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Saturday, November 27, 2010

First Thanksgiving in London

   I have to say our British friends here were very sensitive and respectful to our Thanksgiving tradition.  People here are very intrigued by our American holiday, and why we spend a holiday eating too much and saying Thanks.   To be honest the British can be very skeptical of many American beliefs and ways, but I think Thanksgiving is definitely an exception.     
   On Thursday as I drove my 2 mile commute(yes I point that since the past five years I have commuted every week to NY and NJ!) it hit me that I take Thanksgiving for granted.   There was this empty feeling in my stomach as I thought "no family, no Turkey, no football, no 4 day weekend........"   It really hit me.
   I bought my office team lunch and they were very gracious in their way of honoring our Holiday, as they insisted we shut the phones off and all sit together and enjoy our Chinese-takeout Thanksgiving lunch.   As I explained to my colleagues what the holiday is all about, I answered question after question after question about our great tradition.  It was nice, it wasn't home, but it was something to be thankful for.....
   Heather felt the void too.   I knew it would be tough for her not being with her parents and family.  We tried to decide all week what to do to celebrate.   So Heather put together a fantastic Turkey Dinner Thursday night just for the 4 of us.  This time the turkey was small (British style) but delicious, as were the sweet potatoes, the stuffing, the vegetables, the wine...unlike US style, there were no leftovers, but we were stuffed.....and very thankful!
   I started dinner with the traditional Pelatowski family toast (the kids love clicking glasses together when we start dinner).   I toasted "to the three bravest people I know:  Ryan, Mandy and Mommy"  Right then it hit me again. Here we are away from family on our first big holiday, but feeling like this was really special: we've survived the move and are flourishing together!  Thank you Mandy, Ryan and Heather.  
  This year, I didn't take Thanksgiving for granted......

 
To our families, friends and neighbors:  thank you too, and see u in 3 weeks!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thoughts thus far....

So we have been here for a little over 5 weeks now and what an interesting 5 weeks it has been!

We have furnished the house, connected to the world again via phone and internet, found our way around town both by foot and public transportation, made three trips into the City of London, the kids have started school and are making friends, I have begun to meet moms and make friends of my own, Ryan is using the potty, Mandy is starting to read on her own, Keith is shaking things up in the UK and moving things in the right direction, and we have found a babysitter!!! Not bad for only 5 weeks in a new country!!!

Here are some pictures of the house with furniture in it!

Kitchen/Sunroom




Laundry/Utility Room



Livingroom/Playroom




Ryan's Room



Mandy's Room




Our Room


Third Floor



So what have I learned in my 5 weeks abroad....

I've learned that food in England doesn't taste as bad as people tell you...
I've learned that walking the kids to school in the rain sucks...
I've learned not to over buy at the grocery store because I have to carry it all home...
I've learned that I miss my Acadia...a lot...
I've learned that Dunkin Donuts is a great place afterall...
I've learned that everything moves at such a slooooow pace here...
I've learned that less really is sometimes more...
I've learned that slowing down can sometimes be a good thing...
I've learned that nightly family dinners around a kitchen table make our family stronger...
I've been reminded that my kids are the most amazing little sponges who are taking every bit of their new life in...
I've been reminded that my husband is intelligent, capable, strong and a great father & husband...
I've been reminded that I am more capable than I think I am...
I've been reminded how lucky I am to have the loving family and friends that I have in my life...
Finally, I have learned that sometimes the scariest change can turn out to be an amazing opportunity in disguise.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ryan's Blog

So I thought it was time for me to write a little in our blog on our London move.   Heather and the kids have placed a lot of faith in this decision to journey far away from our families, friends, and comfort of Connecticut.  I always had faith that we would adjust well, as tough as it might be initially, to this new way of life.  But I have to admit I am impressed with how well we have settled right in.   It's been a cool experience thus far.  And we're only at the very beginning......

Heather has posted about the kids and like any proud parent, bragged about them.  It's my turn, and today it was about my boy Ryan.   Like Mandy, the little guy has stepped up.   He had a big 24 hours - went on the poddy for the first time both #1 AND #2 (although #2 did get interesting, won't comment on that), and then woke up and attended his first day of nursery school with his new British classmates.   Ryan is an interesting kid, it's been great watching him grow and demand his independence.   He's a stubborn little dude but also very chill when he needs to be.  I'm not predicting it but he'll crush some heads on the gridiron someday.

Last but not least, it's been comforting to see Heather start to settle in.   Leaving a close family and tight set of friends to a new world without her Acadia and without a Dunkin Donuts, well, that says it all.   We have had our sad moments here, but the experience has already brought us closer together as a family.   Above and beyond the opportunity to work in the UK was the real reason to do this - to grow together.  I must admit I had never previously desired to work (or live) internationally,  but now that we've taken advantage of this opportunity, it really makes me appreciate everything I have back in the US and all we take for granted, very eye-opening.....

Until next time.   Oh, and good to see the Cowboys wake up and make a change.   I'm rooting for Jason Garrett.  
Keith
 
Ready for school


 



All Done With Day One!



Sunday, November 7, 2010

Our Trip to Madame Tussauds....

Saturday afternoon we ventured into London so that we could take the kids to the famous wax museum, Madame Tussauds! We had a blast looking at all the different figures! Mandy wanted to pose with every female figure that was in a flashy dress, and Ryan desperately wanted to see Spiderman and Iron Man. There were a TON of people there, so getting our pictures with all the figures we wanted was impossible, but we managed to squeeze in with some of the important ones.

After walking through all the different rooms with the figures, there was a ride (like one in Fantasy Land in Disney) that took you through the history of England, touching on some of the important historical people as well as the various battles the country has faced. The last stop...The Marvel Superheroes 4D movie...AWESOME!!!!! Ryan LOVED it!!!

Overall, the Museum is a MUST for anyone visiting London, lots of fun!! Hope you enjoy the pictures!