First Impressions of my Neighborhood

March 31st, 2007 by matt

I just posted some graphical representations of my new home (well exteriors), but I wanted to write a little bit as well. Since arriving on Monday, I really haven’t done much more than work and commute. I was pretty jetlagged the first few days so, after I went to work, all I wanted to do was sleep. Finally, I hit the weekend.

While I’m still living in hotels (4 more days!), I decided that it would be a smart idea to check out the surrounding area near my apartment. This is not the first time I’ve moved to a new place and, in the past, my first home in a new location might not always be the most ideal location (whether it be crime ridden or far from the necessities like groceries). I have been very nervous that this new place might be another one of those places. I hopped on a bus outside my office and was there in under 20 minutes (first plus!). When I got off the bus, I started looking around the high street (that’d be a commercial strip for those of you living in the US. They tend to have many of these so as to provide plenty of services for all the residents). While there were plenty of off license places (stores where you can buy beer), the shops around my street looked a little bleak (OTB and things that appeared shuttered). I trudged on, talking to Dina on the phone and suddenly hit upon the swanky part of Highbury (that’s my neighborhood. it’s also home to the Arsenal Football Club). Big ass houses and lots of green. Very pretty.

Once I made a loop back around to where I live, I found my initial concerns were unfounded. Within 5 minutes of my place, there are 4 or 5 smaller grocery stores (which is a normal size in England), a fish shop and a vegetable and fruit shop (that one is about half a block from me!). Here’s the vegetable shop:


I also managed to get a library card and just had a nice time soaking in the reality that this will soon be my home! I can’t wait until Wednesday.

Where I’ll be living in Pictures

March 31st, 2007 by matt

I can’t move into my place until Wednesday, but they can’t stop me from wandering around and taking some pics! 🙂


That’s my street!


That’s the exterior of my apartment. I’m the second floor (here it’s the first floor)


Looking down Beresford Rd


Looking down Beresford Rd again

A Brief Greetings From London

March 26th, 2007 by matt

Hello all.

I’ve made it to London. I now officially live here, even if I’m stuck doing the hotel/couch surfing thing for about 9 days. I’m very very tired, but it was a smooth trip, even when lugging around 50 pounds of crap. And with a good night’s sleep, i’ll be raring to hit the ground running tomorrow.

Anyways, just a quick hello from London! Those of you I’ve left behind in the US, I miss you all.

48 hours to go. Woah!

March 23rd, 2007 by matt

Just a quick note. This morning is my last day in the office. It’s really a half day as I have to meet with movers in the afternoon. Then I make a massive push to get my shit together in the next 2 days and then hop a plane on Sunday night and begin my new life. I’m completely freaked out at the moment, but it’ll all be worth it very soon! 🙂

I have pics and some fun info about last weekend (lots of fun activities) and I’ll write about them soon, I swear (mom!!).

Cats == All Clear

March 20th, 2007 by matt

So I promised a while ago I’d lay off the lamentations of missing my cats. This is not one of them, but it is a short little ditty about my cats.

I don’t know if I’ve gone into details, but the way the cats can come over is by being free of rabies (the UK apparently hasn’t a single instance of it). This must be proven by a blood test. If they show enough of the vaccination for it and they are not symptomatic, then they are ok to move over to the UK. Well, right before they went away with my parents, I had them have their blood test. The blood test is then sent to Kansas. As soon as that lab gets their blood samples, the clock starts ticking.

Now, my vet promised to contact me as soon as they heard the results. Well, I assumed that there’d be no problems and, being a little wrapped up in all the other things in life, I didn’t really follow up. The prospect of being able to have them move over with me soon (since my apartment is cat-friendly) reminded me that I’d heard nothing from the vet since I brought the cats for their blood tests. So I called them yesterday and they realized they’d never heard a peep from the lab in Kansas since they mailed the blood to them. Gulp!!

Thankfully, they got in touch with the lab and the official day the 6 month clock started ticking was January 10th. Which means the cats can move to London in mid-June July! Very exciting!

