If you’re happy and you know it shout hurray…

“HURRAY!” My ancestry visa has been APPROVED!!!

It’s now official, I’m moving to London. I’m really moving to LONDON!!!

This definitely warrants some full out happy dancing/jumping for joy/hooting and hollering/laughing uncontrollably with joy and relief!

Except, I am the only one who is happy about this news.

According to the visa powers that be, I would know their decision 15 days from when they received my application (November 25th). By November 29th I still hadn’t heard from them. Obviously I began to get anxious and think the worst. They’re not going to approve me! I didn’t provide them with enough information. My travel history is too exotic (I’ve lived in Haiti, Côte d’Ivoire, and Nepal). They don’t think I will be able to support myself or get a job. My friends and family stopped asking if I had heard back yet for fear of making me more anxious.

On December 1st, while my mom and I were helping my sister get settled into her new apartment, I received my very anxiously awaited email that I had indeed been APPROVED! The happy joyous bubbles immediatedly began building up, ready to pop and overflow like a champaign bottle. But I had to squish them down, deep into my gut, only allowing a small smile to cross my face. For as soon as I opened the email, and made a tiny squee of excited noise, I saw the expressions of sadness and dread flicker across their faces. They tried to cover with forced smiles and hugs, but nothing could hide the slight welling of tears in their eyes.

When I first told my family and friends that I wanted to move to London, their reactions were mixed. They were surprised, saddened, confused, understanding, and seemingly happy for me. You can tell when someone is truly happy and excited for you though. Their words and actions may be right, but they can’t hide the way they really feel – the tone in their voice, their body language, but most importantly, their eyes give them away. I knew they wouldn’t be as excited for this move as I am and it is nice to know how much I mean to others and that they dread my absence. I would feel the same way if the tables were turned. And I know I will feel this way when I leave them for London.

But it would be nice to have at least one person be as excited as I am, so I can let the happy joyous bubbles burst out of me with “WOOHOOs” and a whole lot of happy dancing! I’ll just have to find a moment when I am alone, with no one in hearing distance, to celebrate.

How do you celebrate your accomplishments, achievements, successes, etc. when you know others aren’t as thrilled, supportive or happy about them?

Next Steps:
– Book my flight to London!
– Organize and narrow down what I’m going to bring to with me
– Give my employer my two weeks notice!
– Spend as much time with loved ones as I possibly can
– Find a field to run silly in while screaming with joy (next best thing to sharing my joy with others)

Quietly Ecstatic,


In the meantime, the Liebster Award!

Last Thursday I submitted my UK Visa application! I brought a binder full of documents to support my claim that I have British ancestry and that I would be a good addition to Britain. The question is, will the powers that be think so too?

I have been obsessively checking my email every hour since. I know it could take up to 3 weeks to hear back from them. I’m just too freakin’ excited and nervous to even wait a week! Eeeeeeeap!

I’ll let you know as soon as I hear. *fingers-crossed*

In the meantime, I was nominated by the lovely Samantha from Wandering Grad for the Liebster Award.

Liebster Award

“Liebster is a word with German origins meaning dearest, sweetest, kindest, and beloved. The Liebster Award exists only on the internet, and is an award given to bloggers by bloggers. The award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers. The purpose of the Liebster Award is to recognize and discover upcoming talent in the blogosphere through a Pay it Forward initiative.”

Isn’t that nice! I love a good Pay It Forward.

There are some rules involved with this award:

  • You must link back to the person who nominated you (but cannot nominate them)
  • You must answer the 10 questions given to the nominee before you.
  • You must select 10 blogs with under 200 followers to answer your 10 questions.

Let’s do this! Here are the questions from Samantha:

1. Favorite quote?

I have so many favourite quotes it seems impossible to choose one. I feel these two are the most relevant to me right now:

“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected for the rest of my life” – Michael Palin

“If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll wait for the rest of our lives.” – Lemony Snicket

2. What film or book genre do you think your life is? What do you want it to be?

It would have to be a non-fiction biography/documentary, wouldn’t it? I wish it was a fairy tale adventure though, with magic and talking animals, now that would be fun!

3. What’s at the top of your bucketlist?

Moving to London!

