Archive for March, 2010

No more ironing for at least 3 months!

March 29, 2010 6pm in Random Ramblings | Comments (2)

Woohoo! As of today, 10 days of work left, and 10 shirts ironed last night! They’re all hanging up there nicely, and I’ve shoved the iron and ironing board away, never to be seen again!

Man I hate ironing. If only the dishes would do themselves for the next 10 working days.

Costa Rica for 5 weeks

March 28, 2010 4pm in 2010 trip,Costa Rica,Samara Beach,Travel | Comments (3)

I’m spending 5 weeks in Costa Rica, in a beach town called Samara in the Guanacaste province.

Google Maps Link
The Samara Beach website

Samara was essentially a place I picked at random out of a bunch of places in Costa Rica with Spanish schools. It’s apparently got about 1,000 people. I chose Costa Rica because my Spanish isn’t very good, and I hear there’s a lot of American tourists there – it will nice to be around other people that speak some English at first! It’s very warm (30-35 degrees at the moment).

I’m enrolled on a Spanish course which is 20 hours a week for each of the five weeks, and I’m staying in a homestay. Here’s what I know about my host family:

Norma lives with her husband and her daughter (born in 1994) and is an enthusiastic, talkative person who greatly enjoys her contact with foreigners. Her large, comfortable house has two student rooms, each with double beds, one with private bath, one shared. She has two dogs outside, one cat, and offers bikes for rent to those interested– she lives a little under a mile from the school.

It was exciting when I first booked it, but I’m getting nervous as it approaches because it’s going to put me way out of my comfort zone, mainly because I speak very little Spanish! But hey, I’ve thought about doing it for the last 18 months or so, and if I don’t do it I think I’d spend the next few years wondering what it would have been like.

I wonder if they don’t have street addresses in Costa Rica – the address of the school is listed as:

Del Banco Nacional de Costa Rica 50 mts oeste y 150 sur, frente al mar. Edificio de 2 plantas color amarillo – translated that means something like The National Bank of Costa Rica 50 meters west and 150 south, in front of the sea. A two-storey yellow building.

and the address of my homestay is given as:

De Pablitos Bar 500 metros al oeste en el Barrio Cantarrana, segunda entrada primera casa a la derecha. – roughly translated as Pablito’s Bar 500 meters to the west in the Cantarrana neighbourhood, second entrance first house on the right.

I hope I’ll be able to find them!

After five weeks in Costa Rica I’m going to Peru, and maybe Mexico.

I think that 10 weeks away from London means that I need to change the name of my blog! It was “My life, 11,473 miles from home – The life of me, living in London far away from my family and friends in New Zealand”, now I’m going to think of something else.

Why does Google Chrome keep crashing???

March 28, 2010 4pm in Random Ramblings | Comments (0)

Useless piece of crap web browser! It crashed three times while I was writing that last blog post about Karen.

And it’s also annoying because it automatically updates the browser to the latest version, using up my valuable mobile broadband bandwidth and introducing potential new bugs.

The updates install new features which I neither need nor want, like the Google Translate toolbar, and provides no way of turning them off. Back to Firefox I think – Google, I’m ashamed of you, I thought you knew better.

Another fantastic trip from Karen

March 28, 2010 4pm in Family | Comments (1)

Karen came to visit last week. We went on the London Eye and did some shopping during the day, and we met up with Hannah in the evening. I’ve put all the photos on facebook, you can see them by clicking here. I’ve put some here as well.

Me and Karen on the London Eye!

Karen on the London Eye Matt on the London Eye

An American tourist asked me if this structure in the distance that we could see from the top of the London Eye was the Eiffel Tower. I instinctively started laughing, until I realised he was deadly serious. And then I felt really bad!

It’s actually the Crystal Palace Transmitting Tower in South London, which gives most of London its TV signal.

Eiffel Tower from the London Eye? 1 Eiffel Tower from the London Eye? 2

Then we met up with Hannah, and the odd photos started:

Hannah and Karen at Paddington Station On the tube


Shoreditch Fire

March 11, 2010 7pm in Random Ramblings | Comments (0)

There was a big fire at the other end of the street from my work this morning, apparently it started at 4am in a restaurant in the bottom of the building. Here’s the news story:

I didn’t see the fire itself until lunchtime, but it was still smoking a lot by then:

Fire in Shoreditch I Fire in Shoreditch II

Not very exciting, since that’s as close as we were allowed to get, but I thought I’d post it anyway!

I quit my job at UBS to go travelling

March 7, 2010 10pm in 2010 trip,Costa Rica,Samara Beach,Travel | Comments (0)

Well, I’ve been planning this for a year or so, but wanted to wait until unemployment figures were better and my pay review was over – I’ve quit my programming job at UBS.  If you’re interested in knowing exactly why I ended up quitting, send me an email :)

But I don’t even have another job lined up, instead I have booked plane tickets to Las Vegas in April, Costa Rica in May and Peru in June.  I’m also going to be doing the Inca Trail in Peru at the end of June with a couple of friends, and I can’t wait.

In Costa Rica I’ll be learning spanish for four weeks in a school located beside the beach.  That sounds great, but I better practice what spanish I do know so that I’m not completely hopeless when I get there.  Here’s where I’m going: Samara Beach.

When I get back in July I’m hoping to get back into contracting – because when I was a contractor in 2006 I got paid a lot more than when I was a full-time employee.  Hopefully it will be easy to get a contracting job since I spent four years in the investment bank at UBS and have some decent experience now.

New photos on facebook: New Zealand photos, Switzerland photos, and wedding photos

March 7, 2010 10pm in Family,Travel | Comments (1)

I’ve just put 70-something photos up on facebook, and I don’t want to put them all here as well… but if you click the following links you can see all the photos!  You don’t even have to be a member of facebook – anyone can see them!

A bit of a quick blog post, but then a picture tells a thousand words!

Pictures from my trip to New Zealand 2010:

Pictures from my weekend trip to Switzerland

My friend Ian and his new house and puppy

Dave and Kelly Anso’s wedding

Updation of my blog, or lack of it III

March 4, 2010 2pm in Random Ramblings | Comments (0)

It’s the first post in a couple of months :)

One of the reasons I didn’t update the blog more often was because it was such a lot of effort uploading photos, but I’ve written for myself a whizzy little app which, when given a photo, automatically resize it and put it in the right place so hopefully I now have no more excuses!

Here’s an example:

Hannah and the squid

This is my sister when she was recently in the audience for a cookery show in the UK. Nice one Hannah!!! :-D

Woo, my app worked. I just clicked on the photo on my computer and it formatted it and put everything in the right place.