The movers picked up 90% of our stuff on Friday. As I had to decide what things were worthy of a long boat voyage (read: totally not important to our everyday lives), I was reminded yet again that moving six times in 10 years has been a great gift to me. I have shed most of my hoarding tendencies and attach myself very little to objects. That’s not to say when I disassembled the baby cot last night, I didn’t pause for five seconds to think about the years both my kids have slept in it- chubby legged, stuffed-animal clutching, dummy-dropping, sweet slumber they had. But, buh-bye cot/crib. Thanks for the memories.
International moves, international living… it’s a mind f—. We had an Everything Must Go sale since none of the electric cords on anything are compatible and frankly, if I want more plastic toys Made in China for the kids, we’ll just pick them up in the next country we live in where there is no shortage of plastic Made in China toys. In the moving, there is a lot of looking at things and thinking about things that a person could ordinarily go years and years without considering. Do I love this zester enough? What does this framed photograph really mean to me? Why did I ever keep this tank top that has never not made me look like a cast member of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo?
The move also meant we finally had to clean out the deep, secret part of our closet where we had hidden for months and years Toys Which Turn Into Weapons At The Hands Of Our Ill-Bred Children:
To be fair, the sword could only be interpreted as one thing.
That sucked. They totally started beating each other up again as soon as these were revealed.
Yesterday was “Mothering Sunday” in the UK. And so I want to say Happy Early Mother’s Day to my own mom, she of renowned blogging, socializing, smiling, house-selling, shopping and returning fame. If we’re lucky, we get all the best parts of our moms when we become moms. Mom, for five years you never let me go too long without feeling far away and too long without letting me know you were thinking of us. I hope I turn out like you. (At least 99%.)
The last two weeks have been some of the busiest for us. It was a little crazy, but a good problem to have.
Two weeks ago Monday we had Erin over, an American who just transferred to the London office where Bryan works. She asked me if there was a Crate & Barrel-like equivalent in the UK and it was like nostalgic deja vu. Every day Americans move to this great city, and every day Americans leave. And so we reinvent the wheel each and every time, asking into the big, gray abyss of a sky: “But where do I buy home accents?!” Oh it will come. It will come. Tuesday Faye and I watched our second to last Bachelor together. We’ll always have the blog at least. Wednesday I had a great lunch with Christina where our kids were being super crazy but we didn’t care. Thursday I had a “last” lunch with Mike who is my former office mate and still-friend. His absolute favorite thing full stop about the U.S. are the billboard ads of personal injury lawyers. Also, I like to ask questions about the menu and request substitutions in front of Mike, because I know it stresses him out. Rachel sent me this revelatory BBC America blog about Brits adjusting to life in America and this entry is for you, Mike. Friday Lauren came over for playdate and she didn’t mind when I made frozen chicken nuggets for the kids’ dinner and that night Bryan and I went to MeatLiquor with Melissa, Nick, Duncan and Tessa. It was really fun and nice to actually go out with the person who has been looking after our kids for years and the parents of Jonah’s best friend who Melissa also watches. We have always all been friends and it helps that MeatLiquor is so ridiculously fun, plays awesome music and they even added a photo booth.
I never expected I would miss the hamburgers and steaks in London. Maybe I won’t. But wow have things changed in five years. Saturday we had brunch in Hammersmith at the home of one of Bryan’s colleagues. I may or may not have eaten my fruit salad incorrectly (I used my breakfast plate and a fork.), I will have to check Debrett’s. That night we hosted six friends over for dinner. I hate cooking for people but there was a long-running joke with our friends Andrea and Sarah about whether chicken parm and fettuccine alfredo could be classified as “Italian” food. So that’s what I made and it wasn’t horrible and now I can move back to Brooklyn having done my ambassadorial work for this genre of food.
Oh and then this past week. Sunday we met baby Mysha, the second born to Faisal and Habiba. Faisal said something very lovely about both of us becoming families of four during our time in London. Sigh. While we were there, Jonah’s Uncle from Another Mother, Matt, took him to see Wreck-It Ralph. And then proceeded to play in his room with him for hours more because, well, they’re in love.
Monday Nandini sweetly organised a dinner for a few of us at NOPI. It’s always so miraculous when a bunch of moms can go out on a school night and I do always cherish the conversations we have on work/life balance and families with moms coming from international perspectives. Tuesday we saved just for Bryan and me. We had a drink at Paramount Bar at the top of Centre Point with incredible 360 degree views of London at night. I don’t really know how to use our camera but anyway, I loved this short time we carved out to just look at this city we love and feel okay about leaving. It was sort of like, “Oh look! There is the gorgeous roof of the British Museum! We’re moving and we won’t see it anymore and we’ll survive!”
We followed with dinner at Pollen Street Social, a new very it place and the food was incredible. They even have special chairs for your handbag/purse. I know. Wednesday Bryan’s office hosted all the spouses and kids to lunch to say goodbye to us and it was as thoughtful and fun as ever. The NY office has big shoes to fill for our family. Thursday Matt and Trish got last-minute tickets to see Of Monsters and Men in Shepherd’s Bush. Even though I always accidentally call the band Of Mice and Men, the album is a current favorite of mine and I loved the show.
And I got to see Westfield (my favorite mall ever) one last time and the part of my heart that loves Pho and British chain stores went pitter patter. Friday the movers came. There were three movers and each wanted three cups of tea throughout the day and so I had to prepare nine cups total. I was sweating hard. I have mentioned I hate making tea for the English, right? Apparently I didn’t add enough milk. Whatever. We all had last haircuts with Hiroko. We will miss her, we really will.
(I know I look pregnant, but I’m not, so jam it.)
At night we went out w/ Sara & Nick and it was really fun and they gave Bryan a mug that says “Don’t Be Daft” so we’re pretty much set. Saturday wee Pau had his first birthday and at night we very luckily scored a double-date on Faye & David’s coveted Ledbury booking. It was probably our last fancy London dinner out and it was the perfect company. Yesterday it was UK Mother’s Day and Bryan was sick so I just took the kids myself for a quiet, little breakfast at Nordic Bakery.
Nordic Bakery is among my favorite things in London. It is famous for its cinnamon rolls
but my heart belongs to this totally weird, and totally delicious thing:
And now it’s snowing. And I wish I was moving to Florida, not the mid-Atlantic. But I would miss the chicken parm and fettuccine alfredo, so I’ll just let it be.