Tuesday, June 11, 2013

We are here.

Having an ice cream cone in Hyde Park, London
I've been trying to find a way to sum up my emotions, mostly for my own personal reflection when I look back on this experience years from now. So here's where I stand, two weeks in.

I am trying mightily to adjust to the new lifestyle, learn everything there is to learn as quickly as possible. All the changes, right down to how we wash our clothes, is frankly exhausting, but also exhilarating. And I'll readily admit to being a little homesick, particularly after two weeks of no Internet connection and very little contact with family and friends back home. But not in a "I want to go home" way. Just in a "I wish this place felt more like home already" way.

A great friend asked if it seemed like we were on vacation or that we live here. Answer, as of now, is neither. Because of course you don't visit car dealerships on your second day of a vacation. Or spend your holiday on hold with British Telecom, desperately hoping you could get your Internet installed. You don't struggle, almost daily, with appliances that you can't make sense of, requests for specific foods from your kids that you can't find, or try to have a normal day with very few of your belongings (those don't arrive for another couple of weeks).

But yet you also don't typically spend a day in London sightseeing when you're in the midst of a move. Or stroll the farmers market in your new town. Or begin to rank your favorite National Trust properties. So there's been a bit of leisurely enjoyment thrown into the mix these first few days too. It's been a nice reminder of why we wanted to do this. The chance to enjoy one corner of the world at a three year pace instead of a weeklong vacation. We are savoring these times, taking them in, and feeling so thankful.

I can't speak for my kids and the adventures they'll have in their own lives, I can already tell that this might be the greatest thing to ever happen to my husband and I, marriage and childbirth aside. The beauty of this country is mind boggling. The heart and spirit of its people warms me to my core. We've been treated so well, welcomed with open arms. Other than that guy who honked at us when we chose the wrong lane on the roundabout. Excuse me. Make that the rotary.

But I am ready for some of life's basic tasks to be easy. Establishing a bank account here is a work in progress. Don't even get me started on my experience with British Telecom. We've been totally perplexed by every single household appliance in our new house, from our hot water heater to our microwave. Our U.S. credit cards give the machines here fits, so each time I go to pay for something, I'm never sure if it will work. I know these things will sort themselves out eventually. I am trying to dig deep, find patience, and stay calm especially for the kids.

In fact, I think the phrase Keep Calm and Carry On is the perfect way to survive your first few weeks living in England.

The boys, by the way, are champs. They've had some epic meltdowns, but despite sickness, jet lag, teething, errand after errand, they just roll with it. Several people wondered if this was the right age to do this, with our kids so young. Never, ever sell your kids short. They are remarkable human beings. I couldn't be more proud of them in this transition. But Big Arrow, if you're out there listening, we could do with less tantrums.

Guess what has been easy? Driving. I can't believe it, but we've done remarkably well on that front. We purchased a sat nav (GPS) on day one, which makes things so much simpler. I live for that device. If the car was on fire, I'd go in after it.

And after a week in unexpected temporary living in a tiny apartment, we were finally able to move into our house a week ago. It is truly lovely and the kids love it. So do I. It feels more comfortable each and every day that I wake up to this view out my bedroom window.

I have more to say but this seems enough of a starting point for now. Stick around, we've already taken some fun trips and outings that I hope youll enjoy reading. Later this week, I want to share pictures of our village and describe the life here to you. It's is quainter than quaint.

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