This Week in Short

My Tune of the Week – an electronic remix of a favourite (actually listening to three different remixes):


Books I am reading:

Still studying The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution. Some interesting stuff – my favourite is his description of the two parts that make man: Essence and Personality; much better way to put it than Soul and Ego I believe.

Emotion dealt with this week: sex

Things that put a spring in my step this week:

  • Music
  • Work – first week on the phones and aced it (closed over twice as many calls as they would have expected me to).
  • The Deli restaurant at work – those salads are just so yummy!
  • How full of notes my gratitude piggy bank is.
  • Seeing my pay cheque!
  • Feeling desired, although it was short lived when I realised desire is driven by attention (received) and therefore egotistical – interestingly, I have also realised you only desire someone for the effect they have on you, not who they are. Kinda put me off the whole idea.
  • Receiving a phone call from my dad, really happy to have received a good luck card from me (for his cancer treatment). His gratefulness was heartwarming and a little unsettling. I need to do more thinking about others.
  • On that vein, starting a gofundme page to help raise money to buy my disabled brother a Segway wheelchair type of thing, which he dreams of.



By newpaz

The Truth about Sex

naked body


The first time I saw this poster a while back – possibly two years ago? – it struck a cord with me.

Too many people use their body as a means to get to the soul connection, where it should be the other way around, at least these days where survival is no longer the primary reason for coupling.

I have also found that sex has a tendency to blur reality, particularly if it is very good, much easier to forget reality when the sex is good!

Recently, I was given the opportunity to loosen up a bit sexually, I had wanted to explore that side of me, and had hoped I could do it independently from the other aspects I seek in someone (Mind and Soul connections).

It turns out I can’t (explore that side independently).

As fun as this little experience has been, when it comes down to business, sex, to me, is worthless without love.

That statement from Chaplin talks a deep truth for me.

Letter to my Future Self

Hi 🙂

I am now shy of 46 – doesn’t time fly! – and I wanted to write to you – my future self.

I have no clue who you will be, of course, I can’t know, despite the fact that I am self-actualising, there is still a long way to go to know how this can shape you.

I will hope for happy, fulfilled and free.

More and more every day I get a sense, a taste of those states and it is encouraging me to think it could be a real possibility for you, my future self, to have cracked it: “Enlightenment” and make a remarkable contribution to the world, as currently I am staying shy of the outside world, feeling I need to develop my inner one fully first.

I want you to be unshackable, be a permanent “I”.

For the past few months, I have studied as much as I could get my hands on about human behaviour, with a view to understanding my inner workings fully. And correcting where I could or was necessary – an ongoing process.

It has taken hours upon hours of reading and listening to people “in the know” about such things, however it has felt like light work, I find you fascinating: who could you be?

I am fully aware now that this studying I am doing on you will shape who you are entirely.

In the past, I have let events shape me and I have suffered deeply.

One day, not so long ago, whilst walking my friend’s dog Theo, I cried with compassion when I looked back at my younger self. How tortured and lost she was – I wanted to cuddle her – just cuddle her in my arms – unsure what I would say to her, apart maybe sorry. Sorry that I had let her suffer this much before I woke up.

However, I am now awake, or at least awakening, and you will be different.

Can I aim for “wise”? Yes, let’s take you there. I don’t know what shape that will take, I haven’t met many wise people in my life, let alone women, however I feel it is possible for you to be wise.

You will be confident in your words and actions – you will have no doubts or fear – at least no made up ones, which they mostly all are.

You will be surrounded by dogs you love so much, giving them a better life than they may have had.

You will be emotionally and financially free.

You will have true love in your life, for yourself and/or another, and you will experience bliss and live personal freedom.

This is what I want for you, future me. I hope you are happy with it.



By newpaz

This Week in Short

I am finding it hard to find the time to express my inner thoughts on this blog these days because I seem too busy enjoying life, preferring instead to use my hand written journal to record memorable moments.

There is still much I would love to share so I thought I would start a “This week in short” catch up post.

My tune of the week (extended looped version, exactly like it plays out in my head):

The books I am reading:

The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution, prompted by a great video from Leo about Free Will:

In short the book explains how we are all machines and by realising this, you have a chance to enter full consciousness – my exact realisation since my self-actualization journey started: Know Thyself, Change yourself.

Being Genuine: Stop being nice, Start being real – all about nonviolent communication – I read this one during my lunchbreaks at work.

