More Dirty Passions London street art

Yes.

Well, that was a short post. Us millennials don’t have time for a lot of ‘words’ or ‘thinking’ so you can stop reading now if you like. The short answer is that yes a dream job can still be a pain in the arse. If however you are stuck between tube stops or are trying to avoid conversation with someone at a party, then read on for the full explanation.

I have my dream job. I play with spreadsheets all day and fly around the world talking process and strategy. I know, it sounds weird. I still can’t quite believe it myself that I am a jet-setting business analyst. It took a long time (and some fairly lengthy negotiations) for me to get this job, and even longer for me to even figure out that it was the job I wanted. But here is the question we are pondering today, once you have finally found your dream job is it still allowed to be a pain in the arse?

The rhetoric of our time aka trending articles on Facebook suggests that having your dream job means the Sunday dreads go away and every day you spring out of bed with excitement. You dream job solves all your problems, it makes you into one of those smiling Instagram people who are so high on life that they crap motivational quotes. Oh and the dream job is always that of a digital nomad or creative influencer.

Heh.

Must be in a creative field? Nope. Careers in 2016 are more fickle than they were for our parents; we change jobs with the seasons and company loyalty is less important than feeling fulfilled. But this does not mean that the type of role that can be a ‘dream job’ is limited in the slightest. Every single one of us have strengths and weaknesses (read: me with my love for Excel and hatred for following rules)  AND more importantly we each have environments that we thrive in. Me for instance, I do really well in a small to medium company with a flat hierarchy where you get exposed to a whole lot of different areas. Put me in a traditional corporate and I turn into a bitchy, hateful, rage-monster. This means that to get your dream job you not only have to be doing the ‘stuff’ that appeals to you, but be doing that stuff in a company where you can thrive. What works for me will not work for you, unless you were the unfortunate clone that my parents kept in the attic. In which case tweet me @runawaykiwi, we haven’t caught up in ages.

Even if you are in a creative field, graphic designers get pissed off too you know. Its just that they show it with passive aggressive kerning.

Love every single second? Double nope. With my travel schedule I am on the road for at least half the month (hence why my blog schedule gets a little messed up with the time zones) and that is damn hard. Really hard. Like harder than Khal Drogo’s abs. I thrive on having a consistent schedule and being told on Friday that I need to be in America on Monday messes with my head. Oh and remember all the posts about me hating flying? I am now of the most extreme exposure therapy ever, I’m averaging about 6 flights a month with half of them being long haul – so basically I am being forced to deal. I need to do a longer post on work travel at some point, because I know that it sounds like the dream but fuck me it is hard like lego.

Dispense the good London street art

The job is also stupidly long hours and very stressful. Annoyingly this is actually something that makes it my dream job. I want to be able to make decisions, and with great power comes great responsibility. The midnight conference calls and the freaking out about presentations are just what I have to put up with to be able to have a job that is fulfilling and where I feel that I can kick ass.

Oh and that bounding out of bed with a smile that could kill a dentist thing? I am not a morning person and no matter what time zone I am in it is painful to wake up in the morning.

The dream job is not a panacea to give you a perfect life. But it does leave your brain feeling like its had a workout and make you feel like you are making progress – I’m not sure what the progress is towards, but its almost like the feeling of climbing a massive staircase with something cool at the top. You are the most important consideration in your career, there are so many components to a job that will impact on how happy you are. Finding a role & a company that work for you can be harder than finding a boyfriend who takes good Instagram photos, but when you hit the sweet spot you will find yourself writing blog posts about your dream job. But that doesn’t mean you can’t hate your alarm clock and commiserate with friends over gin when it all feels a little too much.

Runawaykiwi gin collection

Apologies in advance for all the feelings in this one, thankfully you are reading this in electronic form otherwise you would see the tears on the page. I am writing this on the evening of moving into my new flat and I am overtired, hungry and cresting the rainbow of emotions about living by myself for the first time. I wrote last week about why I was moving and how damn excited I was for it, but the closer I got to M-Day there was just so much going through my head.

First up I should say I’m not an idiot, I am a spreadsheet loving queen who is entirely capable of paying bills, ordering furniture, changing lightbulbs*, negotiating a lease and ordering groceries. I know I got this, at least the analytical part of my brain knows this. Apparently my analytical brain and my heart don’t regularly catch up over coffee.

The week leading up to the move I had the stunning combination of being seriously busy at work and getting about three hours sleep a night because I had so much anxiety about the new flat. Of course none of it was rational worry, I was waking up at 3am to manically google how to attach a leaning shelf to the wall. Or where to buy the best succulent arrangement. Or if Ikea had changed their delivery terms since the last time I looked. Or if H&M home had any wooden trays because the metal ones just didn’t work for me.

