Thinking of moving

Over the last few months while Cheryl has been applying for her visa we’ve spoken several times about the possibility of moving to Singapore together.

IΒ enjoyedΒ Singapore a lot when I visited last year, and I could definitely see me living there for a while. It opens up the possibility of Cheryl taking over her parents’ company, which would definitely help set her up for the future. I don’t know how much she’d enjoy the work, but with any luck she could take the business far enough that she didn’t have to run it day-to-day. That’s all speculation for another day though.

Since we spoke about it I’ve actually mentioned it to my boss at work. I’ve looked at Amazon jobs in Singapore to see if it would be possible to move internally and have a guaranteed job when I get there. The main issue with that option is that I don’t really know if I’m well-suited for, or interested in, the jobs on offer there at the moment.

I have also added my CV to JobStreet and have applied for a couple of interesting positions that I am confident I could do. I’m not convinced that I’ll get shortlisted for any though, as I’m not a citizen, or a permanent resident. Lots of the job advertisements specify that you have to be one of those two things before you can even apply.

It’s quite frustrating, but certainly not the end of the world.

We’ve been looking into the various visas on offer for me. It seems like I have several main options for an employment pass, which would be helpful, and then there’s also the option of getting married to open up other options.

I’d ideally like to stick out my current job for a while, get some experience in Java, more experience with Amazon on my CV, and save up some money so that I can afford to move to Singapore and find a job while I’m there, rather than finding one from here. I think it would be a lot easier, but obviously a lot more expensive.

So yeah, exciting times.

New office

In the last few weeks most of my colleagues and I have moved to a new office near Barbican. It’s so much nicer than the old office, and it’s cool to be near a bunch of nice things rather than North Acton.

The new offices give everyone more space behind their seats, whiteboards all over the walls, pool tables, table football, bean bags to sit on, arcade machines, showers and bike parking, and it all just generally feels so much better. It’s so nice that I no longer have so many strong objections to staying late.

Because of the new location I’ve begun cycling to work. I’ve got my journey time down to around 20 minutes now, which is pretty cool. It’s roughly a third of the time I used to spend on the tube to the old office, and it doesn’t require a season ticket. So that’s over Β£100 a month saved if I don’t use the tube. Obviously I do still use the tube, but much less than before, so within three months I should have started to save money over the initial expense of the bike.

So all in all it’s a really positive move. πŸ˜€

Summer Hours

This is the first job I’ve had where I (legitimately) get to leave work considerably earlier on a Friday. Sadly it’s only during August, and I have to make the time up during the rest of the week, but today is Friday so let’s not think about the details! πŸ˜€

I have a couple of little bits to sort out when I get home, but I should still feel a considerable benefit. If the sun stays how it is now then I might even head up to the roof terrace to read my book and drink a beer. Having said that I’ve already realised that what I will probably do instead is close the curtains, switch the PS3 on and sit on the sofa until Cheryl comes back and yells at me. πŸ˜‰

4 days to go, London so far

In 4 days we’ll be moving into the new apartment. Everything’s still on target. The flooring and furniture stuff should all be sorted by now. The payment is going through in the next 2 days, and come Friday at 4pm we will be getting keys! πŸ˜€

It seems like a good time to reflect on how the move to London has been so far.

I’ve complained a lot about sleeping on an inflatable mattress for the last month and a bit. It hasn’t really been too bad, but I am definitely looking forward to a nice comfortable bed!

We’ve been to quite a lot of places. Most of them have been fairly cheap or free, thankfully. There’s so much going on in London that we can’t come close to seeing everything we want to. I’m really looking forward to having nice reliable weather (come on global warming!) so that it’s easier to plan more stuff.

Work has been going pretty well, and I finally feel a bit more like I’m settling in with everything. I feel more comfortable saying I’ve finished code, and I don’t worry so much when it’s being reviewed. I think that will help me write better code in the long run. There are big differences in going from a small development team to a very large one, and from one system to another, but it’s nothing I can’t handle and get on with after some experience.

It’s been really nice to get a chance to hang out with JonP and Emma a bunch more than usual. It’s good to do some proper hanging out with old friends, and I’ve known Emma and JonP for longer than anyone I’m not related to. Longer than most of the people I am related to, in fact.

Of course I miss having my family and other friends around a bit, but they’re not that far away and I should be able to go up and visit fairly easily when I’m completely settled. Of course, they will be able to come down to stay then too. πŸ˜€

Got a date

We have a potential move-in date now: June 10th. Both Cheryl and I are very excited to be moving in less than a month. Hopefully the whole process will go smoothly without delays. We’ll see.

I’ve basically settled in my routine for getting to/from work. I’ve still got some settling in to do with my actual job though. I think the next couple of weeks will make a big difference. It’s mostly just a matter of remembering where bits of code are and how to run the processes and then I should be sorted. I’m looking forward to making some real contributions to some exciting projects. πŸ™‚

Cheryl’s been stressed about doing various things for the new apartment. I feel kinda bad about not being able to do very much, but I’m just a tenant. It’s not my place to interfere with her and her family. I’ll be glad when everything’s settled down a bit more.

