Commuting Wars

What is it about walking on public streets when you’re in a hurry? Everyone is in your way, slower and walks into you on purpose. This has become a huge pet peeve of mine since my London commute began. In the mornings I walk about 2 miles through central London. Although it is before 830 am, there still seem to be aimless tourists about which totally negates my first theory as to foot traffic patterns.

In the US I always got the feeling that people walked to the right side of the side walk. It seemed an unspoken rule that you stand to the right on escalators if you weren’t going to walk, you walk slower on the right side of the side walk, you drive on the right side of the road, etc. The left lane is always the fast lane on highways. I assume this is because of the direction we drive on roads in most countries – the steering wheel is on the left side of the car and we drive on the right side of the road. Since this is more common practice than not, I wonder if the aimless, undirected foot traffic in London is due to this confusion. The Londoners want to walk on the left, the foreigners are used to the right, then mix in some lost tourists and people only looking at their phones, and you have one hell of a mess. Although on escalators you still stand to the right, walk on the left. There really is no rhyme or reason!

Trying New Things

When I say “WI” – what do you think of? Jam. Knitting. Bake sales. Old ladies who lunch. You would be pretty close. If there’s one thing I’ve learned since living here is that a lot of today’s culture has evolved from England’s experience ‘during the war’. Whether that’s slang expressions, architecture and town development to volunteer organizations.

WI“The Women’s Institute (WI) was formed in 1915 to revitalise rural communities and encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. Since then the organisation’s aims have broadened and the WI is now the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK. The WI will celebrate its centenary in 2015 and currently has 212,000 members in around 6,600 WIs.

The WI plays a unique role in providing women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, to take part in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities. ” – TheWI.org.uk

In my attempt to meet new people and have more in my life than just work and sleep, I decided to try the WI. The long-standing tradition of British women learning how to be home makers. Now yes, it’s known for being mostly old ladies making jam and singing Jerusalem. But in an effort to meet people locally and start building community for myself I thought why not try it? Anyone is allowed and maybe some meetings would have younger women. It is becoming more popular at universities, etc. We just don’t live near a university…. It seemed like a good idea – not centered around sports, drinking or work; getting together to learn new things and make new friends. And it was all of those things. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. I never felt like the new person. However the age range was late 60s to over 85 I’m sure. Womp womp.  The meeting lasted from 730-10! They started out giving corsage to ladies who have birthdays in January – aw. There was an hour-long presentation by an outside person – this week was on the changing face of London which was done by a man with lots of pictures of London. What his background or authority on the subject was besides “old man with camera who’s been to London a lot” I don’t know. It was fairly interesting. Then there was a 25 min coffee/tea break to socialize and sign up for events happening in the next few months. Next was the business part of the meeting – basically talking turns reading and reporting about events and campaigns listed in the monthly newsletter. There is a lot going on and lots you can get involved in if you want. At the end their was a raffle. You could buy tickets when we came in for something small like 50p and that money would go toward the chapter funds, the tea break etc. the raffle prizes were crap and they all told me so, but it was a fun thing at the end that people seemed to get excited about. They told me the prizes would always be something you could use: box of tea, reusable grocery bag, bouquet of flowers, etc. they did love it though when the numbers were called. Adorable. A few women told me their husbands had passed away and so the WI is great for them to have connections and friendly faces. I believe it.

Next month’s meeting will have a presentation titled “Buttons — everything you never knew”. Geezus. Even the old ladies giggled at that one.

I don’t think I’ll be returning, but they were so nice. There is apparently another chapter nearby that is supposed to be a bit younger. Apparently the meeting in that area closed for a few years….because all of the members were too old and died! So some younger women have restarted it. Younger could mean 50s, but I think I’ll check it out next month, can’t hurt.

Sufficed to say, we’re having some trouble with the work-commute-life balance at the moment so trying new things is the current remedy. They won’t always pan out, but there’s no way to know until you try. Sorry, that sounded a little too Pollyanna. We seem to be in that funny stage where people our age are starting to have babies which opens up a whole new community to them. I was telling one of the women at the WI that I was visiting their meeting as I was new to the area and looking to meet people. She told me not to worry, once I have kids I’ll meet loads of new people. While that’s true, I didn’t want to say, “But what if we don’t want kids?”. Maybe in a small town that does mean it’s harder to meet people. Our DC Bocce team was exactly what we wanted – a reason to get together once a week for a few hours. Since we paid to belong to the team, it meant we all showed up each week. As working adults our lives all run in different directions at different times, so keeping friends is a lot more commitment and effort than it used to be. Just means the ones you keep are important.

