We made it. After returning from San Francisco we went head first into sorting things out, throwing stuff away, giving stuff away, selling stuff. Anything to try and process everything we had in our flat in Washington. It was both incredibly cathartic doing all that sorting and getting rid and at times hard. There were moments when I had to stop because I couldn’t bear just throwing away things which were still good but we couldn’t fit in our luggage or take with us.
So six suitcases later we arrive at Heathrow, tired, excited and feeling slight trepidation about what happens next. J chose a lovely flat, lots of natural light and space, plus thankfully warm, especially these last few days. The first few days were tough, not so much a cultural adjustment, it all felt very familiar, more a life adjustment. The odd feeling that this was it, we weren’t just visiting like we had been for the last couple of years.
We’re getting there, day by day. Seeing friends, trying to write the long list of people we want to catch up with and balancing it with needing to live a leaner life and within a tighter budget. London thankfully is still the wonderful city I remembered it to be and we are enjoying discovering a new part of it (we’re NW now not SW as we were before).
Now to wait the few weeks (months?!) until our stuff arrives across the ocean and then we’ll all be set!
We went West for Christmas. It was good, for us both. Although the weather was not all that California weather is meant to be (read pissing rain for many of the days we were there) the enforced inside time and relaxation was a blessing.
Due to the terrible weather we spent the first day in the California Academy of Sciences. They had an amazing coral reef aquarium with the most beautiful array of fish. I could have watched it for hours.
Of course there is the bridge, which is as spectacular in real life as it is in your imagination. And it really was that grey for many of the days… Although there’s something about dull, low grey and mizzle which makes me feel so cosy.
Our friends took us in search of sunshine and find it we did. We even found some Elk. Who knew there were Elks in Northern California, certainly not I. Speaking of Elk we also saw Elephant Seals and hummingbirds (so very amazing).
And then the last day spent in a blaze of sunshine, seeing the city on foot and enjoying the colours and contrasts that this city provide, old vs new, green space vs urban sprawl, poor vs rich.
I’m sure we’ll be back.
On our last Thanksgiving in the US (until the next one we spend over here…) I am thankful for:
- My husband, for sharing his life with me and being an absolute rock of support and love
- My family, for their understanding, patience and support
- My friends, both those who I have grown to love dearly in Washington, DC and those I am returning to rekindle my friendships with in London
- All of you who read this blog and who chatter with me on Twitter and Instagram!
There are many more things I am thankful for, however for now I will keep it brief. Being reminded to think about all you have and all that it gives you is very special. I shall certainly try and bring this celebration back to the UK and to make sure I spend that one day thinking extra hard about all I have and how lucky I am to be where I am and surrounded by so many special people.
Sending good wishes your way, eat, drink, be merry and enjoy an afternoon nap if you can!
The time has come for us to return to London. We move back in January. Two months. In total we will have lived in the US for 27 months, during which we have experienced some of our toughest times and some absolutely wonderful times, we’ve met many amazing people who I hope will be lasting friends. It was absolutely the right decision to move here and experience this and now it feels like the right time to do the return journey.
There’s a lot to think about of course. Moving country is not easy, as we have learnt, even if you’ve lived there before. We’re going through another period of pretty big change and trying to work it all out again. We’re going back to something which is so familiar and yet viewed through a new perspective and I imagine possibly also so changed from what we left. I’m excited though, the new opportunities this brings, the friendships we can re-kindle, the city I love I get to live in again. London here we come…
Last weekend we went out exploring with a friend. We’ve been to a Virginia vineyard before, last summer, and thought it was about time for another trip. This time we headed further, out West to the beginnings of the rolling Shenandoah hills. It is just beautiful and peaceful out there. Lots of green, wide open spaces, no sirens, no car horns, relaxing.
We chose to go to DuCard vineyards on the basis that they had a singer performing that afternoon. The singer was Curtis Prince, he had a lovely voice and was playing the kind of songs you want to listen to on a warm spring afternoon with a glass of wine in your hand.
The vineyard is small but the setting is just lovely and the wines were good, plus as an added bonus a lot better than the ones we had tried last year. We especially enjoyed the rose and the Popham Run Red, both of which we bought a bottle of to enjoy at home.
If you ever are in that neck of the woods I would thoroughly recommend a visit, even without live music, a glass of rose on their patio with the sun gently warming you is well worth the effort.
Springtime in Washington, D.C. really is glorious. This year especially. We’ve had about six days in a row with temperatures in the twenties (Celcius that is), which has meant that the cherry blossoms are out early. They were due at the end of March but we went down to see them this weekend and they were already looking wonderful.
Below is a new type of cherry tree for me, the weeping cherry tree, it has the most beautiful branches fir to bursting with blossom which dust down to the ground and sway gently in the wind.
And finally, some gentle pink amongst the white. It would seem that the pinker blossomed trees flower later than the white blossom ones as when we were out and about most of the trees were white. This one though was tinged pink and looked ever so pretty.
We went out west over Christmas and the New Year, there we were treated to one of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve ever seen. I don’t know what it is about it perhaps the colours, the slow fade of light, whatever it is it just gets me, fascinates me with its glory and beauty.
Also these, straight out of the camera, no filter, no playing, no nothing, that really was what it was like…
The temperature dropped today, suddenly it’s cool. Which has been rather wonderful. This evening as I left work and stormed along I suddenly remembered how much I love walking. In London I walked to and from work, about 35-40 minutes each way. It kept me sane and vaguely slim.
Then I moved here, winter was fine, J and I traipsed everywhere, got to know the new city and generally explored. Until the summer hit. When you walk a few steps and are sweating, more than a lady should, more than you feel comfortable and so you resort to air conditioned buses, not going for weekend strolls and generally hiding from the heat and humidity.
Tonight it was back. That release of joy that I get from charging along the pavement. The sanity that walking for half an hour brings and hopefully the calories it burns (of which currently there are a lot to be burnt).
I’m looking forward to the cooler days. To walking home from work again and to having that time all to myself to think, process and enjoy the city.
It’s been a while since we’ve had any flower photos. So I thought it high time to post some recent ones. We’ve been on holiday, up to Massachusetts. While there we went to Shelburne Falls which has a Bridge of Flowers, created in I think 1929 it is a glorious bridge full of beautiful flowers. Right now they have lots of Dahlias. A flower I’d not thought much of previously but these ones were beautiful. Enjoy!
It was my birthday a week and a half ago. Normally I am like a small child, telling everyone, organising a party and generally being excitable. This year it was a much quieter affair. Just J and I, no big celebration, which was rather lovely.
It gave me time to reflect, time to think about how I really do feel more grown-up, that the last year has changed me. Changed us. Moving to America has been wonderful in many ways, the experience of doing something tough together has bought us closer. We have met many kind and lovely new people and had some great opportunities which we wouldn’t have otherwise had.
We are also another year on, having to make big decisions about things in the future. We have spent many an hour trying to plan for uncertainty, which is of course nigh on impossible.
All of this has moved me towards feeling more ready to do some of the big things. Investing in our joint venture has never made more sense and each being more willing to make compromises to enable good things to come in the future.
I hope this next year will be good. If nothing else it will be together with J and if there’s one thing I’ve learnt is that that very fact is so important to me.