Oh boy, where to start on Monday's events? Monday was frustrating and probably one of the lowest lows of the trip. I woke up incredibly grumpy after a night of non-stop tossing and turning. I wish I had my sleeping bag and camping pad then I would've slept better. Sean told me I was angry in my sleep and I kept making angry grunting noises. I'm tellin ya, I need a good sleep! Sean went for a quick run around the area then headed to Starbucks to use their internet for the day. Shortly after he left I realized there was no coffee in the house, not even caffienated tea, so I too headed to Starbucks. That place was insane! So Chiswick has a lot of kids and families and apparently they all hang out during the day in the coffee shop. It was mobbed with toddlers running around the tables, little newborns howling on the top of their lungs, and mothers chit chatting away. In the back corner of the shop there was a playground area. A Starbucks with a playground!!!! I found Sean hiding in a dark corner on a big, plush, velvety purple couch. I asked him how hard he thought it would be to walk out with one of these couches and carry it home. Not too hard probably, the little kids could create a diversion while we stroll out of there with real furniture. Maybe we can swap it. Those toddlers will love the mini couches we have. It's their size. So there was Sean, huddled in the corner, staring at his laptop, willing the internet connection there to speed up. Most of the time though it wasn't even working. He had a long to-do list and needed the internet to find phone numbers, get bank accounts in order, and do work. He had only been there 15 minutes and already looked like he wanted to strangle someone. I quietly sat across from him making lists of things we needed for the apartment while drinking my peppermint mocha.
The first thing Sean tried to do was call Virgin to see how things were going in terms of setting up internet at the flat. He called them about a week ago to put the order in that we want it installed only to be disappointed with the news that they couldn't get anyone out to our place for another ten days. So, Sean called after about a week of waiting since no one had contacted us to set up an appointment. It became clear that the sales guy who took Sean's order a week ago didn't actually take his info, or his credit card number, or his address or name. He wasn't in their system. All this waiting for nothing. We thought we were in que for internet. A week behind. I then listened to Sean as he explained his frustration to one sales guy after another, manager after manager, wasting precious international minutes on his phone. Finally 45 minutes later he got forwarded to someone who seemed like they could help. Unfortunately, we waited a week for nothing. Now we are told that first they have to send a spotter out to see if our apartment is even set up for internet. That may take 10 days. Then if it is, we go back in que and wait for someone to actually come out and install it. That may take 10 days. So, it looks like we'll be hitting up Starbucks or searching for a pub with wi-fi for the next couple of weeks. Awesome. Sean looked like he was ready to explode. He NEEDS internet to do work. Not just to blog and email. He NEEDS to be online. Right now his office is the Starbucks which is populated with tiny kids enjoying big, nice, soft, real couches while yelling in his ear.
After that frustrating call Sean left to go see if he could get a phone. His blackberry was barely working here and he wasn't getting any reception on that phone. If we can't get internet at home then he at least needs a phone that will work. He got an awesome iPhone (JEALOUS!!!) but could once again only get a pay as you go deal. Maybe after he's lived here for six months he'll have just enough credit built up to get a plan. With the pay as you go deal you have to top up your phone with money in order for it to keep working. We still don't fully understand how to top-up. No one will really explain it either because it's obviously something everyone already knows how to do, or should know. Silly Americans, they don't know how to top-up. Even those Starbucks toddlers were probably topping-up.
The kids got louder and louder as the day went on and Starbucks' internet signal was dwindling and disappearing. It was so slow. Our sure-fire, big hope for internet was fading. If we can't get internet here, then where can we? Oh and, Starbucks closes at 7pm. Everything else (except the pubs) closes at 5. After a long day of sitting in Starbucks we left. We stopped at the store to grab some frozen pizza, figuring we can just throw that in the cooker and we don't need any special cooking utensils. I sat down in front of the oven to try to figure out how to use it. I then realized that this is a really small oven. I hope my lasagna dish fits. I read the instruction manual and after fiddling for a bit I got it to heat up. Holy moly it stunk! Since it was new it said to leave it running for 30 minutes. We were starving and couldn't wait. Sean ran downstairs and ordered a pizza from the pizza shop next door to us. (That's how impatient we are right now) The guy was pretty nice and told us that the building that we're in now used to be shops on the bottom floor then apartments up above. The shops never got business though because the building is tucked away off the main road. The pizza was decent. Satisfying. We're saving the frozen pizzas for the rest of the week.
Sean was trying to get an internet signal in the flat using his phone and some do-dad thingy he bought but it didn't work. Again, a weak to almost nonexistant signal. Starbucks was closed. His phone wasn't working. He wasn't picking up internet. Gah what to do? He did discover that if he sits up in the nook with the laptop on the window sill it may work, just enough, just barely enough to load a page in a few minutes. Better than nothing. It doesn't work though if you sit back in the nook. You have to be on the edge, almost out the window. He was able to do some emailing and research directions for his trip to the other side of London where he had a meeting on Tuesday.
While we were searching for an internet connection we got news that the boxes we packed to ship over may not be getting to us anytime soon. There's three boxes filled with clothes and shoes and jackets that are supposed to be here any day but we keep getting messages that they're stuck in customs or something. Who knows. Then the other ten boxes filled with our stuff, including kitchen stuff, won't be shipped out till this Friday. They're being shipped a slower and more cost effective route and may not get to our door for another two weeks. HOLY MOLY!!!!! TWO WEEKS? I love eating out, but we've been eating out for the past two weeks already. I want to cook. A month without cooking? I could go out and buy stuff now, pots and pans and such but then when the boxes DO get here I'll have double of everything. Plus I can be using that money towards other things like miracle grow for the couches and bed. I'm getting sick of eating out. It's expensive and not healthy. I can keep cooking frozen pizza. Or maybe we can have cereal for every meal. I did break down and buy two plates even though we have plates in the box that's hopefully coming over so maybe I can just make salads. GRRRRRrrrrrrrrrr. The other hugely frustrating thing is that in order to ship these boxes cheaply through this route means that there also needs to be a very detailed packing list of what's in each box. I didn't make that list, now someone has to open my boxes, unpack them, then pack them back up. I spent sooooooooo freakin long packing those boxes. I made sure things were way too organized, unbreakable, unmovable, it was like a jigsaw puzzle fitting everything in there just right. I spent so much time packing those. All those days I stayed home because "I have to pack for London". Not to mention all the money we spent on packing tape. I covered those boxes. I didn't want them to break open. SO.FREAKING.ANNOYING. I cried. I just want my stuff. I just want to start settling in here. I'm losing patience fast.
After being here for about two full weeks now I've come to realize that we're kind of in this weird limbo of being tourists and being residents. We have a home, we have an address but it feels nothing like a home. Things we were promised by our landlord are MIA and already we feel that this long, professional contract that we had to sign (and pay for) is worthless. The things we were given make us feel like they ripped us off. Internet is nowhere in our near future. Our belongings are only-god-knows-where. I can't sleep at night. We don't know anyone here and although Sean and I have each other it still feels so lonely.
I want to be a tourist and go enjoy the sites of London but I just can't right now. I'm worried about everything. How can I go sightseeing when there's an entire flat that needs to be cleaned because everything is covered in dust. When you go on a vacation eating out every meal is fun, it's what you plan for. Staying in a hotel is fun because you know you'll be going home soon. I guess maybe I had too big of expectations that once we moved in things would start to settle. I sound like a debbie downer here. I'm sorry. I guess I'm just feeling a bit frustrated and quite homesick. Thank goodness I have Sean, I'd really be going bonkers without him.