12.May.2011 Officially A London Based Blogger

union jack

Yes, as of yesterday the 10th of May 2011, I am officially a London based blogger. Surprise!

A little bit of a flashback. I started to look around for new job opportunities in January/February. Adventurer at heart, it’s only natural that I looked overseas. All you UK bloggers always made me green with envy with your cool bookshops and literary events and the whole Europe at your doorstep, so I decided that I WANT TO LIVE THERE.

And by struck of luck it is actually happening. I mean UK is not the easiest place to get into right now, what with the change of coalition government and stricter visa rules and allowance. My job title is on the shortage occupation list however so my new company was able to sponsor me.

It didn’t happen overnight of course, so there were weeks of thinking and considering and fretting. First, my husband would not come with me, not at first anyway. He was just settling in in Australia and started a pretty good job, so we think it’s best for him to stay there a bit more and see how things go. Then early on, around the same time as the London company replied to my application, out of the blue I was contacted by a game company in Kyoto to see if I was interested in their Japan based position, adding complications to the mix. So at one point after interviewing and negotiating process, I had two job offers, for two different job roles, from two completely different countries, both of which I have always wanted to go to or live in.

I was completely torn. UK or Japan? London or Kyoto? Film or game? Which one? Which one? Whichever that I picked would have a big impact to the rest of my path. I would do different things. I would meet different people. Both opportunities may only come just once. So I tossed and turned and lost sleep for many nights.

But you know the end of my dilemma. I picked London. Hubby and I think that this is the better move for my career path, and the salary gap could not justify the Kyoto position. I don’t say goodbye to Japan for sure, just “not now” :). (I found this website to be quite accurate for broad comparison between two countries: ifitweremyhome.com. For example, if Japan were my home instead of the UK, I would make 7.39% less money and work 9.4% more hours each year. If Indonesia were my home instead of Australia, I would die 10.67 years sooner and make 89.96% less money. The 10 years gap of life expectancy is so true. Most old people/relatives I know in Indonesia including my grandparents died in their 70s while Australians generally look and feel younger in their 60s, 70s, and 80s. Uum I’m going on a tangent here… Let’s go back.)

So. That’s a long way to explain why I only put up like 2 posts per month for the last 3 months…

Admittedly I am in a pretty bad book slump too. Feel like I haven’t read properly for ages. Maybe it’s the stress of waiting and the anticipation of moving. I’ll just have to wait it out until the mojo comes back.

Meanwhile, in the spirit of my tradition, I’m having a giveaway! New job, book giveaway. Makes perfect sense, no? Here’s the list of all English books that I have read since 2003 by author. To enter, let me know what book you would want from the list if you win the giveaway. If no title catches your interest, you can pick another title that I haven’t read by any of the authors in that list. And while you’re here, can you also tell me what is your favorite book either by a British author or set in UK? If you don’t have any, just a favorite book will do, or book that you think I should read immediately! I’m hoping that some recommendations from book bloggers will take me out of my book slump. Help!

Giveaway opens internationally for 2 weeks. Will close on 26 May 2011. I look forward to your comments! :)

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There are 52 Comments to "Officially A London Based Blogger"

  • Steph says:

    Congrats on your big move! I am so jealous – I’d love to live in the UK for a while, especially as it would mean getting to meet all those wonderful bloggers who are now local to you! So very very exciting and I hope you are settling in well.

    I will be writing about it soon, but one UK-based book that I just read that I really liked and that I’m sure you will too is Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller. You simply MUST read it! I should have a review up in the next week or so, but I will say that it does not disappoint!

    I am going to refrain from your generous giveaway because my apartment is already overrun by unread books, but I browsed through your review list and others will certainly have a rich directory to choose from!

    • mee says:

      Steph, you’re always so prompt! It puts me to shame really :). Yes, talking about meeting bloggers, I have already met Jo (bibliojunkie) and we’re going to see Jackie on the 20th. Everything is so exciting, it’s overwhelming! And what a coincidence that I actually held Notes on a Scandal book in my hands this afternoon. I refrained from buying it but I think I will if I see it again. I just don’t want to rush buying books when I haven’t found a flat yet. The secondhand bookshops here are sooo amazing. Just a minute stepping into any bookshop I’ve already found books and books that I’m interested in. So different with Australia where good secondhand books are sparse. Jo promised to show me more bookshops around her area that have even cheaper books and I’m so looking forward to it. That and more exploring around London on my own. Fun! :)

  • softdrink says:

    That is SO EXCITING!!! Sorry for the yelling, but jeez…London! That’s one of my favorite places ever. Have fun exploring your new home and meeting all of those wonderful UK bloggers!

  • Mel u says:

    Congrats on the move to London-I still cherish my memories of a visit to the Dickens’House Museum-I would love to win Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri-for a book set in England-I loved the Collected Short Stories of Elizabeth Bowen and her novel about London during the blitz, In the Heat of the Day-thanks for offering this contest

    • mee says:

      Mel u, thanks. I have Dickens Museum on my to do list! I may want to read one of his length novel first before I go though, so I’d appreciate it more. Thanks for the rec and you’re entered in the giveaway!

