crystal's capers

one girl's international adventures

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


News isn't so exciting when it's like a week old, but...


Phew. Another good thing: I probably don't have to deal with stupidhead government types again (in the UK anyway), because the visa is good for FIVE years!


I (probably) GOT INTO UNIVERSITY!!!!

Okay, so far I've only been accepted into my second-choice Uni (and only verbally as well; have yet to receive the actual documentation), but it's something. I do have an offcial second-interview for my first choice Uni (which is a day-long affair!) and it was mentioned in the first interview that if you make it to the second round you're usually in.

Getting in my first choice Uni will allow me to change schools. I've already been in contact with one other school - just first stages - and it's on the total other end of the spectrum from Whitley. One thing about Whitley is that one of its main catchment areas is the sixth most deprived area in the UK. That begins to explain why 30% of our kids have 'learning difficulties' (which usually translates to ferocious behavioural problems). This other school is one of the top schools in the country, academically, and is in an affluent area. I'm sure there are still a host of difficulties teaching at this type of school (like arrogant, spoiled brats) but I'm kind of willing to take my chances with that.



Yep, it's all sorted. We're off for three weeks of adventure and relaxation, and I think I'm more excited about this honeymoon than I am the wedding! Well, not really. We have yet to book the resort in Zanzibar, because it's expensive ($400/night!) and we want a deal, and we need to save up more money.



Marathon wedding-planning may be the death of me, but I'm friggin' excited to get started. Even though I was home for a blitz in October, I feel like I haven't seen everyone in ages! So, if you're in Kamloops from March 25 - April 4, look me up and we'll hang out. :)

Hope there's excitement in your lives, too!
Love yas!


Saturday, March 01, 2008

I *heart* iPod nano

I *heart* iPod nano.

I also *heart* not ever getting lost again. Sat Navs are precious.

So yes, we finally got the insurance claim crap sorted. Felt weird to drop so much cash on innecessities, but we had no other choice. We did get TWO airbeds, for anyone who wants to visit...

I've ordered our wedding invitations. Yeah, we were going to make them, but decided that neither of us have another 30 hours for that job when we fell in love with some we saw online (thanks, Jess, for the Etsy recommendation!). So now they're being custom-made in Hawaii. Everyone should receive them within the next month and a half. Just a note on that, though I will also post something on the wedding blog: we are asking for a relatively early RSVP date; this is important because we can only change the order for our rentals up to 60 days before the wedding. Sorry for any inconvenience.

We've also booked at least part of our honeymoon. I searched high and low, and eventually the best deal we found was from a tour provider directly out of Arusha, Tanzania. Their prices for a lodge safari are less than other providers' prices for camping safaris! And we can pay the balance upon arrival - more time to save! The company is German-owned, and the nice lady we've been working with even gave us a lead on FAR cheaper international airfare. Previously I'd only found flights for around £950 each, but she suggested Ethiopian Airlines, and we've found a suitable itinerary for just £650!! We should have all of that sorted by mid-March; then we'll look into booking our resort-stay in Zanzibar. In the end, it's going to be way cheaper to organize each part separately. And the more I think about it, the more excited I am about the SAFARI!!! Doing a safari in Africa has been numero uno on my travel wish-list for pretty much my whole life! Wedding? What wedding?

Speaking of honeymoon... it will still be expensive, so Riccardo and I are currently discussing cancelling our wedding wish-lists (Argos; Amazon) in hopes that people will just give us money toward the trip. We're not decided as of yet, so if you have a reason for asking us to keep the wedding lists, please speak now or forever hold your peace.

We're getting into a busy time for travel. Riccardo leaves for Korea on Monday, and will return on Friday. I'm not sure what's next after that, but I leave for Canada in three weeks - the same day as he is off to Italy for Easter (a birthday present from his family). The following week he's flying to Germany for work, and to spend a weekend with his family. Then I return from Canada and he goes to China for just over a week. In mid-June we are both flying to Germany for a weekend for our friends' Andre and Melanie's wedding. Before that, however, Riccardo thinks he'll be back in Japan. At the beginning of July he's off to coast of Spain for an international team meeting; we're trying to arrange it so that I can go with him, but I don't know if the flights will be accommodating to my schedule (and budget). And then, most importantly, in late July I'm off to Canada for the wedding, shortly followed by Riki in early August. That's all in the next 5 months!

