21 December 2006

Waiting to get into the swing of things

Over at Sylvana we're still waiting for our first guests to arrive on Thursday. It's only going to be 2 of them and they won't even be eating here the first two nights. All the other chalets have guests now. The Rond Point is full up, loaded with kids and vegetarians with about 4 different menus for the chef to have to deal with over there. The others, L'Etrier and the Clochettes next door have just a small group of people to deal with.

There's still a few more things needed to get sorted out so that every thing is ready for the first group of guests that arrive on Sunday. We're looking forward to getting into a steady rhythm for the daily routine. We've been all scattered about, being sent to the other chalets to get things up and running for them.

Friday's are our day's off for the whole company. We're going all try and head to the slopes for some much desired skiing and boarding. I know I need as much as I can get as I'll be soon guiding the guests around.

16 December 2006

First day of skiing

Today was our first day of skiing. We headed off to the slopes around 10am and I was there until 3:30 in the afternoon. The day started off quite slowly with 4 falls in a matter of about 300m right from the start. No one I was with knew I had only skied for about 5hrs back in HS. We made our way over to the second set of lifts to the red "olympique" run. The pistes are rated from the very easy green, easy blue, difficult red, to the very difficult black. Olympique was a red rated piste. I arrived to the top of the Rochebrune peak at 1754m and knew this wasn't the time to give it a go. I took the lift right back down.

After getting to some more level snow I finally met up with Sumo. He's one of the ski instructors from ESI that works closely with Stanford Skiing and the guests. A few of us spent the rest of the day taking lessons from him. By the end of the day I almost felt like I could go and takle that olympique run. I didn't however, a few more days on the green and blue slopes.

08 December 2006

Come Stay in Megeve

For those of you wanting to come to stay in the French Alps this ski season, look no further. While I'm working in Megeve, I'll be allowed visitors 1-2 (maybe 3) at a time. There is a list of particulars from the company on the do's and don'ts.

I'll be at the Sylvana location for the season (address in contact details). I have a room to myself. It's very small and space on the floor is available. There is also a chance that space could be available with some of the other workers. If you're lucky there might even be an open room (not likely though).

If you want to visit, let me know the possible dates so that I can put it on the visitor calendar and send the details.

27 November 2006

Work and Borat's Mom in London

After two months traveling around Europe I headed back to London for a month before I leave for France on the 9th of Dec. I had to get back early to attend an interview to receive my National Insurance Number. Everything seems to have went well and hopefully it should be on its way. The next issue now is to figure out how to get my EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card) so I can travel in the EU and be able to get medical care if needed. I need the NI number to get the EHIC card supposedly.

I spent just over a week walking into places, calling around, looking for a live in job at a pub. I ended up finally getting a call back from a recruiter who knew of a position available at a pub in NW London near the Hampstead tub stop on the Northern Line. I had a tril shift on Tuesday the 16, and started full time on Saturday. The name of the place is The Old Bull and Bush. It was renovated in what some might know as a typical Lincoln Park yuppie renovation. It used to be an old style place as it dates back to 1721, one of the oldest pubs here in England.

During last week I had heard that there was going to be a group of three women coming into the restaurant to have lunch. Some flowers arrived and they were addressed to Mrs. Baron. Turns out this is the same Baron Cohen from the well known British Actor/Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, better known as Borat. I happened to miss here that day as it was my day off but again today she had a group of 12 friends in for one of their birthday parties and I had the opportunity to speak with her.

Work is calling me back once again. I much preferred the 3 months off with traveling to having to work again. I hope the time in France will be a little less hectic than it is now. I'm earning quite a bit though because I just don't have time to spend anyting so that's a positive.

26 October 2006

Travel Photos

All my travel photos can now be found here on this site. There will be a link to the right directing you there from now on.

Location of Travel Photos

05 October 2006

Last day in the UK

Tonight is the last night in London with Charlie. We take off for Milan, Italy in the morning. Have 4 days planned driving around with her and 2 of her friends from South Affrica. We head right for Venice, spend 1 night there. Then off to Florence for the next 2. On the way back to Milan we're going to head up the northwest coast through Cinque Terre. This is where Greg and I were supposed to visit during last years Euro Trip but could't fit in.

01 October 2006

Job in France

The word just came in...I'll be working in France this winter season from 10th December until the end of April. The only downside to this all is that I'll have to head back sooner than expected from traveling around. I have to get my NI number for this job and I'll need to be back in London on 7th November. I'm going to head to the jobcenter office tomorrow to try and get it sorted out sooner.

25 September 2006

Birmingham Photos

Have a click on the link above for photos from Saturday night out in Birmingham. It's not my site despite it saying Steve's Site...another Steve from that night. I'll be getting more eventually, there were over 400 taken from that night.

