Fourth of July State of the Family Address

It’s been three years this month since we moved to London for two years. We just renewed our visas to stay on for a fourth.

I don’t know what it is about Fourth of July that makes me wax wistful and nostalgic (and a bit rambly)… I guess maybe because we moved here in July, so it’s nearly the anniversary of our big move; and it’s our home country’s birthday, and so I’m feeling more patriotic than usual. (I’m not particularly patriotic, generally.)

I’ve always thought that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but maybe it’s a tie with the Fourth of July. They have a lot in common, when you think about it. Both are all about coming together with friends and family and neighbors and eating and drinking and enjoying a nice social atmosphere, with no gifts given or received. And they are both holidays that can be celebrated by all Americans, regardless of religion. And, unfortunately for expats, both are celebrated only in America.

We love you, England, but we are still Americans. Despite today being a school day and work day we are still celebrating our Independence Day. I feel a bit envious as I see the pictures friends post of all the fun things they are doing today—Fourth of July BBQs and parades and pool parties, eating watermelon and setting off fireworks, just classic American summertime nostalgia—while we are having only a small family celebration this year.

I have really fond memories of big neighborhood Fourth of July BBQs and fireworks displays from my own childhood. But our kids’ childhoods will just be a bit different than our own.

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Searching for fairy doors on the common today, making their own childhood memories

The girls still loved dressing in red, white, and blue; waving flags and sparklers; and helping me make patriot parfaits for a special dessert.

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Copenhagen With Kids

What a child-friendly city Copenhagen appears to be! I kept telling people. Oh yes, they would say, it’s a very family-friendly place! My in-laws had even returned from their visit there last year with this helpful brochure, “Copenhagen With Kids,” chockablock with playgrounds and other things to do with kids in Copenhagen.

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You know when is not a great time to take the kids to Copenhagen? When it’s cold and windy and rainy, and when it’s a random holiday you’re not aware of and all the shops are closed, and when there’s a big five-day music festival on. Our first day there had us thinking that maybe it wasn’t such a good family holiday destination, after all. (Spoiler alert: our opinion changed by the end of our trip. Read on.) Continue reading

Wimbledon No. 1 Court Celebration

Last Sunday, the famous Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club opened its new £70 million, five-years-in-the-making retractable roof over No. 1 Court (and also closed it, due to rain), and threw a big do to celebrate, which was broadcast live on BBC1.

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Since I have as yet been unlucky in the Wimbledon Championships ticket lottery every year we’ve lived here, and we won’t be here forever, I figured this might be the closest I ever get to attending the Championships. These tickets were easier to get, and I still got to eat strawberries and cream and drink Pimm’s while watching the pros play on the famous lawn court. And we had great seats, too! (Plus, some of the proceeds went to charity.)

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Weeee are the chaaampions

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In the Dark

Here’s a picture from a recent dinner out in London:

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Illuminating, no?

All right, it’s actually just a screenshot of a black rectangle, but that’s what our dinner looked like. We went to Dans le Noir, in Clerkenwell (yet another part of London I had never been to before), where the concept is this: You dine in total darkness, and are served by blind waiters. Continue reading