Nothing rational, all silly things that were covering how nervous I was at doing this by myself.

If this was NZ my parents would have shown up bright and early with takeaway coffee and started loading stuff into a car. Any issues with the new flat they would have been there justifying the decisions I made (or telling me to not be quite such a bitch when John Lewis couldn’t find my new address). I know it is one of the sacrifices I made for living in London, but my god I wish Mum and Dad were here with their amazing combination of humour and practicality to help me through it. Not that anything would have been fundamentally different (as I said before, I know that I got this), but I might have had slightly more sleep. And I might not have accidentally put a screw through my foot**.

Kiwi movers London

I did have bright spots, bits that reminded me what I was missing in this emotional rainbow was other people to ground me. The first was that I had booked Kiwi Movers to cart all my boxes. The original deal was that they would move me and I would mention them on the blog as payment. But fuck me if I don’t get a little teary about these guys. It was just so much like living at home and having friends help with the move. Nothing was a drama for them, they just turned up with a familiar accent (one Kiwi and one Brit) said ‘sweet as’ and got to it. It was so damn chilled out, they just lifted and joked and it was easy. All my stressing about my mountain of boxes not fitting in the van were groundless, these guys were tetris masters.

I have now used a ‘man and van’ to move four times in London and every other time has been hard work. Normally it’s a driver who doesn’t actually want to lift anything, is hard to communicate with (either a language barrier or they were just a dickhead) and all up it was like they were doing me a favour. But these kiwi mover guys just smiled and got on with the job. Sorry I know that saying how much I love the movers and they remind me of home is not a normal ‘review’, but I warned you I was overtired at the start.

The second part of the move that I didn’t realise would have quite such an impact is Lex and Aaron. I may or may not have convinced them to move into the same building as me, the apartment one up and one across. Instead of thinking of it as advanced stalking, I choose to believe it is a mutually beneficial ‘access to the gin collection’ in exchange for ‘access to the nail polish collection’ arrangement.

Anyway we both moved in on the same day, and just as I got to the ‘if I have to face any more unpacking I might dissolve into a puddle of tears’ stage – Lex and I decamped onto the balcony for gin. Then once Aaron was home for work we headed up to their flat for takeaways and prosecco. Every other time I have moved flat in London the day has finished with me sleeping in a half made bed, focussing on all the shit I had to ask the landlord to fix and exhausted already at the thought of the boxes I had to face the next day. But this time? This time it was celebration with friends, it was a cheers and watching dogs on Youtube; it was what I would have had if I had been at home with my family.

I’m not quite sure what the point of this blog is. To be fair that statement could apply to this post or to Runawaykiwi in general. I think it is that I want to remember that people make the difference. Weather it is a friendly mover or friends to commemorate the day with, the people can make you feel like it is not all on you. I love my flat, love it. And as predicted I am entirely capable of any random house things that have been thrown my way. Moving is always stressful no matter where you are, but you don’t have to do it alone.

 

*Dad if you are reading this I know you had to skype me through the last lightbulb change I did, but I swear I learned from it and I am 99% sure I won’t buy the wrong lightbulbs and electrocute myself this time.

** Nope I didn’t screw too far when putting the leaning shelf together, that would be far too normal. I was looking at a framed picture of Gandalf the Grey, trying to decide if he should live next to my gin, tripped on my Moroccan poof and landed on a screw that I had left on the floor. A painful reminder that Gandalf is one of the most powerful wizards around and should be respected as such.

Being a spy at Bletchley Park

I have wanted to go to Bletchley Park since the Imitation Game came out because Cumberbatch. It was one of ‘those’ London activities that is on the list but I never seemed to get around to. Every weekend, exhausted from a week of work and staying up too late binge watching Netflix, the thought of having to get a TRAIN somewhere was just too much. So instead I did the usual London thing of brunching while complaining about the weather, even if it was sunny (it was too sunny). Meanwhile Bletchley remained a distant Cumberbatch infested dream, where computers and spies fought for his otterlike attention. But when my parents were over in July I bit the bullet and actually looked at the train times. Laden down with coffees we got ourselves ready to spy.

The train takes about an hour and then the park itself is only a two minute walk from the station. Why I did not do this earlier I will never know. Actually I do know, London is 100% exhausting and culture takes a backseat in favour of gin. Bletchley Park is an incredible piece of history, this is the actual location where they broke the enigma code, where they saved lives and shortened the war. After the war the site fell into ruin (like complete falling down type ruin), but a grant a few years ago meant they could repair all of the huts and turn it into a really great tourist attraction.

