Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Venting session #1

I love my blog for the creative freedom it gives me and the mechanism it serves in helping me share my stories with readers.  However, this blog is also something I'm using to capture feelings and track history while I'm in London.  Not everything is going to "ice cream and sunshine."  So, without further ado, I present the first installment of some "venting sessions" that may pop up on this blog.

The bain of my existence
The Whirlpool AWG 329 washer dryer. Most washing machines and dryers in this country are not up to American standards.  Generally, they are small, clean less effectively, and take longer.  Like most appliances in this country, washer dryers just aren't as powerful.   The controls on our machine are not intuitive either.  The drying cycle is really a "steaming cycle" that takes 2+ hours.  That wastes alot of electricity and your clothes come out damp and have a slightly funky smell because of the water.  Seriously, I hate our washer dryer!

I know, I know...I need to underload and buy a drying rack.  I plan on doing that going forward after last Saturday's laundry experience.  I threw in a load in the afternoon.  Filled the detergent in the dispenser.  Adjusted the settings.  Pressed Start.  3 hours later my clothes came out more dry than not.  For some reason, I opened the detergent dispenser and saw that ALL the detergent was still in there.  So, basically, I washed my clothes in dirty water.  Great :-/  So, I ended up washing my clothes AGAIN.  Three hours later my mostly dry clothes came out with white powder all over them.  GRR!

Because I'm back in poor college student mode, I decided that I will start making my own hummus.  I consume large quantities of hummus, so I figured making my own would be economical, healthy, and Martha Stewart like.  I have since changed my mind.  Who the hell makes their own hummus?!?!  It took 40 miinutes and didn't have the right consistency or flavor.  I think it had to do with the fact that our blender sucks.  Again, like most other UK appliances, it just doesn't have the power needed.  Basically there is an "on" setting and an "off" setting.  Nothing else.  No "pulse" setting.  Never again will I make hummus.  I will buy the tubs that are sold in Tesco and every other corner store here in London.

If you haven't heard me say it enough..."London is expensive".  Really expensive.  You should also realize that it's a city where everything is taxed.  You should assume everything is taxed.  My classmate Sid shared an enlightening story. He lives in the UK and through a deal his employer has with Royal Bank of Scotland, he got a mortgage rate that was 170 bp below the "going rate" in the UK.  At the end of the year, the UK calculates the difference in what Sid spends on mortgage interest and the mortgate interest he would have paid with the "going rate".  The amount saved is taxed at 40%!!   Crazy...

OK...done venting.   Last week was a light Orientation week filled mainly with introductory presentations, motivational speeches, and social gatherings.  It was a fun week!  One of the highlights was getting our study groups.  It was written on piece of paper in an envelope, so it was a mad dash to try to find your study group teammates.  I'm in B2 and I LOVE my peers.  Andre, Maria, Luca, Ori, Pete, Protheit, and I are going to have a great year.  I would go to battle with any one of them, and I look forward to our upcoming year.

We had Away Day last week too.  It's a special day that I can't say much about, but it's a bonding experience with your study group and stream.  I LOVED our study group contract and all that we collectively accomplished.  It rained off and on all day and was cold in Reading, but that didn't matter.  Like most things in life, it's not about what you do but rather who you do it with.

Another great event from last weekend was a surprise birthday party we had for Kunal's wife, Shikha.  We held a picnic in Regent's Park and had a great turnout.  It was a GORGEOUS day in London. 

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