A Photo Diary of our First Year Living Abroad in London, England.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Recently, Liam and I have settled into a routine after I collect him from school consisting of a quick visit to nearby park with little school mate, 45 minute scoot home with little school mate and little school mate's mom, leisurely lunch at home, and some quiet playtime afterwards. A nice routine, yes, and even better we are able to share this routine with another mom and son. But, in California, after completing this early afternoon portion of the day, we would then be back outside by 3pm either in the rear garden, for a walk, or at the park with friends. Some days, we would even head to a nearby trail and go for a little 30 minute hike. I benefitted from that time outside just as much as Liam. Here, however, by the time we gather ourselves enough to ponder going back out again, we look out and its dark. Not to mention, cold. Like, really cold. Like frost on the windshields all day long cold. With a midweek call from Liam’s school, “Umm....this is the second day Liam has shown up with bloodshot eyes . . . ummm . . . you may just want to get that one checked out . . . “ and a trip to the NHS to confirm pinkeye, I found myself feeling chained to our Flat more than ever this last week. Stir crazy started to set in. Winter. Winter is upon us. To make matters worse, last week while searching for something else on Google, I happened upon an article posted on various British news sites ironically entitled, “Why are British Children So Unhappy?” Apparently, much concern arose from a table published by Unicef in 2007 rating the happiness of children from 21 economically advanced countries. Sadly, UK children came in last. According to various articles, it boils down to British parents feeling pressure to provide children with consumer goods over their own time and allowing too much time in front of the television, not enough time outside. That last bit struck a chord with me. One of my biggest concerns when we were discussing impending move to a location that actually has seasons was losing the ability to go outside each and every single day. With Liam. Because, usually by 3pm if we weren’t back outside, he was running head on toward the couch and hurling himself as hard as he could onto it like a linebacker. Over. And over. Again. No joke. I won’t even talk about the additional convenience of needing no more than a hooded sweatshirt on most winter days. So when Keegan asked me what I wanted to do this weekend, my bold reply? “Hike.” Get out the long underwear, the scratchy tights, and awful winter hat that makes me look at least 10 pounds heavier (realistically, I probably DO weigh 10 extra pounds after it's all on). Take an extra 30 minutes to get Liam’s pouffy gear on. I don’t care. Let’s just get out of here!!! And so off we went with heads of steam (literally) traipsing up the hill, breakneck pace, swooshing all the way in our snowman clothes. Ummm . . . “Are you hungry?” “Yes.” Right. Ummm . . . let’s just make a quick stop at, you know, coolest pub ever for ummmm . . . pre-hike lunch, yeah, and ummmm . . . pint of guinness, yeah, and ummmm . . . let’s sit by the fire, yeah, and ummmm . . . oh alright, maybe Liam could just play with our phone for a few minutes, yeah and ummmm . . . certainly, we have time for some Sticky Toffee Pudding anyone?! Brilliant. Crap. Lunch is over. Sun is going down. Wait, weren’t we headed somewhere . . . oh yes . . . that’s right . . . HIKE!! Let’s go!! At any rate, once we finally got our heads, and stupid hats, back on straight and confiscated phone from Liam’s sticky little paws, we had a wonderful time exploring some trails up in the Heath. Not even three steps onto the trail, I instantly felt that rush of adrenaline I have every time I find myself surrounded by trees. I looked over at Liam with stick in hand and could see my enjoyment mirrored in his face. Not even a mile from our Flat we were able to find a respite from the grind of dirty dishes, mind-numbing television, and endless Lego building and that is something EVERY one needs. It may be freaking cold, but we are just going to have to force ourselves out the door most days . . . even if the sun is going down. Happiness (and good photos) depends on it!
P.S. Sticky Toffee Pudding is the bomb. The End.
Pinkeye may have provoked some cabin fever, but at least I worked a naptime out of it for both of us . . . something we have't done in months!!