We did a bit of London exploring yesterday which was fun. Started around Borough Market, sampling cheeses and home-made breads. Then hopped on the Boris bikes for 30 min intervals (that way it’s still free within our membership) and went to green park, Buckingham Palace, Hyde park and even checked out Jono’s offices (very swank!). We ended the night with a greek restaurant and tickets to Shakespeare in Love. We love the movie but the show was a bit much. I thought it was really over acted, and there seemed to be a lot of running around the stage that didn’t seem necessary.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

In England we say: Faff

The ability of making an easy, usually logistical, process complicated.
“We were supposed to be there an hour ago but with all the ‘faffing’ we were late.”
I Love this term. Its fun, silly and cute. I love how the English have seemingly kid-friendly ways to say everything. Like saying ‘bum’ instead of butt. I saw this definition when looking around about ‘faff: Fucking Around for Fucking Forever.
Ok, sure. So English – proper on the outside, potty mouth on the inside!

The hunt is on…and quick!

We’ve started house hunting! How scary but fun! It’s only ‘quick’ because that’s how we make decisions 🙂 We know what we want, we know what the deal breakers are and we know what we can compromise on. I bet we make an offer/have a house in under 2 weeks. Last weekend we got a mortgage promise, so we set! We’re looking in the Tonbridge area, less than 1 mile from the main line station so we can walk there in the morning. This map shows where we’re looking, Tonbridge; Weald, the  village where we’re staying with Jono’s parents now; and then where our offices are in London.

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Our main requirements for a home are:

  • Walking distance to a main line station.
  • 2 bedrooms
  • Some kind of outdoor space. We want it for ourselves, but also Zoey is so used to being outside and LOVING it, that it would be a shame to have to keep her in now.
  • Some storage, but we know that’s hard to come by.
  • We chose Tonbridge because its close to family in nearby towns Weald, Leigh, and Hildenborough.
  • It’s close to London (40 min by train or little over an hour by car).
  • Close to larger towns with more shops, restaurants etc like Maidstone, Royal Tunbridge Wells and the larger mall, Blue Water.
  • Still has countryside to bike/hike/run in and its beautiful!

We have seen 3 places, will see one on wednesday after work, then have about 6 lined up for next saturday. I have to admit, the one we saw this past saturday morning is a HUGE contender. We’re pretty excited about it. It checks all those boxes and is REALLY reasonably priced, so much so that we could re model the kitchen in the next year and get something really nice.

It takes about 40 min on the national rail train into the center of London. We get the 7:03am train which means leaving the house at 6:45! Then its the train to Charing Cross and then I can either take the bike share/boris bike the 1.3 miles to work, walk, or take the tube for 5 stops. Walking takes the same amount of time as the tube and I haven’t been using it since the weather has been really nice. I’m sure that will change when its raining, winter, and nasty. Right now I alternate between biking and walking. The bike share bikes are exactly like the ones in DC and NYC and people here call them ‘Boris Bikes’ since it was London Mayor, Boris Johnson who brought them into the city. Jono bikes too from the station and I’m sure he’ll last in the bad or colder weather longer than I will. We both want to be at work 30 min before we need to be, since that seems to be the trend in offices. That means he has to be at work at 8 and I at 830. VERY different than in the US. I could get up at 815 and still be in on time.

There are some fun neighborhoods to walk through from my work through Fitzrovia and I kind of love it. There are a million fun restaurants little shops and awesome lunch cafes. There is this one extremely English tea shop. You know how in DC or NYC you might see a super trendy hipster coffee shop? Imagine it for tea. Loose leaf only, 25 different kinds, and adorable tea cakes. It’s called Yumchaa and it looks like nothing from the outside but its huge inside with a huge frosted greenhouse roof in the middle, which makes the whole place feel like the secret garden. Amazing. Don’t worry, we have a hipster coffee shop: Tap Coffee. The Tottenham Court Road location is 2 block across the street from my office. Its so hipster I didnt know the name until I googled it. It just says the address outside each one. They do delicious coffee but also great sandwiches, treats, salads and more. Then I go through a bit of Soho to get to Charing Cross station right next to Trafalgar Square and the train goes over the Thames with views of Parliament. It’s pretty sweet. Jono and I have been doing date night once a week in the city to try a new restaurant each week. SUCH fun.

