…we moved out to the UK for my husband’s job. It was an opportunity that had come up a couple times before, starting around the time we got engaged. I’d been in San Diego for about 10 years at that point and really wanted a change, and moving to the UK was exactly what I’d been hoping for! It took both times for the opportunity to come up and not work out for us to want to move, and get excited about it. So when it came up for the third time, we were both jazzed to go. We packed up our stuff, put half in storage and shipped half to the UK. It’s surreal when all of your stuff is in boxes, your cars are sold and you have no keys on your key chain. There is no physical place where all of your stuff is that you can run to. At that point, there is no turning back.
Looking back now, it’s crazy to think how hard it was when we first moved. When we landed at Heathrow, we had a driver meet us at the airport to take us to our corporate apartment in Reading. Reading is about a 30 minute train ride from west London and a little boring. The driver dropped us off at a building with a gated area and no way to get in. We sat outside with our suitcases, tired and jet-lagged. We had no phone, and no way of contacting anyone. We finally got a wifi signal on Joe’s laptop and used his soft phone, accessible from his computer, to call his HR who could get in contact with the person we were renting the place from. We were finally let in and dragged our heavy suitcases up 4 flights of stairs (no lift) to our small flat. It honestly wasn’t the smoothest start to our new life. I think those first few weeks I was really in cruise control just getting things done. Figuring our groceries, researching places to live, researching jobs, applying for jobs and taking interviews in London. Thankfully, within those first few weeks, we found a place to live in London and I got a job.
When we moved to our new flat in west London, we had no furniture as our stuff had yet to arrive. We made a big Ikea trip to get cheap dishes and cutlery to use in the meantime. We borrowed an air mattress and bedding and slept on the floor for almost a month. When Joe went to work, I stayed at home…and sat on the floor. I can’t really remember how I passed time, but I remember I didn’t have much to do 🙂 My new work contract was taking some time to be written and in that time I was able to be home to take deliveries and installations. Whilst I was pretty bored (and uncomfortable because I had to sit on the floor), it worked out well. All was right in the world when our stuff was finally delivered. It’s amazing how much better you feel when you’re using your stuff…the stuff you’re familiar with. I think it still took us some time to get accustomed to things, but it got a lot better.
I think the first few months in a new city / country are the hardest. You kind of have to just power through and get your environment settled before you actually feel settled. Sometimes you have to also go through the motions until it starts to get fun. Most people say that it takes about a year to like London and 2 to love it. I think we were fortunate that we started loving it before our 2 year mark.
Has moving here been worth it? Absolutely. I mean, we miss friends and family and feel like we’re missing out on a lot going on at home, but we’re also enjoying our life out here. As someone who has moved around a lot, I see the positives of uprooting and making a new life somewhere. I don’t think we truly know what we’re capable of handling until we have the courage to drop everything and try something different. Was it a risk to move out here? Yes it was, but it has been such a huge growth experience that I’m glad we’ve done it. I know that I mentioned missing friends and family, but since being out here, we’ve been visited by so many amazing people. We both love to share our home and our city with friends and family. We’ve had some really great experiences with guests and hope to have many more in the future. There is nothing that makes us happier than to share our lives with our guests and see them enjoying London the same way we do.
At the end of the month, we will move into a new flat. It’ll be our 3rd move in 2 years and whilst moving is a pain, we are looking forward to being in a larger flat that is closer to Hyde Park and to the centre of London. We’ve been so blessed with the space to host friends and guests and we know that our new place will be just as much of a blessing as our previous places. Being able to live in London and travel around Europe has been such an incredible experience. Looking forward to enjoying the rest of the time we have here!