Ok, this post is a little late but nevertheless, Happy New Year (Chinese style), to the year of the snake! I hadn’t really planned any trips to Chinatown or anything as we had just returned from our ski trip and I wanted time to catch up on some house-related stuff but I did end up agreeing to meet my sister at one of our regular cheap, but consistently cheerful and good restaurants New Fortune Cookie (I had no idea it rated so high on TripAdvisor – it’s true!)
I decided to meet early because I don’t like eating too late on a Sunday and this turned out to be a good idea with such a crowd also wanting Chinese food on Chinese New Year. New Fortune Cookie has a great location next to the Queensway tube, so it gets a lot of traffic and it’s good food and reasonable prices with good service (I never feel like they are turning tables like other Chinese restaurants) means you end up with a lot of happy customer coming back. On this evening though, we had about a half hour wait even though we were one of the first people in queue. By the time we sat down, people were starting to stand in between tables, just because there wasn’t enough room. So chaotic, and entertaining.
Seafood chow mein (crispy)
Steamed chicken with ginger and green onion
Bok Choy with Garlic
Black sesame dumplings
We had quite the feast for the Chinese New Year, starting off with won ton soup and ensuring that we ordered a noodle dish for long life. Ordering Chinese appropriately for a special event can be quite overwhelming as symbolic nature of foods is complex. We opted for one of
I have no idea where the last couple of months have gone, but it’s been a very busy one. Life has been good with a project quite close to home, I thought I would have more time to blog, but I guess other things are getting in the way. Keeping fit has been a big part to this year, after travelling a lot last year and difficult keeping a proper routine, it’s been good to have a bit more of a regular schedule. I also managed to self-publish my own book at the start of August although the rest of August was busy preparing for the big Agile conference in Dallas.
In terms of personal stuff, I managed to make it to an Olympics event (yay!) – 10m quarter final women’s diving where we got to enjoy the Olympic stadium after work and the amazingly fun atmosphere. Although I didn’t win any tickets in the ballot, a good friend offered me one for the event that I took with no hesitation with the price point, timing and event matching up pretty well.
For the August bank holiday weekend, I spent the time in Berlin which was very fun to get back. I was less a tourist this time and spent a bit more time catching up with friends, revisiting old haunts and trying to practice my terrible (but much better) German on the poor Germans who would respond in kind. September is already here and I’m about to embark on a trip to China for a couple of weeks where the family will be visiting from Australia.
Sorry for not keeping up to date, but there’s a short summary of things going on. I’m sure I’ve missed plenty but life seems to get busier and busier!
After over six and a half years in the UK, I can now call myself British after sitting the ceremony this Wednesday past. I sent my application in last year and waited to hear back from the Home Office and only recently received the letter asking me to book a citizenship ceremony as soon as possible. It was a very nervous three month wait hoping to hear back the result. Fortunately it was all approved.
I took the ceremony at Camden Town Hall, the same place I had the Nationality Checking Service (NCS) appointment. Talking to a human instead of waiting on a queue, or talking to an automated machine is a much better experience, so they encouraged me to return.
The ceremony started at 10am sharp. Approximately 50 or more people turned up for the ceremony, including their guests. We were divided into two groups – those undertaking the final oath to become a citizenship, and guests who sat in the viewing areas around the council chambers. We all stood as the mayor, adorned in all of his finery and bling entered the room. They talked about what the proceedings were going to be before the mayor opened up with a speech of his own, welcoming us in as British citizens.
We were then asked to take one of two oaths to cement the role before being handed certificates, a token of appreciation from the borough, and a picture with the mayor and a picture of the Queen.
Fortunately for me, Australia dropped its single citizenship rule only as recently as 2002 where I’m allowed to basically be guaranteed to win (and lose) The Ashes. It’s a bit of a relief to finally stop worrying about counting days in and out of the country, and I look forward to returning from trips overseas and entering without queueing for extremely large amounts of time at British Immigration.
I succumbed. And bought a new phone. Admittedly it’s been about four years that I’ve had my other phone and while it’s lasted me, you can tell that it’s needed a bit of upgrading both from the slowness of the apps and the some of the outside scratches.
It’s lasted remarkably well but I’m happy to have finally upgraded. Other than known battery issues (a software problem soon to be fixed) the phone itself has been very awesome. I can’t really say much about Siri since I’ve not used it so much as it seems more of a novelty than anything else.
A small reprieve from Berlin this week due to some Clojure training, meant an opportunity that serendipitously overlapped with Stace’s last visit to London for work. Stace and her husband, Wes, are expecting a newborn very soon, hence her last trip to London. I caught up with her on a trip last year, and we couldn’t believe that almost a year had already passed.
I met her at the wonderful Fox and Anchor where we enjoyed a delicious meal in the cosy and atmospheric abode. With the little one expected to pop in the next month, I appreciated the awesome time we had over a meal.