Speaking of ‘such fun’ – I don’t know why I thought the mother in Miranda made up the phrase. Obviously a good joke comes from truth, but I love. Please watch that show if you haven’t yet. It’s on in the US – try the WETA UK channel in DC, some public tv channel will run it. It’s hilarious. Anyway, we were on the commuter train coming home last week and these three ladies who lunch in their 60’s were such a hoot to listen to. They used these phrases constantly and in only a well-dressed, doesn’t-read-the-times, lunch-hosting lady can make sound simply delicious: fabulous, hysterical, lovely, absolutely, such fun, great fun, sweet, lunch (yes, lunch) and why didn’t she bring the nanny?

Work is going well for both of us. We’re super tired at the end of the day, but its because 1) commuting takes much longer and we’re just learning so much at these new jobs. This will be my 4th week and jono’s 6th. I already have my first assigned trip – Barcelona in the first week of November to attend the biggest conference I’ll work on next year. 250 attendees – ha. Smaller than anything I worked on at CEA. I work mon-thurs then Jono is coming out thursday night and we’re staying until sunday. I’ve never been to Spain and he’s never been to Barcelona, so we’re looking forward to that. For me, work is getting easier, learning the ropes, their systems and getting used to the super open plan where my desk is connected to my bosses, lol. I’m managing 2 employees and its already a challenge. I’m excited for the challenge though and am really enjoying learning about this part of working. Jono is loving his job and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Side note: when we come home from work everyday, zoey comes out of the house bounding across the green to meet us and walk us into the house. Purring, meowing and unbearably cute.

We’ve had SUCH fun this weekend – from house hunting to #MaRawedding to running the Weald 10k and going to the Penshurst craft fair – it’s been a busy time! Here are some fun pictures:

Our friends Rachelle and Max got married on saturday. It was a beautiful, musical, upbeat ceremony with a humorous priest and lots of happy tears. For the dessert at the reception, they asked guests to submit a cake into their ‘Great Wedding Bake Off’ – in similarity with the Great British Bake Off. it was Such Fun.

I made a 3 tier Guiness and chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting. Transporting it was hilarious, but I made it!

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It wasn’t as pretty as the others, but I was pleased with how it tasted.

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Here are some other wedding pics:

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Then sunday morning we ran the Weald 10K. It was a gorgeous day for it! It was a hilly course, but it was super friendly and it’s nice to see neighbors and all the activity just right on the green in front of the house. It’s a real community.

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Sunday afternoon we spent at the Penshurst Craft fair and it was lovely. Lots of hand-made goods, delicious food and cool artistic things like people demonstrating how they make iron works, glass blowing, and others. I bought this gorgeous knit shawl:
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I of course couldn’t get out of there with out some pottery or jewellery! Gorgeous sycamore leaf/seed. Very full, productive and fun weekend. Especially with this amazing fall weather, you wouldn’t believe it DC. 60s MAYBE high 70s everyday. Be jealous.

In England We Say

Tart it up

Meaning to put lipstick on a pig, or quickly decorate to make it look a little nicer.

e.g.:

We won’t have to tart up the house we saw saturday much, it’s already really nice!

All is tickety-boo

I’m sorry, What? Tickety-boo? We’re clearly starting with my current favorite English phrase today. Jono’s mom, Hilary, said it weeks ago and originally I really thought it was just something she had made up (she can be goofy like that, when she doesn’t know the word she’s looking for), but she wasn’t! You can find it in the Oxford English Dictionary to mean, all right or fine.

So everything is all right! Jono has just started his second week at work for the Corporate Executive Board in London. I think it seems like a really good fit for him, so fingers crossed! It’s funny that their HQ is in Rosslyn in Arlington. We would drive by there at least once a week if not more when we lived there.

I start my job with Informa on Monday! I will be a Senior Marketing Manager for their life sciences division. It looks like a good fit so let’s hope it is.

