Deep breath, dive in

I have been anticipating this move pretty much all year, ever since the man and I had a talk about where we’re heading, and I said I didn’t want to mark two years long distance. We wanted to be in the same place of course, the question was where we both wanted that ‘place’ to be, and what was feasible.

Much discussion ensued and now, two months shy of our two-year anniversary I’m relocating to France.

Who would have thought when I joined my girlfriends on a long weekend away to a city I’d never heard of, that I would end up returning so many times, let alone calling it home?

I have just under one week left in London, one more box to pack, only a handful more BJJ classes to attend and tube trips to take. I’ve been anticipating this move pretty much all year, but it still doesn’t feel like it’s actually happening. Surely it will soon?

London at night, London Eye and Big Ben

I am thinking about all the parts of this city I haven’t seen yet, the markets I haven’t visited, the ‘London bucket list’ I never got around to writing. But then, if I never got around to seeing and writing and doing all of these things, are they really that important to me?

Not right now, no.

What’s important is the guy waiting for me to join him in a town in eastern France, and for us to find out what happens next.

Oh, hey there

Stuck between tube stops due to a signal failure on the district line… what a perfect opportunity to play catch up on the blog!

Belated Happy New Year – I made a simple BJJ related resolution, and I am proud to say that I have stuck to it so far:

Make it to training at least twice a week.

Two sessions as a base is extremely achievable, and I find I’m beating myself up much less than when I was getting to four classes one week (huzzah!), but then sometimes none the next.

In happily averaging three times per week at the moment, and trying to really focus on retaining more of what I’m learning. Moving off one stripe in 2015 would be kinda nice. I do still have the short term training memory of a fish though, sadly.

What else is occupying my time? Well, I’m job hunting – I mean proactively job hunting as opposed to just wishing a new gig would fall out of the sky. Crossing fingers and toes a shiny opportunity presents itself soon (well spoken EA/Project Manager and media type for hire, just sayin).

Happy 18 months in London to me!

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HOW have I been in the capital this long already? Ashamedly I am yet to see the inside of any museums bar the Hunterian, and have only made it to one musical (Urinetown, odd title but a good show).

While many of my Aussie friends here are now realising they have under a year left on their working holiday visas and are frantically trying to tick off their euro travel bucket lists, I am wondering when I should start compiling mine.

The beauty and danger, of an EU passport.

I’m really keen to make this year count – on and off the mat, in my career and in my personal life. The latter part of 2013 was very much a career holiday. 2014 saw me jump into a bunch of new things including my first Gi competition (I did enter a second Southend Open in November, annnnd let’s just say I didn’t surprise myself but I DID learn a lot).

It’s time to build now. Oh, and I’d also love to find a new flat.

Post-Class Euphoria

Yay endorphins! I really really enjoyed class tonight. It’s not something I’ve been able to honestly say for awhile – usually I’m too busy feeling so ridiculously useless on the mat, and lamenting my lack of progress.

I wasn’t necessarily any less useless tonight mind you, but I felt like I was ‘getting it’ where I normally wouldn’t. Ironically, we were being shown a technique with a few more steps to remember than usual. It may have had something to do with the gazillion brown belts and like, three white belts in attendance.. but I felt good!

Annnd then I bought Doritos on the walk home. But THAT’S TOTALLY OKAY RIGHT?! 

*Happy dance*

 

Done & Dusted

Well, I have successfully completed my dating-for-charity challenge – who knew dating could be so exhausting?!

You can catch up on dates 4 and 5 here and here, and find out if I hit the dating jackpot.

Meantime on the BJJ front, there hasn’t been any for two weeks. It is KILLING me. Blame the new job and all the clunky long hours that go with it. I think I have a handle on things now though, so it’s comeback time tomorrow night.

God help me… so unfit. Well and truly time to reverse that Heathrow injection!

 

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Can This Date Be Beat?

*Not BJJ related

Date three of my Five in Five challenge was pretty fabulous. Dudes, simple gestures can make such a great impression!

I’m now halfway into week four with a tentative date scheduled for the weekend, crossing fingers it happens! I think I need to get this sign working for real and lock in a backup date, just in case..

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Photo: Birdman Foxglove Photography

Date Two, Woohoo!

