Saturday, June 25, 2005


Not Very Affable

I'm so out of practice of being polite and friendly to people in an affable, British way. In Japan I quickly learned not to attempt casual conversation, but rather to smile and bow and say 'Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu' an awful lot (it means something almost like 'I'm glad that we get along, and will continue getting along, with good will on both sides, thank you very muchie'). In three years, I never met a single one of my neighbours in Tochigi-shi, except the one who called the police and got me kicked out of my first apartment for having five people round until 10pm on a Friday night. In Peru I, with difficulty, unlearned the habit of bowing. And unfortunately, the habit of smiling, for the most part. You don't want to go about looking like an open-hearted, gormless tourist and get mugged and nagged by beggars... instead, I took to stomping around Chiclayo around scowling, enraged by men's street piropos ('compliments'), wearing dark glasses and ignoring everyone. So sharing a tut with a fellow delayed passenger on the tube, making small talk with the bloke in the offy, or simply saying hello to the builders downstairs is proving a bit of a challenge for me. The neighbours in our new flat? I'm absolutely terrified of meeting them, and having to simper and introduce myself and tell them I live in No.7. In fact, last night Tito and I got in a row over who would go downstairs and into the garden and pick up the plant which blew off our window ledge during the storm yesterday afternoon. I lost, as it was mine, and thus found myself scurrying past the surprised resident of No.3 (who had just popped into the garden for a fag) muttering something about basil. I'm going to have to sort this out soon, if I ever want to have a BBQ!

Thursday, June 16, 2005



Things that Tito has randomly brought home from work:
A T.V. table on rollers
A trowel
Some industrial strength glass cleaner
Paper towels to use with the above
Plant pots
A perfectly good hard hat (for use at his next job)
Sticks of wood to hold up the tomato plants
Plastic strips to affix the plants to said sticks

All of which he found lying around, or stuffed in the bin, and all of which have been put to jolly good use. I just love the hunter-gatherer in him, or is it the salvaging Peruvian? Either way, it pleases me no end to put things to good use - things that would otherwise be in a land-fill site, and that we would have had to buy ourselves anyways. What a terribly wasteful society we have here in England today. I'm proud to have a hubby who wants to try to be part of the solution, in his little way...

Saturday, June 11, 2005


Unintentional Souvenir

I was amused to find, when cleaning my ears with a Q-tip this morning, some random lingering grains of sand... presumeably from our honeymoon on Pimentel beach. I don't have problems with waxy build-up, but nevertheless do indeed recall having had a proddle on several occasions since leaving Peru almost two months ago, yet these grains hadn't budged. To finally part with them seems somewhat symbolic, like I am getting Peru 'out of my system' - literally. Makes me feel a little sad. It's time to hit 'Tito's Cebicheria' in London Bridge for a Latino disco, methinks, to catch some nostalgic South American vibes.

Monday, June 06, 2005


Very Effective

Spent the morning lying in bed reading 'The 7 Habits of Effective People' (yes, I am aware of the irony) and have now come to realise that I really must stop worrying about things that I have no control over. Basically, the author explains how we all have a big 'circle of concern' containing a smaller 'circle of influence' and that we need to recognise what belongs where. I know we've all heard this before in one form or another, but the challenging thing is actually doing it. So, I must be very strict and not allow myself to wallow in random niggling worries of whether my doggy Wanpi misses us too much, my vague yet overwhelming fear of having children, or even my abstract wondering about if I will ever have a house and a car and nice holidays and a proper career. No! I cannot indulge myself in the luxury of pointless preoccupation. What I need to do is work on things that I can indeed do something about. Fancy that! It's great to drop all those crappy regrets about things that happened the past, fears for the future of the world and just concentrate on me, myself, now, in the present... eating well starts today, do the exercise now, listen better immediately, make that phone call, plan that article, write that letter. Change is constant, embrace it and allow yourself to evolve. I haven't read a great deal of 'self-improvement' literature, but what I have read I've taken very seriously (ever since Alan Carr's magnificent book stopped me smoking three years ago), though I know it's quite easy to scorn such writing. But scorn away, people who are locked into negative/incorrect/harmful ways of behaviour and thinking always will do so... whilst I'm well on my way to becoming a Supreme Being. Or, at least, rather good.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005



I just love London. Of course, I don't mean the touristy stuff, though that's absolutely great too. What I love is the ease of getting around, and the green leafy roads, and the crowded markets, and the constant multicultural atmosphere, and the funky/cozy pubs... I like the convienience and pleasant routine of daily life. Things like wandering to the shops, drinking Pimms in Katie and Al's garden, cooking various ethnic foods I've been craving for years, or looking out the window of the college at all the bustling people in Notting Hill. Even mundane things like hurrying around tube stations, making appointments, putting the kettle on, doing my washing, planning my finances, and running for a bus each hold a special charm for me. These are all things that I couldn't do in Peru. I suppose this rose-tinted view might wear off over time - I admit I was non too pleased to find the trains to Crystal Palace not running over the weekend, especially as I wended my weary way home on a beautiful Friday evening... And apart from 'transport rage' Londoners could be said to suffer with the weather, crowds, pollution and high prices... ya, ya, ya. That stuff is a pain, but Londoners are more than a little spoiled, aren't they? This is one of the best cities in the world. You can see, do, eat and be what you want. The opportunities are endless. I feel so appreciative of everything here, and I want everyone else to know how lucky they are to live in London, indeed in the United Kingdom.

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