      • Mel u says:

        If youo visit are interested in Samuel Johnson and his era-I also really was thrilled to visit his house museum-going back I would also go to the Bronte Parsonage and Gaskell’s house-

        • mee says:

          Mel, I never heard of Samuel Johnson to be honest, but I’ll look for him now! The Bronte’s is on my list. I have yet to read a Gaskell’s so I’ll keep her in mind too. Thanks for all the recommendations!

  • Olduvai says:

    Oh I’m just envious! I did my masters in the UK (Sussex) and that one year flew by too fast. Best of luck in London!

  • Suko says:

    Mee, I expect that you will speak with an English accent soon. It is my absolute favorite! I visited London many years ago and loved it. I hope you’ll be happy working–and blogging–there.

    I would love to win a copy of Room, which I’ve been dying to read.

    As for a book recommendation, how about a novel by Virginia Woolf? Or Iris Murdoch?

    • mee says:

      Suko, haha my accent is so messed up, as I move around all the time. I like English accent too and surprisingly do not have any problem at all catching what people say.

      Virginia Woolf is definitely on my list. Might be a good time to look for Iris Murdoch too. Thanks for the rec and I’ll enter you in the giveaway!

  • I LOVE London so am jealous! My brother lives there so at least I get to visit.

  • Nymeth says:

    Wow, congratulations on the move! I think this calls for a blogger meeting in London at some point or another :) I hope you’re getting settled in and that things are going well for you.

  • Welcome! It is great that you are now living so close. I look forward to seeing you next week :-)

  • Tony says:

    Wow! That’s a bit of a jump!

    My recommendation is David Mitchell’s ‘Black Swan Green’ – growing up in England in the 80s (his ‘Norwegian Wood’?).

    If a free book’s going (!), how about Ishiguro’s ‘A Pale View of Hills’? :)

    Have fun in London ;)

    • mee says:

      Tony, thanks! I haven’t read any Mitchell until now and I really should do something about it. I’ll keep Black Swan Green in mind as I super loved Norwegian Wood. I’ll enter you in the giveaway!

  • Aarti says:

    Yay, congratulations, Mee! Best of luck :-)

  • JoV says:

    I can’t believe you adjusting to new time zone, fixing up bank accounts and without a permanent roof over your head you are posting a blog post and offering a giveaway too!

    You have made the right choice. As for “9.4% more hours in Japan” I bet you it is not the case, it feels like 50% more I think and your lifespan may be shorter!! so welcome to the land of balance here in the UK! :)

    P/S: I see you already bought the “Notes on Scandal”, I wasn’t sure you did when you hold it in your hands. :)

    • mee says:

      JoV, I love multitasking ;).

      Actually according to the site if you live in Japan instead of UK, you’d live 3 years longer. The Japanese have found a way to longer life I’m sure, like they find all the cool stuff :D

      I didn’t buy Notes on a Scandal, but I think I will when I see one again!

  • JoV says:

    Oh! and bring your book bags and rucksacks. I hope you will get a good haul in Bracknell. I refrain from hoarding you get the first pick! :)

  • Melissa says:

    Yay for you! That’s so exciting. I lived in London for awhile and couldn’t love that city more. For a favorite UK based book I would nominate Howards End and Remains of the Day (which I know you’ve read), both are divine.

    As for the giveaway, you have so many of my favorite books listed! I recenty read Persepolis and loved it, so I’d love to get a copy of Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi.

    • mee says:

      Melissa, thanks for the recommendation. As you know I loved The Remains of the Day. Will keep Howards End in mind. I so adored Persepolis too. And Embroideries. Great choice! I’ll enter you in the giveaway.

  • Ee-Leng says:

    Great to hear from you so soon after your move! Hope you’re settling in well. :) I’m going to tell you right now that I’m fully planning to visit you one day. :) But then again, I was always thinking of doing that when you were in Sydney and now you’ve moved! Hope to see more of your reading adventures here once you’re all set and out of your book slump. :) I really miss your posts!

    Ooh, I’d love to win Tim Burton’s The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy. I love Tim Burton and was really happy at the Tim Burton exhibition last year! It was a really interesting insight to him and I love all his creations and some of his short stories are just so hilarious.

    When you say book set in UK, the first thing I thought of is the Adrian Mole series by Sue Townsend. Its written as a series of diaries, starting with The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4, which I think is the funniest and best of the series. I first read it when I was 13 and then again recently. And I think it became much funnier reading it when I’m older! So I definitely recommend it. :)

    • mee says:

      Hey Eeleng, definitely let me know when you intend to visit UK. Or Europe! :) We can meet up. I went to visit Melbourne last December but it was a very short trip, so it was hard to fit everything in.

      I heard about the Tim Burton exhibition in Melbourne. So jealous. I would really like to see it. I even got the advertisement postcard on my table for a long time. I got this super big coffee table book of Tim Burton’s personal sketches as a goodbye present from the folks at the office, which is really amazing. I love his illustrations. Loved The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy too. Good choice!

      People have told me about the Adrian Mole series and I do intend to read it some time. It’s great to know that you found it funnier when you’re older, because I was kinda worried that it’s the book you need to read when you’re young, like Catcher in the Rye. I will keep an eye on it!

