Life in London: September and October 2018

Life in London: September and October 2018

Time is flying! I say that every month, but lately it’s been madness how quickly the days and weeks pass. September and October went by so fast, I didn’t even manage to write a September post!

September marked two years since we moved to London (you can read about my thoughts on that expat milestone here). It is amazing how much has happened in that time and how quickly the time has gone. Especially lately!

There’s always something neat to see at the V&A.

Truth be told, I’m feeling a little bit overwhelmed by it all. That’s a big part of the reason the posts here and on my Instagram have tapered to a slow trickle. My mind has been occupied trying to balance being here and present, making plans for the rest of our time here and the most of each moment left with preparing for an international move.

A very London date night: drinks at the Ned followed by a fabulous dinner at Brigadiers.

This time of year is already nostalgic, since it is the same season as when we were first exploring London together. Watching late sunrises from our apartment as I get ready in the morning, attending kick-off events with the expat club, the changing leaves, seeing (and hearing) random fireworks and the ever-sooner beginning of the Christmas season all remind me of the days when all of this was so new. With so little time left, it’s added to my gratefulness for this experience and my sadness to leave this wonderful place.

I’ve noticed sunsets get really remarkable during the change in seasons here.

At a recent expat club event, it was amusing to hear the new members talking about their experience having just moved over. One of them asked me when I started to like living in London. I told her right away, because being on a two year assignment, I didn’t have time to not like it. As our time in London comes to a close, I’ve reflected on how treating this as a temporary experience has shaped our experience here. Even that response would have been more measured and sympathetic, but with no time left I just told it like it was.

View from the Rooftop at St James
Incredible view from our expat social at the Rooftop at St James.

At the beginning of our expat assignment, we made the decision to prioritize travel and didn’t intend to put down too many roots. I think it’s human nature to want to feel a part of your community, and we have made connections here that I think will last a lifetime. Both professionally and personally, we’ve both formed bonds deeper than I thought possible in two years. Those things make it more difficult to leave for sure.

Celebrating mama-to-be Molly of the Navigating Newlyweds at her baby shower over afternoon tea at German Gynasium!!

These past two months have been filled with the sorts of things that have made our experience here so special. We’ve been so lucky! From crossing items off our London bucket lists to incredible travels and memorable visits, there’s been plenty to help us make the most of our last months in London.

Kynance Mews
The instafamous Kynance Mews at peak color, complete with influencer photo shoot going on.

We’ve made serious progress on our respective London bucket lists, with Andrew helping to drive us to get out and do the things. While I tend to wait for the perfect moment (that may never come), Andrew is excellent at taking advantage of the time given to us. It’s been fun sightseeing and eating our way through London lately!

Natural History Museum
Finally made it to the Natural History Museum!

The Grenadier
The Grenadier is one of our favorite pubs in London and we finally made it there for dinner. The food was fabulous and it was so fun to have a pub date night!

Trailer Happiness
For some reason, Trailer Happiness has been on my list to visit since we moved. It was not as trailer-y as I had hoped, but it was still fun to visit!

We traveled to Greece for a whole week, which was fabulous. I’ll be sharing more about that soon. I also finished up my Switzerland posts this month, woohoo!

National Portrait Gallery
Popped into the Portrait Gallery one evening and enjoyed this portrait in particular.

Not everything has gone swimmingly, I should say. As I’ll talk about in an upcoming post about our lovely hike from Henley-on-Thames to Pangbourne in October, we had some big plans fall through. We booked a weekend in Poland to visit Krakow and Auschwitz, which has been high on my European bucket list. Unfortunately, we had to cancel for a couple reasons and our hike was our consolation.

Football match
Made it to the Premier League! It was tons of fun!

I had two dear friends visit over September and October and it was so much fun to explore London with each of them. There’s something so great about showing our visitors around London, when we’d usually only meet up for a couple hours here and there back home. To have our friends come and stay for multiple days is a blast. I love seeing London through their eyes.

My friend Diana visited in early September and we had such a great time wandering London. We had just missed each other during study abroad, I studied here in the spring and she did over the summer. It was such a blast exploring old and new sights together.

A fun day exploring Bermondsey included some shopping at LASSCO.

My OG London bestie and roommate Courtney visited at the end of October. It was so much fun traipsing through the city where our friendship began, eating delicious food, rediscovering old haunts and exploring new ones. It’s amazing how much has happened in the ten years since we spent a semester here and it was so fun to be back at it again in this incredible city.

A delicious dinner in Covent Garden at Frenchie. Not quite the Gardening Club.

We finally celebrated Halloween in London this year! We attended a Halloween-themed birthday party in Clapham. It was awesome! Look at this detail! We played an intense competitive game involving two teams, a wheel of misfortune and lots of challenges that had us laughing for hours. We are really going to miss our friends here!

Halloween in London

Halloween in London

Read more about Halloween in London in my post here.

In other life updates over these past two months, we did the Run the River 5k to benefit Teach First again. Using my beloved Aaptiv app, I got back into running for the first time since last year’s 5k with their training programs. The program is awesome and despite the course being so crowded that I couldn’t get up to race pace until almost halfway through, I still cut minutes off last year’s time. This was huge for me and I’ve continued running, knee injury free!

Run the river
Ready to run!

In actual running updates, for a race much more important than a silly scenic 5k, Andrew ran his first half marathon in October! Andrew crushed the Royal Parks half. His training wasn’t a huge departure from his usual gym routine and he sailed right on through it, despite the rain. I ran around Hyde Park in my full rain gear trying to catch him at different points along the route, but he was so fast I almost missed him a couple times!

Royal parks half
Looking strong at mile 11.5!

Both races were so cool to run in our beloved London! The energy at the Royal Parks Half was amazing.

Swingers Mini Golf
How better to celebrate Andrew’s half than to hit up Swingers for some mini golf?!

The past two month have been great, so I figured I owed an update. With just two left, it’s hard not to think of our upcoming move, but we are doing our best to make the most of our time left in London!


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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