My life as an English archivist trainee

Well this blogpost is waaayy overdue. Apologies for the long wait people, I was just struggling a bit to come to terms with working 4,5 weeks, doing school work and having a commute that turned out to be way longer (because you cannot trust English public transport). It’s not been all work and no play though, as I have also met up with some friends here in the UK to visit places like Coventry, Leamington Spa and to explore Oxford together.

In my last blogpost I promised you an update on my new job. I’m afraid, however, that it has to be a rather generic post, as my hands are a bit tied due to the social media policy. That being said, I will try to make this blog as interesting as I can nonetheless.

The first thing I want to say is that I feel really blessed as I really like my colleagues. They are all very sweet and have tried hard to make me feel at home. After leaving WoningNet this was the thing that I was most worried about, as my WoningNet colleagues are all super sweet and awesome. I have kept in touch with some of them and it is great hearing from them once in a while. I still miss them, but I am glad that I have found such wonderful colleagues here in the UK.

Ok, so now you know I like my colleagues. But what about the job? Well that isn’t half bad either (read: I am really enjoying myself). I am currently being trained in one of the reading rooms to help answer questions of readers and give out books and other materials readers wish to look at. As the material belongs to the special collections these books cannot leave the reading room, so we have to keep an close eye on it.

I am also learning how to catalogue a collection comprised of the work of a contemporary poet. The first step in this was taking all the items out of boxes and placing them in special archive boxes, whilst making a list in Excel detailing what I was putting in each box… Now this may sound boring, but it was strangely exciting, because I was never sure what I would find in each box. I definitely did not expect to be cataloguing 5 different coloured corkscrews or temporary tattoos… Yep, bet you didn’t see that one coming either. I am pretty sure I lucked out with this collection though.

The next step is determining how I wish to arrange the catalogue and including this in a cataloguing plan, which I will be working on after my break today.

I have also been taught how to digitize cassette tapes and other media whilst using forensic technology, and will be helping to implementing a new system that will my workplace to catalogue digital media more effectively.

I have also learned how to archive websites so they can be kept for posterity even when their owners take them offline. I think this is a brilliant initiative, as I am pretty sure we all come across one of two websites that we would have looked at a bit more after they went offline.

I’m afraid that is all for now. My break is nearly over. I hope to be able to post a bit more frequently now I have some sort of routine going here. If you have any questions about my life in the UK, feel free to ask :).

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Things I’ve noticed whilst living in the UK

I cannot believe that it has already been over two weeks since the move. Time has flown by. High time for an update! But where to start. I have some much I want to write about that I decided to split it into two posts. This one will focus more on the things that I have noticed after moving to the UK. And the next one will be about my first week at work (which has been awesome by the way).

So… I have been to the UK before, but I have noticed a couple of things that I had not noticed before, so I decided to share them with you guys.

Don’t trust the journey planner
Journey planners here in the UK are notoriously unreliable. You can consult 3 and they will all give you different bus or train times. They also usually fail to take into account the difference between off peak and peak travel times, so it might take you 25 minutes longer to get somewhere than the planner says you will…

There are roadworks everywhere
The most likely reason as to why it will take you longer to get somewhere is that they are probably working on the road.. or rather roads. I have never seen this much road work taking place simultaneously. Honestly, the British goverment could do with a planning department for this….

Trains are the bermuda triangle
More likely than not, your phone will immediately lose its signal the moment you set foot in a train. You can absolutely forget about calling someone or sending text messages during your commute, unless you are standing still at one of the stations. So if you try to call me and you get an out of service message, you will know exactly what I am doing haha.

MacDonald’s is everywhere
Roadworks are not the only thing you are likely to encounter frequently during your commute. Everywhere you look there is either a MacDonald’s (or Mackies as the Britsh lovingly call it) or an advertisment for this. If you have to buy a busticket in one of the major cities you will find that your receipt conveniently doubles as a discount voucer for a Big Mac. Only 1,99! To be honest, I’m a little bit surprised at its popularity whilst you can get so much better food at Wetherspoons. This a chain of pubs serving really good, decently priced food. If you are ever in the UK make sure to eat there. Their (vegetarian) bangers and mash are to die for.

Small bags of Walkers’ crisps
Walkers crisps (or Lays as we know it Holland) packs of crisps only come in small portion sized bags. I have yet to find a big bag meant for sharing. This seems to encourage people to eat it in moderation, which forms a odd contrast to the overabundance of MacDonald’s adds. Personally I don’t really mind as it keeps me from over eating, but it was still something I noticed that was a bit different to Europe.

