Well, hello. It’s been so long since I’ve drafted a post over here that I’m not entirely sure how to begin. Two months is quite an absence in blog-time. I’d like to think that we’re close enough now that we can just jump back into each others lives as if no time has passed at all, like good friends always do, but before I do that, I believe a ‘what-the-heck-have-you-been-doing-the-past-two-months!’ post is in order. We’ll start with the important stuff.
I got a haircut and no one noticed.
I gained 11 pounds. But I promptly lost 7 of it, so stop judging.
I killed my first big spider in our flat. All by myself.
I spoke Spanish to Spanish-speakers without offending anyone.
I experienced my first real thunderstorm in over a year.
I got poison ivy in a delicate place. Again.
I took 6 airplanes, 9 trains, 3 taxis, and 4 coach buses while traveling to and through 4 different countries.
While I had originally wanted a summer similar to our first in London – one with no schedules, very little routine, and lots of free days – the realization that we only have two years left here began to override my desire to be lazy for nine weeks, and our summer quickly became dominated by travel. (Not that I’m complaining, of course. There will be plenty of time for being lazy when I’m holed up in my flat next to the radiator this winter, especially if it’s anything like last year’s winter monsoon.) I’ve got so much to say about the trips we took this summer, but those will be posts for other days. Thirty other days, I’m afraid. A lot of stuff happened. And we saw a lot of cool stuff. Let’s just leave it at that for now.
During the few weeks that we were actually in London this summer, we had the good fortune of seeing some of our family members as they were passing through. My aunt and uncle from Arkansas stopped by in mid-August on their month-long UK tour with two of their good friends. We were in Spain for most of the time they were in London, but still managed to meet them for an evening around the South Bank before we left. (This is usually somewhere I stay far, far away from this time of year, but I was overjoyed to have a reason to make an exception!)
We also got to see my dad for like three hours at the beginning of the summer. He was in Europe on business and had one evening in London before moving on to the next country. But hey, I’ll take what I can get. I loved showing him around Chiswick – pointing out all the important stuff like where we buy our groceries and our favorite picnic spot. (These pictures are terrible, but they’re all I’ve got. Stupid broken cell phone camera.)
When we weren’t traveling or catching up with family, we did get to enjoy some of those free days I was hoping for. We read books, painted pictures, watched lots of movies, and Lexie tried, unsuccessfully, to teach me how to play Mario Brothers on the Wii. (I rocked that game on my Nintendo in 1994. Not so much 20 years later.) We also tried to grow some flowers because I’ve missed having something to take care of, but they expired about as quickly as Mario’s lives in my hands.
We did everything right – followed the planting directions, kept them out of direct sunlight, watered them, Lexie even read to them for goodness sake – and they started to grow! But then we left. And left again. And again. By the time we were back for good, no amount of emergency surgery could have brought our poor plant babies back to life. Their crackly brown carcasses made me so sad that I’ve decided not to try to grow anything ever again until we’re back in Tennessee. It’s a really good thing we don’t have pets…
This summer wasn’t quite as sunny and rain-free as last year, but on the days where we could get outside and drink in the Vitamin D with the rest of the city, we did. We ate our meals outside, we met up with our friends outside, and we cuddled with babies outside. (That last one only happened once, but it was still one of the highlights of my summer.)
And then before we knew it, the weather started turning a bit colder, and leaving the house in layers became a necessity. And then it was time to buy school supplies and pick out that crucial first-day outfit and set the alarm clock for the first time in months. We woke up last Thursday and just like that, the summer that seemed so endless and promising back in June was over.
First day of seventh grade. There were the usual nerves and butterflies the night before, but by the time we got her to school and she found the few friends she has left after the mass exodus last year, she was good to go. She misses her friends that moved away and she’s got some new teachers to get used to, but that’s nothing compared to the huge transition that last year was. She’s got this down now.
As for me, I’m sort of ready to have my routine back. I’ve missed working out and having some time on my own. We’ve got three great trips coming up over the remainder of the year that need planning, and goodness knows I need to start blogging about the last ones before we go on those. Oh, and I’ve got this to look forward to until Christmas. Or later. Because, well, contractors.
I thought when we moved away from our last house that we’d never have to live in a construction site again. Guess that’s what we get for moving into an ancient building. We’ve been serenaded by the high pitched songs of power saws and drills since the end of July. That I suppose I could get used to, but it’s the privacy issue that’s making me the most crazy. The level of awkwardness that was discovering I could be seen in the gap between wall and curtain WHILE I was in the shower is off the charts. Maybe I should look at long-term travel until December…
So what about you? What have you been up to this summer?