My office will be about a mile from Jono’s in London, so we will do some commuting together. We will need to take a regional train from here in the south to the center of London which will take about 30 min. Then Jono has been taking the city bike share bikes for a 10 min ride to his office. He could also walk or take the tube, but this is probably the fastest and easiest. We’ll see what that’s like in the winter. It’s not like in the US where he would wear bike clothes then change into jeans at work. He is wearing suits mostly. I’ll probably tube from the center station, its one line and only 5 stops or so. should be 45-an hour door to door.

Over this past weekend we bought a car! It was an interesting process, but we dealt with it quickly and honestly like we usually do. We knew we wanted used, hatchback, but a little bigger than the golf. We wanted to spend under 10K. other variables that we wanted were the most fuel efficient we could find, so either Honda insight, since its a hybrid, or something manual and diesel. After looking many places we have ended up with a Vauxhall Astra CDTI 2.0 diesel automatic. It is a 2011 with only 12k miles on it! it was previously owned by someone who was disabled so it was part of a program that fits cars with equipment that helps disabled people use them. They go through rigorous check and have high standards in buying them back to resell them, so we know this was well taken care of. We also got lucky that it has all these sweet features we would never pay for, since they don’t hold their value such as leather seats, bluetooth, heated seats, etc. here are some pictures from online. We pick it up friday since its getting fully checked over etc. It’s similar in size and shape to the mazda 3 – which was a close contender.

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Other than getting things like that in order we’ve been having some fun too 🙂 We went to Paris for 4 days before Jono started his job, to celebrate. That was fun and it was so cool to be able to plan on a friday, go sunday morning and just hop on a train! We didn’t realize the tour de france would be ending that sunday evening at the arc de triomphe which was a block from our hotel.

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Otherwise, we were just general tourists.

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We’ve also been having great opportunities to spend time with family. Which is why we moved here. Whether it’s house sitting, taking grandparents to doctor appointments or making jam together, it’s been invaluable time. We are so grateful.

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In England we talk about the weather

We talk about the weather. A lot. I guess being on an island the weather does change frequently, but still it amazes me how much it is a topic of conversation. In the end, no one believes any weather reports and continues on. It might only just mist and no rain ever lasts very long, there aren’t thunderstorms, and no torrential down pours. Personally, I think it’s been amazingly gorgeous since we’ve been here. Maybe one misty rain, but otherwise sunny, and in the 60’s and 70’s during the day, down to 40’s at night. I don’t miss the humidity and hot nights of DC.

For instance, today has been gorgeously cool and sort of cloudy and I swear it was going to rain this afternoon and it even looks threatening now. But it won’t rain. I bet you anything.

Phrase/Word

What I am coming to realize is that since everything is new to me, I can’t tell if something I don’t understand from someone is an English word or saying, or something that person made up! Seems to be a lot of creative license with language around here and it’s making me crazy 🙂

Also – I realize now, thank you everyone, that a Moggie is a cat, not a cat lady.

Tickety Boo

This is a frame of mind. Things are all good, as they should be, etc.

However, when I first heard it, my MIL was looking at a map and saw a good place where one might cross from one side of an inlet of water to the other and said “yes, and here is tikkity boo”.  I guess that’s similar?

A cup of tea luv?

We’ve gone and moved our lives to England – what were we thinking?!

I can’t believe how smooth it has been so far. We arrived thursday morning and already today the cats have had their first day of being outdoor cats and came in before evening and are safe and sound asleep in the bedroom. I’m happy.

We put them on leashes in the backyard for the first few times, but now they know to come back. It’s great.

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Let’s track back a bit:

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The last 2 weeks before we left were really a blur. Lots of one last time eating at some favorite restaurants and hardly any exercise. Jono did an amazing job managing all of our packing, the movers and selling things on craigslist. We managed to sell all the furniture we wanted to and even sold the car for a good price. We stayed at my parents for the last week or so, after we sold our bed. It all went very quickly.

We went to a few more baseball games.

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The day we left we had a small drama at the airport but it all worked out. We had to be at the cargo area 4 hours before the flight to load the cats. The rule is that while standing up, the cat has to have 2 in between their head and the top of the cage. The guy at cargo decided that Madison did not have enough space and would need a larger cage. So mom and I ran off to the nearest petco 20 min away to buy a whole new cage. $80 for the new cage and an extra $200 on the cat’s tickets we were ready to go. They were really nice at cargo and got us upgraded to the extra leg room seats for the flight since we were so stressed about going to get the new cage.