Try the bread
Now this is a recommendation of my fiancé who has had the pleasure of sampling the regular breads (I have had to stick with gluten free I’m afraid). When buying bread in the UK you don’t only get to chose the type of bread, but also the thickness of the slices. And gosh the extra thick, soft white slices look absolutely delicious. According to my fiancé they are. He particularly likes the one from a brand called Hovis… So, when you are here, make sure to give that a try.

food_cakes_and_sweet_cake__cake_and_biscuits_031407_The legend’s are true: most British are entirely made up of biscuits and cakes
Every morning without fail there are at least three to four of my direct collegues who can be seen enjoyong a lovely slice of cake or a muffin in the cafeteria. I have been informed that the cakes are really quite good, but not as good as the ones in the public café of the Weston Library. Needless to say, I shall have to put this to the test at some point.  Any volunteers who wish to join me in this experiment?

Those who have not yet had their fix in the morning eagerly sample some of the cookies or a homemade piece of cake which someone has brought into work during the 4 o’clock tea break. Next time I visit Holland I will definitely bring back some Dutch cookies for them to try.

Well that is it for now. Over the course of the next couple of weeks or months I am sure I will notice some more differences or English habits. 😀 So this might become a bit of a series. Who knows ;).

What a move…

IMG_20180826_103855791.jpgI am currently writing this post whilst I am curled up on the couch under a blanket in the conservatory in our new home. We have been experiencing some real British weather the past couple of days and today it is going to be a rainy day as well.

The journey here though was not as smooth as we had hoped. We had wanted to leave for Birmingham on Thursday no later than 10 am, but we’re unable to leave until 11, because not all our items fitted into the van. Thankfully, we had a wonderful neighbour who was willing to take it to the garbage disposal for us… Honestly, he deserves the best neighbour award.

So once on our way Biscuit quickly informed us that travel is not for him. He did so quite loudly for about 30 minutes before the poor dear finally settled down a little. Pancake, on the other hand, only miauwed when she really wanted some attention. She was a real trooper.

Once we arrived at the Eurotunnel, to crossover to England, we had to stop at the pet reception to check the paperwork of the pets. I expected this to be pretty smooth sailing as they both go their rabies shot on time and we got a new European passport for Biscuit, as he used to have a regular passport before. But of course nothing could be that easy… After scanning both cats the lady at the reception told us there was something wrong with Biscuits pasport. The vet had forgot to stamp and sign it. I was already pretty stressed at this point, because of the move so I was about ready to start crying. But the lady phone a local vet about 10 minutes away who was happy to give us a new passport.

And we got that passport alright, but not before my fiance and one of our best friends driving the van had to hunt for a cash machine, because the vet did not take credit or debit cards (… That’s the French for you I guess).

So two hours later and 50 euro’s (??!! For a flipping piece of paper!) poorer we were finally on the train and off to England.

You would think things would go pretty smoothly from here. Ha! Guess again! Apparently the British love to work on their road system… Especially during summer vacation and in evening times. lucky us!

So our plan of arriving at our new house and unloading our things had to be revised. Instead we decided to crash at the house of the friend driving the van, as it was 00.30 by the time we got there.

The next day we got up at 7 o’clock to head to the house. We only had until 11 to unload all our possessions…  After a quick stop at a supermarket to buy some cleaning supplies and provisions we arrived at the house by 9… Yep leaving us 2 hours to unload the entire van.

It was tough, but we made it with 5 minutes to spare. I spent the rest of that day cleaning out kitchen cupboards and putting things away.

Yesterday was a bit of a slower day. We put together some wardrobes and did some grocery shopping. I bought an electric kettle at Morrison’s hoping to make some tea, only to find out it is missing the lower part to power it when I got home… I was so confused when I pulled it out haha. So I am going to have to just stick with water for a bit. I’m sure I will live ;).

Biscuit is having a bit of a hard time adjusting to all of this. He has spent the better day of Friday and Saturday hiding under the sheets in our bedroom. But he seems to be getting used to the new place. Pancake on the other hamd acts like I just gave her the best present ever. She was happily expiring the new place on the first day lol. For some reasons she particularly loves the stairs (it’s her first time seeing any) and loves to chill on the top step haha. Weird cat. She is currently chilling on my lap happily purring whenever I spot writing to give her a cuddle. I am sure Biscuit will venture down the stairs today or tomorrow as well. It usually takes him around 3 days to adjust to changes.

