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!
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!
With the move is coming a lot of change. We’ve done this before, admittedly only once, but this time although the same some things are slightly different. As much as change is exciting it is also unsettling. I’m mixed, one day excited the next mildly panicked. Work, housing, friendships, finances all of these things are whirling around and around. I know it will work out in the end somehow and things are falling into place slowly. Things will work out. I’m learning again that I need to bite piece by piece and work on things a little bit at a time. I’m also learning again how important it is to talk about everything. Poor J is having his ear chewed far too much. I process by talking, it helps me work out what I do or don’t want, even if it means I go round and round in circles far too often. Lots to write about once I organise my thoughts.
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…
We used to have window boxes in London where we grew herbs and flowers and I loved them dearly. It cheered me up to see the greenery and know that I had grown it! It also saved a fortune in fresh herbs once they got going, the basil especially grew like gangbusters during the summer.
So when we moved to DC one of the first things I noticed about our flat was the lack of window boxes or opportunities to grow anything. All the windows have fly screens to keep the mosquitoes out and I would rather have no mosquitoes than plants.
Then last weekend our church was having a flower mart and they had lots of herbs on sale so I decided that now was the time to invest. We then had to get something to put our indoor window boxes on and chose a red Ikea bench which if needed can also be used as an actual bench rather than just a place for our plants.
I love seeing them in our living room! Tending to them and checking them for how they are doing. Our basil, thyme and parsley are all looking very happy in their new homes. Our coriander on the other hand is taking a little longer to settle in but I’m sure it will get there eventually.
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.
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 long weekend here and it’s been wonderful. We’ve had friends visiting which has been lovely. Starting with a trip to the Baseball on Friday night followed by fireworks, huge beautiful fireworks. Then walking round the city, followed by a wonderful night with old and new friends.
Yesterday we went to Arlington, for green and the peace and calm of the cemetery. It’s so beautiful out there, although summer is not giving up just yet and these last two days have been humid (very, very humid).
Today, lazy, my first trip to the Capitol. A huge lunch then the pouring rain, meaning the walk we were hoping to take didn’t happen. The walk I needed to take.
And now, now we prepare for a trip home. A chance to see friends and family, to enjoy London again and to come back refreshed.
Right now the East Coast of America is experiencing a heatwave, and right now I am beginning to understand what people mean when they say DC in the summertime is a whole other place. The heat is all encompassing, the humidity high and the force of it all relentless. It is an experience which I would not wish on many.
We stepped out today and my eyeballs felt like they do when you open an oven. Immediately you start sweating, no matter if in the shade or otherwise and you have to walk at least twice as slowly as normal.
In some ways this is summer, right? In other ways this is torture, no break, even overnight the temperatures are still about 28C – 30C (80 – 85F). Today I am praying for the one thing which I love about this weather, the spectacular thunderstorms. The huge flashes of lightning followed by deep rolls of thunder.
Only another month and a half to go before this punishing heat might ease off. Until then my quietness may be due to my proneness somewhere with air conditioning…