I have an official move date

March 16th, 2007 by matt

Well, I am making it fully official. Today I purchased an overpriced ticket to London. The return date is technically sometime in May, but I imagine I’ll end up changing it and stuff or not using it all. But it does mean that on the evening of March 25th, I need to have all my shit in order and be ready to uproot the nice little life I have to move to London. How nerve wracking! 🙂

In the meantime, I am going up to Michigan tomorrow with a load of things to start cleaning out my apartment. When I leave, there should be nothing but furniture, pictures on the walls and stuff in boxes.

Christian Rock Junkmail?

March 14th, 2007 by matt

Some needs to explain to me why I might seem like the target audience to be sending junkmail to for a Christian Rock Festival. I might be one of the last people this would appeal to. 🙂

11 Days to go

March 14th, 2007 by matt

Wow, today I will be buying a plane ticket with a return date that won’t be happening for a very long time. Looks like I’ll be shooting for March 25th to fly over to London, loaded up with goodies. And this time, I won’t be coming back in two weeks. A little daunting, but very exciting.

In the meantime, the next 2-3 days are going to be supremely successful. After that, I’ll be able to relax and enjoy my final days in this wonderful city. So I might be a little silent (email, phone, web) until the weekend. It’s nothing personal, I just need to focus on some things. 🙂

One more time in Chicago :(

March 11th, 2007 by matt

Once again, I’m back in the land of the prairies! This time around is going to be a little bittersweet. Last time, I had no new home lined up and there was like a month to get everything together. For some reason, it didn’t seem so imminent. This time around, I have a new place which makes plotting my next moves all the easier. However, I’ve only got 2 freaking weeks, so there’s a little bit of a sense of urgency (hell, I might not have a chance to go to m. henry, my favorite brunch place before I leave).
Anyway, time to go over my list of things to do. As Carolyn has pointed out, I’ve actually done a decent job of getting my shit together, so the list is mostly just new things or packing, packing, packing. And the point of the title is that it’s nice to be back in Chicago, but sad that it’ll be the last time I’m here for a bit. Sniffle.

No more cardboard box in my future!

March 10th, 2007 by matt

Ok, it’s official. In the beginning of April, I will be the proud tenant of an apartment that is NOT a cardboard box or a hotel room. It was a bit of an ordeal but, in the end, I have a signed lease and I’ve put down a crapload of money. I’ll get into the details later. For the moment, I’ll just post some pics from the listing. Enjoy!

Here’s the layout (yes, that’s 400 sq ft!)



Kitchen (part of the living room)


Living room


And here’s a link to a sort of panaroma . And if you wanna see where it is, here’s a google maps link.

Anyway, my latest jaunt to the UK is over. Time to pack and head back to Heathrow for a final trip to the US.

An Entry from the Past

March 5th, 2007 by matt

So you want pictures? Then we’re going to have to take a trip into the past, in a time when I was still in the Central Time Zone. At the time it was assumed that I would be moving March 5th, but work kind of changed that and I’m able to come back to Chicago one last time. Anyhoo, Carolyn and Carolyn were kind enough to throw me a nice little going away party, complete with beer and shepherds pie! A group of very nice people came and wished me farewell, although I hope to see them all again very soon since I’ll be back in the States next week! Below are some photos from this very party!






You might notice two obviously missing people. Myself, but that is due to the fact that I was the drunken photographer and, more importantly, Carolyn. Well, when I went through all my pictures just before writing this, I was surprised to find that, anytime the camera came upon Carolyn’s beautiful visage, she covered her face!! Sooo, Carolyn has no photos of this party. Booo! 🙂


March 2nd, 2007 by matt

So you know how I said I’d be posting again shortly? Yeah, that didn’t happen. It’s been a busy, educational week. Until this afternoon, I hadn’t been more than one mile from my hotel since arriving there in the first place. I have tons of fun things to share and observations to make. Some of it I can’t actually disclose (woah!), but I’ll put together a hopefully(!) entertaining post tomorrow.

And a congrats to my dad on his declaring his retirement today! Sounds like it might only be a partial retirement, but he’s earned it and I’m excited for my mom and dad to begin their life of leisure together. 🙂