When we were just getting in the plane the stewardess came to our seats and asked if we had animals with us and just wanted to let us know that they had made it safely on the plane. I started crying immediately because she startled me. I wasn’t expecting an update and when she asked if we had animals i was sure she was going to say they hadn’t made it, or there was something wrong with the cage. goodness. I learned my first new word of the trip: moggie. It seems to mean cat lover. The stewardess was so sweet and when she saw me tear up she said “oh don’t worry, I’m a bit of a moggie myself”. And so it begins.

Everything else in arriving was super smooth. Immigration barely looked at me, the cats arrived early through the pet reception center. I was even able to see them unload the cages from the plane from our seats on the tarmac.

We’ve been able to set up our iPhones to have UK numbers and data plans. Yesterday I was able to set up a bank account. I’m almost human again. We put our clothes away in the wardrobe in the bedroom we’re using and suitcases put away. It’s feeling less like a vacation now, but in a good, settled way. I’m not sure when it will feel like it’s ‘real’.

The weather has been amazing and we’ve been able to go for a few runs.

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Other than that, we’ve seen lots of other family, had countless cups of tea and been to a few pubs.
What more could we ask?

At the end of every post, I’ll try and list the new words and phrases I’ve learned. I need a clever name for this, so if you have any ideas, let me know! I’ve thought of the following:
Royalese
The Queen says
In England we (say, do, don’t..)

– cilantro is called coriander. I didn’t know this but the plant that produces coriander seeds, the spice, is the cilantro leaves.
– As about as helpful as a chocolate fire guard = means not helpful, since it would melt.
– Moggie – a cat, typically one that is does not have a pedigree or is otherwise unremarkable. I thought it was a cat lady, but I’m wrong.
– flapjack – not pancakes, but seems to be some kind of homemade granola bar?

End of summer

Get ready for a picture dump. It’s just such a great way to tell stories.

At the end of July I went on a business trip to Orange County, CA. We got to stay at the St. Regis in Monarch Beach and it was incredible. Do you watch The Real Housewives of Orange County? Tamra got married at that hotel. You can see it on the show that’s airing now about her wedding. It just incredible. The weather in DC at the time was miserable, and in OC it was amazing. We were so very lucky. We got to go to the beach every day too.
This is the division dinner we hosted, outside, of course:

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One very miserably hot bike ride in July. Jono wanted to explore the new wilson bridge trail. The trail itself is quite well-done and its nice. But damn, it was hot.

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The first weekend in August we took a weekend in NYC! We’ve never really liked NYC. It’s hot, busy, dirty, crowded. Make us anxious usually. For some reason, this weekend was good. We went up thursday night by bus and cam back sunday. The real reason for the trip was so I could go to Arti’s bridal shower on saturday in NJ. So I took a bus to her place saturday afternoon for the party. I loved being able to go up and celebrate with her 🙂

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The rest of the trip was spent walking. We did a lot of walking. I mean A LOT. It was nice. We walked the brooklyn bridge, ate some really great food and even got to see the Warby Parker office. Such a fun company. The weather was amazing and we ate a lot of good food. Obviously we stopped at Bubby’s Pie Company, my new favorite breakfast place.

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The second weekend trip we took was to Richmond. I wanted to see Jimmy Eat World when they came to DC, but it sold out so fast, that we decided to go see the night before in Richmond. Unfortunately the traffic was AWEFUL. it should have taken us 2 hrs and instead it took almost 4. By the time we got there it was almost concert time! Luckily there was still time to stop at a new cidery, Blue Bee. it was delicious, we brought home two bottles.

The concert was so much fun though. I felt like a high school kid again. I even bought a tour shirt. Ha. despite the traffic, we had fun. I’m not a huge fan of RIchmond, but maybe I just haven’t seen the right parts?

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Of course we’ve still made time for brunch on the weekends 🙂

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And time for friends. Sadly we’ve had to say See you Later to another bocce team mate. Andrew is following his dreams to go work in Africa and we had to send him off properly. Good luck to you friend, you’ll do great!

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Our friend Samantha is following in our footsteps a little – she’s dating someone who lives in Ireland. He came to DC to visit, so we had to take him to a baseball game. Terrible game, they lost, but we still had fun.

