April 4th, 2007 by matt

So the current tenent in my place is apparently a little dim on what ‘no, you cannot stay until Saturday means’. So, today is supposed to be move-in day and she’s got movers and cleaners coming in on Saturday. Now I’m going back and forth with my estate agent to figure out how to clean this mess up (alas, it’s not cut and dry as always). Needless to say, I’m pretty fucking pissed right now :(More when I know more. It’s looking increasingly likely that today is not move-in day. sigh.


OK. I’m stuck in a hotel for the next 2 or 3 days. I’m feeling like a drama queen, but this is extrordinarily irritating. Now I need to re-figure out my first European long weekend and I have to be a nomad for another few days. Anyways, that’s enough whining for one day.

A brief moment of silence

April 2nd, 2007 by matt

Those of you who read the comments might have noticed this entry by Carolyn. Anyone who has looked in the back of my now-former apartment might have noticed the lovely white car that was always sitting in back there. On my grandma’s 90th birthday, she gave that car to me. While it was a pain in the ass, it was a wonderful thing to have as I was previously without a car. My grandma died about a year and a half ago and the car didn’t last much longer than that. In usual Matt fashion, I didn’t get rid of it immediately. Finally, push came to shove and, as I was leaving the country, I finally dealt with dontating it to the American Heart Association. Carolyn, being the saint that she is, was kind enough to be available for the tow truck to take my fine little car on its last journey.

Anyway, if you are reading this, would you be so kind to raise a glass to my car and my grandma. May they both rest in peace. And a special thanks to Carolyn for being so helpful and wonderful.

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.

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! 🙂

Getting very close!

February 21st, 2007 by matt

So today was a milestone of sorts. It was the day I got the page in my passport with my visa! It means that, after 2/25/2007, I can work in the UK and come and go as I please. It sort of makes this whole thing seem very real. Anyways, my plan at this point is to have a few friends over on Friday to celebrate my departure back to the Old World, wake up the next day and shake off the hangover and pack. Then I’m going back to London for 2 weeks for more work and house hunting. After that, I have a quick two weeks back in the US and, at the end of March, I make the final move. Meanwhile, I’m slowly but surely churning through my list of things to do.

I promise to try to make my next trip to the UK more entertaining from a blogging (god i hate that word) standpoint. Pictures and stuff will be a-plenty! For now, it’s just a lot of busy work and a little bit o’ fun. wheee!

Comin’ Home

February 3rd, 2007 by matt

Well, my time for my first trip to England is over. I hoped to come back massively in debt, but with a nice apartment lined up. However, I had an offer in on a place and it fell through. So, when I make the move for good in March, I’ll have a temporary period of homelessness whist I look for an apartment. Interestingly, it seems as though a lot of places turn over in a week or two, so the pickings weren’t great since there wasn’t a whole lot of places that wanted to wait until March to fill the place. At least a couple of people in my office experienced this too. It all depends on if you get lucky. Anyway, it’s been a fun trip, but I’m excited to come home and see people and get myself ready to make the big move!

I’ve not been eaten!

January 30th, 2007 by matt

The brits didn’t devour me whole. I’m just in househunting/finance freaking out mode in the moment and not exactly motivated to write about it. It’ll be a very tight first few months in London. 🙁

Running in London

January 25th, 2007 by matt

So I brought my running clothes with the purpose of actually doing some running. First of all, I need to stay in shape if I’m going to drink at every pub in London :). Second, it’d be a great way to see the city. So I got up early this morning and tried to see if I couldn’t get myself lost or hit by a car. Needless to say, I am still standing, so I survived the mean streets on London. I was trying to take a short trip to this canal which has a little park along it, but I took a wrong turn right off the bat which meant I ran sort of in parallel to the canal for a while. Eventually, I hit a canal but the park was closed until sunrise, so I ran on a road that goes along the park/canal. Then I decided I had a good sense of where I was so I started taking detours. The canal was pretty: there are nice apartments along it, it has a peaceful quality and on one side of it, there were houseboats lined up. A nice little trip. Alas, every time I knew where I was, I’d try a different road until I managed to get myself all backwards and took a wrong turn. I did bring my London A-Z, so I was able to figure out where I was. I took one more wrong turn which was actually a correct turn and ended up right back at my hotel and ready for breakfast.

Anyway, other than that, I have an appointment with a large estate agent company to look at some places tomorrow around noon. Hopefully, it’ll be productive. I don’t necessarily expect to find the apartment of my dreams on my first time out, but to just get a lay of the land and understand the whole real estate market better. fun fun!