Sunday, May 22, 2011

Love affair with coffee continues.....

My love..... And where if I had not spent as much money as I have, I would own a few big baubles for sure. That would have been smart investing. But alas, I go for instant gratification, coffee it is. 
London is lined with cobble stone pathways wherever you go and on those are n number of coffee shops, barista's, mom n pops where you can enjoy the yumm brown thirst quencher.
I was not a big fan of cappuccino, once in a while okay, but if you anything about my love for coffee....I like it my way. London has made me change that. I am now slowly enjoying the cappuccino here. Frothy, served in ceramic white cups, with a hint of coco on top and a smiling server. yum yum yum.
Often you will find me on iPad enjoying the free internet at these cafes and sipping on a cappuccino no sugar please. 
Assimilating in the new culture I say.......

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cooking as a stress buster

Well... I enjoy cooking A lot. And one thing that I have been missing in this whole move process, is having my own instruments, my ingredients and my stuff to cook healthy, amusing things, having me and my family... ooh and aah. You see food is a very important thing in our household!
Yes we have a lovely kitchen (tiny but functional) in the hotel/ apt. we in temporarily. But its just not the same.
Add on it woes of school decisions, not finding the right apartment in the right budget and not being able to figure out... What The Hell is a Mew, and why is it soooo tiny! ;-)
I was tired... I pretty much threw family out( aka sternly requested hubby to take V to the park) and put on the music that I like. Looked as ingredients in my tiny doll kitchen and the pantry...and decided to cook something. Anything....

In all honesty, At time of writing, I still have not tasted it.. taken pictures of the dish, ingredients and hopefully if the experimentation comes out good, I promise I will post about the recipe and family reactions.
But honestly, the forty five minutes of cooking pots and pans, aromas filling up my room, music in my ears...made me refreshed! :-) I am a happy, cooking is a stress buster for me. Mainly because I get uninterrupted time to enjoy something, see the results pretty soon and above all, since I can sing without worrying that the glass panes will break.

As I wait for the family to return from the park... the table is set, the plates/ forks laid out.. and I am typing this away, crossing my fingers and really hoping that my 'experimental- zuccini-carrot-rice-pilaf- with stuff' came out okay to taste... it does look swanky.

What's your stress buster.... when you know things are out of your control (Like agents calling you back and saying what happened to the offer you put in for the perfect place, or schools that your daughter and you love have a tiny wait list and you are waiting for results... or above all.... when more than 90% of your belongings are in storage/ in transit and suddenly you missing them!)
Fill me in.

"Moving is fun... if you make it" That's my new mantra

Meanwhile fingers crossed, will report soon!

Monday, May 9, 2011

In the land of monopoly

I really think I am not in London but in monopoly board. The little I have seen London, it has station names like pica dilly , bond street, Oxford street and the likes....If this does not remind you of monopoly, I don't know what will. The cute part is stations like mayfair and marlyebone, were considered pricey in monopoly and from what my realtor told me...that's true here as well. Game emulates an actual city.

London is a very good mix, very different from an American perspective. Well I know I am Indian, but have been in US during my formative years, so let me say this, very different from an American returns perspective. 
The obvious like, wrong side of the road aside, subtle differences like, separate taps of hot and cold water, different stores for a different items. For example,in CVS in US, one would get pharmacy related things, milk, basic food and basically all you need for a forgotten not so much. I needed a crepe bandage for my sprained ankle, Sumit had to go to three convenience stores to get it....not that convenient if you think about it, eh?
But even other prettier differences, kids playing cricket in the park, cobble stone pathway s all around with the modern construction together like peas in a pod, a charming, delightful accent and the same adjectives used continuously by people around to describe the more, it's so cool, awesome....more ' refined' if you will.
The biggest surprise to me is the size.....everything is just small and for what NYC people would call shoe box is called spacious here. Take for example one three bedroom we saw, 650 sq. Feet had it all....three bedrooms, a fitted kitchen and two baths. It's beside the point that if I was walking in the passage, no one else could fit...yes we said no to that.
It's an interesting adjustments, in the week here I have come across a couple of other expats or migrants from America, the theme is different. Some have come to love this city with all it's splendor, activities, short falls and weather, some on the other hand are complaining about lack of space, amenities, air conditioning, warm beer, expensive( which I have to agree with, 3 dollars for 3 onions..... Seriously) and  the likes.

For me....I am enjoying this experience a lot. I am totally floored on the true inter cultural experience, the cobblestone pathway. Yes I am not a local yet..still in a lovely hotel, still figuring out the areas, the schools, the work and the embracing the city if you will. But for what I have seen..... I like, and what a Brit would's charming, eh?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

London- Day 1

Aaah! Wow, we are actually here.
The last few days in Chicago, our friends would ask us: 'Has it hit you guys that you are leaving US?' I would say... may be in flight it will.
But it did not.
It hit me when I arrived in our hotel in London... OMG, we are actually here. In new country and new land and everything slightly different. Away from our friends and family.
Day 1, I am happy to report was good, simple and jet lagged! :-)
The fun cab ride from Airport to Hotel... I had two snoring companions, Both Sumit and V slept as I awwed at the cobble stone paths of Kensington or the bleach white houses in Earls Court or gaped at the MI-6 building and the driver and I chatted about this and that.
We got in our hotel/ apartment suite and i did my customary walk through. Why are the switches all opposite, OMG, the Microwave is so small, oh wow, the switches, there are so many, one for possibly every light. ... and the weirdest.. Sumit tried to put the car seat on the drivers seat in the cab.. hehe, the cars also drive in the 'wrong' side. V worded it perfectly: "It's all ulta pulta'
Hehe.. minus all that, we had a lovely jet lagged sleep in the afternoon and then woke up and walked around. Per V's wishes, the first thing we saw: London Bridge...and honestly, she was tad bit dissapointed.. the Tower Bridge looked like the London Bridge. The weather was good.. the people around us sad: 'its 10-20' and it took me a few seconds to realize they meant in Celcius and not F!
The walk around the area was wonderful. I was touristy clicking pictures all over, cobble stone pathways, old world charm with a few new buildings, evening spring breeze and chirpy me. We saw Sumit's new office building, and I was gushing. V saw the Cathedral and said: Such a big castle.. over all, I know it will be good. Very different but good.
We did a customary stop at 'Tesco' and got some essentials... like Milk for my coffee the next morning. Sumit knows me way too well! :-D
I was in no mood to eat out......
Luckily, Sumit and his 'planning' he had got some ready to eat food from Phil, so we set the table, made yummy soup, noodles and toast and enjoyed our dinner. The Corn Soup has never tasted better.

Talking with our local friends was an icing on cake.
Pictures and more reporting to come soon... and promise, it wont be day by day.. am sure, you'd want to hear more fun stuff like....London fun stuff!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Today it is

All right... I guess its right to say: am off today to London.. in a couple of hours, will be on our flight...our long flight across to London.
Wow... we are actually doing it. Last few days hhave been a whirl wind.
More farewells, more packing material, more boxes and more trashing and more of everything.. we left Chicago after meeting our friends one more time. Came to East Coast, pretty much took over our friends house and had a blast with Baby A and V being the 'chatter box'. Of course meeting friends and dancing to moroccon cuisine on my friends birthday, walking on river trails, eating more and more and then just relaxing.
It feels like I am going from home to unknown.

I know it will be okay, its a step in the right direction, but this will be the first time for us in London.....

Wish us luck... and talk to you from London time