I live in that northwest borough with the bright yellow face!


It’s been awhile. October is well upon us; and it is a strange combination of familiarity and homesickness. I’m starting to no longer notice anyone’s accents.

The crisp air and equally crispy leaves on the ground feel like home. I always, always missed fall the most when I was in California. It smells like autumn here. The light also has that cold, golden glow. The weather is almost the same as Virginia except a bit more mild and grey. The summer’s aren’t as hot, and the winter will see less snow.

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View from the living room window

It’s silly, but to me sports are all about family and belonging to a place. London doesn’t seem to observe the same Sunday football rituals: I haven’t managed to find good wings, and the games usually start at 6 PM–if not at 1 AM. Even so, it feels good to text with both my mom and mother-in-law during football season. (Shout out to Momkins and Cathy!) Hail to the Taters!

And even though San Francisco never felt 100% like home, it was home enough for me to adopt truly into my heart the San Francisco Giants. Washington, D.C. didn’t have a baseball team when I was growing up, and my cousin Michele and I both have adopted the Giants as our team. The games are even harder to follow with the 8 hour difference between London and SF, but this morning I woke up at 7:30 AM during the 13th inning against the Cubbies. Go, Giants! I watched them win the World Series in a haze after my marathon in 2014. It’s time for a fourth ring, SF.

Riding the Northern Line

The ups and downs of baseball and football season is a good way to describe how I’m doing. Things are up right now, and I’m feeling hopeful. I’m waiting to hear back after the slog of applications for jobs, exhibitions, and a million other things. September was a different story. My hypothyroidism snowballed with anxiety and insomnia to create quite a darkness. Every day is fight. David and I both try to do one brave thing each day. Sometimes my brave thing is getting out of bed; other days it’s going to the church we are slowly becoming a part of; sometimes it’s just answering emails and communicating with the outside world. A doctor has adjusted my thyroid medication, so I’m waiting and hoping that will give me the energy I need. Things are looking up!

I tore out that London map from Time Out magazine. We live in the borough of Barnet, which is the bright yellow, happy blob in the northwest. I liked the variation of happiness as well as the simple question of, “How happy did you feel yesterday?” as well as being among happy people where I live. To the rest of the sad boroughs: it’s not as bad as all that.

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Oct. 6 run — our 7 mile route in red on top of our planned route in blue

David and I are running the River Thames Half Marathon on October 30! He kindly is running with me. It’s his first half marathon, and my fifth. Ever since asthma has plagued me with my 2014 marathon, I’ve had a really hard time running.–mentally and physically. I’m hoping this will be my first long race sans asthma attack. My 2014 marathon and my 2015 half were my slowest races ever because I couldn’t breathe. I’m pretty slow these days, but I’m trying to remember that I’m running for myself and not for a time. This morning was our coldest run yet in 45 F / 7 C weather. We’ve got one last long run of 10 miles to do this weekend. I won’t lie: I’m super excited at how flat the race is. The only elevation climb is a tiny bridge.

I love running long distances to learn the geography of a new place. Dollis Valley Greenwalk is right next to our house, a paved path through parks and woods that’s 10 miles long. It’s obviously a favorite. We’ve been branching out. The route above is us running from our house to David’s work through Hampstead Heath, where we did some serious climbing.

Zeke is loving all the running. I ask him, “Are you ready?” to which he frantically barks, then sprints the first 100 yards as hard as he can. He came with us on a 6 mile run, which was probably a bit too much for him. However, he can easily do 2 or 3 miles. Sometimes his distractions prove disastrous: I had to jump down into a hole to rescue him once, and he’s flung himself into the stream on more than one occasion.

It’s good to remember that everything is one day at a time, one run at a time, one game at a time. And that it’s okay to need help. I couldn’t run this race without David, and I couldn’t ever have moved to London without him. Maybe I could have, but it’s much better to have a pal.


2 thoughts on “Autumn”

  1. Hey, Leah! Autumn is beautiful in England – way better than SF. Good for you taking each day as it comes. That way you are always in the present. Can’t believe David is running with you – he is truly crazy about you – or just plain crazy as the family has always suspected. Good luck in the run. Love your posts! Go Giants!


  2. I just read this post and loved it. Imagining dollis valley greenway in my head and zeke jumping into a stream. Never met zeke but I hope we’d be friends if we did meet. Also love that you have a partner to do brave things with.


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