It’s been a year! We have lived in London for a year!
Today is the day when, one year ago, we emerged from the doors of our airplane after a red-eye to Heathrow. We collected Zeke from the Animal Reception Centre and took the world’s largest Uber to Angel, an area in London. We dumped our suitcases on the sidewalk. I stayed with Zeke and the suitcases while David figured out how to get inside our apartment. It took so long that I told Zeke, “This is where we live now.” I meant the sidewalk, not London.
We’ve signed a lease! On Friday, May 27th, exactly one month after arriving in London, we’ll take our suitcases and Zeke to Nether Street in Finchley, an area in North London. It’s helping me to think of all of these places we are living as tents. It reminds me that nothing is permanent. Being in flux is more or less a constant state, but I can still find ways to feel at “home.”
That’s N3 for all you zip code people. Zip codes or “post codes” in London are two parts. Our temporary apartment is at EC1V 2PW. The first part is the area you’re in, so we’re in a certain part of east central London. The second part refers to your specific address. So, your whole address is really just in the post code here, which I find beautifully organized. Hello, N3! I hope we can be friends.
The path from our place to the high street (which is what they call the main street for each little neighborhood)
International House Hunters enjoying a rainy hunting day
Where we live, the Underground isn’t underground. We’re 5 minutes from either the Finchley Central or West Finchley tube stations.
It’s a two bedroom apartment, so I have a room for a studio while I figure out a job and start building my network anew. The entire house has really beautiful light. We love that the kitchen opens up into the living room (or “reception area” as they call it here). Many UK kitchens are small rooms with doors, closed off from the rest of the house. Our temporary apartment is like that, and it feels challenging for us especially since we like to cook together. Our new kitchen will be perfect for brewing beer!
While many UK places are furnished, ours is not. We’re kind of in the middle when it comes to furniture. We have a bed, a love seat for the living room, and an assortment of dressers. We’ll be on the hunt for a kitchen table and chairs, and I’ve got my eye on an Ikea couch that will pull out for friends! Yard sales (or whatever they call them), here we come.
We’re close to a lot of trails and open park areas, which will be perfect for Zeke and for running. It’s more suburban where we will be living and feels quiet, but I can still escape into the woods. Lover’s Walk goes to the trails, but also to the high street (what they call the main thorough way). We even have our choices of tube stations. We’re about a 5 minute walk from either the West Finchley or Finchley Central stations. David will have a 25 minute commute to work including the walk.
Our new place is at the top of our budget, which feels scary. We are getting a great place, and it’s one where we feel like we can use to welcome friends and grow ourselves. I keep imagining having people in our living room for get-togethers. I can see myself painting in the extra room, and the long hallways will give my work good wall homes. I’ll have no excuse to hermit away as the tube stations are so close. I’ll be able to run–the trail near us is 10 miles long, the perfect length for that 20 mile final, long run for marathon training. This seems like a good tent for now.
I’ll post photos of the inside later, once we’ve moved in!
Today was a long drive under all the wonderful clouds. We are listening to The Odyssey on audio book, and Odysseus has finally arrived to his native land of Ithaca. I chose this book with all the intentions of losing myself in someone else’s journey while I had my own.
Odysseus was in a deep sleep when they laid him on the shore, and he didn’t even recognize his homeland in the fog the next morning.
We are bouncing from our (most recent) home in San Francisco to David’s family’s home in Connecticut, to my family’s home in Virginia, all to go to our new home in London, which is actually David’s old home. So much home and so long a journey. It was hard to see the home SF was when we were there, and maybe it will be the same in London.
The fog around Odysseus always made unclear his perceptions. His sleep was like a death as a journey-hardened man arrived to his home. The man and the home from before were gone, and the fog made anything familiar inaccessible.
So, I watched the clouds and rain and fog today, hoping for better visibility as we drive through Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana.