liv: ribbon diagram of a p53 monomer (p53)
Thank you to everyone who came to my slightly last minute party on Saturday; it was great to have one last chance to enjoy the multi-faceted conversations typical of Cambridge geek events. And lovely to see [ profile] deborah_c and her excellent offspring, [ profile] simont, [personal profile] pseudomonas, [ profile] fivemack (sorry for making you ill), and some tree kangaroos on the BBC.

Yom Kippur was very much what I want out of the day, with a truly excellent rabbi and our lovely Reform liturgy, and a community I feel so much part of. I got loads of congratulations and good advice on the job, and generally even though it was a solemn occasion it also felt like a great send-off.

I have spent today packing, somewhat inefficiently, and have more to do this evening. Tomorrow morning my parents are driving me to Stoke-on-Trent and settling me in a doctors' flat there; it feels a lot like the first day of uni all over again! But yay for lovely parents making this far more less painful than it might be otherwise.

The thing about the flat is that it has no phone or internet access; I expect I'll be able to access the internet from work and on my new shiny phone, but I doubt I'll have lots of time for hanging out online. I would welcome text messages, phonecalls (or paper letters / postcards if you're into that). See locked post for contact details. And if I don't manage to post with life updates, I'll try to at least ping Twitter so you know I'm still alive.
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
Happy new year, peeps! I spent the last couple of weeks of the old year something like this:

D-day minus 12 )

Annnnnd now it is Rosh HaShana (Jewish New Year). P'tite Soeur came home for the festival, so we had a good natter. Shul last night and this morning, which was generally lovely. It wins two awards for the shortest ever, though: both the rabbi and the service!
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
I haven't updated for a couple of weeks, because I have barely had time to breathe during that time. It involved two international moves and catching up with months worth of family time and quite a lot of headless chicken imitations!

Anyway, the culmination of all this was that I arrived in New York yesterday evening. I am here until the end of July, mostly studying at Drisha but I'm likely to be free to meet up evenings or weekends if anyone feels like it. Next weekend I am going to Montreal to see [ profile] rysmiel. And the first week in August (after the course finishes) I might go on a long diversion to California, but that has to be finalized. Anyway if you are somewhere within a reasonable day trip of New York, let me know if you want to make plans.

why I've not been online much recently )

So, if you were in New York for a month with fairly limited free time, what would be your priority?
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
Various experiences speaking Swedish in the last couple of days. I'm sort of annoyed that I'm not going to get a chance to improve more, because I'm just starting to feel comfortable with the language, but hey.

assorted incidents )

To cheer myself up after all this ending stuff, I bought a huge gelato, with chilli-choc and raspberry, which was very yummy. Now I'm waiting for a text from Screwy to let me know he's on his way. Don't expect me around a whole lot before the weekend, between guests and last minute sorting out and travelling I'm not going to have a lot of time.

Thanks so much for all your encouragement when I was feeling defeated by the packing!


May. 18th, 2009 10:31 pm
liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
Having spent the weekend sorting my head out, I'm now at least emotionally committed to leaving this job and Sweden mid-June, and probably spending the summer in New York doing Jewish learning. So today I talked to both my boss and the head of HR for the department and gave formal notice that this is what I'm doing. I haven't actually bought plane tickets or a registration for Drisha yet, but in my head it feels like a decision. And this comes with the realization that I actually only have a month more here. I hope I can make the most of it, I have plans for [personal profile] jack coming to visit and running activities for Shavuot and hopefully will have some actual goodbye parties now I really am leaving.

what I'll miss about Sweden )
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I am trying to organize to send my books here. I don't know how many books I have, nor how much they weigh. I think it's in the order of hundreds (rather than tens or thousands). They take up about 6 metres of shelving, but that's a mix of all different sizes of books and all different sizes of shelves!

I have two options: I can ship them, which costs £300 for a maximum of 1 cubic metre with no restriction on weight, or I can post them, which costs about £100 per 30 kg with fairly generous restrictions on volume. It seems like the second option is better, but I just don't have a feel for how many books I can fit in to either 1 cubic metre or 30 kg. (The other advantage of the posting method is that if I can't fit all the books in one parcel, I can send two parcels, and the price just increases proportionately. With the shipping, if it's more than 1 cubic metre the price jumps right up.) I have driven myself crazy trying to ask Google how much books generally weigh; the words are too common to get anything meaningful.

So I'm going to ask LJ instead; there's got to be someone here who nows the answer to this, or knows where to look, or at least has a better feel for these spatial things than I do!

The other options are crazy ones involving basically bringing the books here myself. I can carry about 20 kg of books in my suitcase if I fly home and come back with them, which would cost in the order of £100 per trip plus masses of hassle. And I could do it repeatedly. Or, my parents have conceived an ambition to drive to Sweden. If I could pay for them to do this, which I think would cost in the order of £500, they could bring me an entire car full of books. Or thirdly, I could, you know, go and spend £300 on new books on Amazon and get them to deliver them in one huge parcel, but I don't think I would get very many books for that money.

