Note: I never published this, so publishing now to have this to look back on 🙂
This week will mark six months since we’ve moved to London!
We are already a quarter of the way through our time here! Madness. We welcome our first visitor tomorrow and I couldn’t be more excited to share our new home with someone we love. It will be a great way to celebrate half a year and all that we’ve learned since moving to London.
In these 6 months, we’ve sorted out important things, like how to make a furnished rental look like home, how to create room for our stuff plus a guest and their stuff in our tiny flat, and where to find good tacos, guacamole and margaritas (and where to find supplies to make them! – looks like I have some upcoming posts to write, hehe). We figured out how to go to the doctor and dentist. We’ve seen a lot of Central London and have started exploring beyond central London. We’ve visited four countries, with more on the way.
There are some days that are more challenging than others. There is and probably will always be a lot of paperwork involved with just about everything. Overall, we are happy here. The things that are frustrating or difficult or lonely are absolutely outweighed by all the things that are exciting, enriching, and wonderful.
I still have moments where I gasp or exclaim something out loud when I’m walking down the street. The new flowers sprouting on the trees and in gardens along the sidewalk are a delight. A historic building or adorable little street corner I never noticed before still have the ability to stop me in my tracks 6 months in (and yes, reach for my phone to share on SnapChat…).
Of course, there are some things I miss. Some days are easier than others to be away from my growing, precious nephew-babies and getting to see my sister and brother-in-law in their new roles as amazing parents. It’s hard feeling like you’re out of sight and out of mind sometimes with family and friends. I miss having established friendships where you can impromptu hang out. I miss all the hugs. It is hard to miss events, both big and little – weddings, birthdays, Thanksgiving, heck, even a regular old happy hour with coworkers or friends!
The more time we spend here, however, the more new friends become friends! We’ve been so lucky to meet so many great people and the past couple weekends that we have been in London we’ve have back-to-back nights of plans with friends. Our Friendsgiving here was so awesome and we’ve done our best to make each other’s birthdays special.
As we get closer to May and the start of our life together as husband and wife, going through this experience together becomes ever more special. A big move can put a lot of stress and strain on a relationship, I can totally see that, but now that we have settled in, I am so grateful that we are sharing this experience together. It is a truly special time in our lives.
The expat experience so far has changed me more than I appreciate on a regular basis, and not just in ways like the fact it no longer grosses me out to ask “Where is the toilet?” Putting literal distance between myself and the life I’ve always known has been an incredibly valuable and helpful experience in so many ways. With some time away from everything, I’ve been able to process how I really feel about just about everything – my life’s path, the things that make me happy and the things that don’t, what had become automatic as a result of routine, what I was doing out of obligation.
Being away has opened my eyes to how a place can affect your every action and how proximity can affect relationships. Some of these realizations have been difficult, but I am so incredibly thankful to have the time, space and opportunity to acknowledge them and process them. This is happening in every single area of my life, nothing is immune.
I am so grateful for this self-revolution. It is hard to come to each and every day with a fresh mind, fresh ideas and a fresh take on the world, but the expat experience has helped me get closer to that. Here’s to more learning and adventure during our time in London!