Kindle Book purchase of the week: The Obstacle is the Way – I fell on this whilst surfing. I feel no need to learn more on how to deal with adversity – I believe I have it pretty much sussed – however the reviews sold it to me – and I really like Stoicism as a way of being so I felt it was a good opportunity to big deeper into this psychology of life.

Emotion dealt with this week: my fear of love.

What put a spring in my step this week:

  • Music – I downloaded a few old favorites
  • The acts of kindness I had the chance to do
  • My new lover
  • Work
  • Driving my car to work on Friday, alone, with my new tunes
  • Night sky – seeing a moon dog walking Theo on Thursday night
  • Having a fun and friendly exchange with my husband when I messaged him jokingly to wish him a happy wedding anniversary on Wednesday
  • Discovering I have now lost 11 kilos since my lifestyle change – now down to 62 kilos (9.76 stones)
  • Being told my diabetes index has lowered to below the diagnosis level
  • Random fun connections I have had with people at work and outside.
  • My new cross training and abs exercise routine
  • Hearing my lodger, who seems to be getting really content and happy these days, tell me he finds me an inspiration.
  • Getting an email out of the blue from an old teenage boyfriend – who keeps in touch on and off since a few year ago, telling me he could see the 15 year old girl he knew in my face after I sent him a pic of me to show him my new lifestyle outcome.

Challenge of the week: finding out I have a high white cell blood count that will need investigating.

Also this week:

  • Trying out my anonymous Facebook account again – this time not wanting connections, using it as a source of information on subjects I am interested in (the mind mainly). I reactivated it from deletion (apparently, deletions take time to do!) to get something from it and decided to stay.



By newpaz

And Fear turns into Joy


Fear is an interesting emotion. Solely based on imagination of the unknown, fear evokes a flight or fight response in all of us, I may even venture that most of our actions in life are as a result of fear, and most would rather avoid the feeling altogether.

I choose another option: acknowledging it and seeking to understand it.

Last week, by chance of circumstances, having met a guy with whom I experienced a deep, intense and literally magnetic physical chemistry, I realised what my biggest fear was: Love, and I grabbed that fear as an opportunity to work on it.

First: acknowledge the fear.

As he is emotionally unavailable (in an open marriage) and thus I have no emotional attachment to him, I was able to speak to him freely to get to the bottom of this fear. So I explained to him how unsettled I was with the realisation that he would be someone I could easily fall in love with.

The perception he offered in response blew me away: “If being with me stirs up a desire to love within you, isn’t it a wonderful thing?”

I stopped and let that possibility sink in.

I then realised in the past two months I had been lucky to have had a strong connection with three individuals who, put together, would be my perfect partner:

  • The chap I met in Amsterdam on a deep Soul connection
  • The chap I came across on Facebook on a Mental/Intellect connection
  • The chap I came across on a swinging site on a Body (Chemistry) connection.

Mind, Body, and Soul. Each in different individuals. The complete connection.


How lucky am I to have had the chance to have a taste of each level of connections recently?

How exciting to think I may one day come across someone who touches me on all three levels?

How could I fear love now I know what it is I want and have had proof it exists, there actually are individuals out there that can offer exactly what I seek?

Why did I fear love? What was there to fear? What was the worst that could happen?

As I thought about the last set of questions, I just couldn’t come up with anything that made sense.

Risk of being single? I am there already and very happy in my little world.

Risk of being loved? What a wonderful feeling this must be.

Risk of loving? Loving is the most wonderful emotion one can experience.

I just couldn’t figure out what risks there were letting love into my life.

I then realised, something I learned from the Amsterdam chap, I was scared of love because I hadn’t trusted myself. I hadn’t trusted myself to make the right decisions.

In the past I had chosen many partners based on fear – fear of being alone, fear of not being loved or lovable – and had made many mistakes. I had actually brought on all the heartache to myself as inevitably those relationships crumbled.

I just hadn’t known what I wanted.

Now I do:

I want the whole package: Mind, Body and Soul connection. Nothing else will do. Now I have had a taste of what each connection feels like – absolute bliss – I cannot imagine what it would feel like to have all three into one – really I cannot.

I am, however, very excited to realise that one day…it could happen!

Excitement about the future sure is a much better emotion than fear.

In the meantime that this person may materialise in my life, I shall fully enjoy the Body connection I am lucky to be experiencing intensely currently, a great opportunity to learn all I need to about my body.