So, what is the cheapest way to end this unbearable situation of being bookless?
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
Let's see. I've basically not been online at all since Monday. I've missed you guys!

if you care what I've been up to )

Between 5 o'clock Friday evening, when I saw the parents off, and 9 o'clock, a whole series of stupid little things went wrong. With the cumulative stress of starting out in a new country and not getting enough sleep or enough to eat for a couple of weeks, I got everything out of proportion. I couldn't think of ways to deal with these minor problems and I was frustrated by all the little things here I don't know how to do here. Happily, I got a nice email from [ profile] rysmiel, which was very cheering, and then I phoned [ profile] pseudomonas who was wonderful and came up with lots of practical suggestions and distracted me with interesting conversation. I love my friends; thank you for being there.

The only one of the problems that is at all serious is that, having told me it was very important to buy a computer through the university purchasing scheme, the financial department have now turned round and said I can't do that after all. I don't at all mind buying my own computer; that's what I was intending to do anyway. But I would greatly have preferred to do it when I was back in England, where I know the system (and have the ability to buy things by mail order, which I don't here, either online or by phone). Now that I'm in a sensible mood I can see that the only consequence is minor hassle; it will be harder to find what I want, and I may end up paying slightly over the odds, but it's not at all impossible. Of course, it does mean that it will take me longer to get online than I was hoping, which is a pain. I'm annoyed with the department for messing me around, but on the plus side at least I can buy something which isn't Dell. Meh.

Oh, and I'm starting Swedish lessons on Tuesday. It's an intensive, Ulpan type course taught entirely in Swedish and with emphasis on getting speaking confidence. I think that will stand me in good stead to learn the language, and also make me feel less of an idiot because I'll be able to deal with simple small talk in shops and the like. Also, learning is good.

Now to catch up on at least some of the friends page for the week.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
There are few things more annoying than having a social event I really, really wanted to go to, and failing to make it, not because of any external circumstances, but because of my own sheer ineptitude. Basically, I spent a large part of yesterday afternoon getting lost, and therefore failed to attend a BBQ with a bunch of "the international community" from work, people I really need to get to get know socially. Besides the fact that I'd promised I would attend; I hope people won't hold my non-appearance against me.

Getting lost was not bad luck, it was my fault for being stupid in several ways: firstly having no sense of direction in the first place, secondly for just writing down directions and not bothering to take my map with me, thirdly for being too bloody stubborn to admit I was lost until I'd already been wandering in the wrong direction for several hours, fourthly for being embarrassed about my inability to speak Swedish and therefore not asking for directions. So generally, I sucked quite a lot yesterday.

The other thing that happened was that I moved out of the basement and into the flat. So the morning was spent shlepping and assembling furniture, with a lot of very kind help from my landlord (who also fed me lunch). And today was spent first acquiring cleaning things and then using them.

It occurs to me that this is a lot like starting college, in several ways. Why? )

It will take some time and some effort and some money (the latter I don't really have just now) before the place is as I like it. But on the whole, it's good to have my own place. Yes.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I'm in Sweden. I can't get into the place I'm staying until my kind hosts have finished work, which means I can't get rid of my huge heavy bag. This makes it extremely tempting to spend the waiting time wasting all my money in an internet cafe!

Anyway, I thought I'd have at least a brief internet fix (though I might be sensible and not just hang out here for the next two hours), so I saw all your kind messages when I logged on just now. Thank you all so much, I really appreciate having such lovely friends.

Other than that, nothing to report. I have been awake too many hours already, and I'm tired and bored. But nothing bad has happened.
liv: ribbon diagram of a p53 monomer (p53)
I'm getting up stupid early tomorrow to leave for Sweden. I haven't accomplished half the things I wanted to get done before leaving, but I have more or less packed at least. And you really don't want to know about the self-recrimination loop I'm on the brink of; it's about as interesting as the effects abject terror is having on my guts. I'll very likely feel a lot better in a few days once I'm there and starting to get settled.

Weight and space restrictions mean I only have room for three small paperbacks. This could easily turn into one of those Desert Island type memes, couldn't it? I've taken The Stone Canal (Ken Macleod), Possession (AS Byatt) and Golden Witchbreed (Mary Gentle), which is partly to do with what I have available in small paperback format rather than being my three absolute favourite books in the world.

I feel bad about complaining, because there are several people on my friends list who have been made homeless at short notice this week. I'm in a state about a move I've known about for weeks, so it's entirely my fault I've failed to get organized. Anyway, from the depths of the self-inflicted stress of being six hours away from emigrating, I send my best supportive thoughts to everyone who has serious housing issues to contend with.

And love to everyone in general. I will try to check in when I can but I'm not expecting to be fully back online for a few weeks. Email is probably the best way to get hold of me but even that will not totally reliable for a while. Don't panic if you don't hear from me; if anything goes wrong (short of being abducted by aliens or total amnesia) I will do my level best to get a message to LJ. I'll also try not to drop off the planet if things are going well, but basically, no news is good news at this point.