4. If you were made ruler of a country, would you accept the position? Why or why not?

Definitely not. There are many others more qualified who would do a much better job.

5. If you had to choose a singular location to live for the rest of your life, where would you choose?

I would live in my hometown near my family and friends, but that wouldn’t stop me from travelling to all the places I couldn’t live!

6. What current celebrity or popular figure would you be incredibly torn up over if they were to die right now?

Well this is a depressing question. I don’t think I would be torn up about anyone dying that I don’t personally know.

7. What is your favorite mode of transportation? (bus, train, plane, boat, bike, rollerblades, etc…)

Walking! But only if the weather is favourable. Otherwise, I love a good road trip!

8. Do you think your favorite beverage (tea, coffee, wine, whatever) says a lot about you as a person?

Hahaha…nope! The only time your favourite beverage would say anything about you as a person is if your favourite beverage is something crazy like mouthwash, laundry detergent, gasoline, etc. Yikes!

9. Who is your role model (real or fictional)?

I don’t have a role model. There are many characteristics I admire in others, but there isn’t a singular person that I would call my role model.

10. What song would you sing for a reality television show audition, and why?

Definitely “Shake it off” so I can show off my awesome dance moves, because I am a horrible singer!

And now my questions for ky nominees:

  1. Coffee or tea?
  2. Next place you are (or hope to) travel to?
  3. What is your favourite photo from your travels?
  4. What’s the next song on your playlist?
  5. Your spirit animal is a…?
  6. If you could take anyone on a road trip who would you bring? Where would you go?
  7. What movie/tv show would you like to be a character in?
  8. The funniest thing you’ve seen on the internet this month?
  9. You can only bring 10 items with you on a surprise vacation to your dream destination – what do you bring? And where are you going?!
  10. Riddle time: What travels around the world but stays in one spot?

The nominees are:

  1. http://thesundayblah.com/about/
  2. http://debbielifelondon.wordpress.com/
  3. http://thecopenhagentales.com/
  4. http://acleggabroad.wordpress.com/
  5. http://londontransplant.wordpress.com/
  6. http://theintentionalexpat.wordpress.com/
  7. http://hiberniachronicles.com/
  8. http://flyakite.me/
  9. http://runlondonrun.wordpress.com/about/
  10. http://littlecityblog.wordpress.com/


My Living in London Bucket List

Confession: I haven’t told my work that I am moving to London. Since I haven’t even applied for my ancestry visa yet, I feel that’s fair. But it is very, VERY hard to concentrate on my work when all I can think about is my new life in London!

Keep Calm I'm Moving to London


I want to experience as much as I can there and not waste a day. I am going to resist my natural urge to hang out in my jammies and watch my latest Netflix obsession. How can I when there is so much in London and the UK to do!

And so, inspired by “100 days of happiness”, bucket lists, and photo-a-day type projects, I am going to create a Living in London bucket list, so I can be sure I make the most out of this adventure.

My goal is to do something new from the list each day (bonus for doing more than one!)

What’s on my list?

I’ve started with touristy type items, since I haven’t been to the UK before, there are an awful lot of to add. I’m not restricting the list to just London activities – there are many day, weekend, and maybe even longer trips I hope to take. London is a great home base for traveling to Europe. I’ve also been adding things I’ve read on websites, blogs, and twitter that other travelers, expats, and locals are doing and places they’ve been going to.

I would like to come up with at least a year’s worth of things to do. Some are momentous and require some planning, while others are little things that can be done on a whim. I’m sure my list will grow when I get to London, but at least I have a place to start.

Without further ado, my must-do-a-day list (in no particular order):

