Christmas with United Kingdom and returning home…

The people you meet maketh the place

 

I have never been one for site seeing or photos. I enjoy the people along the way, the stories they tell and the experiences we have together (hence the lack of images of London City). As my time in London came to a close I was invited to share in christmas with my good friend Billy and his family in Brecon in Wales. There I met the Big Brecon Dawg (You can check out his raps right here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWwVrFXejYs) himself and met some lovely welsh ‘country folk’. The family was interesting and fun. The first night was spent getting to know the family over some fine welsh Red, the second we were introduced to more of the family (Uncles, Aunties, cousins and family friends), and the third was spent exploring Brecon for all its glory.

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Tanika and I with The Big Brecon Dawg

Brecon had a beautiful welsh country side and was a nice little town of approximately 5000 people. It is situated in what is called ‘The valleys” and hosts one of Wales’ most famous events, The Brecon Jazz Festival. Outside of the town contains a famous site of Wales, called the Brecon Beacons (Two tall mountains). On the sunday, Billy took us on a guided tour of the town and expressed the stories and tragedies of the town, even taking us through the cathedral village.

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Billy and I in front of the Brecon River

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Christmas with the Shepherds

The return home was just as exciting as I managed to feel the after effects of a lot of Welsh food and fine Welsh wine by being sick continuously until we arrived back home to London. This is why we don’t treat ourselves too much!

The following week we were invited to go to the Boyce family for christmas dinner. This is the family that I stayed with when I first came to London. The dinner was superb (as always) and I was spoilt with a couple of London T-shirts just to prove everyone that I HAVE actually been to London. We followed through the night with continuing completing our last assignments and were able to live the life of true Uni Students by not sleeping AT ALL. Before Billy left I was graced with a birthday cake he and my other Welsh friend Ffion had made. This cake was accompanied by the Australian National Anthem playing in the background…

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Billy, myself and Ffion with the cake they had made

My last day I was joined by Rhys, Tanika and my good friend Paul. Rhys had bought me a nice new british jumper (which I wear regularly) and they had all come to help take down the Fort. We journeyed out to the Airport together where Paul got in lots of trouble for attempting to take photos of me going through customs… He just deleted it before almost being arrested. My flight home was quick as I managed to sleep the whole way and when I was awake I just thought about what everyone would be doing back in London.

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This is Paul and I being very confused…

I still think about them and what they are doing. I miss it a lot and I look forward to returning one day. Now that I am home safe, the joys of social media allow me to keep in contact with the close friends I made along the way. They are what make the exchange program so important and such an incredible experience.

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Sporting the British jumper from Rhys and saying goodbye to Ffion… Brave smiles

I was met at the airport by my father and brother, and my brother shouted me to a night out, where, undoubtedly, I wore that London T-shirt with absolute style and grace!

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My brother Joel and I, repping London styles!

Despite missing everyone, I am glad to be home in the heat. I know it is cliche, but no matter what I will always call Australia home…

New Faces, New Places

Influences are everywhere…

After the hectic first two weeks where there were plenty of parties, I decided to take it on my own to attempt to influence those around me to facilitate students with better and more exciting parties. Back at CSU my passion was putting on events. I enjoyed the work and while here managed to swindle my way into volunteering with a night club in Stratford. The events we worked on all fell through but i met some good people along the way and had some very free nights out and about at some exclusive clubs.

I am a Yes Man, I will admit that. I enjoy saying yes to everything offered to me. It is probably how I ended up here in the first place. Go with the flow and continue to have no expectations; probably the best advice to anyone on these experiences really. Rhys, my friend who I grew up with also moved to London. It has been good having him around. Rhys managed to score himself a job with Dj and ex “Body-Rocker” (writers and performers of the song “I like the way you move”) Cas as a manager of Cas’ and his friend’s Cafe (Rhys has always wanted to run and own his own cafe). The cafe is located in Shoreditch just off Old Street Station and is called Shoreditch Grind. I have found myself there regurlarly for a cheap (and fantastic) coffee!

The outside of Shoreditch Grind. The image is from the internet but it now has an outside decking as well!

