If you are new to the blog, welcome! Since last March I have temporarily moved from a northern Chicago suburb in the US to a London Borough in the UK with my husband. He has been on a short-term work assignment that will be finishing up over the next month. It has been quite the adventure living in a new country. Although the UK speaks English, I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore after walking around the first few days. However, overall, the people have been kind, the history has been rich, and the experience has been a gift. We look to book our flight home this week and have an official “move back to Chicago date” soon.
Wrong side of the road…wrong side of the car…not for long! ETA in Chicagoland is the last week in October. Bittersweet as living in London has been awesome. But I cant wait to hug my peeps! Stay posted with social media for more updates and local trainings/ classes with me!! #imcominghome #london #expat #expatwife #uk #homecoming #fitness #health #exercise #personaltraining #goodhabits #habitudefitness #travel #explore #gifts
It has been fun to learn how things work around here and attempt to make them work for us. Here are a few of my favorite English habitudes that I will miss upon our move back:
The transportation system.
Not every family around here has a car and they do not need one. I walk so much since living here as the area makes walking to different places so accessible. There are sidewalks, park cut through’s, paths, and trails to get almost anywhere. People walk here, and they walk a lot. If you can’t or don’t wish to walk to your destination, the buses are efficient, clean, and everywhere. Getting from our borough of Richmond into the city is a piece of cake with the tube system. Again, easy, fast, and clean. We do have the Metra in Chicago which is a great way to commute, but outside of living in the city, it is difficult to walk to stores, restaurants, or events because of all of the highways and lack of walking paths. Walking, even if just tot the bus stop, may seem like a pain to us SUV driving Americans, but it keeps Europeans slim. Seeing an obese person here or in Europe has been few and far between for me. I feel that there are many reasons for this, but I know that one of them is their lifestyle and approach to simply getting around.
The Fresh Food.
I wondered before the move what eating and grocery shopping would be like. The food here has been great! I couldn’t find pumpkin, squash, or any of the fall veggies until just a few weeks ago. They were not in stores, and not available until the season started. The food here just seems to be cleaner. The Uk has different food processing standards than the US and we in the states use additives that are banned in other countries. I do not believe we should obsess about this, but rather pay attention and try to eat clean and natural whenever possible. Check out some statistics on the differences we face. Since living here my gut has appeared to heal from some chronic GI issues and I am able to tolerate foods that were giving me problems in the US. I eat wheat, cow’s milk dairy in the form of cheese and yogurt, and red wine. I believe this could be due to avoiding the culprits for so long that my gut inflammation has calmed down and healed allowing me to enjoy these foods in moderation, or it is due to the differences in the food I have been consuming. Time will tell when I move back to the states!
I live near the most spectacular park-Richmond Park.
The largest Royal Park in London (1,000 hectares/2,500 acres), and home to 650 deer. This pastoral landscape of hills and woodlands set amongst ancient trees, with plants, animals and butterflies, offers a peaceful respite to visitors.
There are playgrounds at Kingston and Petersham gates, and two golf courses near Roehampton Gate. Educational facilities for those with special needs can be found at Holly Lodge Centre (by appointment). There is fishing available at Pen Ponds, plus horse-riding tracks and a cycling path. Public toilets with disabled access are located at most main gates.
The Isabella Plantation is an organic woodland garden. For eating, choose from Pembroke Lodge, a Georgian mansion with spectacular views and garden seating, Roehampton Café or refreshment kiosks located at main car parks.
I have loved taking advantage of this spectacular park to hike, walk, run, and rest. I think the US has many beautiful places with spectacular scenery-Chicago’s lakefront and night-time skyline being one of my favorites! I am creating a bucket list for us to visit in the states including Colorado, Napa Valley, and Maine to name a few. However, even with the gifts we have in America, Europe offers something different. The beauty, history, and scenery all over the continent makes it so difficult to choose places to visit. I am planning a vacation for my husband and I before we head back, and am having trouble deciding where to go. Munich, the Swiss Alps, Paris, and Venice top the list. Along with a trip around the Mediterranean to see Greece and/or Croatia. Just google some of these place and take your mind on sabbatical for a moment!
This one will be the toughest for me. I have met some amazing people as I expected I would. From welcoming Brits and Americans in church, to my American Women of London group, to my South African neighbors, to meeting up with old friends who happen to be here too! It has been a blessing to have such quality people make this move more meaningful.
With all of the things I will miss here in England, I am incredibly excited about a few things awaiting me back home! I am looking forward to seeing all my friends and family! Especially my growing niece Baby Blake!
I am excited to have my washer and dryer back! My little efficiency washer that sits in the kitchen has done an adequate job, but I am looking forward to a powerful clean and some warm towels coming out of the dryer! (No dryer here!)
I didn’t think I missed Target too much, but now that I am headed back, it will be a first stop!
I can’t WAIT to get back to teaching group fitness classes and leading personal and small group sessions at SPRI. I have some new ideas to introduce, new energy, and a few surprises. If you are local, I hope you stay posted and come have a crazy, killer, sweat session with me! Stay tuned for the countdown to when the madness will begin! CAN”T WAIT!
I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into some of my habitudes in the UK! Please let me know if you have any EU travel recommendations or must do’s/trys that I have missed out on when I get home!