A Year and a Half of Expat Life

A Year and a Half of Expat Life

Last week marked a full year and six months of London life for us. Wow! The time has absolutely flown by, and so much has happened. We are a huge part of the way through Andrew’s two year assignment – close enough that we have started thinking a lot about our eventual move back home. This assignment has been and continues to be a whirlwind and it feels surreal to be making plans for a life back in the USA.

A note: Nothing is set in stone for us yet, so no move home date has been established. It will likely fall past the two year marker, but at some point in 2018.

Being closer to the “end” of this expat assignment, the sense of having two lives has become even more pronounced. As we make plans to go back home and as visits from family and friends and our own trip back to the US approach, that feeling intensifies. As our friendships here change and deepen, it feels weird to know most of our family and friends back home know nothing of our peeps here and vice versa. It feels a little strange.

It definitely does feel sad to think about leaving London. We love it here. It makes sense for us to go home, and once we’re closer to doing that, I think we’ll feel excited about what lies ahead. But it definitely feels bittersweet for this incredibly exciting chapter of life to come to an end. We have lots of goals for our life together and many of those longer-term goals will be better served by moving home. I find myself researching our upcoming Eurotrips, but also researching rents around Boston.

With so much going on always, I’ve never really established a routine here. I kinda enjoy that! That said, I think there has been a sort of desensitization and taking-London-for-granted that has seeped into my life here. I think it’s pretty normal to acclimate to your surroundings, even a place that feels novel and remarkable eventually becomes home. London feels like home now. While there are moments of surprise and delight, they’ve become fewer and farther between. The recent snow in London gave me a bit of fresh perspective and the thought of going home soon(ish) has started to scare me into thinking about ways to make better use of my time here.

One way to combat this beautiful city becoming mundane is to start up a monthly series similar to my (now defunct) Friday Few series that I used to post here. I’ll share neat snaps from throughout the month that celebrate the many facets of London and London living. Stay tuned for the first edition on the 30th!

We’ve planned our travels through July and once we’re sure of our return date, we’ll put the finishing touches on the final trips we’ll make during our expat lives. To say we’ve been lucky to travel over these years is an understatement! We plan to continue to take advantage of the opportunity until the very end, as much as time and our budget will allow.

We’re almost mid-way into our hike training. I’ve made it up to four miles in my work at the gym! Our most recent hike kicked my butt, so I definitely have work to do before our big trip.

I was lucky enough to go home and visit my family and see a couple friends in January. It was so wonderful to bond with my sweet little nephews! They had grown so much in the nearly 8 months I had been away. We had so much fun spending a week playing together, going to play class and swim class and story time, reading books and singing songs. They remember me now which is really nice!

They recently learned to say “auntie.” It is really cute! It is so fun to talk to them now that they can talk to me and we have a lot of fun playing peekaboo and waving to each other. And of course singing! My sister and brother-in-law booked a trip to come visit us this summer which is so awesome and we cannot wait to show them around.

We have family and friends coming to visit soon and we can’t wait to explore with them! It’s been a while since we’ve had a visitor, so it will be great to play hostess again and see the city with fresh eyes. We’ll be traveling with my parents in May, so that is also a fun and new adventure awaiting us.

Also, I’m starting to close in on a full year of regular blogging! This was a huge, daunting goal of mine for my time here and I’m actually doing it which feels really good. While I’m still uncomfortable with the idea of actively promoting this blog, it has been rewarding to watch it grow through search. I’ve learned so much through this project that (luckily) directly ties back to my day job.

I would like to begin getting ahead with my posts and ideas so that I can focus on what this blog has to offer. I think there’s a lot here that could be useful to others and I’d love to expand beyond just writing things down to remember them. Ideally, I’d like to start promoting my blog, networking and someday get beyond the cycle of churning out a post per week that I’ve been stuck in. From the beginning, I’ve wanted to include more food and recipe posts, and will be starting the aforementioned monthly series. Stay tuned for hopefully more of that!

I have a lot of goals on all fronts for the rest of our expat experience. Here’s to reaching them before the two-year mark!


Jenn is an American expat living in London, spending her time freelancing, traveling and writing on this here blog. Thank you for reading. Are you planning a trip here? Tell me your plans in the comments!

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  1. April 9, 2018 / 2:23 pm

    What a beautiful reflection on an even more beautiful adventure. I can’t wait to see what the final legs of your expat life bring – including all your travels, the big hike, and all the spring/summer in London photos. I fell in love with the city in November but can only imagine how gorgeous the city is this time of year! Cheers darling!

    • Jenn
      April 9, 2018 / 4:22 pm

      Thank you, my dear. I have a month review post I’m sitting on and I really need to get photographing the beautiful flowers sprouting up everywhere here. The trees on our street are in bloom and look so beautiful against the brick backdrop! You are always welcome to come back and see for yourself 😘

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