One day, I will be ready for that man to walk into my life.

“Named must your fear be before banish it you can.” Yoda

My Biggest Fear


I have had two encounters recently that have made me face a truth about me – especially the last encounter.

Back in December when I went to Amsterdam, I experienced an amazing peak experience which lasted the whole time I was there.

The very first day I got there, I met with a guy at my local coffee shop my connection with blew me away.

No barriers, no pretence, it was pure being our true self. And we connected to some very deep levels, more than I had ever experienced before.

Nothing happened because I decided it was futile – and he agreed, somewhat relunctantly – but he understood completely what I meant – what we had was so magical there was no need to add physical contact – it was genuinely as if our souls had met and were playing together.

He was also at a stage of finding himself – having taken the decision a month earlier to live on the streets, to find his “creative side” again. And so I felt a romance wasn’t something he would have needed at that time. It certainly wasn’t something I wanted.

The only kissing we did was with our minds.

I left Amsterdam full of amazing memories, us talking deep into the night and discovering more and more about ourselves and each other and how we were so in tune – priceless.

I also left unsure whether I would ever see him again – and I was fine with that.

This chap however challenged me on my feelings towards love – he clearly saw I was scared of it – although he never mentioned it – he mentioned however I had trust issues.

And that bugged me – because I didn’t believe I had trust issues. In fact, I believed I trusted anyone until they inevitably in often cases, did something to utterly destroy my trust.

This morning, I woke up realising he was right – it’s not people I don’t trust however, it’s love.

My second encounter made me realise that.

A week or so ago, I decided maybe it was time to explore my sexuality again, after having discovered how amazing sex/making love could be with the American guy a couple of years ago. However I didn’t want to run the risk of getting embroiled with anyone emotionally so I joined a swingers site, which I had previously used a couple of years ago for fun.

All I had in mind was to explore my sexuality fully with someone. Along side working on my inner self, I felt I needed not to forget that part of me, which turns out to be the most important to me: sex.

Within days of joining that site, I start chatting with this guy and it is clear something is very different with him.

Like with the Amsterdam chap, I am entirely 100% myself with him and we click like a dream.

After a week on cloud 9 communicating with him, we arrange to meet. And this was yesterday.

Yesterday will go down as a peak experience day for me.

The morning was spent getting lost into each other. We couldn’t stop kissing and cuddling, both with amazing great smiles on our faces showing how happy we were and how surreal it all felt. Hours flew by and it was time to go.

Him back to his wife, me back to my life.

Yes, he is married. In an open relationship with his wife – which has worked very well that way for the past three years. She was fully aware he was meeting me, and even texted him to find out how things were going during our meet, which he very respectully responded to whilst apologising to me for the interruption.

When I first found out, I was a bit taken aback, thinking it was messy. But then I realised this was the perfect setup to prevent me from getting too involved with someone, as my aim remember was to explore myself on that aspect of my life (sex) and not to fall in love.

This morning I woke up a bit wary, I know I could easily fall in love with this man. He wants to keep seeing me, he is really looking for a long term set up rather than one offs, which was also what I was looking for, and so if we do this, I will no doubt feel closer and closer all the more and I am not sure how I can not fall in love with him if we continue this intensity.

I also woke up realising how much I was missing love in my life.

I have incredibly high expectations of what love is. I have felt it many many times towards guys, but I have never lived it – that deep intense connection that feels so good it changes your life to one of ecstasy. The type of love they sing about in the songs.

I had told that guy he wanted to be careful not to lift the hood with me, there was a lot of passion under there. He said he wanted to lift it – I think it is safe to say our encounter yesterday did just that.

And I am left this morning realising how scared I am of love. I long to give the whole of myself to someone else, I long to please someone all of the time. I long to desire deeply, be desired as deeply.

Of course this can never happen with that guy, I am perfectly aware of this and one of the reasons why I picked him, however this has made me realise how much I had longed for this kind of connection with someone and I am unsure what to do about this.

Do I close the hood firmly back down again or do I open up to receiving love?

A little while ago, whilst speaking with a friend about her biggest fear (hers turned out to be homelessness), I had thought that I couldn’t think what my biggest fear was. I know now: Love.

I hope I crack that one one day. I am not sure I am ready yet though.


Alcohol – Part 1

On Christmas Eve last year, as I sipped a glass of Prosecco, I decided it was going to be my last glass of alcohol – ever.

