One of my favorite things about living in the UK is the plethora of country villages all within easy reach of London, each seemingly with a plethora of country pubs to choose from! My sweetie recently surprised me with an afternoon drive and lunch at The Pipe and Glass Inn. The Pipe and Glass, in the market village Beverley, is the winner of the Michelin Pub of the Year 2012. I will admit I'm still unsure exactly where Beverley is other than to say "somewhere in East Yorkshire". However, I would highly recommend stopping by, or better yet, booking a night in one of their two boutique suites and making a romantic weekend of it. The pub was lovely and as rustic as you can imagine with comfy leather sofas and cozy snugs near big fireplaces. The perfect setting to imagine yourself a gentry land owner stopping by for a pint, or someone from EastEnders.
I can't believe it. Three years ago today I landed at Heathrow armed only with my favorite vintage furs, two overstuffed suitcases, impractical-for-London-footwear and buckets of naive optimism. I had no idea what was in store for me. And unbelievably, I'm still here!
I would never have imagined that my life was going to be turned upside down in so many ways, and every belief about myself challenged as I learned to navigate the transition from city life in Atlanta to city life in London. And trust me, there are very few commonalities between the two. Nothing unfolded as I had imagined - I found myself discovering a foreign city on my own with little support, no job prospects and an assortment of dubious accommodations. Throw in about a dozen other challenges that presented themselves quite quickly upon my arrival and - Voila - I had more invites to my own pity party than one could imagine.
I have only made it this far because of much needed support and encouragement from my mom and my best friends Sarah, Jeni and Kim. They spent many hours and calling card minutes consoling me, offering advice and the option to return immediately into open arms and spare bedrooms. However, this advice was paired with "Put your big girl panties on and deal with it. You can do this. I love you and I believe in you." For that, I am eternally thankful.
I absolutely don't regret my decision to move here, but it sure hasn't been easy. Yes, there are perks of course - London is unsurpassed when it comes to art, history, fashion, handsome suited and booted men and it's proximity to other really cool cities, but this experience has come with a few bittersweet sacrifices. By far, the best part of living here is that I have met some really awesome people who have made London bearable and most importantly, a once in a lifetime adventure (y'all know who you are).
As I wait anxiously for my tier 1 visa extension approval which affords me two more years and a path to British citizenship, I have learned many things over the past three years and here's a few:
1. London rocks and doesn't rock, often at the same time.
2. When the sun is out, London is truly a gorgeous & inspiring city.
3. As much as I fought against it, I do now say things like "rubbish", "whilst", "flat", "bespoke" and a whole string of swear words I won't type here. Yet apparently, I don't speak English.
4. The most important people in your life will always stay connected to you, and will fly hours to be with you.
5. You will stay connected to only the most important people in your life, and fly hours to be with them.
Luckily, I work in Mayfair. By luck I mean I have convenient access to some of the best restaurants, hotels, galleries and boutiques London has to offer. If I had been blessed with even more luck, I would actually be able to afford to live in Mayfair. However, the gods have yet to bless me that much. So as the present, I am quite content to have Mayfair's Mount Street Deli right around the corner. A gem for it's 'British style' coffees, gourmet cheeses and rustic sandwiches often enabling my own improvised lunch time picnic in Hyde Park.