Expat Life

Catching Up with the Kardashumates

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!)

Catching Up With The Kardashumates

Catching Up With The Kardashumates

Catching Up With The Kardashumates

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.)

Catching Up With The Kardashumates Catching Up With The Kardashumates

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.

Catching Up With The Kardashumates

Catching Up With The Kardashumates

Catching Up With The Kardashumates

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.)

Catching Up With The Kardashumates Catching Up With The Kardashumates

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.

Catching Up With The Kardashumates

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.

Catching Up With The Kardashumates Catching Up With The Kardashumates

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.

Catching Up With The Kardashumates

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?

Share this post:

  • Erika
    September 10, 2014 at 3:58 PM

    YAY! I’m so glad you’re back! :) Looks like you guys had a busy but great summer! :)

  • Emmymom
    September 10, 2014 at 7:59 PM

    Oh my gosh that would so not be okay about the gap in the wall and the shower thing! Sounds like you had a busy and wonderful summer.I am so glad you are back to blogging.

  • Mandy Southgate
    September 7, 2014 at 8:41 PM

    Yay! You’re back! What super news. I had a great summer although I didn’t do much travelling. Actually… I’m struggling to think about what I did do. I think there was lots of friends and family and cake and oh… I began studying again. The rest was wonderful though!

  • Irene @ Away from Tenerife
    September 6, 2014 at 7:41 AM

    So good that you’re back :) I’m really looking forward to reading about your holidays in Spain and Belgium and also curious about your three upcoming trips.
    Also, I love, love, love that lacy white dress you’re wearing in the photo with your dad. It looks gorgeous!

    • Sarah Shumate
      September 7, 2014 at 6:16 PM

      Thank you!! That dress is from Free People and is one of my favorites, too!

      I absolutely loved Spain! I can’t wait to share about that after I get through the Belgium posts – it’s going to be 2015 before I’m all caught up! :)

  • Jamie | The Healthy Passport
    September 3, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    I cannot wait to see your photos from Spain, I’m sure they will be fabulous! Sounds like yall have had an amazing summer!! Oh and I’m with you on frantic planning before we leave!!

  • EvaS
    September 2, 2014 at 7:13 PM

    Welcome back! I think I told you on FB that I love your blog but found it right when you close on vacation :-). I’m glad to have you back!

    • Sarah Shumate
      September 7, 2014 at 6:12 PM

      Hi Eva! I saw your message on FB – did you get my response? It made my day to hear how much you’d enjoyed the blog. Thank you for telling me that! :)

  • Keith Wynn
    September 2, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    I have missed your posts so much!!! Luckily we’re Instagram friends to so the withdrawal wasn’t too bad :)

  • Miwa
    September 2, 2014 at 1:14 PM

    Welcome back, Sarah! I was thrilled when I saw your post on my feed :) Thanks for the wonderful recap of your summer. Beautiful photos, as always. And I gotta say, that picture of Lexie reading to your plants (RIP) made my day.

    Can’t wait to hear all about your travels :)

  • Diana Bockus
    September 2, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    YAY! I’m so glad you are back! I’m also kind of jealous you had two months off to relax, travel and just have fun!

  • Robert
    September 2, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    Welcome back, Sarah! It looks as though you’ve had a fantastic summer :) x

  • Dannielle @ Chicadeedee
    September 2, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    I’m glad your back but also glad you got in family time, it sounds like you had a pretty good summer even if it was jam packed! Excited to hear about all your adventures :)

  • Emma @ AdventuresofaLondonKiwi
    September 2, 2014 at 7:20 AM

    It is wonderful to see you back, I must say you’re braver than me – plants & mario are two things I have never, ever attempted let alone conquered!

