one month in londontown

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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. ^^
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^^ 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. ^^
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^^ 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.^^
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^^ 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. ^^
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^^ 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.


  1. Hang in there! Everything will be Ok! You should go visit Tal and Anita and give your man some time to study! Then you would not be so alone . I am sure they would love to visit.

  2. My in laws are there at the Hyde park visitors center and I'm sure they would love to "adopt" you as they are missing their own kids :) Duane and Margaret Cardall, go see them!

    1. i have seen all your comments about them and i will for sure watch out for them when i am at hyde park chapel!

  3. This choked me up.

    I'm really sorry that you've been finding it hard to adapt to life in London.

    I think it's great tho how you still look out & notice all the lovely things about the UK.

    Quite a lot of the shops sell American foods now, especially Tesco & WH Smith.

    Glad you had a great time with Ian at the temple & with your friend.

    I love the pink walls in the exhibition.

    Is there anyone in your ward who could lend you a bed? Freecycle is very good for things like this.

    Have a lovely weekend.:)

  4. Thank you for putting words to the struggle of feeling simultaneously privileged AND struggling to find contentedness as you transition to this new stage of life. I've been following along with your journey because I'm in a similar position, having just finished my PhD and moved to New York City for a job that took me away from my family (including my husband, but that's a story for another day). My husband and I traveled all summer and it was definitely a once in a lifetime experience, filled with joy and wonder and awe... but it was hard too. It's really challenging not to feel guilty when I feel anything other than gratitude because I *know* how blessed we are, how so much of our lives are truly privileged. So when unhappiness or fear or frustration or sadness or anything else creeps in, it feels like I'm doing life wrong. But that's not true, and I need to keep reminding myself of that. After all, you only know what incredible joy feels like because those other things exist. And even if so much of my story is blessed and privileged, it doesn't invalidate the feelings and emotions I have. Still, ugh, it's such a struggle. Your writing really resonates with me and I thank you for sharing. Sorry this comment is so long! :)

  5. I can't imagine moving across the country, let alone to another country, away from family and everything else. All your feelings and thoughts I think are perfectly accurate. I love the way you express your thoughts. What an amazing opportunity. I keep thinking of the phrase, "you can do hard things". The first time I heard that was through your sister on 71toes. It was several years ago when she did a blog post about it and had it written on her chalk board. Hard things are good and essential, but they are hard. You are doing it right.

  6. oh boy. i can totally relate to the feeling of being a trailing spouse with so much creativity, energy and excitement to pour into SOMETHING, but now knowing what that is and not having job doors open easily. we also live in a foreign country and i went through this same emotional turmoil before deciding to start my own little consulting shop. it's HARD. some days i felt like i was on the verge of a breakdown at any moment. it's also hard when you wait and wait and wait around for your spouse to be free, and even though you know the work they are doing is worthwhile and will be beneficial to you both down the road, it's hard not to harbor resentment. i feel for you! i hope you can find the peace and relaxation to enjoy your current freedom, whether it's exploring solo, taking lessons of some sort, or pouring yourself into a new hobby/skill. totally feel for you. it's hard personally, and it can create some difficult marriage moments. but as you know, it all turns to (mostly) good memories down the road. hugs from south america!

  7. I, too, can relate. After university/"law school" (it's different over here) I was unemployed for sixish months. You'd think I'd enjoy a long "break", but I was often miserable, because I didn't know what the future held and I was lonely, while everyone I knew was at work.
    Looking back, I would recommend you looking for a job (because already looking is time consuming), catching up with your to do list (for example blogging - and this is like totally altruistic from me!) and finding friends who don't work either (maybe through your church or maybe there is a facebook group etc. called "new in London"?). Social interaction already helps so much!

  8. You are seriously one high maintenance, hard work sheila - you need to buck up sunshine!

    1. That's a very unkind comment.

    2. Wow. Great job kicking someone while their down! In my experience that doesn't usually accomplish much. Just because Charity is honest about having a hard time doesn't mean she is high maintenance! Good grief! Everyone has hard times with different things, but they're just not always open about it. Charity, I really appreciate your honesty and your ability to grab life, the good and the bad, and rise above everything to see the good in things that are hard. It makes the rest of us not feel alone in our struggle to do that. It is such a struggle!

      And I'm pretty sure this anonymous is the same anonymous who lurks around all the Eyre blogs, jumping in almost every time to say something dark or mean or contentious. What a happy existence! Luckily these Eyre women are gracious enough to sort through these bullying comments and either learn from them or ignore them.....and always respond with kindness. That is impressive to me.

      Good luck Charity with your journey.

  9. Charity. I miss you so much. A lot, a lot. I love all of these pictures and I love the real blog posts you do, because sadly, that's the most I get from you right now!
    I also feel like London is continuously calling my name.
    And tell Ian good luck for me. You guys have both got a lot on your plates right now, but it's so worth it. Spend an extra hour in Liberty for me, please. :)

  10. Thanks for keeping it real. They say divorce is the most difficult change, death next, and a move next to that. It is not easy to move and make such huge changes. And you didn't just move across the city, you moved across the world! You've done A LOT in the last few months. HUGE. You have a right to your feelings. I used to be an avid runner before medical issues- but isn't running the best? I used to clear my mind and figure so many things out while running. Keep running and enjoying the beauty around you. I have no doubt you and Ian will look back on these years in London as some of the greatest in life. LA in WA

  11. Change is just plain hard sometimes...especially a new country! Way to find the beauty though, and before you know it you will be surrounded with a beautiful new London "family"!

  12. My niece is a missionary in London and serving at the Hyde Park Visitors Center. She is adorable and gives amazing hugs, if you need one from Idaho. :)

  13. I've been struggling with similar feelings. My husband and I and our three boys moved to London (technically just outside the M25) from Australia in January and I think I've found the transition hardest of us all. My employment situation has ended up much more up and down than we expected and it's been so hard to feel settled. And of course we miss our families so much. I do feel blessed to have this opportunity - for the experiences we've had, for the blessings we've received to help us along the way - but sometimes the homesickness gets overwhelming. Thank you for sharing your struggles xo

  14. I love London too, Charity, and have just moved to the outskirts of London with my fiancé. If you ever need a friend for a cup of tea..... :)