London, Baby! (It really works best in my head when I hear "Joey" from Friends saying it)
After months of preparing we finally arrived in England! Writing this blog after being here for several weeks, it is actually pretty hard to put myself back in that place.
David and I traveled to London together four years ago, so coming to this part of the world was not entirely new for us. He lived in London for a year in college. Yet as all parents know, it is totally different once you have kids!
First difference? Instead of waiting in line at Immigration for an hour, an attendant pulled us to the front of the line. The kids weren't even making a fuss, so this was quite a surprise (a much welcome surprise). Maxwell giggled as we lifted him up for the immigration agent to compare his passport photo to the handsome real life version, and a sleepy Darian poked her head out of the Ergo long enough to give a little grin, herself. We didn't have to wait long for our bags at all, but getting three suitcases, five carry-ons, and two carseats on two carts while pushing the stroller with Maxwell in it and carrying Darian did provide a few sitcom-ish moments. David called ahead for the car to be brought down, which would have been perfect if we had been on the right floor.
David bought us a Prius, so luckily it was super easy to put the carseats in, and if we hadn't been bogged down with so much luggage we would have been out of there in no time. As it was, the parking structure attendants had a few laughs at our expense as they watched David and I play a mean game of Tetris to try and fit everything inside! Needless to say, 40 minutes later I was sitting in the passenger seat with the stroller and high chair between my legs, which (like both Maxwell and Darian in the backseat) were propped up on a pile of odds and ends that had been unpacked from their bag and placed in random nooks and crannies throughout the car.
David first real driving experience in the UK was to take himself to the airport two weeks earlier, so getting out of Heathrow and onto the motorway was kind of fun. And by fun, I mean I was chuckling to myself as his unease. (Hey, he criticizes my driving all the time!) We were incredibly lucky to have a navigation system in the car.
It wasn't that weird for me to be in the passenger seat on the left side of the car, or to be driving along on the left side of the road, but what did get to me was the difference in my peripheral vision. Lack of sleep, jet lag, different perspective or all of the above, but I immediately started getting a headache from watching the scenery zoom past in the rearview mirror on my right. I closed my eyes, and figured I would see these sights another day...
We stopped at the letting agency here in town to pick up our keys, and before we knew it we were at the house. My first impression was that it was much bigger than David described!
There are these interesting tree stickers on the wall!!
At the end of the hall is the kitchen and there is a garden room added onto the back. There is a very small, cozy folding table in the garden room where we have been eating our meals!
There is a decent sized yard for the kids to play in, and of course a nice long clothes line for me to hang the wash!
Upstairs there is a small half-bath that also has a bunch of shelves for our linens, and then up a few more stairs is the first floor which has the family bathroom and master bedroom. Up another flight is the two bedrooms the kids are sleeping in. We really do just use them for sleeping. No toys, no decorations. Hopefully we will be able to do something a little more fun once we are in more permanent housing, but for now this is just fine!
We really like the house and the neighborhood. We have met our neighbors, the Price Family, and they are awesome! Lawrence and Debbie, and they have a five year old son, Noah and three year old daughter, Coco. Debbie has been a huge help to me in figuring out things about the area, and they had us over for a lovely lunch last weekend. The kids played nicely, and it was great to get to know this wonderful family!
It feels great to be here and start getting settled and begin this amazing adventure!!!