*Not BJJ related

Second date done for Five In Five – on a roll, having a blast and have raised $241 for charity. My target is $250, quite small but it’s definitely a challenge trying to drum up support from the other side of the world. I’m so happy to have raised as much as I have so far, thanks to mum & dad for a nice chunk of that. 😉

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I’m meeting some lovely dudes, too. It feels great to get out there and be proactive on the romance front. 

I am a little worried I won’t have enough London connections to come up with the five dates in five weeks.. what’s with most people I know only knowing attached or gay dudes?! 

Comes with the late-twenties territory I suppose!

First Date Down!

*Another non-BJJ related post – if you’d like to read about my Five in Five dating adventures, you can do so here. And if you’d like to support my campaign which is raising funds for three Australian charities, you can do that here and expect a HUUUUUUGE virtual hug and maybe even a big sloppy computer kiss, from me! 

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Will Date For Charity (and myself)

*Not BJJ related, but I am up for a BJJ related date!

A bit of shameless self promotion all for a good cause. In a nutshell, I’m dating for charity. Three Australian non-profit organisations in fact that help fight homelessness and poverty. I’m dating for me too, mind you – maybe I’ll have better luck in London!

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Photo: Birdman Foxglove Photography

Five in Five is an annual event that signs up singles to go on five dates in five weeks, raising funds along the way. I took part in 2012 and my mum (among others!) sponsored me $10 per date. She was quite excited just to see me dating. I had six very lovely dates over the five weeks, one guy I saw again but it didn’t go anywhere. “Just not feeling the zing” seems to be my frequent reasoning for pulling up stumps.

But you’ve got to feel some kind of connection, right?

Lining up five dates (no dating sites/hook up apps allowed!) is a tad harder when you’re away from your main friendship/colleague pool, but through some new friends I’ve made in the capital I already have a few date leads, and am going on my first one tomorrow. He has chosen a really cool location, I’m pretty excited.

If you’re interested, you’ll be able to read about my dating adventures on TNT Magazine‘s website – they’ve given me a column! Carrie Bradshaw eat your heart out! (I wasn’t a SATC fan mind you).

And if you’d like to support three incredibly worthwhile charities in Whitelion, Kids Under Cover and St Kilda Gatehouse, you can do so here. 

I’m still looking for a couple more dates and suggestions of things to do in London on said dates.. trying to get away from the usual dinner or a drink, so would love your ideas.

P.S Was paired up with a very encouraging and helpful brown belt in BJJ class yesterday. Oh the thrill!

A Gracie in the Building

It’s not every day you walk into the cafe upstairs from work, to be told Roger Gracie will be taking a BJJ class in the building.

Maloca moved in a couple of months ago, and Roger was dropping by as part of their grand opening weekend.

Photo courtesy of malocauk.com
Photo courtesy of malocauk.com

Roger took us through submissions starting from knee on belly (lapel choke, baseball bat, far armbar, kimura). It’s a position I have never been very confident in, despite having the weight to make knee rides quite effective.

Photo courtesy of malocauk.com
Photo courtesy of malocauk.com

Photo courtesy of malocauk.com
Photo courtesy of malocauk.com

So with regular Jiu Jitsu classes literally above my office, I really have no excuse now, do I? =D

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London Learning

The longer I spend here in London, the more I realise how naive I was when I first started plotting my big life upheaval.

Everything will be bliss in the UK was my thought – especially BJJ. Freed from the increasingly emotional pressure I was feeling in my job, I’d have more time to focus on training, improving and really enjoying everything jiu jitsu has to offer.

In reality, mostly the opposite is true – while I have no regrets about leaving my radio career the transition into a new one in PR has been much tougher than anticipated. 

Working longer hours for less £ leaves precious little time to make classes. Factor in the extra travel time being so reliant on the tube, and I count myself lucky if I make it in to the gym twice a week!

Still plugging away on the career front, my thought for the past six months has been “work goal first, THEN you’ll be able to really focus on training!”

But a heart to heart with a teammate last night has made me realise there is no leaving it for later in this city – you just HAVE to make it work, and now .. because London life will ALWAYS be getting in the way.

I am about to begin quite a challenging work month, but one essential for my new career – and it’s going to leave me with even less free time if that’s even possible..

Dogged determination will get me through though. That and supermarket £3 meal deals.