  1. Big Ben
  2. London Bridge
  3. Piccadilly Square
  4. Notting Hill
  5. Pose in front of a red telephone box
  6. Westminster Abbey
  7. St Pauls Cathedral
  8. London Underground
  9. Try a chip buddy butty (thanks FM 😉
  10. London Eye
  11. Platform 9 ¾
  12. London Open Top Bus tour
  13. Take a river cruise on the Thames
  14. Go to Beigal Bake on Brick Lane
  15. Harrods
  16. Primark
  17. Oxford Street
  18. Camden Markets
  19. Covent Garden
  20. Borough Market
  21. Twinning’s Tea Shop
  22. Have traditional afternoon tea
  23. Go to Lady Dinah’s Cat Cafe
  24. National Gallery
  25. British Museum
  26. Tate Modern
  27. Tate Britain Galleries
  28. The Guildhall
  29. Natural History Museum
  30. Visit the tombstone of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard
  31. Shakespeare’s Globe.
  32. Watch the Changing of the Guard Ceremony
  33. Visit the 5 Historic Royal Palaces
  34. Worlds oldest hat shop, Lock and Co
  35. Kew Gardens
  36. Abbey Road
  37. Trafalgar Square
  38. Walk over Tower Bridge
  39. Painted Hall in Greenwich
  40. Feed the ducks, swans and squirrels in St James Park
  41. Portobello Road
  42. Soho Noses
  43. Visit family in Scotland
  44. Visit at least two countries in Europe
  45. Eat Yorkshire pudding in Yorkshire
  46. SantaCon
  47. Christmas pudding race in Covent Garden
  48. Good Sunday at Widows Son in Bow
  49. Circle line pub crawl on the 6th Feb (or the nearest Sat!)
  50. Row a boat in Regents Canal
  51. Prince Charles Cinema’s themed nights
  52. Food market in Greenwich
  53. Victoria and Albert Museum
  54. Ghost bus tour
  55. Cocktails in the OXO tower
  56. Highgate Cemetery
  57. Sherlock Holmes pub and Restaurant
  58. 221b Baker Street
  59. Have a pint at the Cheshire Cheese on Fleet St.
  60. Saturday brunch at the Brockley Markets

Hmmm…. looks like I’m going to have to do more research if I’m going to do a least one thing a day for a year!

And here’s where I need your help. What sights, places, events, or restaurants would you recommend I add to my London bucket list?


A little history repeating

Gathering the documents I need for my visa application has been like an episode of “Who are you?”

Yesterday, my father pulled out a wooden box I have never seen before. Inside were papers and documents from my Nana and Papa’s past. My Papa’s birth certificate from 1923 Scotland. Nana and Papa’s wedding certificate. My father’s Trinidadian birth certificate. Even my Nana’s UK passport stamped with her exotic travels and her immigration visa to Trinidad in 1952.



It dawned on me that it’s really not surprising that I have always yearned to travel and live in foreign lands – both sets of grandparents made the big move from their birth countries (Scotland & Denmark) to Canada. Their adventuous spirits are reflected in me.

I have almost all the documents I need now to apply for my visa! I just hope that it’s enough to be approved….


Wishing and hoping,

The waiting game

Remember the days when you wished that time would hurry up so you could be an adult and do adult things and wear adult clothes and have an adult life like they have in the movies?

Time moved so slowly back then.

Not now though, time now moves quickly – too quickly.

As soon as you become an adult time speeds up. I have been complaining about how fast this year has been going by, but actually, it’s been the past decade that has been going by at warp speed.

Until today. Today I notice how slowly the past month has been moving. I am just as busy with work as I have been over the past year, but all of a sudden time has begun to drag.

“Is it really only September still?” I moaned to myself this morning.

Why is time suddenly moving at the speed of snail?

It’s because I have something to look forward to now. Just like a did as a teen waiting for the day I would be an adult, I am now waiting for the day I will move to London.


Sure, I have plenty of things to do before I leave. I’m applying for my Visa in November. I have to pack up all my belongings that I will be storing at my parents’ house. I have to determine what I am going to bring with me to London. I have to buy my plane ticket and arrange my accomodation (with a friend) for the first bit that I’m in London. I have to get my resume together and get letters of recommendation for everything. I have to spend as much time as I can with family, friends, and my furbaby (extra time with him, of course). And the list goes on and on.

But still, four months is an awfully long time to wait for something new and exciting to happen.

Waiting not so patiently,

Expat Tips: What’s that you say?

Yes, I speak english. Yes, I’ll be moving to the english speaking motherland. But just because we essentially speak the same language doesn’t mean we’re going to understand each other. Like every culture there is a local slang/lingo and even the same word may have two different meanings.