I of course being the excitable trollop that I am went in a black trench coat so I could hide around corners and spy on people. I then got entirely freaked out because they have hidden speakers in the trees that project the sounds of an active Bletchley Park (like the sounds of a motorbike roaring round the corner). After running away from an invisible motorbike I figured out I am not really cut out to be a spy. Unless this whole being on all the social networks is just an elaborate cover and this blog post is a double bluff…or is it???

One of the best parts of Bletchley is that they give you the option to learn about it in different ways depending on what interests you. You can learn about the technology, the codes or the people through the hand held video guides. I flicked between the people (code-cracking dorks ice skating on the lake in the middle of a war is a beautiful mental picture) and the codes, because what they managed to achieve is just phenomenal – I can’t even get my printer to work.

Bletchley park Bombe machinehl

TOP TIP: If you are going to head out to Bletchley Park make sure you do it when it’s not raining. You are walking around the actual sites so you spend quite a bit of time outside between the huts and the manor house. You also have to save time to see a demonstration of the Bombe (the big computer machine that broke Enigma); it is one of only three working machines in the world and is hella cool to witness.

I wish I hadn’t waited so long to visit, and I can’t wait to go back and do a more through job. This is a piece of recent history that we are finally able to talk about and will leave you in awe of what humans can do. Oh and they also have the bar that was in the Imitation Game set up, so if you take along a cardboard cutout of Cumberbatch it can be like all your dreams came true.

Costa flat white

Y’all know I love a flat white. A flat white is the luxury you can afford when you are new to London and branded two-minute noodles is fancy AF. A beautiful coffee gives me ‘pause’, a chance to breathe out before tackling the insanity of London. And of course since joining Instagram, a well poured flat white gives me the chance to show off my nail polish #dontjudge. What all of this means is that I have become Judgy McJudgeface about the florets on top of the coffee, if the barista messes them up I write him/her off to the tenth circle of hell and assume that they are a terrible person. Me, harsh? Never.

Then Costa came along and offered to put me in my place. Well, to be fair they offered me a place on a flat white masterclass where I could try doing coffee art for myself – but we all know that the gauntlet had been thrown. It was time to prove myself, time to prostrate myself in front of the coffee Lords and see if my microbubbles would float to the top. If I failed, New Zealand would disown me and I would drift through the world stateless and only drinking tea.

The master class had us in store let loose on the coffee machine, the big coffee machine. I was totally cocky until I was actually stood in front of it and then suddenly felt like I was about to diffuse a bomb: point 1 to the baristas (see my face below to get an indication of how I was feeling). I chose my roast, going with the special Old Paradise Street 17 that is on at the moment (request it instead of the normal roast, then send me flowers to say thank you for the suggestion). The coffee part went fine, by which I mean I managed to get coffee in the cup. But then came the pressure test – the milk. To achieve the micro foam that makes the flat white so unique I had to hold the milk jug so that the wand hit the side, and then keep it there until the milk looked like a mirror. Yes, to achieve a flat white you need mirror milk.

Runawaykiwi failing at making coffee

So far so good, I had milk that I could see myself in and a perfect roast in a cup. Oh god, it was time for the art. My instructions were; Middle, forward, wiggle, cut. Holding the cup at 45degrees I started pouring the milk in the middle, brought my pour forward, then wriggled the jug to get the points in the fern and then cut the flow so I didn’t spoil the design. HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA NOPE. Following the instructions terribly, I achieved something more akin to the instructions for a waltz than a silver fern. In my defence our barista Matyas had to make 558 flat whites before Costa gave him the coveted flat white pin. Yes, the baristas in Costas get flair to show their progress (so always ask the guy with the most pins on his collar out on a date… guaranteed good coffee).  So me failing on my first attempt was understandable, and besides maybe I am just ahead of the game on the abstract coffee art game.

Abstract coffee art

One thing I was on a mission to discover at the master class is why their cups are so big. Every time I have had coffee at Costa over the years, the largeness of the flat white cup they use has always put me off and I have ordered a cortado instead. I asked about this at the master class (note to self: in future don’t start a conversation by marching up to a stranger and saying ‘can I talk to you about cup size’), and they are trialing the traditional smaller flat white cups at their Shelton Street branch. Apparently the market demand is currently for the larger cup, but I hope that the smaller variety makes it into the rest of the stores soon.

It was damn fun to be let loose on the machine and see how hard it is to get that perfect Instagramable flat white art. Costa is running a free flat white masterclass next week so you can all create your own waltz pattern coffee, its free and I seriously recommend heading down just for the lols. I 100% think my skills lie in drinking coffee not making it (that is my excuse and I am sticking to it), but I would love to have another go just so I can impress people at parties.

To finish I thought I would publicly declare that I will never again hate on a barista that does not give me the perfect flat white topper. Although I will continue to propose marriage to anyone who makes me a coffee perfect enough for Instagram…

This post is sponsored by Costa.