24 September 2006

Interview on Thursday

I was checking through emails and found one from the hiring folks for a winter job in France. I have an interview scheduled for noon on Thursday the 28th which I hope goes well because I haven't been able to schedule any other interviews yet with similar type jobs.

11 September 2006

Dublin - Meet with Liz

A rendez vouz with Liz at the airport took much longer than expected. Her flight into London was delayed over 2 hours and she missed her connecting flight. I was on the phone with Lisa-Anna trying to figure out when she would arrive but she wasn't much help and knew as much as me...nil. At about

We finally make it to the LPA where Liz and her friend Rebeka are studying for the semester. I spend some time waiting there while Rebeka sorts our her lost luggage from her transfer in Charles de Gaul. Arriving back towards the centre of town we pick up a taxi and head to the main building of the LPA. The girls find out that they will be living in the same house together and are of course very excited. Just a few minutes earlier I was informing them of my experience in France where my friend and I were the only two who had a family that lived near each other.

The drive to the host family in *** was scenic. We were driving along the coast of Dublin by the *** Sea. The family was quite receptive and offered myself dinner and future accommodation if I were to return to Dublin and need a place to stay. Paul was Christine's??? partner whom had a son named Peter and Sue who joined us for dinner. Peter is about 20 years old while Sue is 29 and a curator at the National Gallery. Paul is retiring as a partner from Ernst and Young after over 20 years of service.

Liz and I made our way towards the Temple Bar area and met with Chris from couch surfing at ??? Bar .. She was with Dan whom she met earlier in the day. Chris had just returned from a few weeks in Morocco and had just become an Irish citizen after many years of effort.

Upon returning I was walking along the south end of the river and I noticed many drops of blood on the corner of the street. After the 5 minute walk from that point to the Hostel I came to realize that a group of German students from Frankfurt were the recipients of an attack over a mobile phone.

There was what I believe to be a representative of the Garda (police) taking notes of the incident. The whole exchange of information is quite interesting as the Germans are not completely fluent yet in English so their supervisor was translating as the students were speaking in German.

10 September 2006

Dublin - Day 2

There were some cultural events going on at the tournament including some Chinese dancers and singers that I had the opportunity to watch and hear. Around 2pm I decided that I had watched enough and it was time to get something to eat. As I was leaving I walked past a game going on at the cricket grounds that I first passed by before getting to the football pitches. I took about an hour to watch what was going on and picked up on a few parts of the game. Still don't understand it fully though of course.

While walking to the bus to get back into the city centre, I noticed the Guinness building towering above all the rest in the distance. I took the bus back towards the polish internet café where it is only €1 per hour. The hostel costs €1 for 15 minutes!

I went and ate at Eddie Rockets and had a tuna melt along with some fries. (€5.75, 3.45). Their wireless internet, that seemed to be open, refused to allow me to connect.

Dublin - Day 2

Note to self – Don't get to breakfast at 9:45 when it finishes at 10...there's no milk left by then....well on a busy Sunday morning anyways

After a few pieces of toast with some of my favourite jam, blackcurrant, orange juice, and a small bit of cereal I could manage to eat with the drops of milk that was left I made my way out to Dublin. I hopped on the first bus that came by the stop and I knew it was headed off my intended path once it turned right across the river. I had a nice stroll in front of me, maybe 20min, through some residential areas of Dublin on the east side of Phoenix Park, where I was headed. I'm guessing that it was the Polish part of town from overhearing the mothers speaking to their children. There was also a church service going on it what seemed to be Polish as well.

After finding the park it was a long walk towards the pitches that the games were being played at for the tournament(see below). There seems to be 7 pitches of games going on. Not a huge tournament from what I can tell but it is in its 10th year.

09 September 2006

Arrival to Europe

No delay on the flight arrival this morning into Dublin. There was some trouble with the airport crew trying to align the stairs for us all to get off the plane. Once that was complete, I was then heading through the airport to pass through customs. The last time I came through to London I was of course in the non-European Union line and there's quite a bit of inspection of ones passport, maybe an inquiry or two of what you will be doing, where you're staying and what not. This time however it was the EU line for me, not a sole waiting in line. I walked right up and the agent didn't glance at it for more than 5 seconds and I was on my way. I suppose the only bad thing with the new passport is that it seems I won't be getting any stamps of all the countries I'll be visiting.

