Friday, April 18, 2014

What I'm Realizing

It's been five months. We have been gone from the only state and country we've ever known for five months.  A lot has been experienced in this time.  As I do when writing the A4 updates, I've realized a few things.....

• Our little family is happy. Sure the kids bicker about silly things. Matt and I squabble about whose turn it is to carry the laundry basket aaaaallllllll the way upstairs. I've missed some big family events back home, which was a real gut check about how being this far away can really suck. At the end of the day, we feel secure and happy in our abode. 

• We are branching out. Or better stated, people are recognizing our branches. I've met some wonderful parents at school, and I hope that as we get to know eachother more we will continue to strengthen the friendship bonds.  My attempts to compliment people on the street have turned into lengthy conversations on more than a few occasions. I met J from Australia when I complimented her Orla Kiely bag. She's lived in our borough for four years and initiated the names introduction by saying we might bump into one another again (in a total non-creepy way).  A little effort can produce a big gain.

Waiting for school to start

• I feel a sense of neighborhood (sort of).  Our next door neighbor is my go-to guy for information. He helped us get a key for our alley gate and tips on how to find the recycling bins when the trash man isn't paying attention when returning them. I took a big leap and attended the neighborhood association meeting on a Saturday morning. I knew no one at the meeting, but it was a first step.  My neighborhood seems to have a group of people interested in keeping it safe and looking nice.  If either of those are not in check they will work to make it so.  The renovation of the house across the street is almost complete so we have the chance to welcome the new residents to our street.  

• We are not the only ones not from here.  The number of countries represented on the school playground is amazing. Nothing like back in our old town.  I've met families from Ireland, France, Hungary, Poland, Crotaia, Japan, Somalia, and Brazil.  

• I have no idea what's going on with pop culture in the USA.  I occasionally see a blip in the UK papers, but other than Gwyneth & Chris Martin's uncoupling, I'm lost. I hardly listen to the radio; I don't have time whilst walking all over the city each month. What's the over-played song of the month?  I had no clue the Oscars were on until I saw the blip in the Monday morning paper.  In reality I'm ok without it.  It frees space in my mind for important things, like where to find the best pain au chocolate on the High Road.  

At the Keukenhof in Holland
• Thankfully the BBC does a nice job covering the heavy topics from back home, and I follow a Chicago network on Facebook for other local news.  We have access to American TV, and Matt is so happy to have baseball for the summer thanks to

Wayne Messmer singing at Wrigley on Opening Day
• We are taking advantage of opportunities.  Our kids have several term breaks each school year, and we hope to not waste any of them.  For the April's Easter Break we flew to Amsterdam for a few days.  It was our first travel since arriving in London. We learned new travel tips and reinforced old tried and true ones: 1) Always have fifty or thirty cents on hand in the local currency for the public toilet or find the lobby bathroom of a chain hotel 2) Prebook tickets for the big attractions & museums, you'll be so happy you did. 3) Learn a few courtesy phrases, the locals will smile (maybe with delight or because you butchered the pronunciation).

• Finally, I am really loving this adventure; it's not something that gets offered to many people.  There have been lifestyle adjustments and some tears cried, but when I reflect back I wouldn't change a thing.

 I'll let a famous Chicagoan wrap this up for me....

  1. Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.    ~Ferris Beuller

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