Okay, so we’re here. The painful months of Byron living in the U.K. while I was still living in Los Angeles, the seemingly endless weeks of packing and the ridiculousness of preparing a cat to travel overseas are at an end. We’re in our new home in our new town. Our furniture, however, has chosen not to join us.
After months of research into shipping companies and planning the timing of shipments and packing all of our worldly belongings lovingly and carefully for said shipment, one can imagine how disheartening (read: frigging unbelievably crappy) this turn of events has been. While our boxes arrived a mere week after we were told they would get here (after they took a brief sojourn in Luxembourg – who knew they had the travel bug?), our furniture didn’t even leave Los Angeles until it had been with the shipping company for four weeks. That’s right. A month. We had lived without furniture in L.A. for two of those weeks so that we wouldn’t have to live without it in England. Now three more weeks have gone by and we’re no closer to furniture heaven than we were before we left California. It’s like a math word problem. Only there isn’t an acceptable answer. Apparently our elusive furniture will arrive at our doorstep (actually, we’ve now been told we have to hire a moving van to go pick it up at the docks – seriously) sometime in July. JULY! We’ve been here since MAY! Yes, I know, the end of May, but still.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not all bad. Because we had ordered our beds for the London flat prior to leaving Los Angeles, we had those here waiting for us the night we arrived. They were, unfortunately, still in their boxes – in pieces. Thus, we spent the majority of the cold-and-stormy-typical-English-spring night that we arrived attempting to build a bed . . . after an 11-hour turbulence festival that our airline called a “flight”. (If I wasn’t a nervous flyer before, I sure as hell am now.)
That first night was an exercise in stress-relieving techniques – deep breathing, visualizing a sandy beach, calmly reciting a peaceful phrase over and over again. I was a walking how-to book for anxiety reduction in ridiculous situations. The excitement of finally making it to London was overshadowed by the fact that there was no hot water in the flat, the electricity was on the fritz, the cat immediately climbed into the chimney (and stayed there), and we spent three hours building a bed. Good times, indeed.
The week after that was spent lamenting over the boxes that were supposed to arrive the day after we did (dishes, cookware, etc.), trying to get the shipping company to tell us where our urniture was and eating take-out on the floor with plastic utensils and paper napkins. It was around this time that Daffy decided to venture out of the chimney (hallelujah) and try his luck in our second story windows. It took me forever (and Byron 5 minutes) to figure out that we could open the windows from the top, instead of the bottom, and therefore avoid Daffy flinging himself out of the window whilst trying to give chase to the downstairs kitty. Incidentally, the downstairs kitty’s name is Poppy and we have a fox in our backyard. Seriously. How British is this?
As a side note on the subject of neighborhood animals, we seem to have somewhat of a love-fest going on here. I do believe we have seen every possible animal coupling during the last three weeks. We’ve seen cows being spectacularly “lovey” and deer in the park having a splendid time. We’ve witnessed a particularly feisty duck pairing (she did NOT seem pleased by the whole thing, while he was practically effervescent with pride) and discovered that two happy humping pigeons live just outside our living room window.
It’s like the porn version of Wild Kingdom over here. I mean, I know it’s spring and all, but come on.
Another interesting tidbit on British culture (not that I think pornographic nature shows are “British culture”): small trash bins and remarkably unaccommodating trash collecting schemes. For those first few weeks here we were unfortunately forced to use our guest room as our trash receptacle. I know, it’s gross and wrong on so many levels but there’s a reason. The trash collectors here will only take what is in the trash bins and nothing else. So if it doesn’t fit in the bins, it’s not getting collected. Well, we just moved from America. So we’ve got a lot of trash and boxes and paper. Like, a ton. Each week we would take down as much as possible – our poor neighbors had no room left for their trash by the time we were done – and leave the rest in the guest room. Just this week we finally took down our last load. And by we, I mean Byron. The saint.
This final clean-out took place just in time for the first of our family visitors to arrive. My aunt and uncle and three of my cousins are here in London for a week. No, they’re not staying at our house, although my cousin, Veronica, has already named the guest room “Veronica’s Room” and made some serious plans to move in. We’ve had a lovely time so far. There’s been the necessary Big Red Bus ride, a visit to Harrod’s, a walk through the park and lunch at our local pub. The bus ride was memorable only inasmuch as it allowed for an exceptionally cringe-worthy moment. Our young, floppy-haired tour guide decided (unwisely) to make an entirely inappropriate (and largely unwelcome) pass at my lovely cousin (the afore-mentioned Veronica). After telling her that she looked like Angelina Jolie’s sister (to be fair to him, he’s not that far off the mark) he asked if he could kiss her (!) while simultaneously leaning over her in a fantastically lecherous way to deliver said kiss. Poor Veronica vehemently denied his advances while the rest of us looked on in shock, awed by his utter . . . for lack of a better word . . . cojones.
With the arrival of my family things begin to look up here in England. We actually did receive our previously ordered couch last week. The chair we ordered in April gets here next week. Our furniture from Los Angeles should be here in three weeks. My patience will be back in November.