Upon boarding the bus for London last Sunday (November 30), it seemed like I had just gotten off the bus at Leeds Coach Station (which was late Friday night, November 28). So after a very poor ParkRun on Saturday (whose only highlight was meeting a Chinese-born student from the University of Leeds who once studied in the Land of the Rising Sun and thus speaks 日本語) and a Saturday mostly spent packing, I endured another slow four/four-and-a half hour bus ride to London…
(The train is obviously a faster way to reach the capital but I’m way too cheap to buy a train ticket. The bus rides would be more enjoyable if it weren’t practically pitch dark upon arriving in London at this time of the year)
Where I completed my work placement. I was limited to ten days at Four Communications and I did two in October and five from November 24 to November 28. So my last day would be Wednesday, December 3 😦
In a sense, my final three days at Four Communications were relatively run-of-the mill as I didn’t complete any super exciting tasks but the days continued to go fast – even when I was completing my most mundane duty: updating the media lists for some of our clients. However, some of my assignments were quite enjoyable. Well, in the sense that my colleagues were pleased with some of the work was absolutely wonderful. Especially a blog post about a hotel in The Hague for Stena Line, a ferry operator that serves the Netherlands (I had emphasized the hotel’s very green way of doing business). Unfortunately, that blog entry hasn’t been updated yet but another blog entry I helped compose for that site is. Click here (I selected pictures for that blog post and four of the ten listed activities). I also greatly enjoyed the reaction I got from Felicity, the colleague I mostly worked with, when I e-mailed her a media pitch for Viator.com (another of our clients) that featured five tours with athletic activities in Caribbean destinations (Of those five, the tour I would most like to sign up for is a bobsledding tour of the Jamaican countryside starting in Montego Bay).
While I won’t rehash everything I did during the last three days or previous seven, I definitely feel Four Communications is the type of place I could see myself working at. Unfortunately, there is no chance in hell I will get a job there. At least, not anytime soon. Probably because I don’t have the experience yet and I’m not sure if they sponsor work visas (In addition, I’m still lacking a bit of confidence in myself but that’s another story). But hopefully, the contacts I made will be useful in the job hunt.
As for working in London… Clare (a colleague of mine in Yokohama) once said to me once you’ve lived in a certain place for a week, it seemed like you’ve lived there forever. While I won’t go that far in regards to working in London, my Tube commute and offer duties had become second nature to me – especially since morning and afternoon trains are quite frequent. London is definitely a place I could see myself working.
And of course, it helps (like in any big city) there is an unlimited number of locations serving delicious meals. Many of those places happen to be expensive so my normal lunchtime hangout was the nearby Subway, where I could order a £2.29 six-inch Veggie Delight. But as I mentioned in my previous blog entry, the Borough Market is located near the Four Communications office and I explored it prior to work one day. Even better, it’s a great location to grab a bite for lunch and my Four Communications colleague Johara (the one North American-sounding person there although she’s lived in the UK for about twenty years) recommended a stand named Koshari Street, which served a delicious Egyptian vegetarian meal (Johara’s not a vegetarian by the way). I didn’t find it on Tuesday (Johara told me about it on that morning) but thanks to her help, I found it to the next morning. Only for me to choose a falafel at an adjacent stand. But for those in the vicinity (meaning the London Bridge), the Borough Market is a great place for lunch as there is a diverse selection of cuisine to choose from. Although it can be pricey for those on a budget – my falafel cost £5.
During my Four Communications time, I usually bounced straight back to my hostel after work – the same hostel near Arsenal FC’s ground (I happened to meet a cool Sapporo native in my room one night). But my last full day in London (Tuesday, December 2), I took a nice leisurely stroll to the nearby Tower of London (Being a major tourist site, numerous signs direct pedestrians to the landmark). It’s not a new sight for me as during last year’s World Travel Market, I posed for some pictures with the Tower Bridge in the background. Now that I think of it, I don’t think I had ever gotten really close to the Tower of London before. Anyway, being a major London landmark, the immediate area was definitely drawing its share of visitors at roughly 6:30-7 p.m. – even if the actual tower was closed. Perhaps, I should actually learn why the Tower is historically significant.
Before I leave this country, I’m sure there will be another fun London day on the horizon. But I’ve gotten comfortably settled back in Leeds life as yesterday, I participated in a small focus group discussion on cycling in Leeds, took part in International Volunteering Day, and danced ’til late at the Hyde Park Harriers Christmas party (It’s still a bit early for Christmas parties but I had fun). And even better, I finished second in the ParkRun today, running my best time in… I’m not sure how long.
Hopefully, my final month in the U.K. will bring me a lot of good times 🙂