Here's a not-so-secret secret: 2 weeks after we moved to Washington, we were approached with the potential Citi job offer. We chose to go forward with our PNW life, but we truly do feel as if we have been in limbo for the last 14 months. And I'm still not used to it. (Tidbit: we were originally considering Hong Kong.) I'm trying really hard to just take each day as it comes, knowing that finally being settled is still coming. Almost there. Just 5 more weeks.
We are still negotiating for the rental property that we want. I'm nervous about getting my hopes up, because it was, by far, my favorite of everything we viewed. So, I try to pretend like it's no big deal, take it or leave it. Hey look at me being flexible and laid back! Our relocation specialist is taking care of the negotiations, and all the back and forth for the contract is normal - or so they tell me. I've taken to self medicating with coke zero. (I probably should have left the zero off so you could all really speculate about my mental state.) We can't secure school placements until we have a UK address - so get the place, try to get the schools, and then fill that flat full of Ikea furniture and chocolate digestives and we will officially be "settling in." (I'm afraid to even mention that getting the school placements is probably the most difficult step of all.)
In the meantime, I play tourist with the kids (hoping that they will eventually develop some busy street navigation skills), and fight the War on Laundry. I go to the market almost every day. There's not a lot of food storage space, and I can only buy what I can carry home, so that means I'm not doing any major shopping. Grocery shopping has never been my fave, but since it's just a few things each run, I don't mind it that much. (Except on the days I am stinky and don't want to interact with humans.) Full disclosure: I have not started cooking or baking in earnest. Many sandwiches have been consumed. Take away and eating out are my big ol' crutches. Jamie Oliver's Italian is just around the corner, what's a girl to do? I've discovered way too many English sweets and sausage rolls and croissants that keep the junk in my trunk nice and jiggly. TMI? #sorrynotsorry
Everything is expensive, it's true. Average family meal runs about $65. McDonald's will set us back about $40. Family admission to the museums in Greenwich $80. Hair cut for me, $60. A bottle of water is about $2.50, if you find a cheap place, and ain't nobody drinking tap water. The kids do get to ride public transport for free, so that's nice. I'm averaging about $40 a week for transportation for myself. Tax is cray cray. Half of our income goes straight to UK taxes. Every price at the store has a VAT (value added tax) worked into it, so at first I didn't realize there was a tax on goods/services. But the good news is, since the money is so colorful and unfamiliar, it just feels like Monopoly money!
I rarely feel isolated, but I'm a pretty private person anyway. It has been weird to see my social media virtually vanish in the day time and then wake up to find out what happened the day before. I need friends on this side of the pond! I will say that it is very unusual to the Brits that I'm not working, or looking for something right away. Once we get settled (there's that word again) I will wrap my mind around that situation. (I am not even kidding you waging the War on Laundry is a full time position.) Don't make me think about my value choices, people! Gimmee a break. I'm barely able to consume a sleeve of McVities a day. (which is currently my most marketable skill.)
Well, most of you are getting on with the day now and it's time for me to go hunt and gather dinner. I'll probably have to slave away to the noodle house or deli. Cheers.