Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Week 2

Week 2 was spent settling Liam into his new school and meeting some of the characters involved in our life here in London (because a good life isn't truly complete without a few characters here and there).  So far Liam's transition into the new school has been brilliant.  They had a wonderful system in place for new students to stay for only a short period at the start and stay increasingly longer each day.  For Liam, that was paramount.  After I picked him up the first day, he said to me, "Mommy, I didn't know if I would like a new school . . . but now I know I do!"  My heart fluttered at these words.  I spent all summer worrying about it and listening to him do his best to express his apprehension in the only way a four year old can, only for these worries to melt away in minutes.  Kids are so adaptable that way.  Much more adaptable than adults really.  His apprehension has turned into excited descriptions of what he has accomplished that morning and the new friends with whom he has worked.  I am hearing names of children I have never heard before.  And for all the people who have asked me if I thought Liam would come back with an accent:  Liam said to me one day, "I have a new friend named Alekzahnda." I had no idea what name he was saying until I said it aloud and realized, OHHHH.....Alexander....with a British accent of course!! :)  It also occurred to me that Liam will be learning to read and write here, which means all of those vowel sounds will indeed be practiced as the Brits say them!!

In addition to the friends Liam has made at school, we also met  a lovely woman named B, contracted through our award winning property finder, Sourcing Property.  Sourcing Property and SecurelyBe teamed up to offer us phenomenal relocating services both in the arena of finding a place to live (Sourcing Property) and then once we settled, learning all about the ins and outs of life in London and how to transition our old lifestyle into a similar lifestyle here (SecurelyBe)  I will be meeting with B once a week for a crash course in such things as healthcare, working in London, education, shopping, chatting with neighbors, etc. etc.  And speaking of chatting with neighbors, B highly encouraged us to knock on our neighbors' door to introduce ourselves.  In doing so, we met Leon who lives above us.  A lovely gentleman in his eighties who invited us in straight away, told us to use his garden whenever we want, and then went straight for Liam's heart with juice and chocolates.  What more could we ask for in a neighbor really.  And finally, our landlord Barry popped by to check up on us.  Again, lovely gentleman, offering help in any way possible.  Unsurprisingly, I have found British people to be SOOO nice, charming, witty, and polite.

And finally, as a celebration of Liam completing his first week at a new school, we went to Legoland!!  Keegan made the all too common mistake of telling Liam about Legoland months ago so needless to say, the visit came not a day too soon for him.  It was a lovely conclusion to our second week here in London.


What could this child possibly have to worry about . . . who wouldn't love that face and that floppy hair?!
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Liam's totally cool school . . . in an old church building.
Liam and I went on a photowalk one day up the street to an old church/cemetery.  I tried to make it more fun for him by turning it into a scavenger hunt for circles.
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Is it creepy that I took my four year old to a cemetery?!  I think I know the answer to that . . . 
After I picked up Liam from school, we went exploring the neighborhood in search of the perfect park which we had yet to find.  I almost fell over when we turned the corner and came across this gem.  We were both just completely flabbergasted by the enormity and creativity of it.  It was a total Zen moment.  As happy as it made me, I couldn't help feeling sad the whole time we were there thinking of Liam's best buds, Will & Teo, back at home and how much fun they would've had all together...
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Legoland was, of course, a big hit with Liam and Daddy alike :)
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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Week 1

The week before we moved, in a tearful blink of an eye, we packed boxes for storage, packed beloved items for London, sold one car, arranged the movement of another car across the country, drank goodbye cocktails with friends, contracted a rental tenant for our little house on Norvell, arranged cleaning and lawn maintenance, drank more goodbye cocktails with friends, fit in one last MRI for my continuing ailing knee (because, you know, I had nothing else to do...), rented a van, and drove ourselves and our panicked cats to the airports for butts in seat, 7:20 p.m. departure, SFO to LHR.  Thank goodness that flight was 2 hours delayed . . . we would've never made it otherwise!!  Needless to say, I needed a large glass of wine by the time the dust had settled.  Or 2.  Either way, the tears had not subsided.

Somehow, heads a spinning, we arrived in this foreign country for the next chapter of our lives.  The unpacking ironically took half a day given we brought only what could come on the plane for free.  The rest of the next few days were spent recovering from jet lag, getting to know our new little Flat, exploring a few of the local pubs for dinner, and acquiring just a few very basic items needed to function . . . and by basic, I am talking basic here.  To date, we still do not have a table from which to eat our meals!  Just as soon as the jet lag seemed to wear off, I turned right back around the next weekend to return to California to photograph one last wedding!  I was hesitant to keep the contract, but in the end, of course, I was so glad I went.  I was able to spend some much needed quality time with two of my most favorite people in this world, to say goodbye properly without the cloud of stress that is moving hovering above my head, to reflect on the change and this new life ahead, and to ultimately, get back on that plane headed for LHR without the tears.  Because, afterall, London is Calling!

British beer is indeed said basic item needed to function.  True story.
We had such beautiful weather when we arrived.  We spent a lovely Saturday evening having a picnic in the Heath, an enormous park overlooking central London.
On a last minute whim, I threw Liam's scooter in one of the boxes of said beloved items to be taken to London.  And thank goodness I did.  We would be nowhere, literally, without it.  EVERY child his age is scooting around town on one of these and given our 2 mile roundtrip walk to school everyday, we will be fitting right in.
Two of three little pieces of outdoor space for our Flat.  Every little piece of sky counts here.  What may look like a side alley to some is actually a fantastic soccer kicking tunnel to others.  As an aside, this British Tea Time is definitely a custom I could get used to.
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Our first official dinner at home.  Gee, only took, let's see, 5 days ....
Liam getting over some serious jet lag.  We woke up no earlier than 11 am for 3 days straight . . .
From one home sweet home to another . . .