Post holiday blues & Month 13

Ah, holiday. How do I love thee, let me count the ways?

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Post holiday blues are real. And so extremely hard to get over. Especially if you toss in jet lag. And your 3 doors down neighbors all-day long digging out a basement construction noise. {which is bugging me so much I might start taking the dogs prozac just so I can survive the year it’ll take for them to finish}

Month 13 of living in London is going swell, in case you couldn’t tell. I have tried to not be a negative nellie but if The Husband came to me tomorrow and said he was being transferred back to Seattle ASAP, I would start tossing clothes in a suitcase without even folding them. That’s how much I am ready to leave London. There comes a time where all the noise, dirt/trash, people just becomes too much. I have hit that point and then some.

I don’t even want to leave my house to walk the 1/2 mile to buy milk. I finally took the dog to get her nails trimmed (the only option since in case I haven’t mentioned it, my dog takes anxiety medicine because London has her so freaked out). It’s a 1/4 mile maybe? I literally walk up the street, cross the high street, and then it’s half way down the street on the other side. She gets so stressed out by the traffic and people, I get stressed out.

Recently, on the expats group I’m in on Facebook, someone asked about living in London because they have the opportunity to move here. Everyone chimed in ‘it’s so awesome!’ ‘we travel every weekend!’. At one time that might have been me, and if we were still living in Germany, I’d probably be encouraging them to go for it (language challenge though it was). But english speaking London? I’m proud of myself for at least being honest despite everyone thinking I was crazy for saying I wouldn’t do it again. There is a big difference between a sleepy little city like Bonn, Germany, and frenetic crazy London. {maybe if we didn’t live IN the city, but then how would we get anywhere? I’m not insane enough to drive here.}

People like to talk about all the great things like art, cultural events, sights to see, history, ability to travel in Europe easy {which is a bit of a joke. do you know how expensive it is to get 4 people off this bloody island??} What a lot of people forget is that you aren’t on an extended vacation. You are living a life daily in and out with small spaces, noise, crowds, things that make no practical sense, and a confusing set of social norms {like leaving trash on the ground/table/where ever because it’s not ‘your job’ to clean it up. what IS that about?}

This is basically my post to get it all out and stop trying to sensor what I really want to say when people ask me “how do you like living in London?” On Friday we are having dinner with one of The Husband’s former interns who is in town from Boston. I know I’ll get that question, it’s only normal. It will be a struggle to not be totally honest and say

It. Sucks. And if you could smuggle me into your luggage, that’d be awesome.

I thought this job would be the easiest of the many places we have lived, but I am finding it to be the hardest of all the places we’ve lived – even over middle of no-where Kentucky. Which was pretty bad.

I very much miss the peace and serenity of Seattle life. The quiet, the birdsong, the bullfrogs croaking, driving a car, understanding that if I buy milk the expiration date won’t be in 3 days, and that a loaf of bread will actually not mold after 5 days if we can’t eat it all. {i know, preservatives are bad, but living without them in certain things is really tough}

There are 11 more months to go. I look forward to our scheduled holidays; Spain in October, Italy in February, east/west coast US in April, and my 40th birthday weekend in May (destination as yet undetermined).

11 months.

I wonder if the dog really will share her prozac with me….

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London, almost a month later

Well. When they tell you there’s a honeymoon period to things, they would be right. Living in London for the last 3 1/2 weeks has been a honeymoon period. But the last week or so, I’ve felt like flinging my flip-flops, or my champagne glass, or whatever it is a person on honeymoon would fling at London’s head.

I’ve had a few days of missing home. More like missing how easy things were at home. Need groceries? Get in the car and go to the store, hold and feel and touch the items you want to buy. See very clearly what you are buying and the size of it so you don’t end up with something labeled ‘pizza dough balls’ that end up being garlic bread rolls when you order online.

The online shopping I used to so love? Not so much anymore. It’s very hard to understand (for me) what I’m buying. I’m not a metric messiah, and we can forget trying to figure out a recipe in metric and grams to get it relate to tablespoons and cups. I miss my cookbooks. If I had it to do over again I would have put them in the air shipment. Like for real.

And t-shirts. I seem to have only packed 5. During a heat wave. In London.

You have to think very carefully every morning just how much laundry you can get done. The washers size isn’t the only limiting factor, but there is only one drying rack that everything must fit on. More than two loads and you’ll be hanging shirts over the dining room chairs and ironing board and every available surface (been there).

When living in a flat, even with a small balcony and faux grass patch your dog won’t pee on, you will be a slave to the 3-4 daily walks in the park, rain, shine or otherwise. I have to say that oh.my.gosh think about how much exercise I’m getting! wears off after about two weeks. I’ve given up caring whether I walk the dog in my pjs with a sloppy ponytail and no makeup.

If you heard stories of a monster walking in Hyde Park around 7 am, don’t panic, it was only me.

I miss my yard, where I just had to open the door and the dog went out, and that was that. 

There are definitely things I would do differently if we could do it again. I still have NAUGHT interest in driving here. Never. Ever. But living in a quieter area, on a quieter less touristy street where no hoards of teenagers walk around yelling, and no tour busses idle during your morning coffee would definitely be nice. So would neighbors on the floor below who don’t like pop music every afternoon at 4.

The Tube is nuts and hot and busy, but it doesn’t bother me. The buses are the same but I don’t mind it. We’ve been to the ZSL Zoo, the British Museum, the British Library. We’ve walked around the area of Tower of London, crossed London Bridge (or whatever it is actually called), gone to the movies, explored shops and found a few foodie favorites.

Right now, London and I are in a love/hate relationship. I hope soon enough it’ll turn into a love/slightly dislike relationship. Probably once my bed arrives next month and I can stop sleeping on a mattress that’s the equivalent of sleeping on plywood.

That would be nice.

London Town

We’ve been living in London for two weeks now, and I can honestly say….I Love London.

It is not perfect. It’s insanely crowded and busy, and noisy, and dirty, and complicated (and freakishly hot at present). But underneath all of that, despite not knowing where I can buy things, having no dryer, and pretty much spending my days playing wash maid with our 4 kilo washing machine, it’s energetic, and amazing, and crazy, and busy, and a real, honest to goodness city. And that’s pretty gosh dang darn awesome.

I can’t really sum up everything right this second except to showcase some of the pictures I’ve taken (all with my phone and most shared via Instagram, as the camera is in the air shipment…which hasn’t yet arrived).

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We shall see what the next weeks bring, possibly even a proper post.