This day, January 3, last year, Jeff and I landed in Heathrow Airport and were met with a sign at the terminal with our names on it. The sky was grey and overcast as we drove to the company flat we had. I remember we took a long nap and missed the thunderstorm that came through. Jet lag had gotten the best of us after flying from South Carolina.
The first thing we did was go and establish a bank account. You can’t do anything without that and then we went to dinner at Wagamama, a Japanese restaurant recommended to us by the bank teller. We were wandering around Ealing Broadway like tourists hoping we didn’t stick out too much. Now I just see it as a shopping center rather than an exotic, foreign structure.
In that first week, we found the local wine shop, our matchbox of a tiny flat for the year, and became members of the gym. Our basic needs were met but our adventure had only just begun. What happened in this last year has exceeded all of our expectations, and we could not have asked for more. We saw more palaces than we knew existed including Hampton Court Palace, Blenheim Palace, Hever Castle, Buckingham Palace, and more but it all began with Windsor Castle. We had taken a few local trips to Stonehenge and Canterbury, but our first big trip was to Rome for Easter.
Thousands upon thousands of our closest friends flooded St. Peter’s Square and heard the Pope give his Easter address in Italian and then flooded out to wander the streets of Trastevere where we found some of the best gluten-free eats and gelato. Our next big trip was to Paris where I retraced many of my steps from 2007 with my family but created many, many more memories with my husband including putting a lock on Love Lock Bridge and visiting the Catacombs.
We couldn’t imagine anything better until we went to Greece for a week. My most fond memory of this entire year was in Crete where as Jeff and I waded in the water, we balled up some floating seaweed and proceeded to throw it at each other to see if it would stick to the other person. It was so much fun to be two kids in the clear blue water.
Our next adventure was to Dublin, which we both agreed was not our favorite place between the terrible place we stayed to the lack of real things to do, and of course, the three public urinators we got to watch as we dined in the Temple Bar area. But then Amsterdam made up for it between the silence and the fun atmosphere of the city. We both loved Amsterdam and would like to go back some day. The romance of the canals that flow through the city to the laid back sensibility really made it a place to relax and enjoy life.
Jeff then surprised me with a trip to Munich to see the Christmas markets and also some WWII history, but what I actually loved seeing was the Nymphenburg Palace, modeled after Versailles. But just two weeks later, we found ourselves in Zurich, Geneva, and the French Alps for Christmas.
I cannot believe all of the places we have seen and traveled to let alone all of the fun and random things we did in London! But besides all that, I have found my dream career. I never would have thought it possible to get back into filmmaking, but moving here really gave me that chance to start again and take the time to develop it right.
This is a time of year that means a lot to us. Our wedding anniversary is in December along with Christmas and my birthday, but now January 3 holds a memory for our big move just two days before the anniversary of our first date. I remember it like it was yesterday. Jeff asked me to meet him at Easy Tiger in Austin, and I agreed despite it being a bakery and bar (I’m gluten free and had a race the next morning). We stayed out for nearly three hours and left it open for a second date where he told me he was a flight risk if the opportunity came up to work overseas. The next morning, as I drove to my race, he texted me at 6a to wish me luck. He had remembered and cared enough to send me speedy thoughts. And here we are.
We have had a wonderful couple of years and first year in London. I cannot wait to see what 2015 has in store.
Happy New Year Everyone!