Don’t say anything at all. It’s one of the many lessons my mother taught me that I try to stick to. It’s also one of the reasons for my lack of blogging recently. No need to go into the details (that’s the not nice part) so I will just say that our transition to London had some bumps, a lot of frustration, a few tears, a mind numbing amount of paperwork and a back breaking (or in my case literally an elbow breaking) amount of labor. I can explain it no better than to say that yesterday, I picked up the needles and knit for the first time since July 7th. Three months without knitting and you know things aren’t easy. That is all in the past though, we are safely in London and life is getting back to a more normal kind of chaos.
(our first day in London at Chiswick common)
So far we’ve been in a temporary house, but we have a house picked out, a lease signed and a plan to start moving on the 26th of October. We are all looking forward to having our stuff back (we haven’t had it since Aug 15th) and finally settling in somewhere! I can’t decide if I’ve missed my bed or frying pan the most. Although, despite my best attempts, we packed way too much stuff and now I’m going to have to figure out how to get rid of a ton of it. Oh well, nothing to be done about it now, hindsight and all that.
(our new kitchen)
The house has a nice big open kitchen, a queen bed with a nightstand sized guest room (unbelievably hard to find), a master bedroom with real closet space and that will hold our king size bed, and a small garden for Moxie. We were lucky enough that it even has a storage cellar and laundry room. Best of all, it is on a quiet street yet only 2 minutes from the Turnham Green tube station and Chiswick High Street. Location, location, location! From the station it’s a straight shot to many of the museums and attractions and easy to get almost anywhere in London. No car needed. Thank goodness, I‘m terrified to try driving here since I still look the wrong way for cars when we cross the street.
(out and about in Chiswick)
We were randomly place in Chiswick for our temporary house and I’m so pleased that we will be able to continue living in Chiswick. We all love the area. It’s just north of the Thames and is filled with gorgeous views, scenic walks, beautiful old homes, and surprisingly friendly people. The high street has almost everything we need and is way less crowed than I expected. Most days it’s pretty similar to the crowds I was used to in Redmond. We can walk to and choose from 3 fabulous upscale groceries, 7 fresh produce stands, 2 butchers, a fish monger, and an awesome deli. Walk! We can also walk to the library, pet store, drug store, post office, wine shop, a dozen or more bakeries and at least 25 good restaurants. Chiswick has a number of cool boutiques, book stores and housewares shops, and even a kids gap. There are three large, gorgeous, parks and 3 smaller ones, all also within no more than a mile and a quarter. We can even walk to Kew Gardens, but it’s almost 2 miles. All the walking is pretty much my favorite thing about living here. Most days, the kids and I take a lunch break from school (we’re home schooling right now) and wander out to walk Moxie and run our errands. She can even go with us to the library! If Moxie can’t come in to a shop, the kids play with her in the park while I run in. It’s hard to beat that.
There are still days it can all be a bit over whelming. Where should I get my hair cut? What happens on Halloween and where can I buy kids costumes? What laundry detergent is the best? How do I find Mac a fencing club? Why are all the light switches upside down? You get the idea. There are so many new things to learn and adjust to, but we’re taking it one thing at a time and it is exciting to learn something new every day. Of course the worst is that we miss all our friends and family in the U.S. Nothing can replace that. I’m sure in six months I won’t feel so lost all the time and we will make some new friends, as well as getting better at keeping in touch with our old friends. Plus, we are hoping to have lots of visitors to share all our new discoveries with.
(Moxie loves watching all the neighbors go to work and school in the morning)
While we all really miss our friends, family and the familiar, as you know there is plenty to like here. We have found that we adore all the parks and museums! They are everywhere, full of truly amazing stuff and a joy to experience. We’ve already visited Tate Modern, the Natural History Museum, the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert, Kew Gardens, Chiswick House (we walk here almost every Saturday), Gunnersbury Park, Ravenscourt Park and the Tower of London. Some of them multiple times! Every week the kids and I have a field trip. We’re studying Egypt in history right now, so on Thursday we went to the British Museum to see the mummies and other objects from that time. Doesn’t get much cooler than that. Tomorrow I want to take the family to the Borough Market for the full foodie experience.
(Tower of London)
Surprisingly the food is another one of my favorite things here. Almost all of it is fantastic quality, fresh, local and with fewer additives. Although it’s sometimes a bit unexpected (what the heck is in black pudding anyway?!) we are having lots of fun trying it. I’m making it a personal quest to find the best sticky toffee pudding in Chiswick. Mac is similarly determined to discover the best fish and chips. We love the pubs (Sunday roast is an awesome tradition) and being able to pick up inexpensive and delicious food to take home and heat up is fantastic. I can get a five course Indian meal, that is pretty darn tasty for 10 pounds from Waitrose! Good stuff. Even better, Todd’s office is a few blocks from Neil’s Yard. Cheese! Thank goodness for all the walking or I’d have gained 10 lbs already.
To sum up, lots to do, see, and figure out. Wish you were here.
PS – Please check out the kid’s new blog, Moppet Musings. They are writing about our adventures from their point of view as a home school project. This week Gilly put up a post about a trip to Ripley’s Believe it or Not and Mac wrote about all the new words we are learning. Thanks to those already leaving comments. They love getting them!