In an effort to stay authentic and “virtually” in touch with our friends and family, rather than only give you colorful and smiling snapshots on Instagram, I thought it was time to share the latest on our lives in London. Before we moved, I debated how much to share on social media. It’s truly the best way to stay connected with people’s lives across the world, but I struggle with the balance of oversharing and offering a slice of our life that is skewed too positively. To be honest, I’m a glass half full kinda girl. And, I think the world spews enough negativity these days, so I look to social media to smile, laugh and see faces of the people I love. Even though I don’t post the mundane and struggles of daily life, don’t think for a minute that I’m not living them. I still schlep our dirty clothes, towels and sheets to the laundromat once or twice a week. I vacuum and clean our flat daily (dog hair – ugh!) And, as much as I loved the incredible British summer we had, the sunny days are becoming sparse and I just bought a face light to spare us from seasonal depression.
After four months, how are we, really? Well here it is. We really love living in Richmond, England. I should say Mitch and I (and Bailey!) absolutely adore it. Luke is not so enamored. He wishes we hadn’t moved, and is keeping a fairly neutral attitude, even though he admits we are doing very cool stuff that he enjoys. There haven’t been any tears, but coupled with pre-adolescence, we definitely have to remind him of the positives on a regular basis. He misses his friends, Acad and our family a lot. I know we still made the right decision to move here, but I also feel a bit of mom guilt because I’m so happy and I know he’s not.
His new international school, TASIS, is absolutely fabulous and the community has been so welcoming to us. Classes are harder and his beginner Spanish teacher speaks absolutely no English! That’s been a challenge! He’s got “friends” (no BFFs yet) and he’s involved in after-school golf and will play basketball this winter. They also have Wyldlife here which he enjoys and of course makes me so happy! We go regularly to a church and he looks forward every week to their youth group. So, I feel like we are setting him up to succeed and be happy here, but I know it will take time. I’ve been reading “Boy Mom” by Monica Swanson and listening to her podcast religiously. Pre-teens can be a challenge no matter where you live, so I’m learning as much as I can and trying to lead Luke down a path of positivity and love.
As for Mitch, he is traveling much less than he did in the U.S. and is usually home for dinner every night. Such a change for us, but really welcomed! He exchanged travel for a 1-hour commute, though, so he’s adjusting to that. His territory is the UK, so unless he’s flying to Scotland, Ireland or the odd trip to Europe, he’s usually at one of his two offices either in London or out in the country at their HQ in a little town called Marlow. He’s been great about finding fun excursions for Luke related to cars (his obsession) and they’ve played lots of golf at a nearby course. Good quality time together!
Bailey is in dog heaven here because there are so many large parks and spaces where dogs don’t have to be on the leash. And we live right on the Thames river where there’s a walking path, so she spent the summer swimming and running alongside Luke riding his bike. A golden retreiver’s dream! Every morning after Bailey and I walk Luke to his schoolbus, we take off down the Thames towpath toward Marble Hill park for an hour or so and she enjoys running around chasing squirrels up the hundred-year-old trees. Bailey is even welcome in most pubs, so she comes to dinner with us on the weekends and receives lots of love and attention.
And me, well I feel like I won the lottery! I adore where we live and I embraced my role of settling everyone in. I spent the summer exploring and biking with Luke, and now that he’s back in school I’ve been putting out feelers for some part time work. But most days I am doing errands, housework or going into the city as a tourist. Today, I got a ticket to a new play that stars “The Crown’s” Claire Foy and Matt Smith, so I took the train into London to walk around and go see the show this afternoon. Seriously, I’m living my dream! I’ve made some great local friends who are mostly Americans and we meet once a week for wine on Wednesday afternoons. Once a month we have a book club and dinner. The husbands join us from time to time and we’ve been included in some dinner parties. It’s a fun group! We live about half an hour from Luke’s school, so most of the moms I’ve met are too far away to hang out with on a daily basis, but we have a “Richmond TASIS moms” group that meets for coffee and outings once a month. I’ve also joined the board of the UGA London Alumni group and look forward to planning fun events with other Dawgs living in London!
We just took our first vacay to Malta during Luke’s fall break (blog post on that coming soon!) It was warm and fun with some scuba diving and other “boy” activities like driving ATVs and cliff jumping. Of course I insisted on a walking tour of the capital, Valletta, since I’m a nerd and love to learn the history of where we visit. We are going to Madrid for Thanksgiving (just a long weekend) and then coming home for Christmas. We’ve been on weekend trips to Wales and other parts of Southern England (Bath, Dover, the Cotswolds) and lots of visits into London since it’s only about 20 minutes on the train. I’m lobbying for a weekend trip to Paris for my birthday in December. We’ll see!
So that brings you up to speed on us. We still watch the Bulldogs as much as possible and miss everyone at home. But I’m savoring this time and know it’s really special. I’ve been dreaming of living here again ever since we left 15 years ago. I’m so, so grateful!
Hey! I’d love to hear from you. I adore every comment I get on social media and texts from friends. If you’d like my new UK number, hit me up and we can FaceTime. One of the best things about this world we all live in is that it’s wonderfully connected. I think about you often and would love to catch up!