London is blooming.
The sun is rising earlier and the sun is setting slower. Warm days draw office workers out to the grassy patch of Lincoln Inns Fields at lunchtime, rainbows of tulips are dotting parks and windowsills, and young professionals are spilling out of the pubs in the early evening to enjoy an outdoor pint and England’s favorite summertime tipple, Pimms cup, is making its seasonal appearance.
The Shoreditch and Kensington rooftop film clubs are already gearing up for their summer outdoor cinema and the walls of the tube station are plastered with adverts for the upcoming summer season of outdoor events: Royal Ascot, Proms in the Park, a festival for this, a festival for that (Europe loves festivals!).
And then just as quickly as London teases us with a burst of sunshine and the promise of warmth she rains on our parade with a burst of spring showers. Such is the month of May in London’s maritime climate. Someone once told me that the weather in London consists of two weeks of summer, two weeks of winter, and eleven months of early spring. I have to concur with that!
As London begins to open its arms to the welcomed change in seasons and shake free of the weight of winter I too can feel a change within myself; a blooming of my inner self in my new locale as I build friendships within my expat spouses groups, become more involved with the local charities I volunteer with, connect with other civic minded women through the Junior League of London, and learn the ins and outs of life in London.
As I began to start writing and gathering pictures for an upcoming ‘one year in London anniversary recap’ blog post, I’m reminded of the exciting, bittersweet, and often hectic emotions involved with moving to another country. A new culture, a new way of doing things, perhaps a new language (some would argue that the United States and the United Kingdom are two countries divided by a common language!); even the well-seasoned expat is never fully prepared for the emotions that ebb and flow. Feelings of frustration and loneliness can mount just as frequently as awe and enchantment as you fall in love with your new city. I got a good chuckle out of an article on Huffington Post I read last week that humorously compared the ways moving to a new country was like becoming a new parent. The similarities were comically uncanny.
Both Dan and I have lived abroad before; four years in Tokyo for Dan and two years just outside of Seoul, South Korea for myself, but our separate relocations back then were eased by the awesome support and benefits we received from our employer’s well-oiled transition teams. We were forewarned by predecessors that this move would be far more dynamic however, and the burden of getting ourselves situated with life’s little necessities such as establishing local bank accounts, finding a flat to let, etc would fall largely on our shoulders.
I’ll admit there were countless moments of frustration and doubt in the early days of our move but after ten months of being in the Big Smoke, I finally feel settled in the new rhythms of my life. London is my home now. I have found my place under the sun, or rather, clouds.