Update Three - Cheese Toastie Edition

8.18.2001


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Bevin.

   In Most of the UK (and perhaps the rest of the world?) there exists this sandwich that is, in many ways, a 'grilled cheese.' This is Bevin. He's a kiwi that lives/works at the hostel we were staying at up until last week and is responsible for introducing myself and my travel companions to the 'Cheese Toasty.' Bevin works in reception, but one night a week he mans the pub in the basement of Belford Hostel. I believe that day is usually Tuesdays. The Tuesday special at this place is 'buy two drinks, get a free cheese toasty!'
   A cheese toasty is, in many ways, just a grilled cheese, with the exception of the fact that it's made in a counter-top style grill that has a top and a bottom, so the whole thing is smooshed flat. This, combined with Bevin's generous nature, makes it easy to consume many, many cheese tosties in a small amount of time. =)



Nicholas and I set up in our 'home office' for the first few days of job hunting--Starbucks, Edinburgh.

   Well, it's been several days since my last posted update and a shade under two weeks since my last written update (as I said before, I'd been writing in my Bob the Builder notepad...), and I feel like I'm sneeking around over here not really letting anyone know what's going on on this side of the Atlantic with me, because I've got to tell you, the last few weeks have been pretty rough. I really wanted to become 'established' over here as soon as I could, and I thought a week would be plenty of time to do that, or at least be well on my way to it. By being established, I mean have a place of residence, a warm bed, food, and employment. Of these elements of a successful transplant I've completed all, but somehow am left feeling a bit unfulfilled. Why? Let me tell you.


Discouraged Scheides.

   I really wanted to be employed by a Scottish-based company. None of this conglomerate corperate trash--I do not want to become another employee profile in some H.R. department somewhere else I've never been. Last week I presented myself with my best smile in a suit and tie to over twenty companies, and handed out over thirty resumes, and all I have to show for it is one interview on this coming Tuesday. One interview! How ashamed do I feel, I've got a college degree and a ton of experience, and no one wants to hire me in any sort of IT position over here for two reasons: a) the IT downturn that hit the USA a few months ago has now crept its way into the European market, leaving no one looking for skilled help. I wish I could show you the IT section of the classifieds here, we're talking two or three ads, tops...and b) I've discovered the general skill level of IT people here is quite inferior to the level of playing field I'm used to playing with in the US.
   This leaves me with a kind of empty feeling because, while I've been told again and again for the past few years that finding work after college would be no problem in my field, here I am trying to get helpdesk-level employment (this is roughly equivelant to being the dishwasher at five star restaraunt--while their role is vital, I've moved past it, done my time there, and am looking for more of an apprentace-ship-for-the-head-cook type position.).



Trust me. I'm a professional.

   But don't think that I'm going to let a little thing like that get me down, I mean, hey, remember who's writing this, eh? While the job market in the IT industry is at level of pathetic indifference right now, I walked into Edinburgh, Scotland two days before the kick-off of one of the biggest parties in the world. For a month, everyone here works overtime and doesn't sleep at night because there's so much fun stuff going on all over the city. The first week is utter chaos, because while there's so much to do, no one knows what TO do. You walk down The Royal Mile and besides local shops (which are all very cool) the padestrian is confronted with an endless barrage of flyers, hand-outs, and people dancing in your face to come and see their show, let them paint your face, watch them do backflips in the middle of the street, breeth fire, juggle huge knives, or all of the above at the same time (those are the guy/als that really draw a crowd and the 's).




Street performers everywhere!


   By Friday of that first week, everyone in the area is dog-tired, starry-eyed, and looking for help. After a week of walking ALL over the damn city, I walked into The Mitre on High Street (part of the Royal Mile, about 1/2 mile or so from the castle) to visit Nicholas, who had started working there not two days prior. He was standing there talking to his manager and another employee. I was introduced, and then Neil (the manager) mentioned they still needed more help to this other employee, and promptly walked away. I looked at Nicholas, shrugged, put my folder filled with resumes in my bag and asked for an application (what the hey, I might as well have some fun while I'm job-hunting, right?).



C'mon, what's wrong with this picture?



   I've now discovered in a more real sense that job-hunting is really like shopping, perhaps more specifically shopping for a car, or better yet--shopping for underwear. You've got to find the one that fits you just right. I have been a bartender at The Mitre on High Street for just under a week now, and I can honestly tell you that I love it. While I have taken a paycut of over 70% of what I was making in the states, it is hard work with a lot of elbow- grease involved, but very rewarding. I meet and work with people from all over the world, get to practice a little Francais once in a while, hear crazy stories, and kick out prostitutes. What luck!



Nicholas decided to take a quick nap before we go out to celebrate being 100% established in a foreign country.


I let him sleep for a bit, then wake him up with a little 'Jack in bed.'



Meanwhile, a LOT of tequila is consumed downstairs, as the hostel staff puts on an impressive display of accelerated drinking.


   Now, I know there's a lot of concerned mothers reading this, so let me shift gears here for a minute. Living in a hostel takes a lot out of a person, including starving a person nutritoinally. Do not worry, because if you click the link below 'Where in the world is scheides?' you will find your way to the front door of my new flat. I met the sweetest old couple last Wednesday named the Duguids (read: Do Goods) who had the sweetest old flat on the South edge of old town you've ever seen. Nicholas did most of the schmoozing and I had the pleasure of finishing the deal of talking the Duguids out of a one year lease and into a six-month one.



Ah, I'll buy myself a nice duvet on the morrow.
(those are towels, btw)



   It really is a cool place. It's on the fourth floor, above Central Takeaway, one of the best takeaway fish & chips shops this side of I don't know where with two bedrooms, bath, kitchen, livingroom, etc. Nicholas and I are sharing one bedroom for the moment and letting Emily take the other. The flat is not too big and not too small, and the coolest part about the place is that it's located essentially in the heart of the city. We can all walk/stroll to work in under ten minutes.

   All is well in Edinburgh for now, I'm eating healthy (except for the takeway fried food thing...) and being sure to delve into local culture. I haven't given up on the IT job hunt for now, just doing my best to indulge in the remaining half of the Fringe Festival and just line up interviews on the side. So yea, that's it for the Cheese Toasty update, see ya next time!



The new office.

13/6 Teviot Place
Edinburgh
EH1 2QZ


Take a virtual tour of my flat!

where in the world is scheides?


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