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And of course, we had to ring in Labor Day with a lobster feast at the parents with Tahir and Sheyanna. Too much good food.

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The perfect close to the summer was playing in the sweet 16 of the bocce tournament – AND WINNING! That’s right kids, we’re in the final 4 for the first time ever in outdoor bocce team history. We’re pretty excited to play next weekend in the finals.

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What a summer we’ve had. No real big trips, but lots of little ones, good food and family and friends. We’ve enjoyed some great TV too, as true americans. We’re all caught up on Breaking Bad. What an excellent show. I can’t wait for Walking Dead to start back again in October. In the mean time, we’re re-starting the West Wing, always quality TV. It’s sad how much it makes us wish government really was run like that. Of course Sorkin was pretty high on coke when writing the show, so what does that say? On the other hand, when this show was on TV most Americans thought Jed Bartlett was the REAL President. Geeze.

We have some great things to look forward to. Mostly October, my favorite month.

  • Arti and nirav’s wedding, Oct 5
  • Our 3rd wedding anniversary
  • Industry Forum, in LA. It’s my big work event and Ive been busy busy at work getting it ready, so I’ll be glad to see it all come together, and be over!
  • Going to see Rose-Ellen!!!! Since I’ll be on the left coast anyway, I’ll fly from LA to see them so it’ll be so much cheaper than flying from DC. Im super excited 🙂
  • We just bought our flights home for Christmas! We’re going back to England for almost 2 weeks in December. I’ve only spent one Christmas in England, 2008, and Jono hasn’t been home for Christmas since 2009. Too long.
  • The next big thing after that is…..ITALY!!! We’re planning an Italian road trip with the Goochs! I am so excited to 1 – see Italy and 2 – go on vacation with such awesome friends! It feels so adult…

Summer time and the livin’ is busy

June went by so quickly. We were busy. It was hot. There was a lot of good food, travel, friends and news!

I’ll give you the news first — Jono got his green card!!! Yippeeeeeee! That means that we won’t have to apply for another one for 10 years! holy moly. It’s a huge weight lifted off our shoulders and it feels good. It was quite a difficult thing to have to explain to the government that we’ve given you all the information you’ve asked for that we can give and you still want more? They had given us a list of ways we could prove we are really married and we provided everything on the list we had. Then they asked for more information. All the was left on the list was birth certificates for children that were a result of our marriage and any deeds to property that we own in both our names. No, we don’t have children or own a house yet because we’re not ready. Financially or personally. Just because we don’t have those things yet doesn’t mean we aren’t a legitimate marriage. It means Arlington is expensive! Also, the idea that those things would make us seem more committed to each other makes me crazy. Having kids and making large financial decisions when you’re not ready are some of the worst things you can do for any relationship! ok, rant over. We are official to the government, that’s what counts.

Since our last update we’ve hung out with friends:

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Bocce’s 2nd annual Memorial Day picnic.

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Jono introduced everyone to Pimm’s!

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Beer and Bourbon BBQ festival shenanigans.

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Beer and Bourbon BBQ festival gave you your BBQ in a jar! so fun.

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We went cider tasting, instead of wine tasting, so I could enjoy! It was quite interesting, the cider came in wine bottles and is a lot more like white wine than the type of cider you usually buy – Angry Orchard, Woodchuck, etc.

For a week in June I went to NYC for work. But I went up the weekend beofre with my co-worker Samantha and we got to play and eat!

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I even got to have lunch with Arti! What a treat. Can’t wait to head to NJ in October to celebrate her wedding to Nirav 🙂

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My first trip to the 9/11 memorial, really really well-done.

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The best brunch Samantha and I have ever had. Bubby’s Pie Company in Tribeca. You have to go and you have to get the pancakes. We even saw Heidi Klum across the street!

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Times Square, duh.

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The High line.   The High Line is a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It’s pretty cool.