I had been gearing up to that decision for the past four and a half years. And when I took this decision, it felt so right that it just happened.

Some five years ago, I got a wake up call, or ten, about how negative an influence drinking had become in my life.

I will never forget the moment I had some clarity about its reality:

I was at a party with friends in Canada, I hadn’t drunk as much as everyone else, preferring to smoke pot then, I still had had a few however.

As I was talking with a friend (who has remained close), I looked over at my husband and saw my “soul sister” as we liked to call each other, on his lap, holding his head between her hands, playfully trying to steady his head to kiss him as he was laughingly trying to move it away.

As I took in the scene from the corner of my eye, I was in shock that I was witnessing this and could do nothing about it. My friends (apart from the one I was chatting to) would have ridiculed me for reacting – and how could I react? Slap her, slap him, walk off?

That scene will for ever stay in my mind.

Further alcohol fueled stupidity happened later and life got on.

My second moment of clarity, again I will never ever forget, happened a couple of months later.

At a party at my house, I had got quite drunk and stoned (the two never mixed well with me), and felt pretty nauseous so I took myself to the bathroom to be sick.

As I was kneeling by the toilet, I was so violently sick I peed myself.

I found this so hilarious, I went back to the lounge where everyone was merrily drunk, on all fours, with wet trousers, laughing so much I could barely explain what had happened. I blurted it out though and everyone thought it was absolutely hilarious.

The following morning I had a clarity moment. Deeply ashamed of my behaviour.

My friends couldn’t understand, they said I was on “top form” that evening, really funny and stuff, to try and make me feel ok about what had happened – just another drunken moment to put down on our drunken story book.

They didn’t understand it wasn’t towards them I was feeling ashamed but towards me.

Exactly what had I become?

The last moment came when my mum came to visit us in Canada, two weeks before the big split.

The first Friday she was there I believe it was, we had invited Vicki, my best friend now with my husband, over for dinner, to meet my mum.

Plenty of booze flowed between the three of us (my mum doesn’t really drink) and I retired to bed soon after my mum had, when I had started to feel a bit too drunk, left my husband and best mate to carry on the evening without me. (on a side note, this is the evening “something clicked” between them I believe)

The following day, we took my mum to some tourist place and on the way back, we stopped at the liquor store. My mum asked why we were stopping and I told her we had run out of wine.

I saw the look on her face, I felt ashamed – she said nothing though.

See, the previous night, we had bought a 4 litre cube of red wine, plus a few bottles of beer. There had been nothing left the following day.

Four litres of wine had been drunk by three of us – four litres of wine plus many many beers – between three of us.

I did the maths too, that is an outrageous amount of alcohol in one night that deserves a look of incredulity that alcohol needed to be replenished already.

When my husband dumped me, I decided I had to stop drinking to cope with the challenge ahead. And I did. Straight. Which led me to experiencing a psychosis – but more on that another time.

Since then, I have re-assessed my relationship with alcohol many times, trying to re-introduce it to my life slowly, then letting it take control of me again, quitting again, another psychosis, drinking again, far far too much towards the end of 2014, which led me to finally wake up, once and for all, earlier last year.

Since then, I have worked at stopping that control; limiting my intake, banning it during the week, not keeping any alcohol in the house, never drinking out of “need”, ie never after a hard day’s work and eventually alcohol became a very little part of my life and I felt happy with it.

Until I went away for Christmas.

The first day I got there, I decided to purchase a bottle of Vodka, for apéritif, feeling I “deserved” it as I was on holidays.

A couple of days later, whilst in the kitchen, the bottle caught my eyes: it was nearly half empty.

That troubled me.

It troubled me to the extent, the following night, when I woke up in the night and made myself a coffee, I picked up the bottle, opened it and poured its contents down the drain.

On Christmas Eve, during my morning shop, I decided to buy a 3 pack of mini bubbly bottles – it was Christmas afterall.

At lunchtime I open a mini bottle and I don’t feel so good drinking it, it tastes weird, bitter, a taste I have never felt drinking alcohol and afterwards, my mind feels fuzzy, not much but enough that I don’t enjoy it.

I lay back on my sunlounger and decide I should give the rest of the bottles to someone else and be done with alcohol.

I give one bottle to the housekeeper, “Feliz Navidad” I tell her, it puts a nice smile on her face and I lay down again, wondering what to do with the last one.