There's nothing more I can do to prepare apart from sleep, I think.


Apr. 25th, 2006 08:53 am
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
Er, well, actually this post is mainly about shopping, but that would be a much more boring title! I decided to go into town yesterday in order to get a few things I need for moving. But Mum and Granny got on my back about buying new clothes, which I don't really need (now or ever), and the trip turned into this marathon clothes shopping expedition of doom. But boobies were involved too, so I supopse that makes it a bit better.

shopping report )

Anyway, the promised boobies. I did the Bravissimo thing, as recommended by a number of well-endowed friends. It was an interesting experience; their idea is that instead of measuring you with a tape-measure, the assisant watches you trying bras on and adjusts the size until you get something that fits perfectly. Which is probably a good idea, given the vagaries of clothes manufacturers generally! And it wasn't too intrusive; the assistant was very matter-of-fact about it, which I very much approve of. She offered to go out of the room while I changed bras, so even if you were shy you wouldn't have to do deal with a stranger seeing you topless; I'm not shy, and her obviously sensible attitude meant I didn't care.

I came out as 32E, in line with the Bravissimo theory that most women need to go down in back size and up in cup size to get a good fit. But 32E is really into Barbie doll territory! I can cope with the idea of being an E-cup, but how can there only be 32 inches around my chest?! Anyway, I bought this bra in the end. It's functional rather than wonderful, but I am impressed with how well it fits. Oh, and it's slightly more expensive than I would normally pay for a basic M&S bra, but not ridiculously so. And they didn't pressure me into buying anything, which I was worried about with all that personal attention.

Bravissimo has a good range, including sexy, plain, colourful, feminine, something for almost every taste. And this was reflected by their clientele, which did seem to include women of all ages and dress styles (I'm assuming people's tastes in bras vaguely reflects their tastes in outer clothes, but of course one never knows!) The trouble is that what I want in a bra is that it should be made mostly out of cotton (synthetics against my skin are sweaty and horrible), and that it should not have a horrible piece of wire under my breasts. And in any lingerie shop those preferences restrict my choices a bit. The assistant said that underwired styles are lot less uncomfortable if they fit properly, and she did demonstrate this principle, but I still prefer elastic rather than wire.

The other thing that's interesting about Bravissimo is the area where you wait to be assigned to a fitter. It's nice, with comfy chairs and a generally pleasant ambience. But the table has a stack of men's magazines! Obviously they have a lot of customers who drag bored boyfriends along and make them wait while they're being fitted. And they're carefully chosen men's magazines too, hobby mags and Men's Health and so on, rather than lad mags. I can imagine that women waiting for bra fitting would feel very uncomfortable if there were a stack of Nuts and Loaded in the waiting area! Interesting anthropological observation, though.

Anyway, that shopping trip took about 7 hours, which is time I can't really afford and is an extremely annoying way to waste a whole day. Also, I feel as if I'm sickening for something, something vaguely tonsilitis shaped. Which I really don't need when I'm about to move to Sweden! I really hope I'm wrong.
liv: ribbon diagram of a p53 monomer (p53)
So. I have booked a one-way flight to Sweden for 27th April.


Nothing organized, but it will be. I'm playing the same trick as I did when I set myself a hard deadline to make myself finish my thesis.

You might not see me on LJ very much in the next few weeks. Please write emails, even if you'd normally just rely on my keeping up with you via LJ; emails will cheer me up a lot even if I can't check them every single day.
I wouldn't in a million years wish for Screwy to be stuck in bed for a week, but I'm still selfishly glad I got to spend some extended time with him this week. He left while I was on the phone to my future landlord finalizing things, so I didn't get to say goodbye to him. But hey, he's my brother, he'll be around.

A day off

Apr. 18th, 2006 12:37 pm
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I decided to schedule some time with [ profile] pseudomonas yesterday. I don't see him enough because I tend to take him for granted, assuming that since he lives in the same city, I can see him any time... and then never make arrangements. But anyway, he had bank holiday Monday off, so we had a very pleasant day together.

It started off annoyingly due to train stupidity, but we met up in the end. I found a very cool patchwork padded jacket in the market for £1 (I love that jumble stall, I really do). And we had a picnic on Jesus Green; it was a lovely spring day for most of the time we were outdoors, which is really pleasing.

Then to the Fitzwilliam to see thir Blake exhibition. This turned out to be a small thing, mainly a couple of dozen plates from Jerusalem, The Emanation of the Giant Albion. So the rest of the afternoon was for quality time with the ceramics.

Lots of lovely conversation. I'm getting a bit stressed about the move to Sweden because I'm supposed to be going there next week and haven't really got the practical details sorted out yet. Nor have I written the grant application I'm supposed to be working on, and it would be starting on a really bad foot not to get that done before the deadline. But [ profile] pseudomonas was really reassuring. I am going to do this, I am going to just turn up in a foreign country with a couple of suitcases and just see what happens. It's just that it's going to happen awfully soon, rather than at some point in the distant future!


Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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