JulyHoly cow was it a busy month. It saw the end of Ramadan and a celebratory Eid picnic with my London
Both Austria and Estonia are beautiful and I had a great time exploring. As you no doubt noticed though, I have failed to write anything about them save a favourite moments post from Tallinn. I will get there...one day...(What? It's possible!)
On the moving side, it was hard to say goodbye to almost two years with my flatmate who had become like a sister to me :( but I'm happy that she is following her dream of living in sunny Spain. I was nervous about moving in with a bunch of strangers...moving in with people has always been odd to me...but two months in and things are still going well.
AugustBack from my travels, I settled back into life in London, restarting my couch to 5K, catching up with friends over lunches, dinners and coffee. Not content to sit still for long though, I booked on to a London street art tour (wish I'd done it sooner!) and went on a couple of escapes from London. One escape was a taster of the Peaks district national park in Derbyshire and one to explore the seaside town of Whitstable.
And what's London life without a little bit of culture? I was over the moon about going to a talk by an author fast becoming one of my favourites and getting a couple of books signed - total bookworm heaven for me. Plus I managed to squeeze in a trip to the theatre to see Kinky Boots! It is such a fun musical, I highly recommend it.
The month ended on a warm and fuzzy note. An old flight attendant friend of mine popped into London for a few hours, I hadn't seen him in years and it was great to catch up, I only wish we'd had longer! There is something about old friends which is very comforting, it's like being home and grounds you, don't you think?
SeptemberOK so London was on form this month. The city put on not one but two events. It was the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London so they had a bunch of events for that. I saw two of them, one was a light installation on St Paul's dome and the second was a fire garden at the front of the Tate Modern complete with live atmospheric music which made for a very unusual night.
The second event was the annual London Open House weekend (if I had a pound for every Londoner asking me what that is...!). Basically, London opens its doors to the public, for free. There are a mix of buildings; private homes, government buildings, members only clubs, churches, museums, places of worship, company buildings, theatres, community centres, libraries... the list goes on. Some you need to prebook, some have a ballot (like 10 Downing street) and other you just arrive and queue for.
I had an idea of where I wanted to go and managed to fill my weekend peeking behind closed doors. The highlights for me were seeing inside the Astronomical and Geological Societies (they had some serious #bookshelfporn) and the bizarre only-in-London moment, lying on the auditorium floor looking up at the spiral staircase of London's City Hall.
Aside from London's festivities, I hit up the theatre again...three times. Harry Potter (tickets booked 10 months earlier), Matilda, and a couple of nights ago, Secret Studio Lab.
It was also the month I got to know my flatmates a bit more, we went out for dinner and hit up Colombia Road flower markets for some flowers for our garden - stopping for brunch and coffee of course. They are fun and lively and really down to earth, I'm so relieved that things are going well so far!
There were more brunches and dinners with friends to be had too. Oh, and did I mention that time I watched Notting Hill in a bed under the open sky? Or when I saw Bumblebee and Anthony Hopkins filming for Transformers 5 in central London?
ReflectionsDespite the rosy picture all this paints, the past few months had its difficult moments and quite a bit of naval gazing. A close friend of mine was going through a rough patch both on the work and family front and needed support which I did my best to give. Inevitably though, being so close to that made me think about my own family situation, I worry about my mum all the time and it's hard not being able to be there for her - it has made me rethink a few things. I don't know if this is a case all expats face or if everyone gets it expat or not?
I also realised that I can shoot myself in the foot by being too polite. I can come off as indifferent and I forget to relax and just be myself. Not smart. And it has the additional downside of feeding my bad habit of putting others first All. The. Time. (I'm not saying you shouldn't put others first, sometimes its important, I'm just saying that I do it beyond what is healthy).
I did find out (in a rather convoluted way) proof that I have pretty strong will power and a bit of courage. There was something bothering me and you would not believe the lengths my subconscious went to, to ignore that something and pretend everything was fine. Eventually it took my painfully acknowledging that it was a weakness (what? I have a weakness? no way!) to turn it into the first step in building up some strength, after all, we are human and we all have strengths and weaknesses.
Right, enough deep and meaningfuls. Did you fall asleep? You have some drool on the corner of your mouth...don't worry, I wont tell...here's a tissue ;) If you didn't fall asleep during all that...seriously, you probably need to reduce your caffeine intake.
Till next time!