Evening comes and I see the bottle. I want its contents. Badly.

That was the last drop of alcohol I will ever (knowingly) touch again.


By newpaz

About Forgiveness and Empathy


Back during my Christmas break in the sunshine, I mulled over in my head this issue with my parents, or rather my relationship with them.

On day two of the holidays, as I was laying on my sun lounger relaxing one morning, thoughts appeared about the situation and prompted me to hand write a letter to them, explaining my issues, and giving some kind of ultimatum, either we sort things out or we go our separate way.

After I wrote the letter, I laid down again and tears started to roll from my eyes, I really wasn’t happy with this state of affair and I really didn’t know what to do – the letter had only served at getting my frustrations and anger out however I felt it wouldn’t achieve the results I had wanted: a good relationship with my parents.

As I laid there, I asked for help in my thoughts – a sign, something that would guide me towards a better solution.

A little while later, the lady who was staying in the appartment next door came out and introduced herself, asking me what I was up to.

Well, she asked, so I told her all my confused thoughts and feelings towards my parents, in particular my mum, and I just didn’t know what to do anymore.

She said, “Have you tried forgiveness?”

I paused…and said no I haven’t, and I am not sure I can forgive.

I thought about it during the day and decided I would try that way as a last resort, completely unsure how to do it but I added it to my Mind Map as something to revisit with regards to my parents.

mind map 2

The problem I had with forgiveness is I cannot forgive what I cannot understand. And I couldn’t understand how my mum could be so unloving towards my brother.

Later on in the day, when I saw the lady again, Margaret, I thanked her for her advice and told her I would try the forgiveness route.

Her response was classic : “Well it isn’t my advice as such, it’s just what they say you should do” – it seems she had thought more about the situation as I had explained it to her and she too was having difficulties  accepting my mum’s behaviour.

In short, as it runs deep, the problem I have with my mum is she has never showed much love towards my brother, who is disabled due to a mistake she made (taking him to Morocco before he was vaccinated against Polio and him catching the disease and rendering him unable to use his legs).

She often puts him down when she speaks to me, and gives me the feeling he is a big disappointment to her (my brother, like most men, has a poor connection with his mother, not behaving the way she thinks he ought to, ie loving and caring), never has a nice word to say about him. And I find it hard to let that go.

Last Sunday, after hearing yet another derogatory comment about my brother (I can’t even recall which exactly), I decided enough was enough and emailed her to let her know how uncomfortable I am hearing how she speaks about my brother, giving her various examples of what she had said in the past month and how it had come across to me, and asking her to think about it.

On Monday night she phones me, I am not in the right mood to talk about it (shattered from my first day at my new job) but she brings it up. I listen, too tired to think about it.

As she explains and talks, suddenly, she comes to a conclusion:

“The problem is we see your brother differently, you see him as disabled whereas I don’t”

I say thanks for talking about it, we say good bye and I promptly fall asleep, relieved this conversation is over (I had been worried about how she would respond, fact I had also mentioned in my email “I don’t want to hurt you and this is why I am finding it hard to talk to you about it and preferred putting it in an email”).

A few hours later, I wake up and see all this with such clarity.

Indeed there lies the problem: our perceptions of my brother are completely different.

I know I have the real perception, my brother afterall IS disabled, and hers is completely skewed.

However, I completely understand her now.

I completely understand how she has felt the best way to deal with having a disabled child was to ignore his disability and treat him as a “normal” child. To keep pushing through all the evidence that he wasn’t a normal child (and there were many), not worrying whether this would hurt him in the process (in her mind, it was for his own good) and that eventually, surely, with enough pushing, she would convince herself he was “normal”, and possibly stop feeling guilty or resentful (she told me four years ago she had turned her back on God after this happened, being angry that he (God) would inflict this on her) that this has happened to her.

Whether her behaviour is right or wrong is not for me to judge. It is enough for me to understand what drives her to be so cold with and demanding of my brother.

I actually have empathy for her now. That something so traumatic has happened to her that she would rather not see reality than actually deal with it.

And so now I can forgive.



This past year, I have acquired a new skill: gratitude.

Every day I have felt gratitude towards many manifestations in my life. I realise that my new attitude towards life has meant I notice more positive around me and within me and I have had plenty to feel grateful about, always very humbly.

Not so long ago, I read an idea that I wanted to try out: a gratitude piggy bank. Simply putting money in for every gratitude moments you experience.

