Tidying Update

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Jennifer Burk

So I have only just discovered that Photobucket is now charging users $400 USD/year to hotlink images onto third party websites. My blog is a bit of a mess at the moment, but thankfully I had the good sense to keep all my images saved elsewhere (read: on my PC).

I will be slowly fixing everything when I have time, so for now enjoy the ugly that Photobucket has taken itself to impose on this li’l blog. All should be back to normal soon-ish (and I’ll actually update this thing, too!).

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Winter & the Festive Season

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The cathedral in the morning winter sun really is something else.

It’s that time of year again when there’s a Christmas tree in every front window, lights on all the houses and the temperatures a balmy 12 degrees Celsius…wait, what?!

After a cold start to December (I’m talking temperatures dipping below zero, which is quite cold in these parts), we are now experiencing another mild lead up to Christmas. In fact, that crazy temp I just mentioned is the forecast for Christmas Day. What the what? I could get away with wearing a light jacket! In fact, I HAVE gone out for a walk in a light jacket recently. Just ridiculous.

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I needed a heavier jacket on this walk, though.

Pete and I have enjoyed doing the usual festive things during December. We have been hosting some geocaching events at pubs (continuing a series of these events from last winter), getting our shopping done early (I am DONE…well, I might get a few extra things…heh heh) and generally just chilling out after busy days at work.

I usually get terribly homesick this time of year, but I have been doing better this time around. True, there are things I definitely miss (Stanley Park, gah!), but we are creating our own little traditions in this neck of the woods. Pete finally “gets” why I love driving around in search of insanely decked out houses. We will be attending a Christmas Day geocaching event for the third year running (hosted by my mother-in-law). Oh, and we finally got a new Christmas tree and some nerdy ornaments. Behold!

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I think Deadpool needs a Santa beard. Maybe next year.

We also definitely bought a Lego set (the Winter Toy Shop, pictured next to the tree) and we’re hoping to get a few more of these sets in the future. Oh boy, that could get out of control and fast!

Oh 2016, you were definitely rough at times (that’s an understatement!), but overall this year was pretty good to me on a personal level. As always, though, I look forward to ushering in another year in the hope that it will be even better. Optimism ahoy!

Happy Holidays / Merry Christmas / Happy Hanukkah / Joyous Kwanzaa

…and a happy new year, you filthy animals.

Upcoming Awesome

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There is a chill in the air today, but it was so gloriously sunny that I just had to spend my last, work-free day out in it. Okay, so I went into a Starbucks, read boring documents (and started a new book) and sipped at my free drink (thank you, Star Points), but I was not prepared for suddenly lower temperatures. I don’t even know what I’m saying…the high was 9 degrees celsius, but dang, when that wind picked up it was cold.

I mentioned this is my last “free day” as I am (finally!) starting a new job with the local government on Monday. I was interviewed well over a month ago so, yes, it’s been a process, but I have my start date at last. Seriously, every time I have started a new job here there have been complications, so I wasn’t too surprised when even more arose with this particular one. But, things are mostly sorted and this unemployment spell will soon be over!

I went to London last weekend to attend the Canadian Remembrance Day service in Green Park. I attended the service last year and completely by accident, too. I had wanted to go to the memorial anyway to leave a poppy only to find it cordoned off from the general public. A quick ask around and I soon learned that there would be a service–so I stayed to take it in.

I’m really glad we were able to go again this year. We brought along Pete’s mum, too, and had a short, but sweet day trip to the capital. I even brought along Canadian money to give to the girl selling poppies (the dang pin on the poppy did a number on my thumb a couple of times, though–stabby stabby!). The weather was quite mild, too, which was a lovely bonus. I’m not sure when next we’ll go to London, but I’m sure it will be within the upcoming months. We always enjoying going there.

And now my brain is tuning into Christmas and all the activities going on in Gloucester and Cheltenham. Next weekend is the Victorian Christmas Market in Gloucester, so I’ve made a note in my calendar about that. We haven’t gone before, but those sorts of things are fun to check out. Um, I mostly go for the food, haha! The market in Cheltenham will be starting up on December 3, but if I’m being honest, I was quite disappointed with it last year. The only great thing about it was learning about the existence of The Great British Cheese Company. We may have gone back several times to buy cheese from them. Our favourite, Smokey Redwood, actually sold out…as in they had none left, not even at the source! Dang it. I hope they’re back this year as they are one company I don’t mind giving my hard earned money to.

That’s about all that’s going on around here. I have no trips or any other things of that nature planned in the near future, but 2016 promises to be a doozy on that front. I hope even a few of the crazy ideas Brit Boy and I have conjured will come to fruition. Until then…here’s to the upcoming awesome.

30 Months

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The past couple of months have been fun, stressful, educational, confidence building and scary. Getting married was the easy part! It’s what followed that proved to be tough.

It is most definitely a cliché, but sometimes when you so desperately want to move forward in your life, you have to overcome a whole lot of POOP—that’s how the old adage goes, right? Close enough.

Well, for me, the “poop” was the crippling fear that my Visa application would be rejected and I would be forced to leave the country—and my new husband—and spend a whole lot of time and funds to re-apply.

I’m almost tempted to write a blog post about how to apply for a new Visa when you’re a foreigner living INSIDE the UK because there was very little information I could find. Hmm!

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Well, I wasn’t kicked out of the country, despite my application decision taking much longer than I originally anticipated (nearly two months), so now I finally feel like I’m back to my mostly chilled out and relatively anxiety-free self!

Did I mention what I got out of the deal was a small plastic card the size of a driver’s license with a most unflattering photo of yours truly on it? Hot dang! This little card bestows upon me permission to continue remaining and working in the UK for another 30 months. Huzzah!

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Yes, that means there will be even more pictures of Gloucester Cathedral. You can’t escape pictures of this cathedral! Never ever.

I certainly feel lucky that I can continue to live in this beautiful place. I know most Brits I’ve spoken with aren’t too quick to speak highly of where they live, but I have gotta say—you have it pretty good and I’m happy that I get to stay here for another couple of years. Even if that means I constantly have to hear “That’s not a regional accent!” Honestly, I can put up with that. I can put up with a lot more than that.

I know this because I already have.

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So, what’s next?

Well, for starters, I turn 32 in exactly one week. To celebrate, the huz is taking me to IKEA. Now, I know you may think that is a bit silly, but I haven’t been to IKEA in nearly two years. I have fun at IKEA. Waaaay too much fun. I miss the cheap breakfast. I miss causing mischief in the showrooms. I miss feeling bad about walking around without a purchase, so I end up buying napkins. I may have looked at the 2015 catalogue to prepare myself (honestly, though, I am on the lookout for a new shelf!).

Oh yes. It’s gonna be good.

Oh yeah, and I’m going to be visiting my family and friends back in BC soon. And by “soon”, I mean T-minus 19 days. YES!

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So, here’s to another 30 months! I can’t wait to see what else is in store…hopefully a lot less paperwork and a whole lot of awesome. Yes, I would like that. I would like that very much.