After waiting for what seemed to be everyone else's luggage to come off the plane I finally received mine. I realized I might have been better off with a larger roller suitcase to consolidate the backpack and small roller one I used all into one. I made my way out of the airport towards the bus, taking the 748 to the hostel I am staying at, Four Courts Hostel. I opted to buy the 3 day Rambler pass for €10.50 instead of the €5.00 one way. I took the bus past a few parks where some youth football matches were going on. There's a tournament this weekend that I'm going to go and watch tomorrow.

After dropping off my luggage at the hostel I walked around Dublin until about 4pm. I went and picked up a UK plug for my new laptop because the power converter I bought did not have the typical 3 prong US but only the 2 prong. Luckily the laptop adapters are 110-240V switched, as is my mobile phone charger as it turns out. The Isobar power strip I brought with unfortunately is not 110-240V so I'll need to get one of these sent over.

I spent an uneventful evening at the hostel. Getting in bed around 10pm sleeping until the next morning.

08 September 2006

Departure Day

After a fun filled morning spent at city impound lot for a car that was parked during street cleaning times things finally came together and I was on my way. As usual it was last minute scrambling to get things packed up and moved out of the old apartment. Still have a few things if anyone is interested.

My flight out of O'Hare is scheduled for 7:25 and I'm waiting around the departure gate right now. The 6 outlet power strip came in handy as there were a few people looking to charge up their phones and laptops from the limited outlets available.....

28 August 2006

A US Ref, in Italy, with Danes

I woke up this morning on what would have been another day of work and received an email from the tournament director of the Limone Cup in Italy. Henrik has invited me to referee in the tournament this October. The timing is just about perfect because I will be in Italy the weekend before with my friends from London the weekend before. For the days inbetween I'm going to be trying to find a place to stay with people from Couchsurfing or sites like that. It looks like I have found a place to stay in Pescantina, Italy not too far from Sirmione where the tournament will be held.

He is also assigning for a tournament in May called the Norhalne Cup in Denmark and has invited me to attend that as well. I'll have to wait util its closer to the day to see if I'll be able to go there.

17 August 2006

Departure Parties

Looks like the crazy going away event is going to happen on 25th August. We'll be taking over both apartments on Racine and having a smashing good time. VIEW THE DETAILS

As I have mentioned to a few people, 1st September there will also be a gathering. Stay tuned for details.

Being a Referee in the UK

More good news to report today. I have heard from The Manchester FA that during the Committee Meeting last Monday they have agreed to register me with them. This now means that I'll be registered with both the Scottish FA as well as the English FA.

I've started looking at tournaments across Europe. There are many where accomidation and food are provided as well as a small fee for each game. Sounds like a great way to travel. There are a few I've taken notice of in Norway, Spain, Netherlands, Finland, Austria, and Italy so far.

01 August 2006

Couchsurfing Begins - At Home

The replacement roommate moved into my old room today. I'll still be staying at my place but basically using the couch to sleep on until I leave. A month of cheaper rent is definitely worth it. This means that I have to finally get rid of all my stuff to make room for all of his. I've sold a few things already on Craigslist but if you're in the market for anything let me know. I'll soon add all the CL postings which include the photos and details of what I'm getting rid of.

The customary trip to Pequod's with the new roommate took place as well this evening. We had dinner there the night we signed our lease and whenever a new roommate moves in. This was the 3rd such event.

26 July 2006

A Football Referee in the UK

Excellent news was received today from the Ayrshire Referee Association. Tom Loy has invited me to attend an interview with the Associaton on 15 Sept as well as to join them in training that Tuesday of the same week. By getting this interview and succeeding I will not have to go through what would be at least an 8 week training process that would be nearly impossible to complete because I won't be in once place for that long initially.

The only downside to this is that I haven't been certified in the US since 2000. This means that I will have to spend 2 days at classes because, at least from the phone call to the ISRC, I can not attend the 1 day refresher class that's in Chicago. The only entry clinics before I leave are in Quincy or Carbondale IL. I'm trying to see if I can find closer ones in IN or WI now.

19 July 2006

The days are going by quickly and 8 September is fast approaching. I am trying to figure out the dates of where I'll be once I leave. I've gone and created a calendar that shows what my schedule will look like.



There has been a plethora of information to read through in order to prepare for this move. Here are some of the things I've determined I will need to do for my UK arrival.

1) I have sorted out a bank account and will be getting it through the Royal Bank of Scotland once I arrive in Kilwinning.
2) Obtaining a National Insurance (NI) number will be something I will need to set up an interview for once I'm there so I can be able to work.
3) I have already sent away for my provisional drivers licence. Because the UK passport is digital, they took the photo and signature already on file for the license.
4) I have printed out the electoral registration form so that I can mail it in and be all registered to vote there.

17 July 2006

All details to my move to the UK (or where ever) will be posted here.