I finally found the right container: a tall thin vase which is useless for flowers.


As I started my gratitude piggy bank, I decided to add a twist: I will also put a note, with the date, of what I was grateful about with the money.


The idea is to spend the money every so often on anything you want.

This morning, I had a dream of a collage of torn up bits of paper with some words on it and it gave me the idea to create a collage with all my gratitude notes every month, and I have decided to spend the money doing anynomous random acts of kindness when the occasion presents itself.

I have no idea what shape that will take, however, I am very excited with the idea – just think – being able to give back from all the gratitude I have felt…a never-ending source of gratitude 🙂

New Year – New Reality

My first week at my new job out of the way, time to reflect.

When I start a new job, I always “assume” (this is the only time I let myself assume these days), that the first week will be crap, a time of feeling a bit lost trying to find your feet, when it is too early to do so, or to learn a whole new way, which can also feel unsettling. Also a time when you realise the challenge ahead.

I started Monday with my usual “expectations”, watched a couple of Ozzy Man Reviews videos (my latest source of laughter) right before going in as I was really early and off I went into this whole new building, to meet all kind of people, understand all kind of “rules”, geared up expecting it wasn’t going to be fun – for the first week at least.

Despite it being a tough week  – a lot of training sessions, little time to think, and not doing much else (falling asleep dead early every night), I must say it has possibly be the best first week I have ever had in a new job.

Every day, I found many things to be grateful for, some even rendered me in absolute awe that this was happening.

The company seems to deliver everything I had always dreamed about and some stuff I didn’t even know I could dream about.


So much so that I was really glad when the weekend came (last night) so I could rest my emotions, and go about my normal business of my quiet and balanced life.

Of course, it is very early days and only when I actually get to do the job will I know how I will fit in this organisation, however this week, I got to fully appreciate what an amazing company this was.

The Deli

Firstly, their company restaurant is out of this world. I know this sounds irrelevant but I have discovered how exciting it is to go into work every day and wonder what amazing food will be on offer at such ridiculously low prices (the restaurant is heavily subsidised) – all the food being fresh and cooked on site by chefs.

Their salads bar, where I took all my food intake from, has dreamy healthy (on the main) salads, some of which didn’t even know existed (such as containing fruits). Luckily, you don’t need to choose which to have, you can just pick and mix anything into one bowl. Which doesn’t appear too large, however I have got home every day with “only a salad” for lunch and haven’t felt hungry. A large salad costs £1.75. I think I might need to try the smaller bowl (£1.25) as the large is starting to feel a lot.

All their meat comes from local butchers, and their sausages are prize winning onces. I have only tried their bacon so far – as a Friday treat – yummy! And I have looked at the plates of people going past and they looked amazing (if not a bit too much food for me) – the most expensive hot meal is £2 I believe.

Their bread rolls and baguettes (various kinds), croissants and pains au chocolat, baked on site.

They have pots of yummy, freshly cut fruits for a third of the price of those tiny pots you get in the supermarkets.

Their home made soups seem very popular, at £0.80 a large bowl too, I am not surprised. Maybe I will try them next week.

They also have “freshly made coffee” machines, where you can actually see the beans – with a selection of caff or decaff, and various coffee types – from cappuccino to latté – and a wide selection of teas (at a glance, about 15/20 different types of tea bags) – All FREE and as much as you want.

The surroundings

The grounds are magnificent, beautifully kept vast areas of grass where rabbits and crows can be seen messing about.


Their planters have amazing art – big rusty metal sculpture of leaves and plants, principally of the flower I have just noticed adorns my living room wall on prints – Calla Lillies I believe they are called, not my favourite fresh flower, but my favourite to look at, it translates a sense of peace and grace to me.

They have a beautiful large fountain area in front of the main building, with a selection of bench tables in front.

The buildings are amazingly modern inside, large and spacious ceilingless common areas, painted white, with modern colourful chairs and sofas, low glass tables in the “chill out” areas, and a selection of tables, chairs and booths in the restaurant area, again all very colourful.

All open planned from one side of the building to the other and sections that aren’t  – such as meeting rooms – are all glass, giving a sense of space and also intimacy with everyone. From my desk, I can see several other departments, giving you the sense that we are all one big team.