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Samantha and I on our way to Sleep No More. We walked on the highline when ever we could.  I can’t really explain Sleep No More, except that it was very New York. This is what Wikipedia has to say:

Sleep No More is set in a building with five floors of theatrical action, putatively called the McKittrick Hotel, though with many rooms and features not normally associated with hotels, including those which resemble an antiquated lunatic asylum, doctor’s offices, children’s bedrooms, a cemetery, indoor courtyards, shops, a padded cell, a ballroomtaxidermist‘s menageries, and so on. The actors and their environment all adopt the dress, decor, and aesthetic style of the early 20th century, inspired by the shadowy and anxious atmosphere of film noir. The production “leads its audience on a merry, macabre chase up and down stairs, and through minimally illuminated, furniture-cluttered rooms and corridors.”[1] Audience members begin their journey in a fully operational lounge, the Manderley Bar, from which they enter an elevator that transports them to the major floors of the “hotel.”

Sleep No More tells the story of Macbeth, though the audience is given no programme and there is no speaking from either the actors or audience. The actors (unlike the audience members) wear no masks and perform in passionate, silent, interpretive group settings, solitary scenes, and, sometimes, dance sequences. Audience members are instructed to remain silent and masked at all times[2] once they have boarded the hotel’s elevator up until the time they return back to the Manderley Bar; however, they may move freely at their own pace for up to three hours, choosing where to go and what to see, so that everyone’s journey is unique; they may also exit the premises at any point.[3] Audience members may thus follow one or any of the actors throughout the performance, or they may independently explore the many rooms of the building; in groups or alone. Recorded music plays steadily throughout the building at all times.”

It was pretty crazy.

 

We also went to see Cinderella on Broadway. I know it’s a little cheesy, but we wanted to see SOMETHING on Broadway and we were able to get front row tickets cheap, so why not? Also, Bibi, from Fraiser played the evil step mother! Jono and I love fraiser and it was so cool to see a famous actress that I knew so close!

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I even got to have dinner with Leigh and Mike! All Around, an excellent trip. Work was successful and had lots of fun.

We’ve just enjoyed a 4 day weekend for 4th of july. We went to  BBQ, went on a long bike ride, mom and I went to see Anything Goes at the Kennedy Center and then went Cider tasting! Jono is currently enjoying the end of wimbeldon, tearing up watching Murray take the win. The first brit to win in 77 years. I’ll head down to the pool for a bit, read and then hopefully get my butt to the gym later.

With that short update, I’ll leave you with this. In the midst of all the good food, New York, Cider tours and the heat — there has been a lot of lazy couch sitting with zoey to keep us company.

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England, running and birthdays – OH MY!

Busy. Busy. Busy. That’s what we’ve been. I can’t even think of where to start! Work in April for me was super busy because we have our two major DC events in the middle of every April – Digital Patriots Dinner and CES on the Hill. I’m responsible for the marketing of the Digital Patriots Dinner and my boss is responsible for CES on the Hill, so we’re both really swamped for March and April.

Baseball season is now in full swing so Jonathan is happy and depressed at the same time. We’ve been to quite a few games already and even took off from work to go to the opening day game. We did this last year and I think it’s starting to be a tradition.

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We also got to travel to England this month for 10 days, which was wonderful. The first part of the trip was spent celebrating the Gooch wedding! Jonathan’s best man from our wedding, James Gooch, married his wonderful girlfriend Carly on May 4. Jono was an usher and it was so great to have a reason to have all of the friends in one place and get to celebrate such a wonderful couple. The weather was gorgeous the day before and the day after – but the day of it really rained and was cold. We helped them set-up and decorate the reception area the day before and really had a blast. The day of I got up early to run and it was so sunny and beautiful – but by the time of the wedding it was cloudy and cold. It was just a wonderful weekend all around with friends which made us really miss living there.

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Home.

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Getting to see and hang out with old friends is so priceless.

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The gorgeous bride and grooom! We couldn’t have been happier to be there to celebrate this important day with them

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Just general debauchery 🙂

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Carly changing her facebook status to married at breakfast the next morning. So important!

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The morning after….

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So much love for all the Gooch’s!

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Playing cards with Dad at the kitchen table. classic.

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A day in London with Heather!

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Taking the gondola across the Thames with Mom and Dad.

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Getting to visit Pop.

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Pop’s picturesque english home.

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We even got to go visit Victoria and her adorably silly twins! George and Zoey.

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Our last night down at the village pub with the family. so typical.

