It’s surreal to actually be here. We arrived around noon on Halloween. Our flight left at 4:45pm the day before so we feel like walking zombies which makes us fit in to the Halloween spirit here. Here’s what happened on Day 1:
Loading up a family of 6 to move here for the next 6 months required a lot of bags, even though I thought I packed light. Seventeen bags (including backpacks and carry-ons) is a lot to manage. We had a big shuttle van take us to the airport and the boys were practically silent the whole way because they were scared of the creepy looking driver who didn’t speak a word.
We opted not to get a direct flight so the boys could stretch their legs in Minneapolis and get some real dinner. That was a good call. After dinner, they all got Melatonin and we headed out for our long flight through the night. Jace was asleep before takeoff. Tyler didn’t sleep a wink, but Nathan and Cade dozed in and out and stayed happy. They did far better than I imagined. Jace got uncomfortable, but watched movies and slept on our laps off and on. Lynn & I were awake the whole time but glad the kids didn’t have a meltdown.
It took 2 vans to transport us to our temporary housing. We are staying in central London, just a 7 minute walk from Lynn’s office. It’s a corporate, extended-stay apartment we’ll call home until we find something more permanent. We’re on the 4th floor. There’s 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, a nice open dining/family room and a cool balcony overlooking the city. The kitchen is in its own room with a washer/dryer combo I have yet to figure out how to open. We’re experiencing a big learning curve on the simplest of things. Everything seems just different enough than what we’re used to.
Adjusting from sheltered, suburban life to big city living will take a little time, but we’re loving the journey so far.
Nathan and Jace are excited to be sharing a room and couldn’t wait to break out their legos as soon as we arrived. Tyler is in awe of everything and wants to go exploring despite our exhaustion. Cade got the big room with a bathroom, so he’s happy.
Without unpacking a thing, we headed over to Lynn’s office since he had meetings and they were having a Halloween party. The boys loved seeing the city as we walked over the bridge of the Thames River to get there. Double-decker buses, black taxis, red phone booths, old ornate buildings–they were fascinated by it all. Tableau’s new office is in a beautiful, modern building. We met a lot of his colleagues (whom we may need to be reintroduced to since they were a bit unrecognizable in costume) and toured the office. Everyone was so welcoming and they had goody bags for the boys filled with treats. The kids loved raiding the kitchen and found all sorts of neat English candy to try.
Up on top of the building is a shared rooftop terrace that overlooks the city. It was cool to see so many sights from there, including the Shard which is the tallest building in all of Europe.
Lynn stayed for a meeting so the boys and made the walk back to our apartment, checking out things along the way. Thank goodness they have a better sense of direction than I do. We realized we are a block from St. Paul’s Cathedral which looked beautiful lit up at night. We look forward to checking that out soon. Six months may not be enough time to fit in everything we want to do here. We won’t waste a single day.
A few of the boys’ observations the first day:
- There’s a lot of smokers here. In fact, the flight attendant was selling them on the plane right before we landed.
- Crossing the street is scary. Not only are the drivers on the opposite side of the road, there’s a lot of fast bikers you have to watch out for too.
- The buildings are incredible–can’t wait to see everything up close.
- City living is loud, but cool to walk out and be in the heart of it all.
- We like listening to their English accents.
- None of the DVDs we brought work in the players here. This is a problem.
- We need more electrical converters. It’s hard to keep everything charged.
- This place is cool and we’re so happy we’re here.
We picked up dinner from the local Tesco Express, which pleased my adventurous eaters and saddened the picky ones. Pizza here just isn’t the same as back home. But we all agree the yogurt here is supreme!
Tyler zonked out at 6 pm, missing our meal, and everyone else crashed before 8, which is a record. They slept all night. Or so I thought. The clocks here weren’t set correctly so I thought it was 5 am, and got up and made breakfast only to realize we had woken up at 3:45 am. Today might be a bit rough. Tyler ate his Scottish egg and the leftover pizza out on the balcony in the dark and is in heaven here.
We’re getting ready to meet up with an agent and tour apartments. I’m hoping we can find something today so we can get settled and get all this luggage out of the way. I need to get a phone as soon as possible that works here, so if you need to reach us, use facebook or my email.
We are tired and happy and looking forward to soaking up every second here. Time to take this crew on our first tube ride.