So yeah… This has been one hell of a move. But we are here. In rainy old England. Guess I’d better do some more unpacking, though I have to say sitting here with the cat on my lap makes it hard to get started haha.

A new job

Dear readers,

Well this blogpost is up a little later than I wanted it to, but a lot has been going on.

Most of you will already know this, but since I wrote my last post I also got a job in the UK. I have been hired as a Graduate Trainee Digital Archivist and will be working at what I believe is one of the coolest places ever: The Bodleian Libraries! I feel like I owe you guys a small trip report as I had to go all the way to Oxford for my job interview, so grab some coffee, tea or plain water (whatever works for you), because it’s going to be a lengthy blog.

On July 11 I was invited for an interview in Oxford. My interview was to take place on Thursday July 19th at 9.10, so I decided to fly in on Wednesday. It would be my first trip abroad by myself in about 6 years. Honestly, that prospect made me a little nervous, especially since I did not have the best time ever the last time I went on a solo trip. Ironically the trip was to a conference in Birmingham and I just ended up feeling a bit lonely. This might just have been nerves though. As it kind of was my first time flying alone, my first time staying in a hotel on my own and my first ever conference… Perhaps the accumulation of first times kind of ruined it a bit. Who knows?

This time was quite different. Though I still prefer going on a trip with others – it’s just more fun that way -, I had a pretty good time exploring Oxford and doing some shopping at Cath Kidston and Uniqlo. If you have not yet heard of Uniqlo I highly, highly recommend you pay that store a visit. It is a Japanese brand, known for its simplicity, but amazing quality. It of course also helps that they aren’t crazy expensive. For my Dutch readers: there’s a store coming to Amsterdam this autumn, so be sure to check it out. I for one look forward to stopping by there once every so often in Oxford.

The room I booked very much had a dorm room kind of feel. Probably because it was actually a dorm room rented out to tourists over the summer.. They did try really hard to make the room feel a bit more special, with the little soaps and even a chocolate on my pillow.

As I hate being late, I of course arrived at the library for my interview a little early. So I used this time to take some epic pictures of some really cool buildings right across the street from where I will work.

Before the interview commenced I was asked to take two tests and was subsequently interviewed for about 45 minutes. I had a pretty good feeling about the interview. You know, the kind of feeling that you really couldn’t have done or said more than you did. And if they didn’t hire you, it was simply because it wasn’t meant to be. After the interview I was given a small tour of my potential new workplace, just to give me a bit of a feel what it would be like working at the Weston Library (which is home to the Bodleian Library’s special collections).

IMG_20180719_090414924

The Weston Library

Once the tour was over and my really sweet guide had dropped me off at the entrance I, of course, could not resist perusing the giftshop. I have made it a habit to pick up a magnet of every place I go to, so I made sure to pick up a nice one of the Old Bodleian Library (at this point, I wasn’t quite sure if I would be getting the job, so I bought one just in case). By this time, though it was time to get my luggage and to head to the bus that would take me to the airport. I would have loved to stay in Oxford a little longer, but alas that was not in the cards.

Check-in at the airport was fairly swift and I decided to sit myself down at a Starbucks in the hopes of being able to do some writing. Cue the hipster picture of a Chai Tea Late and a laptop lol.

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Thankfully my flight was pretty on time and I was able to board the airplane swiftly. About 1,5 hours later, the plan landed on Schiphol and the crew gave us permission to switch our phones back on we were still taxying.

I was eager to let my parents and fiancé know that I had landed safely, so I immediately turned off flight-mode. As it usually takes my phone a while to pick up any type of signal, I let it rest of my leg for a bit. The moment the device picked up a signal though it started ringing. It was a number from the UK and more specifically from Oxford… My heart leaped a little as I answered the phone. It was the Bodleian library offering me the job! Whoot!

So now I am sure some of you are wondering: what on earth does a graduate trainee digital archivist do? Well they will teach me to do a variety of jobs, such as how to digitize old documents and how to archive them, how to archive digital born media (such as websites, blogs and e-mails), how to set up these archives and how to manipulate XML, which is the language used to enter information in to the library’s databases. On the other hand, I will also be working at the library’s reading rooms, so I will also be trained as a librarian.