For example, here in Canada, if I said, “I like your pants” I would be referring to the piece of clothing you wear that covers each of your legs (like jeans). But if I said the same thing in England they will think I am referring to their underwear. Now that would be embarassing!

Here are a couple of other examples:



Are there any others that aren’t listed here that you know of?


Moving to London – step by step.

So now that I’ve decided to make a big move to London (eeeee!), I have to get the ball rolling and make this dream happen. Sure, my idea to move to London was somewhat spontaneous, but I can’t just up and move there on a whim. I need to do research, make plans, and create some lists…actually, lots of lists.


Step 1: VISA
This isn’t a holiday I’m planning for. The goal is to move to London and get a job. There are a few different types of UK work/travel Visas that are available. I am fortunate enough to have grandparents who were born in the UK (Scotland to be exact) which entitles me to an Ancestry Visa that allows me to live and work in the UK for 5 years. According to the website it is best to submit your application 3 – 3.5 months before you plan to leave.

Of course, this depends on your situation, but for me there were several factors to consider.
1. I want to finish off the year with my current employer. It will be a cleaner break that way and will give me time to train my replacement. Also, if I stay the full year, l (hopefully) will be able to get the performance bonus.
2. I would like to spend Christmas with my family and friends since I won’t be seeing them for many holidays after that.
3. I’m using these few months to save as much money as possible and hopefully provide a little financial cushion during my first couple month abroad.
4. Flights are cheaper in the winter months.
5. I don’t think I could wait any longer!

With all this considered, I decided that February 1, 2015 eill be a good day to move… that’s only 5 months away!

So here’s the kicker…I’ve actually never been to London. Why make a big move there? First and foremost, it’s bloody LONDON! Also, I’ve been told by many that I will love it there and it’s a great homebase for travelling to other countries in Europe. And I am a great fan of British televison, tea, dry humor (and most kinds of humor), history, and british accents (aren’t we all?!).

Most of my research so far has been reading blogs and forum posts by expats (Canadian, American, Australian, New Zealand, etc.) It’s been great to get the perspective of someone who has made the big move already. The tips and suggestions have been great!

Here is a list of the blogs I’ve been reading:









Next steps:
1. Continue my research. Who do I know in London, near London, or who do I know who knows someone in London? (Another list – I really love making lists!)
2. Time to share the news with family and close friends (and prepare for nay sayers).



make a change

Take a chance. Make a change. Move to London.

We are young.
Living moment to moment.
We are free.
With no promises, no regrets.
Life is a battlefield.

Ok, so I know these aren’t the actual words to Pat Benatar’s “Love is a battlefield”. But I love the sing-at-the-top-of-your-lungs tune and these wordswork much better for my situation. I am not desparately in love. I am desparately trying to find my way in life.  (I have a case of the twenty-something-itis)

I went to school, got a job, and live in the big city with my dog. It’s all good. But not great. (Except for my dog – he’s great!) I feel lost. As though each new year has flown by faster than the last, but I’m stuck, getting older, but not better.

I can’t help but compare where I am in life to where my peers are. What I notice is that my peers are at that stage where they are progressing in their careers, buying houses, getting married and even having children. I am no where near that stage. I am not earning nearly enough to even consider a mortgage and my relationship status is desparately single with a good chance of spinsterhood (I’m far too picky, insecure, and overly independent). This was all very depressing.

Note to self: refrain from comparing your life to others. It will only end in tears and cookies.

So, I have spent the last year feeling aimless, uninspired, and ashamed of my lack of progress…essential I am sucking at my game of life. But then I had a light bulb moment.

No, my job isn’t great, I don’t have a husband, a mortgage, or baby in the oven…and that is the perfect position to be in to make a big move! I DON’T HAVE ANY COMMITMENTS! (Except for my furbaby, but I’ll figure that out later).

I can do what many others now wish they could do. I’m going to move to LONDON!

Immediately after that light bulb lit up (my guiding light you might say), I began to feel like I had a purpose again. I have something to look forward to. A new challenge to take on!

And so, here begins my journey from my home in Canada to my new adventure across the pond in England. I am both extremely excited and petrified, but what is life without challenges and change?

Next steps:

  1. Make a plan (research, research, and more research)
  2. Break the news to my family (always have the plan ready first!)