The inside of the Cafe

 

I have had two Australian friends visit me from CSU which has been really good. It feels great to have friends visit when you are so far away. Familiar faces make the transition a lot easier. It can be both a good and bad thing. It’s good because it reminds you that you do belong. We kind of lose ourselves amongst this process of globalisation, we pick up language and slang from all accross the world and eventually find ourselves losing some things we had. This is the bad part; yet it eventually gives us the time to re-evaluate who we are, where we are going and what we are doing in our lives.

Such is the time when my mate Paddy came to visit. We had a long adventure and a set of ‘to-dos’ for the trip. We went to a boat party, built a fort (the famous/infamous fort of bedsheets and my bedframe) three times, then bought ourselves Onesies to celerate inside the fort. Rules were made for the fort because without rules there would be chaos. Pictures are below of us in our onesies.

 

Me in my Penguin Onesie

 

The Fort was named “Fort Big Brecon Dawg” after a Welsh rapper from Brecon where my good friend Billy was from. He has recently invited us to spend christmas with his family. But that will be another story for another time.

 

For now, Stay classy Australia.

Settling in… forgiven and not forgotten

Welcome to Bloggers Anonymous. My name is Jacob Gordon and it has been over 5 weeks since my last blog.

Since the last time we spoke I was about to venture into the London university life; and venture I did. I immersed myself within University of East London life. My first week was full of orientation and boring administration. Nothing too exciting to blog to the bloggees about. What was interesting was the amount of internationals at this university. There was over 200. O week was full of sharing cultural aspects of our countries and sharing specific stories of our experiences. I spent a lot of time with the swedish and they shared what was called Lördagsgodis, which is swedish lollies. My room, which I labelled the ‘Pizza Slice’ was exactly that. A small room in the shape of a Pizza slice. I did have a nice view however; which you can tell by the photos attached in the photo gallery.

 

I then met my friend to be, Tanika. Tanika is the other Australian from Queensland University of Tafe. Being a very opinionated and strong woman of 20, she shared a lot of ideals about Education as I did and yet we still continue to argue about other things. I then became good friends with one of my flat mates called Wayne. Wayne is from ‘South London’ and has taught me a lot of catchy slang such as ‘innit’, ‘alie’, ‘bruv’, ‘fam’ and one of my favourites ‘Oh my days!’

 

Orientation week, or as it is called here, Fresher’s week, involved events I wasn’t too impressed with, such as a silent disco, a terrible comedy event, trivia with three tables and a UV Black light party (which did impress). This same week I met my exchange liason called Carolyn who belonged in what was called the Cass School of Education. This is similar to the Schools of Education at CSU.

 

I learnt that I was to be placed at a school called Gallions Primary School. In my second week I went to the school and I love it, a lot. It has a creativity focus and is situated in a low economic area. Because of this, the school acts as a sanctuary for the children. Reception is where I am teaching, which is similar to prep and kindergarton. Below are some photos of my classroom.

That was the first two weeks of my time here at University of East London.

Welsh Treats…

Rhys and I devouring some Vanilla Ice-cream treats!

The interesting sweets of Wales…

Becoming really good friends with the “Walkabout” staff and residentials, I was lucky for them to show me around town. I was told of the Vanilla Ice-cream of the city of Swansea. It was easy to get, as it was just a short walk from the pub. Joe’s ice-cream parlour was where it was at. I decided to have a bit of fun and try out new things, with a few extras on the ice cream. It was deliscious but I don’t know if I would go back to the same flavour or not. The Joe’s in Swansea only had vanilla however, and I am not sure where else the ice-cream parlour is. Above is a photo of me enjoying the Ice-cream, with my mate, Rhys, who I grew up with in Australia.

The return to London…

I have arrived safely back to London and am planning to head back to Swansea again perhaps next week. This week has been full of organising and relaxation after my first week was quite full on. money over here is rediculous and I can’t seem to manage my bank account. It has taken 4 days to transfer money from my Australian account to my English.

I will let you know if any new adventures manage to find me here in London.