Whilst being trained on the job, I will also be studying with the University of Aberystwyth (yep… that’s going to be a fun one to pronounce). There I will be taking a distance learning course in Digital Curation. Amongst others will be taking modules in “Archive collection development and Description”, “Knowledge and Information Architecture” and “Management Information Systems”. You would probably think that I would be pretty through with learning seeing that I have done a Bachelors, Masters and am about to complete a PhD, but nothing could be further from the truth. I actually look forward to start this new study. Though it definitely is a bonus that the essays never have to exceed 3000 words and don’t have to consist of 100% new and original ideas. Hopefully this is going to be piece of cake since have been producing 14,000 word chapters that are (hopefully) filled with new insights and ideas.

As I am writing this I only have two days left at my current job. I cannot believe we are already leaving for England next week. Time sure flies when you are packing!

Unfortunately, I once more had to admit to myself that I am not superwoman. I discovered that I cannot finish everything at my current job up nicely, pack the entire house and emigrate, finish my PhD on time and lose weight. Something had to give, and I am sad to say my eating has been a bit all over the place… Over the past month or so I have gained 2 kilo’s. Yikes. Needless to say I am going to try to keep that under control since I do not want to gain any more. Ambitious? Hell yes, but apparently, that’s just how I roll.

As always, thank you for reading my dear reader. I am not sure if the next post will be before or after the move, but just in case I post it after: see you on the other side of the pond!

We’re moving to the UK!

keep calm I'm moving to England

Yep, the majority of my readers probably already know this because they know me in real life, but we are moving to the UK by the end of August.

My fiancé was offered a job in Wolverhampton and I had spotted a job that I really want to apply for. It of course also helped that I am crazy about the Victorian era and we were already thinking of maybe moving to England next year… So we decided to go for it.

When are we moving? 47 days from now…. and boy is that stressful haha.

Thankfully though we already have a house. We signed the tenancy agreement for a lovely house in Rubery, Birmingham this weekend. I am so excited! The house is bigger than we currently have. It has two bedrooms and a massive kitchen. The reception room itself isn’t too big, but it is adjacent to a lovely conservatory, which I am sure the kitty cats will appreciate.

new house

Our new home!

I will make sure to post some pictures once we have decorated everything.

The area itself is lovely. It is pretty quiet and it is very green. It is also close to Waseley Hills Country Park, which looks amazing. I can’t wait to explore this. Perhaps I can persuade a  friend who enjoys a bit of twalking (talking + walking) to join me… Hmmm, we’ll see.

We still have a ton to do though. We need to pack and get everything ready for the move. And on top of all that I also have a dissertation to finish… Yep: when I said things are stressful, I meant it.

I will try to keep you guys updated about the move and how I myself am getting on with finding a job in England. But I am not making any promises, because to say I’m going to be “hella busy” might be an understatement. Still, I will do what I can to keep you all posted ;).

90 day challenge, dietary changes and shorts!

Guess who is finally back for another update? Yep that would be me. Apologies for the massively long absence, but I really wanted to take some time to recover some energy and did not want to push myself into writing regular blog posts when I did not feel up for it.

So I am sure you are all wondering: how have things been going? Pretty good actually. In my previous blogpost I wrote about the 90 day challenge I was doing. I completed it about two weeks ago with pretty nice results.

Chest: -4,5 cm
Waist: -5,5 cm
Hips: -4,8 cm
Thighs: -1,6 cm
Weight: -2,1 kg

So overall that is a -16,4 cm loss and I am back at 68 kg. I am pretty pleased with this, the more because I wasn’t able to work-out a lot due to my chronic fatigue.

Speaking of chronic fatigue, I have to say I am gradually getting more energy back. The mesology treatment (please read an older blog post for more information on this) really seems to be working. I have been taking a ton of different supplements to help with my fatigue, as well as digestive issues. On top of that I have also had to make some massive dietary changes.

crash-dietMy mesologist has put me on diet that only includes foods that are easily digestible. So I cannot have gluten other than spelt, I can only have meager meats (such as chicken or lean beef), non-fermented cheeses (so that excludes mozzerella, brie and the like). Oh and I am not allowed to eat raw vegetables, so salads are out of the question.

As I am also rice intolerant (yes, never heard of that before either) and slightly allergic to nightshade, that has mostly left me with options like quinoa, couscous and sweet potatoes. All in all, a pretty restrictive diet.

