the alarm went off at 5:51 this morning. the boy pressed snooze, turned over on our floppy air mattress and slid his arms around me. it’s our morning ritual to spend nine minutes of snooze time snuggling and semi-slumbering, and then when the alarm goes off again at 6:00am, it’s time to get up.
after i sent the boy off to work with a kiss, a prayer, and a lovingly packed lunch, i went for a morning run. today i jogged over waterloo bridge and along southbank, back across westminster bridge, waving at big ben as i curved around to st. james park and through trafalgar square back to our flat. and as i ran, with music in my ears under the typical london cloudy sky, i felt so alive and so calmly happy to be in this city that is now mine. my mind stopped, among all the moving and transition buzz that has been floating in it, and relished the sensation of feeling at home in a new and exciting and wonderful place. i felt in my heart that i am in the right place in the universe, and that good things are ahead.
this first month in london has been really, really hard for me in a lot of ways. the frazzle of figuring out a new life in a foreign place gradually gave way to some intense loneliness and uncertainty of purpose and worth once ian started working. my job search has felt at times very demoralizing and confusing, and i’ve struggled with finding the right balances in how i use my time. our marriage has been challenging as we’ve confronted so many changes. the boy has been mega-stressed as he has to pass three regulatory exams in his first thirty days of work, and it has been essential to spend nearly every spare minute studying. there has been so little room on his shoulders to help carry the emotional burden i feel, and we have both crumpled at times under the weight of things. i’ve had to actively develop patience to quell the intense pulling desire i have to explore and appreciate this city and country and continent. our friends and family are so many miles away and hours behind. the processes of logistics has taken much longer than expected in many cases, and because we are still awaiting our shipment from america, we often feel like we are almost camping (and i sleep really quite badly each night on our air mattress!). the feeling of settled is still too gaseous to hold on to.
i have felt at times so alone, so uncertain, so lost. and recognizing how awesome and blessed and privileged and dream-come-true my life really is makes these negative emotions somehow dig deeper, feel wrong, and bubble at the surface.
i am choosing to be refined and grow deeper as a human, and to see all the good and be happy.
because, as i felt so vividly on my run this morning, there is so much joy to grab onto around me if i reach out, pushing through the bits that feel hard. the good things do outweigh the challenges, if i just clear my glasses and remember they are so rosy. indeed, there have been times in this wild month when i have felt great ecstatic happiness and heavenly peace. and those times undoubtedly win.
here’s some tidbits of happy from our first month as londoners!
^^ i feel like i come across something delightful like this every day – an absolutely darling little shop, a totally charming alleyway, a gorgeous building, a corner restaurant covered with flowers on the muffin man’s street. i feel all heart-eyed emoji about this city. ^^
^^ last saturday we went to the london temple, which was such a sweet experience. i loved being with the boy in a place that is so special to me – i have so many memories in and around the temple from my days as a missionary. we enjoyed peace and a distinct feeling of god’s love at the temple. ^^
^^ i met a friend (who is sadly moving back to the states today! boohoo) for lunch at covent garden one super rainy afternoon. while i was waiting for her to arrive, i heard strains of really beautiful classical music filling the piazza. as i stood looking over the balcony at the string quintet making music with their instruments and their hearts, i totally teared up. it just made me so happy. ^^
^^ my dear soulmate friend julie came through london on her way home from norway! it was so wonderful to spend some time with her in the city. i took her to two of my favourite spots above, and we also had the most fabulous afternoon tea together – a post is coming on that! i loved having julie around to oodle over the wonder that is london with me, and it was so great to catch up. she’s a true gem. ^^
^^ last friday afternoon i hurried and went to the summer exhibition at the royal academy of art, because i realized that it was closing just a couple days later! it was incredible. i was so so excited pouring over the amazing art and especially the outstanding curating of the show. i took so many pictures – gosh, it was so fabulous – so another post coming about that soon, too! taking some time with this creativity absolutely fed my soul with goodness.^^
^^ when i saw this american section at our neighborhood grocery store, i was so amused! and when i saw this ^^ super beautiful and cool fabric maypole at the devastatingly lovely department store liberty (one of my new favourite places in london), i was happy. ^^
^^ julie and i strolled through some colorful neighborhoods in notting hill. notting hill has got darling down. ^^
^^ aaaaand, julie and i ate this ridiculous breakfast at bathzasar, around the corner from my flat!, before she left for the airport yesterday morning. hazelnut waffles! avocado toast! whoever said england has bad food was wrong. ^^
^^ and the flowers in the royal parks are just so gorgeous right now. i know i need to appreciate them while summer lasts. i stopped dead in my tracks on my run to snap this photo in st. james park because it was just so pretty. ^^
ian and i have also had the opportunity, both together and separate, to spend time teaching with the missionaries in our ward. that has been so fun and fulfilling for us. we are so grateful for our faith and the way it guides and sustains us, and we love sharing that joy with others.
we’ve had very little time to spend together due to the boy’s constant need to study (so excited for those tests to be out of the way!), but we always eat dinner together, unplugged from anything else. we have had some beautiful dinner hours at home and out and about in our new city. we love god and we love each other, and we know that’s really all we need.