God is good. I'm feeling much better about things that I was a few days ago, and we're learning a lot as we try to accomplish setting up our life here. Now that we've been here for a few days, things are starting to feel a little more normal. And yet, I still have "aha - so that's what that means" moments on a regular basis. Those moments are regularly followed by a completely puzzled feeling when something else unexpected comes along.
But, praise God, we're rolling with it all.
1. Our girl is here. She and my mom arrived on Saturday. Life in the UK didn't feel like real life without her. She can now tell you that a bus is red, and pick out Big Ben from the pages of her board books.
2. My mom is here too, until Sunday. We've been exploring the city - Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Camden Market, and Harrods so far, along with our own little neighborhood. We have further plans for a West End show (we're thinking Jersey Boys, and will be leaving Caroline home with Josh), the British Museum, Oxford Street shopping, and a trip out to Windsor Castle.
It's been fabulous to have her here, and I'll miss her terribly when we have to say goodbye on Sunday. It's then that I think life here will really sink in.
3. The grocery store is fascinating. The brands. The options. The fact that a full selection of ready-to-heat Indian food exists. Asian food of any type is a major pregnancy craving these days! Josh is more interested in the crazy options for juice and yogurt.
I'm grateful they sell baby food packets. Despite the fact that Caroline is older than 6 months old, she downs them like they're going out of style. It's the only way she eats her veggies.
I do have to say, however, some of the flavor varieties are a little strange.
I haven't tested this out yet, but I understand that the big grocery stores deliver. It could be life-changing. Especially in a life where we walk everywhere and a stroller is a less-than-idea grocery cart.
4. We're really enjoying our own area, Richmond. It is hilly, quaint, and near a sleepy section of the Thames where people regularly rent canoes. It feels very city-ish to me (having never really lived in a big city before) with all manner of shops and restaurants to pop in and out of whenever we're out. New Girl may have gotten a new hat yesterday, courtesy of Oma, from a darling (if obscenely expensive) children's clothing store just on the other side of the river from our place.
5. Finally, thank you all for your kind words of encouragement and sympathy regarding my slightly rocky start here. Things have been great since then, and I feel terribly blessed to have such a sweet group of friends and family cheering our little family on from the States. Praise Jesus.
One of my cousins, who lives in NYC, sent me a sweet note yesterday. She was sympathetic to the headaches of doing life in a big city, but also encouraged me to pay extra attention to the rushes and thrills of wow, this could only happen here and I am really doing this, and my kid gets to experience all of these things I never even dreamed of until after college.
Her description of city living with a child was so vivid and well written I'll share it here:
There are frequent pangs of stress and pain and AHHH GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!! But there are also feasts of peace and pleasure. Feasts like lounging in the park, watching people fly kites and kick soccer balls and feed birds and laugh and cuddle; melting into the bustle of a busy street, passing shop after shop, the smells, the pulse of it, the click-clack-YES of it!Yes, it's so special, and I'm still in shock that us - our family - gets to do this.