Getting settled

I’m starting to get things together at work now.

I’ve got a computer to call my own and I’ve taken in my keyboard, a new mouse, and my headphones. I’ve started to set up my environment so my keyboard shortcuts work. I’ve switched the Caps Lock and Escape keys so I can use vim comfortably again. It messes everything up for other people who try to use my computer though.

I am looking forward to getting to work tomorrow and getting some proper code written. I haven’t written any for a while and I’m starting to wonder if I’ll be able to remember how to do it.

There’s a barbecue at work tomorrow afternoon after an all-hands meeting. It’ll be quite nice to see people ever-so-slightly out of the work environment, even if it is just in the car park. πŸ™‚

I’ve started reading on the tube so it’s making the journey seem faster, and helping me get through my massive reading list. I’m looking forward to making some serious progress over the next few months. For now I’ll just be quite pleased to finish A Room With a View and then maybe renew my efforts of defeating Ulysses.

So yeah, basically things are going well. πŸ˜€

Lasts

I’m contemplating lasts today.

This is my last Monday working at Heart Internet. Tomorrow, however, is not my last Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday are my last Wednesdays and Thursdays here. My last Friday was last week. Weird how things work out. πŸ™‚

New job

Since Cheryl was looking like getting a job in London I’ve been looking for one myself. I sent an application to LoveFilm after thinking about how much of a good fit it would be for my interests. They’re a Perl house, so I know the language. They’re a company that deals with films, which I spend a lot of time and money on. The Playstation 3 app kind of made my mind up because I thought that it would be something I would like to work on.

I had to complete a programming test before anything else. After doing that I thought that I hadn’t done very well, but apparently I was worrying over nothing. I was offered an interview last Friday and so I went out and bought a new suit, got a haircut, had a shave, and went down there.

The interview itself went pretty well. I had a technical test/interview with two of the developers there, and then I had an interview with the head of the digital distribution team. I felt fairly comfortable during most of this process. The only issue was the pressure of being tested on programming stuff without a computer nearby. I don’t like writing SQL on paper. I much prefer to try a query once, then adjust it if it’s wrong, but oh well.

After the interview I was told that I should hear back fairly soon, so I went away not knowing what would happen, or how long it would really take.

I met up with JonP and we went for some drinks before my train at 20:30. At around 20:15 we realised that there was no chance of me making the train to Nottingham, so JonP offered to let me stay at his. We left the Bull in Shepherd’s Bush and went to the London Cocktail Club for a couple of drinks. Then we headed to Soho to a weird bar that serves drinks infused with garlic and stuff. We each had a shot of tequila infused with chilli. It was disgusting, so we chased it down with a beer.

On the way out of that bad JonP realised that he no longer had his bag. We headed back to the London Cocktail Club, which was closed. JonP rang their phone and left a message while I banged on the shutter door. Eventually someone came to the door to clean the steps with a mop, and thankfully JonP’s bag was still in there.

We caught a bus back to JonP and Emma’s apartment and I fell asleep fully suited up. I woke up a few times the next morning, then eventually noticed that I had a missed call from my contact at the agency. He said he’d got some feedback for me, and asked me to call him when possible.

I called him back and he told me that the interview was positive and that I had been offered the job. πŸ˜€

I rang Cheryl and my immediate family to let them know how it went, and started to feel pretty happy.

We decided to go and get some Mexican breakfast at Wahaca. JonP got as far as the DLR station before he decided to go back home to sleep. Emma and I powered on through. We decided to begin the drinking straight away. We ordered a tequila and a Corona, and during the course of eating our lunch we also ordered another tequila.

At about 2:30 Emma had to go to meet some of her friends so I decided to wander around London on my own for a while.

Cheryl called just as Emma left and said that she was thinking of coming down to London for the night. We discovered that the coach would be much cheaper, and Emma and JonP were fine with it, so we made plans.

I decided that I wanted to read a book and enjoy the day. I bought A Room with a View by E. M. Forster and made myself comfortable in Costa Coffee. I was reading in there for about 4 hours while Cheryl made her way to London. JonP’s band were playing a gig in Camden so we arranged to meet over there. I set off for Camden and met Cheryl at the tube station. She’d just seen JonP walk by with his guitar, so we headed off looking for the pub.

The venue was pretty small and incredibly warm, but the gig itself was good. πŸ™‚

After the gig we went back to JonP’s apartment and Emma was asleep on the couch. She woke up after a little while and went to bed instead. We stayed up and had some pizza and stuff from Pizza Planet, and then called it a night.

We left fairly early on Sunday so that we could have some of the weekend chilling out at home. It was a really good weekend. πŸ˜€