  • T. Lennie
    September 2, 2014 at 1:05 AM

    Welcome back! Can’t wait to hear all about your summer, and see some more of your amazing pictures :)

  • Melanie Fontaine
    September 1, 2014 at 9:54 PM

    That sounds like one heck of a summer, Sarah! I can’t wait to hear/read more about it soon! :) Welcome back to blogging! I’ve been taking a little bit of a hiatus this summer as well, so I get your feelings about returning to the online world. :)

  • Betty J. Ogburn
    September 1, 2014 at 11:01 PM

    …Welcome back!!…I do hope you enjoyed España!!…

    To answer your question, not much has happened with me this summer–except that I got my visa last week and I’m preparing to leave for Spain on the 14th, :-D!!…

    • Sarah Shumate
      September 7, 2014 at 6:04 PM

      That’s wonderful news! Congratulations! Safe travels to you and good luck settling in to your new home! :) Spain treated us quite well, and I can’t wait to share stories and pictures soon!

  • Mrs. Match
    September 1, 2014 at 10:50 PM

    Wow, Lexie has grown up so much over the summer. Did she get contacts? And is she TALLER than you? Or at least as tall? She is beautiful!
    I’m jealous the weather is already cooling off for you guys. It’s bloody HOT here and I’m sick of it. Bring on the fall! Sounds like you guys were super busy, but with all fun things. Ugh, that stinks that you’re in a construction site again. Yuck!

  • Claire
    September 1, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    Sounds as though you’ve had a fab summer, but I’m deeply distressed at the idea that Mario is so difficult now – I too rocked it back in the 20th century… might just pretend that I still would and chose not to confirm either way!

  • Tammy Chrzan
    September 1, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    Sarrrraaaahhhhhhhhhh!! Yay!! You’re back! Has it really been 2 months? It just doesn’t seem that long, I agree that June always seems like it’s the start of an endless summer but then before we know it… it’s all over again… well, not over, but a new beginning… the beginning of Autumn! I love Autumn, of course we don’t really get one here in Texas, but in theory I like Autumn :)
    Only 2 years left in England? Say it isn’t so! How do you feel about that? Do you think you will pine for it after you leave? I’ve been pining for it for 22 years, and we lived there for only 4 years… Lexie is taller than you are!! Oh my gosh, our kids grow wayyyy too fast… way too fast. Lexie has changed over the summer, when we first “met” online, she was but a little girl and now she looks like a young woman! Oh and your plants would have survived if you would have played the Beatles for them every day! (I’m so full of crap… haha!) So glad you’re back!
    Tammy x

  • Ashley | Domestic Fashionista
    September 1, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    Sounds beautiful Sarah! Looks like you had a wonderful summer! I will admit, I am a little jealous of your break and am itching for one as well. Just not sure I can do it. But I loved seeing you guys attempt to plant flowers, be with people, hang with your girl, and just be. Those are what summers are all about. Glad to see you are back!

  • Sammy @ Days Like This
    September 1, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    Hello!! Welcome back. Can’t wait to hear all your stories from the summer. I feel like there is always construction going on in London. So great you got to see some of your family and 3 hours with your dad must have been devine. I would like to know how big this spider was ;) xxxx

  • Jo
    September 1, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    Hey hey! Welcome back to the land of blogging! Can’t wait to read about your summer and see all your photos!

    • Sarah Shumate
      September 7, 2014 at 5:53 PM

      I’ve missed you, Jo! When are you going to start blogging again?

      • Jo
        September 10, 2014 at 8:05 AM

        I don’t know! Between kids and work my days have become crazy! I leave the house at 7 in the morning and get back at 10 at night … so there is very little time for anything at the moment. But I’ll have to make a plan!

  • Michelle
    September 1, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    Glad you’re back! It’s so nice to read something from you again :) Sounds like a fun summer!

  • Katrin
    September 1, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    So great to read you again! I am glad you had a wonderful summer, I cannot wait to read more about it!

  • Cynthia
    September 1, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    Welcome back! Sounds like you’ve had a lovely summer. I have the same problem with my plants when I go away… I’m vowed to just buy all new herbs this month because they usually don’t last past August. Maybe try again next spring and you’ll have better luck.