When I arrived, the street in front of our building was dug up. A pneumatic drill began operation at about 8:00 am every morning for two weeks. At first, I was grateful for it, because it kept me from staying in bed and hiding under the covers from fear. Also, it revealed various strata of filthy old London, which was pretty interesting. By the time the fear was subsiding, the street had been resurfaced with a brand spanking new layer of asphalt.
This morning, a large truck appeared outside the window, proclaiming, in innocuous blue letters, "Sims Milling Company." I stared at it with dawning horror.
The street has been dug up again.
I feel like I should do some kind of round-up of the lessons I've learned during my first two months as an expatriate, to commemorate the occasion.
I've learned that I don't need a lot of space or stuff. We went from a three-bedroom house to a one-bedroom flat. I miss exactly none of the things we left behind, sold, or gave away. I have bought very little that wasn't food, alcohol, or admission to some form of entertainment since arriving. I walked around Camden Market last week with some visitors from the US and I purchased a toy from a vending machine (Seymour from FFX. The one bad guy available, and I got him. Figures.) and a pair of much-needed fingerless gloves. Total number of purchases for the week: two.
I've learned that I'm a decent cook. I've had time to spend in the kitchen and the incentive to save money by not eating out. I found that I can trust my instincts when it comes to proportions and flavors.
I've learned that my boyfriend and I have a fantastic and durable relationship. We've survived a forced months-long separation, a six thousand mile move and simultaneous career changes. And I still think he's teh hottness.
I've learned not to hate myself for taking the time off to relax.
I've learned that even though everything in a foreign country is unfamiliar, from the controls on the electrical appliances to the vocabulary to the urban landscape, it can still feel like home.