The rest of the trip we got to spend with wonderful family. We had a lot of quality time with Jono’s parents and Heather but then also got to visit grandparents. The weather was sunny and nice the whole time, we were really lucky. We did some London exploring, running in the country side, went to see stock car racing and lots of eating! It’s interesting how food and snacks that are really mundane to natives can be such a treat to others. I really LOVE dark chocolate Digestive cookies. They are pretty run-of-the-mill to people who live in England. I ate a TON while we were there. I was surprised to only have gained 4lbs on the trip! I did a few long runs – which still

surprised me. That I can run. I did 13.7 mi the last date we were there. Yikes!

The trip definitely reinforced for us a few things:

1. We can’t go another 18 months before our next trip. We’re going to really try and go back for Christmas. We haven’t spent Christmas at home since 2008. That’s a long time.

2. We want to live in England. We’ve always wanted to and always known it will happen. I think this trip just reinforced a little more that feeling. Obviously it’s a lot to work out, think about and plan.

This past weekend we had a lot of fun with friends and family celebrating my 28th birthday and running the Color Run! Friday was my birthday and we spent the evening with my parents at our favorite Asian restaurant and ended the evening with lovely Georgetown Cupcakes! The birthday celebrations continued saturday night with dinner out with friends at El Centro, a Mexican restaurant that I’ve heard way too much about and then out to a rooftop bar afterwards. We had a lot of fun and I feel very lucky to have so many good friends and family who celebrate me.

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Birthday Dinner and cupcakes with the parents.

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Out in DC with friends for my birthday. I’m a lucky girl.

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Another task Jono and I have taken on seems to have been running? We’re still not really sure how we feel about running, but we seem to be doing it a bit. I’ve done a few long runs – 10, 12, 13 miles at a time – with I guess just the muscle and stamina I’ve built up from spin and weight-lifting  classes. Neither of us have proper running shoes, so we went and got fitted at a real running store and the shoes should come in the mail today. We’ve both been wearing shoes that are way too small and suffering because of it. I also didn’t realize that you should get new running shoes every 8 months at the latest. That seems so crazy, I’ve had my current sneakers for about a year and they are still in good condition, I mean used obviously  but I wouldn’t feel ok about throwing them out. At the same time, they aren’t running shoes and my feet really hurt from the last run I did in them. ugh, why does being healthy have to be so much work and cost so much!? 🙂

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This me and girls from my office doing the Crystal City friday 5k runs.

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Before the color run…we were clean.

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After. Not so much with the clean.

It’s been a fun few months.

Spring has not sprung

Oh global warming, how scary you are! No, really. It snowed 3 inches on monday. Seriously? I mean it was all gone and rained away by evening, but still.

The big shake-up around here has been my haircut! what exciting lives we lead, right? I cut it shorter. Just when it couldn’t go shorter, I needed to change it up a bit. I did this 3 weeks ago and I’m still not totally convinced I love it. The color is fun.

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My inspiration came from Frankie Sandford of the Saturdays. 

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Obviously I found many shorter styles I liked on pinterest, so I took them all in to the same woman who has bene cutting my hair since I had bangs in high school and she did a great job. We’ll see how long I keep it, but it’s fun to change things up a bit.

I couldn’t NOT share these adorable photos from Rose-Ellen’s visit last month.

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Rose-Ellen’s last night in a-town, at Northside Social

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Me, Katelyn and Rose-Ellen – Kisses!!

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Forever “Baby Katelyn”

While on her visit here RE got me started watching The Walking Dead. Oh my gosh. They are just finishing season 3 and it took me about 1 1/2 seasons to decide I like it. Such a strange show. It’s about the Zombie apocalypse but it’s less about the zombies than it is about a group of survivors and how this new environment either changes people, or it doesn’t. Very interesting. A few of my co-workers are really in to it too, which makes it fun. It’s always more fun to have people to talk about it with.

Otherwise March has flown by. I can’t believe it’s Easter this week. A few weeks ago my cousin Leigh was in town and we got some family  together, which was fun. A nice change. None of our family has ever really been in the DC area and now Sheyanna and Tahir live here, so it’s fun to spend more family time.

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Mom, Leigh, Sheyanna, Tahir, Dad, Jono and me

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We’re headed home to England for May 1-10 for the gooch’s wedding — we’re pretty excited about that. We hope to be able to take a little road trip too, maybe see the town where Jono’s university is and go visit Heather at her school in Whales. I’m excited to travel again. It’s been too long.

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