  • stujallen says:

    have great fun ,welcome to london ,all the best stu

  • Novroz says:

    Congratulation on your move to London….I am so full of envy with you ;)
    Lol on 89.96% less money if you work in Indonesia…it’s so true.

    • mee says:

      Novroz, thanks. Yes it’s not easy to live in Indonesia, especially with the unstable and low currency :(

  • kiss a cloud says:

    Wow Di!!!! I’m super excited for you!!! I wish you all the best in your new home, and hopefully hubby follows you soon. I was so surprised at this post because I hadn’t been blogging in weeks and then I stop by to say hello and you tell us you’ve moved! :D

    Anyway, I’d love to enter your giveaway. Choosing The Complete Maus because I loved it SO much but the copies I read were from the library. I want my kids to read it too, in time. Thanks so much Di!

    xoxoxoxoxo

    • mee says:

      Hi Claire, thanks! I’m very excited too! Sorry about the public notice, I should’ve told you in advanced :). I hadn’t been blogging for a while too and with the moving around it’s hard to catch up with everything and everyone. I haven’t stopped by the other blogs for a while now and hope to do that soon. Hope you and your family are well.

      ps: I’m glad you chose Maus! Will enter you in the giveaway.

  • sakura says:

    Yay! Welcome to London Mee! That’s a huge move. Good to hear that you’ve been doing the rounds and have stumbled across some bookshops. We must meet up soon:)

    If you haven’t read anything by Sarah Waters, do! And I recommend Christopher Fowler’s Bryant & May mysteries which have lots of wonderful detail about London.

    And I would love to be entered in your giveaway for Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan:)

    • mee says:

      sakura, thanks! We should meet up and eat some Japanese or Pakistani food ;)

      I’m not usually into detective/mystery books so I might skip Christopher Fowler. But I’ll definitely try Sarah Waters. I can’t seem to find her books all the time I dropped by the charity bookshops here though.

      Good luck with the giveaway! :)

  • Jessica Post says:

    Oh my goodness I am so behind the times – only just read this post – how exciting!! Several of my friends have just moved to ‘Old Blighty’ so it feels like an exodus is going on. London is just such a great city, I’m sure you’re going to have a brilliant time!! My recommended reading is not very practical – but I still consider it an awesome evocation of an amazing city: “UnLundun” by China Mieville. (Or his short story collection “Looking for Jake and Other Stories”).

    And you MUST visit the Hay on Wye book festival.

    • mee says:

      Jessica, you’re not behind, it’s just a couple of days. I was thinking about you and was going to tell you about my move anyway :). I have to leave the few books you gave me but they will come here later. You mentioned China Mieville before (and a few other people). I have to try his books while I’m here.

      I never heard of Hay on Wye book festival. I’ll keep an eye on it. Thanks for mentioning it!

  • Jenny says:

    Oh my gosh, how amazing! Congratulations and I am so, so jealous! London contains my favorite place in the whole world! No need to enter me for the giveaway, but I hope everything goes beautifully smoothly. Enjoy the free museums — I miss them so so much and yearn to see them every day. :p Can I recommend Hilary McKay’s Saffy’s Angel? It’s for kids, but it’s really sweet and soothing, just the thing for a stressful life change time.

    • mee says:

      Jenny, I love all the free museums too lol. So amazing. Which ones are your favorites?

      I never heard of Saffy’s Angel. It looks so cute. I might look it up in the library. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • kimbofo says:

    Welcome to London. Be very careful. I came here for 12 months. And that was 12 YEARS ago!

    • mee says:

      kimbofo, thanks. Lol I wonder if that would happen to me! So far I’m so falling in love with this city.

  • Congratulations on your big brave move. From a London blogger to a new London blogger – I hope that you love it here!

  • Arti says:

    Congrats on your new job in London. Since you’ve not written any new posts I suspect you must be overwhelmed by the moving and adjustments. And in your post you mentioned film as your new job, just curious about that as you know I’m a film/book blogger. Hope to hear from you soon about the exciting move to Europe!

    • mee says:

      Arti, thanks. Yes I am quite overwhelmed by all the new things that happen every single day! Hope to start reading and blogging again soon. I work in visual effects/ film studio as a programmer/technical person, so I generally work on animated films and film that needs visual effects (almost every film uses vfx these days actually). I’ve been doing it for 2 years now (the job is similar with what I did in Sydney), but I used to work in video games industry. I always love watching movies but I guess I started paying attention to more details when I entered the film industry.

  • Wishing you the best of times in the UK! *jealous* And good luck on your new job. Won’t you miss hubby terrible though? Or did I misunderstand he’s not coming over for now? :-o

    • mee says:

      Gnoe, thanks! My husband is not coming over for now, but who knows, he might be later. We’re definitely missing each other a lot :).

  • Hey, another London based book blogger here! Welcome, and congratulations on the big move. I love London – great place for a book lover as well :)

    Give me a shout if you fancy meeting up. x

    • mee says:

      anothercookie, yes surely a meet up should be on the way! Where do you live or work? Maybe we can talk about it more over email.

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