Well. It is obvious in the very first sentence that I wrote in my journal after arriving in England, that I was immediately smitten with this place. And I do not believe that it is any less magical 4 months later. But before I ‘jump the gun’… let me explain the basics of where I am right now and what my England lifestyle is like!
…The village which I work in and have made a home in during my stay in England is a beautiful, quaint, quintessential, tiny little country village called Hambledon. It is located in the county of Surrey. It is home to a mere 800 residents. It features a single village shop (much like a convenience store with postal services) a small church and a pub. There are no roadside footpaths, no street lights, no traffic jams, no billboards.
If I want to walk to the train station I walk on the road with the small amount of traffic that passes through here, or I walk ‘cross-country’ – through the woods, across paddocks and over golf courses.
This means that if I don’t time my train journeys correctly and haven’t been paying attention to the hour when darkness falls.. I may be left walking along roads, in the middle of the countryside, alone, and in the way of potential traffic, in the unlit and complete darkeness of countryside night..
It is modern-day old school living. And I can honestly say that as the day light hours have lengthened with the onset of spring, I have learnt to watch the clock here and take note of the time that the darkness begins to fall every night. But.. I have none the less found myself running home against gathering darkness on a couple of occasions..
But I will not get too carried away with tale telling just yet..I need to provide some basic background information first!
I was really fortunate upon my arrival in England, to already have a job interview confirmed. So I literally arrived on a Sunday and interviewed Monday… And by Tuesday I had a job offer.
How did I manage that? You may ask!? – Through basic online job search! (the website:Gumtree was where I personally achieved success).
In the 1 or 2 weeks leading up to my arrival in the UK, I sent out CVs like crazy… Like, I sent out CVs to every job position that I believed I was even mildly able to complete.. And, apparently it was worth the effort! – because here I am 4 months later, living quite comfortably, and having wasted no time scrounging off of family and enduring extreme budgeting! … I’m quite pleased about it all really..
And the work that I have been completing throughout the duration of this visit has fallen under no one particular job title… but rather has been one of those ‘all-rounder’ kind of scenarios..
I make breakfasts, I bar tend, I waitress, I clean, I housekeep, I feed llamas, I feed the cat, I check stock levels, I place beverage orders, I open and close the pub, I meet and greet and mingle with guests.. and sometimes I do it all alone.
AND I carry out this work 5 days a week in split shifts.. So I start in the morning between 8.00 – 10.30am (depending on how many guests we have staying in the b’n’b rooms) and finish the first part of my day between 2.30 – 3.30pm (depending on when the last patron leaves the restaurant). Then I have 2-3 hours off, before starting it all over again at 5.30pm (when the second half of my shoft generally begins) and I work until the pub eventually closes for the night between 10 – 12am…
It’s a lot of numbers… but basically. This means that a single work day for me is 9 – 14 hours long…. and boy have those 14 hour days been felt.
BUT FURTHER… for the most part… Its all been somewhat enjoyable. It’s all been part of the experience.
And the ultimate result is….that for 4 months. This has been my life. And I wouldn’t give that up or change it for anything!
Its been a life that is rather solitary, and that is full of work.. A life in a remote village with aparently next to no population of people who fall into my own age group. And a life of 5 split shifts 5 days a week..
But also! It’s been a life with 2 days off every week which I have absolutely loved using to explore. It’s been a life which, for the most part, has been very calm (albeit interspersed with moments of panic and stress). And a life which I have been SO content with over the past 4 months.
And its all added up to one extremely unique and wonderful experience which.. I really have a lot to say about…