocery shopping without a car, I used to drive up to pak n save once a month spend three hours there, load up the car and go home. Now i toddle up to the shops with my sexy nanny one purple rinse away from becoming a retiree.

I guess the one thing I wasnt expecting to find over here was home. Dont get me wrong I love this city but since I came over here it has made me appreciate the Kiwi way of life so much more. I guess its reaffirmed my beliefs of how lucky I am to come from a country as wonderful as NZ. Ive meet so many people over here that have seen more of the country than I have so my aim when I go back home is to explore my own backyard.

Now my favourite day of the year since I moved here is Waitangi day, and since i first experienced it London style Ive been planning ever since for the next years event. You see its the one day of the year where Kiwis gather here to show the pride we feel for our country and to share our culture with the world.

Oddly enough this is done in the shape of pub crawl starting at 10 am and concluding at 4 in Parliament square where all the men rip off their shirts and perform one all mighty haka. I know it sounds wierd but it tops my list as best event of the year, and I still stand by that even after having been to La Tomatina and Oktoberfest.

Twenty thousand Kiwis come together as one to celebrate and it is the one day of the year people are allowd to gather at parliament square...people are dressed up and singing tunes from back home and the sense of pride just swells inside u. I have never felt so proud to be a Kiwi as I did on Waitangi Day this year...

Back home Waitangi Day is nothing special....just a free day off work really but here it is just unlike anything I have ever been apart of before. My only gripe is that it took me travelling halfway around the world to realise where home is and to realise how much my culture means to me. I only wish the festivities that are celebrated here could be shared with eveyone back home. I know you couldnt all be here to celebrate with me but without further ado may I present Waitangi Day Pub Crawl 09....the video!
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