And to top it all off, I have also had to give up my morning coffee… *gasp* Yep, because apparently the way your body processes coffee counteracts homeopathic.

Thankfully I can still have my trusty Herbalife shake in the morning, though I have had to switch to the “free from” version, as I am apparently allergic to soy ^__^” .

But is it worth it? Definitely! My body just seems to have a lot less trouble processing food, which leaves me with more energy to spend on fun stuff! Like writing blog posts late at night, after a full day of work! Yeah, I know! I am blown away too.

Don’t worry though: I am not going crazy. I am taking this month to stock up on as much energy as I can. I have learned that if I am high on energy, I should still take it easy and preserve it, rather give in to the inclination to cram in all the things I have been wanting to do for weeks in a short period of time. Honestly, it’s really hard not to do this. Especially with the weather being absolutely lovely!

… And speaking of nice weather. I actually decided to take the plunge this year. I have been considering it for years now, but never actually did. This year, things are going to be different though: cause I bought not one, but TWO pairs of denim shorts! I bought a pair in dark blue and gray.

shorts

For reference, I have not worn shorts since I was in primary school. I have always felt like I need to hide my (not particularly small) very white thighs. But this year, I just thought: screw it! I’m done with wearing long jeans when it’s 28 degrees (Celsius) outside. No mas!

nomaspostercomp

bonus points if you can name the reference in the comments

So now I just have to get myself a cute pair of sneakers to go with them and I’m 100% ready for summer in both Holland and Florida! 😀 Yep! November in Walt Disney World is going to be HOT: average of 25 degrees Celcius so shorts will definitely be in order ;).

Well that’s all for now guys. I will try not to make you guys wait another 2,5 months before the next post ;).

90 day challenge: raaawrr!

About a month ago I signed up through my Herbalife coach to start a 90 day challenge. With her help I have been focusing on regaining some more energy and loosing centimeters/ weight by simultaneously building muscle.

Due to the crash in energy levels in August I just let myself go and gained some of the pounds back. When I started the challenge I weighed in at 70 kg, or 154,3 pounds.  Which is technically still a healthy weight, and a normal BMI, but not really where I want to be.

So how has it been going? Well…. Slow. Very, very slow. The first two weeks I really struggled to regain my focus and to get my eating habits under control. This is partially because I have slowly been regaining some of my energy. My body has really been struggling to get a handle on this, as I have been experiencing spikes and drops in energy: one day I was doing great, the next day I felt like I hadn’t slept all night. And as a result, on the lower energy days I kept getting the munchies, because my body was telling me to send in the reinforcements… i.e. food … and honestly, who has ever craved carrots and peas or other healthy things?

On top of that, in the third week I suddenly found myself struggling with something I have hitherto never had a problem with: bloating. The anti-biotics that have been prescribed by my mesiologist have decided to kick in and occasional bloating is a bit of a side effect. The result: when I stood on the scales last week Saturday I was at 70,4 kg (or 155.2 pounds)! Despite the gain, I had still miraculously lost a couple of millimeters around my waist though, so it wasn’t all misery.

Through all this my coach Kim has been so sweet and such a support. It’s been really nice to have someone who doesn’t only keep me accountable, but also cheers me up when I have been dissatisfied with my losses. I really couldn’t hope for a better coach.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor hamster eatingThis week somehow everything has made a 180 degree turn… Honestly, it has been pretty fab. Although my energy levels are currently not that great, I have been able to get a bit of exercise in and have been able to get my eating under control. Which is a miracle considering hell week is coming up, and I have the tendency to munch on anything and everything the week before. It’s like my body is preparing for a monthly week of hibernation and thinks it needs to stock up on supplies or something haha.

When I stepped on the scales this morning I had lost a whopping -0,8 kg (or roughly 1,8 pounds) in a week! I am not going to lie, I am pretty chuffed with that.

So, just to give you an overview of how much I have lost in total since I started roughly 30 days ago:

Weight:  – 0.5 kg
Chest:     – 1,8 cm
Waist:    – 2,7 cm
Hips:      – 1,3 cm
Thighs:  – 0,3 cm
Total cm lost all together: 6,1 cm.

Granted, it’s not spectacular and it could have been better. But you know what, as a wise man once told me (you know who you are), a loss, is a loss, is a loss. So I’ll take it.

Now I just have to sink my teeth in my current mindset, persevere… become a lion!

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Raaawwwr!!!!