So, my second month in England saw me visit London, Berkshire and some of Europe; I discovered why so many people say the Apple stores in South Africa are just resellers and not Apple stores; I caught up with old friends; I attended a live jazz show; and I discovered the rude people on the train who push to be at the front for when the door opens but expect the people behind them to hit the button that actually opens the door.

I went to the Apple Store to price some accessories and get my machine checked out and I was astounded. The store I visited is the one in Covent Garden; it has multiple levels, it offers classes, and it offers spaces at which to work. I attended classes on video editing with iMovie and portrait photography. I enjoyed the class on iMovie because Jake, the instructor, showed me some clever tricks and shortcuts that I hadn’t been aware of. Jake has been with Apple for 14 years so he really understands the company and its software. I found him to be helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. I was the only person in the class so I was able to ask him some really specific questions I have had from using the software.

The portrait photography class I took on a whim: I was leaving the store and saw the class was happening. I decided to sit down and listen in for a few minutes and I found myself sitting in on the full 30 minutes. It was fun being able to play with different lights and settings to capture the right image.

They took this photo of me during the class:

 

If you are an Apple user and you have some time while travelling, you should absolutely visit an international store and see if there’s a class you’re interested in taking. Signing up is easy: you can sign up in store or online. For some classes they can even provide you with a Mac to use. The classes take place in store and you often have time to ask specific questions about your Apple device. To find a class, just Google “Today at Apple”.

I had a meeting scheduled after the class so it was great to be able to sit at one of the desks and get some work done ahead of my meeting. I wouldn’t recommend it as a place to sit and work at for the day but if you are in store to do something and you have a bit of time between meetings, it’s a good place to spend 30 or so minutes getting some things done before the next meeting.

I also found a barber! This may not seem like a big deal but it is. Not many people can handle African hair (even in Africa) so it can be hard to find the right person. I can do most of the maintenance on my hair myself but I don’t know how to cut it. Fortunately, after getting recommendations on Facebook and speaking to a good friend who lives in London, I have found a barber.

I spent some of the month in London and the rest of it travelling through Europe. January is my favourite month of the year. It is my birthday month and so it is the month a new year of my life begins. I like to use the time to reflect and reenergise myself for the journey ahead. This time, seeing as I turned 30, I decided to do this while doing something I really love: travelling. And what an experience! I visited places I have seen before and places I hadn’t. Much like how I am trying to live my life, I took the time to be in the moment and appreciate the journey I was on. I had been saving for the trip for some time so it was really wonderful to finally take the trip.

Jake teaching the class in iMovie at the Apple Store

I have only experienced snow a handful of times in my life and with this trip I was able to experience it again. I was also surprised by places I didn’t think would surprise me like Amsterdam and Innsbruck and I was moved by the places I knew would move me like Italy.  I met great people, I reflected, and I got to experience different cultures. It was truly wonderful. Not long ago I wrote a blog about the power of gratitude and I still consciously practice living my life with gratitude so I found myself being grateful many, many times while I was away.

I have also met with some great people working here in the UK­. I have really enjoyed the energy of London; you can feel it on the underground at peak times as people push through the crowd to get to work and you can feel it as people zip past you on the pathway as you all try to get to your next meeting. I have also been warned that this fast-paced life and seeming disinterest can make it a lonely place. I would say that these qualities are what make many people love London, they are also what can make it a tough place to live. It is certainly expensive – that part is very true. One trick to saving money is to take the bus instead of the underground: the underground is faster and more frequent but it is more expensive.

If you are in London and looking for some help with your communication, and/or marketing drop me a mail at thabs@cnandco.com. I’d love to meet up with you and chat about how we can make magic together.