The bonus point – however will not matter long – the smokers’ areas:

I will never forget when I walked towards it the first time…it was like a dream come true. It had everything I kept dreaming about in my last place:

  • A bench
  • A roof and sides (transparent of course)
  • A cigarette bin and a rubbish bin (very useful to leave your empty coffee cup)

I am told, speaking to a fellow smoker, some people at the top are smokers. I told her that was lucky, my people at the top in my old place was gay so we got LGBT instead of caring for the smokers.

The People

I have had at least four episodes of being dumbfounded how nice people were.

My first was on my second day, when I got involved in supporting my first customer – despite the fact that I hadn’t been expected to work with customers for a while yet – my name had been given to her by the Belgium support guy as the UK french contact. When I asked one of the second line staff for help as I hadn’t been set up to carry out the support she needed, he was surprised I had been approached and told me I didn’t need to deal with it, I said I was happy to but needed to use a laptop where I could do what I needed, so he helped me with this. Now, I had never provided IT support in French before, but I decided to just launch myself. The customer, Julie, was possibly the nicest person I have ever spoken to in my job. As I waited for the connection to happen, we actually got quite intimate about our lives (she seemed really interested in finding out who I was) and completely clicked (I think it helped we were both over 40, single with no kids) – she even invited me to visit her if I come to Belgium!

Another encounter was when my mentor and I went to help someone set up a video conference for a big meeting. As all attendees were arriving, it was clear the video conference wasn’t going to happen – only the phone part worked. Unphased, she found a workaround. An hour or or later, she came to see us and thanked us profusely for our help…!!!

On Monday I met another new starter whilst waiting to be seen to, in the reception area. A tall, curvy, blonde Russian girl called Elena. We chatted a while in passing the rest of the week. On Friday, as I was having my last ciggie before starting work, she came to the shelter, big smile and big hello to me and naturally bent down to kiss me on the cheeks..!! (being french of course it doesn’t shock me, but living in the UK, highly unexpected!)

Lastly, I think my new boss impressed me the most this week. How open and receptive he is, knowledgable and caring about his team, how flexible, smiley, genuinely nice he is.

We had a quick catch up on Friday afternoon to see how things were going. Now I had had a wobble inside on Wednesday when I realised how much Deskside work was involved, and that means building, rebuilding, repairing laptops/computers and changing toners. I am not keen on deskside work, as although it sounds like you are working with customers, you are actually not – you build and repair laptops in a build room on your own for instance, and customer contact being my primary source of joy in my job, deskside is not my favourite thing. Still I thought it wouldn’t hurt to relearn (I used to do a lot of deskside work back 10 years ago) and see how it goes. However I decided to mention it to my boss on Friday. His reaction: not a problem, if you would rather do more phone work than deskside work, absolutely fine, we can accommodate that….!!!

I have been myself entirely with everyone I have met, I have smiled and engaged with many, trying to remember as many names as I could, even complimented the chefs on what they produced, had nice little chats with the receptionists and introduced myself to the ladies serving the food. Everyone has been extremely welcoming and so so friendly.

I have already demonstrated, to myself at the very least, what value I can bring to the team, on many occasions. Every meeting/training sessions I have attended, I brought suggestions that they lapped up. It seems my experience is paying off – at last, I can contribute to the better running of a department.

My boss said the department was doing good, however, humbly said he wanted to push it even further – I suggested he should aim for brilliant 😉

I have even found a car share, starting next Tuesday, with a really nice chap who started on Monday also and drives past my house every day from much further afield, meaning he will be doing the driving – saving heaps on the maintenance of my new (old) car – I think we will have lots to talk about, we have a shared experienced: both of us have lived in Canada, some two hours away from each other!

Seriously, I don’t really want to think about it all too much because it becomes too surreal.

This week has also been the time where I have finally sussed the problem with my mum and therefore I can now work on how to handle it – but more in another post – and I believe possibly a breakthrough in my strained relationship with my dad – he actually listened to me about it being a good idea to stop drinking now he has liver cancer, after being defensive originally.

I have also introduced a stop smoking App in my life, which reduces the amount of cigs I can smoke every day, with a clock running telling me when I can or can’t smoke. I haven’t always followed the timing (you can override your due times), but I have certainly reduced and started to think how to reduce further – eg I only have one cigarette at lunchtime now and I don’t smoke in my car on my way to work. I am slowly starting to feel like I did when I decided to stop drinking – realising that I actually don’t enjoy cigarettes.. 🙂

I think this year is going to be pretty amazing 🙂

By newpaz