Stay Classy Australia,

Jake

Australia, the Lucky Country…

Here is my friend from Australia who I grew up with, Rhys, our welsh mate Kate and myself.

Wales was full of surprises…

On my arrival to Wales, I was taken to the ‘Walkabout’ Bar (an Australian bar chain) where one of my close friends work. There I met some great people and enjoyed a few casual drinks with them. After returning to the pub after a night out I mixed with the fellow welshmen. One retired to bed, another had abandoned us for a supposed love and the other fell asleep. So there I was alone in a room with a snoring welshman. I had the urge to return to the Welsh night life so I stood and made my way to an exit. Above this pub there were a range of hallways and rooms. It resembled some sort of maze. When I went through one door I would end up in a room that looked exactly the same as the last.

I finally made it down to the main bar at 3 am. I attempted to leave the main door, yet to my surprise it was locked… and alarmed. The high pitched noise continued for half an hour so I decided to sit and wait for the police to arrive where I could tell them my story and what had happened. Fortunately the alarm stopped and none of Swansea’s finest had arrived. I eventually decided that bed would be the best option.

When I arrose I described to my friend what had happened. With a stressed look he turned to me and said, “It’s okay, I am planning to move anyway.”

It turns out that my mate’s boss is quite strict and unforgiving, and that he may get fired for this situation. We had decided to say nothing and see what others were saying. It turned out that I had managed to set 6 alarms in my disorientation and when I sat and waited for Swansea’s boys in blue, I was sitting in the only blind spot of the camera and in the pub. I guess that is why they call us the lucky country. Needless to say, no one was hurt and my mate still holds his good repuation within the “Walkabout” industry.

Take care of yourselves, and each other.

Jake

The Wheels on the Bus…

Drama: people love it.

From jet lag to danger zones of the world, we are always warned and I think with good reason. Nevertheless, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to announce that I have arrived safely despite the delayed planes.

A typical tourist, I was layered up looking like someone in a sumo suit, only to realise that it resembled the degrees of a sauna. I was met by a family who have taken me in to their humble home in Essex, where I have been cooked traditional English meals and been chauffeured around the city to see the many sites London has to offer.

From day one of arriving, people continue to tell me how jet lagged I will be. Fortunately I have managed to swindle my way through the week escaping jet lag’s clutches and have pushed through using social adrenaline… and English Pubs.

People continue to be impressed with my accent, yet I continue to explain to them that they are the ones with the accent. I am normal, it is everyone else that are a little odd.

My love of adventure has taken me to the sea side of Wales in a place called Swansea.Here I have met some very interesting people and have experienced nights out where dangers lurk behind every corner. The bus journey over was an experience in itself. A four hour trip I had some uncomfortable bowel movements and had to resort to the throne room which was located at the back of the bus. After some splish-splashing in the toilet caused by the London traffic, I completed my task. On exiting the throne room, I managed to lock the door behind me from the outside (God only knows how) stopping others from ever entering. Surprisingly no friends were made on the journey.

Unfortunately I haven’t had time to taste any delectables, but my host family have shown me some traditional chocolate shops that I am sure I will get my hands on soon enough.

I travel back to London on Sunday and will inform you of any new experiences.

Be gentle… It’s my first time…

This is my first time overseas.

My pre-flight experiences were enough to have me nervous and jittering, yet I am filled with excitement to commence my exchange program. Whenever I told someone I was heading to UEL (University of East London for those commoners who aren’t up with the times) I was met with expressions of danger and drama; “Oh! it isn’t a safe place!” or “You better be careful!” then followed by “You will have fun though…” and then continuous jokes of me not making it back… It was positive times.

For those who aren’t familiar with who I am, there are three things that form the basis of Jacob Gordon. These three are:

– Meeting new people

– Food

– Education.

My time here in London will be quick so I am going to indulge in these wonders as much as possible. In my attempt to be ‘Londonized’ I will immerse in the food of the country, attempting to satisfy my sweet tooth with delicious European treats, then sign up to as many social clubs as possible (perhaps try and run one) then organise to familiarise myself with both Early Childhood and Primary Education settings of Great Britain.