It's a good thing we're fairly flexible about the exact dates we arrive in Canada, because we haven't booked our flights yet! Ahhhh! Well, we want to save some money by booking them through Riccardo's frequent flyer miles, but he hasn't accumulated enough yet, and we only get the miles AFTER he's taken the flights.

University. As I said, I had a group interview at Warwick University two weeks ago. I've heard from them since, and basically they're trying to determine whether my undergrad degree offered enough British content to qualify. It's a judgement call as to whether I'll get a formal interview. This past week I had an interview with Newman Uni College; it went very well. I'm very proud because I got 20/20 on a proof-reading task (it actually was quite difficult, and my interviewer said hardly anyone gets 20/20!) The interview part also went quite well (I know this because I had to go with a staff member from Whitley, and after she'd helped to grade my interview with the interviewer (I had to leave the room) she knew I'd been graded quite highly. The problem, again, is my degree; no one is sure how it transfers (despite the $200 transfer equivalency report I paid for) and as such, it's really difficult for them to grade it for their scoring procedure. Again, it's a judgement call as to whether I'm accepted into Newman's program. Still just wait-and-see.

I really am marking my life away. We had mock government exams for all of yr. 9 last week, so I have 30 papers to mark (all by a very definite criteria); I also have 30 short stories from my year 8 class to mark - some of which are 8 pages (typed) long! There goes the weekend.

Tomorrow is the last official class of dance for us. We've really enjoyed it, and will probably be offered the chance to continue with our class, so that's positive. I'm not sure our dancing is much improved, but we have fun and move a little, so, YAY. Additionally, tomorrow we are going to a Holiday and Travel Show at the NEC - Riccardo happened to get free tickets (usually £10). I'm not really sure what that will entail, but it should be fun.

Today we have an appointment at a bridal/suit store to get ideas for ties/vests/cummerbunds/shirts. Our groomsmen will be providing their own black suits, but I want to have an idea of colour schemes before I go reserve rental on everything else in Kamloops.

Visa. Still waiting. I sent in the application in mid-November. They asked for more information at the beginning of February, and I sent that in a couple weeks ago. I'm really nervous about that, actually. I mean, in the worst case, I can stay here on a tourist visa, but that would mean quitting my job, and though I wouldn't be that disappointed there, we really can't afford to lose my income. Basically we're saving my whole income every month for the wedding, and without those savings the whole thing would go onto credit. Please cross your fingers and say your prayers for me.

Miraculously, we are still using our gym memberships. We go 2-3 times per week (in addition to dance, football for Riki, and (in theory) badminton for me (it's been cancelled for like a month straight). I'm getting annoyed, however, because I'm not yet seeing any benefit to this more active lifestyle. I have even less time at home; I don't really enjoy the gym; and the scale is still not friendly. Grrrr.

Well, that's my bi-weekly novel. Email me yours!


    • At 1:31 PM, Anonymous Riki said…

      Hi there!
      I just wanted to get something straight here as it always sounds like I am travelling around the work, a party here, a cocktail there yadiyada...

      IT IS NOT (!!!) LIKE THAT!

      Basically my trips look like that: Getting up on a Monday morning at 4am, getting to the airport, transferring either to Frankfurt or Amsterdam, waiting there for connections (up to 5h), being in Economy class next to the hugest Korean Lady you can imagine for 10h (and she has to get up about 54 times during the flight), getting to Asia at 7am local time (11pm at home), straight to work at the customers, going to dinner (time at home maybe 5am), then off to bed when I just start waking up. This straight for 4 day, including meetings, shows etc. that last for 12h, then back to the hotel, checking and working on E-Mail for another 4h.
      Just when you start getting used to the new time zone you have to catch the plane back again and will arrive on a Saturday morning at home aroung 6am.

      So to all who think I am having the time of my life: IT IS WORK, NOT FUN!!!

      P.S.: But I love my job! ;o)

    • At 4:49 PM, Anonymous Danica said…

      Ah. Wedding Planning. I remember that (vaguely). I would keep the gift registry because if someone decides to not get you cash (and there always is a someone) it's still better to give them other choices so they don't get you a set of lime green bathroom towels that you can't return.

      I've never thought of going on safari. Sounds like fun.

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