Current Post: London
Best thing about London:
Living in London you have all of Europe (and many other
places) at your doorstep. You can take the train to Paris for the weekend, Italy
and Spain are quick trips away, plus there are countless places to visit around
the UK. And all are so accessible! It
feels like you can forever be a tourist here in London. With so many museums,
cultural/historical sites, restaurants, pubs, markets, shopping… you will never
be at a loss for something to do!
what does the weekend look like?
There would definitely be a trip to Borough Market! Think
humongous outdoor market where you can find everything from fruits, vegetables,
and fresh cheeses and meats, to yummy, fresh-baked pastries to your pick of
international cuisines, wine, beer… pretty much any and everything you could
and having out of town visitors would be the perfect excuse to check it out! I
can’t imagine a better way to see all the sights than riding around on a
vintage London bus while enjoying tea and delicious sweets. We live about a
10-minute walk from Abbey Road, so we would have to swing by the famed
crosswalk. If anything, it’s just fun to watch all of the tourists dodge
traffic as they attempt to re-create the Beatle cover. It is quite the sight!
We could then walk to “Little Venice” and hop on a water taxi to the London
Zoo. Of course there would be some pint drinking at one of the many
neighborhood pubs thrown in. We would also do some strolling along our
neighborhood High Street, and if our daughter has any say, we would hit up one
of the many parks!
Afternoon tea at Selfridges or any of the other high-end department
stores. It is a bit pricey, but you can’t come to London and not experience a proper British teatime!
or things to do/experience while you’re at your post city?
As a blogger I was all about searching out other London
blogs before we moved. I found several that I still follow today. Some of the
best resources are those who are currently “living the life” in whatever post
you find yourself. I have learned so much and added so many items to our
“things to do in London” list by reading blogs. Facebook groups are wonderful
as well. I belong to our neighborhood mums group on Facebook and it is a wealth
of information! I love having all of those women to bounce questions off of and
to learn from. I also have to say that our social sponsors from the Embassy
were fantastic in setting us up with a long list of both practical (ie:
doctors, grocery stores) and fun things to do around town!
Most difficult about living in London:
I think the hardest part is being so far from family and
friends. But honestly that comes with any post. I feel just as far away from
family now that we are living in London as I did when we were living even further
away in Abu Dhabi several years ago.
We recently rented a flat through AirBNB and took a long
weekend to Deal and Dover. We hiked the White Cliffs, explored Dover Castle,
and walked along the breathtaking rocky beach that was just a block from our
flat. It was our first “adventure” at post, having only been in London for a
couple of months now. We can’t wait to add to the list. Next up is a trip to
Paris in November!
The first time I went to cross the street! You have to
completely re-learn the proper way to look. Right THEN Left! A lot of the
bigger intersections have this gentle reminder painted on the ground, just in
case you forget.
Having an almost two-year old, it was most important for us
to re-create her bedroom from home here in London. If she was happy and
comfortable here, then we knew we would be. We shipped over her crib, dresser, rocking
chair, bookshelves, and toys (of course!) and crossed our fingers that it would
all fit! It did, barely, much to our relief. Also, bringing lots of pictures
and other keepsakes from home really helps. Once we started filling our walls
and shelves with familiar faces it made this place instantly feel more like
My camera/iPhone, comfortable walking shoes, and a really
good, compact (for fitting on buses and in lifts/elevators) stroller…I mean
buggy… how un-British of me. 😉
Oooh, that’s a tough one. We can pretty much find anything
and everything here. And, if we can’t find it there is always the DPO that
allows us to shop online to our heart’s content. I anticipated really missing Trader Joe’s and
Target as they were a huge part of life back in the States, but I honestly
haven’t really thought about them much. There are plenty other amazing places
to shop here!
I’m not sure if this is advice I heard before moving
overseas or if it is just something I have come to learn, but diplomatic life
can feel very isolating at times. It is hard to get out there and explore and
make friends when you are in a new and unfamiliar place. It can be especially difficult
as a spouse that isn’t working out of the home. Sometimes the easiest thing to
do is stay put in the house because that is what is familiar and safe. But it
is so important to learn your new city. Find a favorite coffee shop. Learn how
to get to the grocery store on the bus. Go to the local library. It is so
empowering to feel like you know your way around like a local! Also, find a
circle of people you can lean on while at post. Be it a book club, church
group, play group, your neighbors, etc. Diplomatic
life will be whatever you make of it. It can be an amazing, eye-opening
experience only if you allow yourself the chance to experience all that your
new home has to offer!
Skinny Jeans, a light shirt, a scarf, a light jacket, and
flats. I am all about comfort since I am always walking places with my
daughter… to the park, to the grocery store, to the library. Layering is key as
the weather can change at a moment’s notice. Oh, and an umbrella. I always have
warm and hearty as the weather has quickly taken a turn to Fall here in London.
It would be full of fresh veggies from the organic market just down the road. For
dessert we would have a selection of sweets from our favorite local bakery. I
am always itching for an excuse to buy yummy baked goods! If we were feeling
extra lazy, Indian from Bombay Takeaway on the corner would be our go-to. Their
curry is to-die-for!
If my husband had his way we would be headed to Japan or South
Korea. New Zealand is also high on his list, which wouldn’t be too shabby! I
would love to go to Spain or somewhere in South America. It would be great to
brush up on and use that Spanish I studied all those years in high school and
college. Portugal would be amazing, too! We have yet to live somewhere that
English wasn’t widely spoken. Learning a new language (or brushing up on an old
one) would be such a fun challenge!
How inaccessible a lot of the Tube stations are for buggies
(strollers). I always wonder how anyone living in London that is wheel chair
bound or otherwise physically-impaired is able to easily get around on the
Tube. There are very few stations with lifts (elevators) and a lot of the train
platforms have a large gap to maneuver in order to step on to the train. (Hence
the phrase, “Mind the Gap!”) Buses are much more buggy-friendly, so we rely on
them to take us most places.
If you ever get the chance to live or travel abroad, do it!
Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone a little and explore a
part of the world you know nothing about. You won’t regret it!