Friday, July 11, 2014

The First Days in London

I can now blog and laugh about our first couple days in London, now that they are done, over, and I never have to do that again (at least I hope not, and if I do I will be smarter).  To start off with, we shoved everything we possibly could into 4 large checked bags, 2 carry-ons and 2 backpacks.  I bought a luggage scale at Wal-Mart, and boy was that thing handy.  We would close the suitcase, weigh it, then stuff more in until it was right at weight.  We were super lucky too because all the bags were free!  Porter has flown a bunch lately which has granted him access to a fancy pants flying club that gives us little perks like free luggage.  Too bad it didn't score us an up grade to first time....

The flight was great.  We caught some of the world cup on our layover in JFK, but we didn't sleep well on the long flight.  This was no good because we landed at 7 am in London.  In order to not be jet lagged we were on a mission to stay awake until 10 pm that night, which basically meant we would have been awake for about 28 hours.  Remember all those bags I told you about....
8 bags is a crap ton of stuff to lug around Heathrow airport, just saying.

We were able to get a cab, I'm not even going to tell you how much it was, let's just say it cost a pretty penny to get out to our place.  Once we were there and had the keys we felt like we had achieved a victory!  Mission get to England with all our stuff and move into a house was a success.  Or was it?

Have you ever moved to a completely empty house with only suitcases.  Even when all our stuff was in it, it's still felt pretty empty.  We were (and are) pretty much starting from scratch.  There was no phones, no internet, no dishes, no food, no toilet paper (and that's a big deal friends).  So we headed out to go shopping.  There are no big department stores here like Wal-Mart or Target, instead they have Argos, shopping at this store  is not the same experience as shopping in big box stores at home..  Instead of going in, browsing the selves and filling up a shopping cart, one goes to a counter and flips through a magazine till one finds the item(s) he/she wants.  Then one jots down the number, takes it to the till (cash register) where the order is paid for and submitted.  When all the items from the order are ready (they come from the back via conveyer belt) the call your number and away you go.  
Well, it seems all quick like unless you can't find what you are looking for.  We knew what we needed, we had a list and everything.  British English is not American English.  When we tried to look items up it took us forever to find what they are called over here.  Example: We needed a power stip.  Here they are call socket extension leads.  Blankets don't exist, but duvet covers do.  No Bathroom towels, but Bathroom sheets.  We still have yet to find an oven mit.  We needed a rolling shopping cart, they are called a trolly over here.  The list goes on and on!  But we made it home in little over 3 hours with most of what we needed.  We had such a large order that we backed up the store, Argos.  Everyone behind us was a bit grumpy from it.  We have since back back multiple times, grabbing items we discover we need.  I think the staff know us personally.

Moving is one of the number one stressors for a relationship.  And I will say, international moves are not for the faint of heart.  Porter and I have had to make a real effort to keep things fun, light-hearted and to not get overwhelmed and angry with one another.  We had a tipping point where I apparently  was a crazy lady and he was just wrong about everything, ah the joys of marriage when you are hangry (hungry/angry).  We went for ice cream after that one, and we both felt much better.  Having the World Cup going on has made for some good distraction too, as well as seeing friends from back home.  One of my dear friends and voice teachers, Mary Driggs and her daughter were here in London for a few days.  We had dinner with them, and it was so nice!  Just a little slice of home to help us along.

I'm sure you guys are like, living in England must be jolly old tea and crumpets, and I'm sure it will be in a few weeks, but I kind of feel like we are camping right now.  When our shipment from the U.S. arrives (it was delayed until August, grrr.) we will be in great shape.  But it has our bed and a bunch of furniture, kitchen, clothing and other miscellaneous items in it.  So for now we are sleeping on an air bed.  
The animals have had a hard time with the inflatable furniture.  We don't want them to pop it, so they aren't allowed on.  And they don't understand.  They think we are being mean because they are used to sleeping on everything back home, so it's hard.  They spend most of their days plotting ways to get onto the furniture with out us knowing.  Merlin succeeded at one point, and I just didn't have the heart to give him the boot.
Our living room has a coffee table and camp chairs in it.  
And yesterday we bought an inflatable sofa!  I'm in heaven.   Somewhere to sit besides a camp chair or the bed!!!  (We ordered a real sofa, but it is taking a few weeks to get here).  
Who thought inflatable furniture would be so comfy?!  But it definably beats wrestling with the dogs for their cushion on the floor.  On the bright side at least we got all our wardrobes and dressers from IKEA so that we are not living out of suitcases.
 And everyday we make progress.  Life is good. Life is an Adventure.  Life is tea and crumpets!

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