Flying From the U.S. to the U.K. During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Well, we made it back to London. (If you didn’t read my account of flying from the U.K. to the U.S. a few weeks ago, you can read it here.)

dulles

There were definitely more people around, in both the airports and on the plane, on our trip from Dulles to Heathrow than we saw going west in July. I think we saw a lot more people in the Washington Dulles airport this time because we weren’t in an international-flights-only area of the terminal; there were plenty of domestic flights departing from the gates around us. Continue reading

Flying From the U.K. to the U.S. During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Well, we made it back across the pond and to Virginia on Sunday. Deciding whether or not to make the journey back to the States this summer to visit family was probably a harder decision than when we were offered the opportunity to uproot and move to London with a 3-year-old and another baby on the way. More complicated.

Obviously, flying during a pandemic is risky; however, at the current time, the only people allowed to enter the U.S. are U.S. citizens, and Americans entering the U.K. are required by law to quarantine for 14 days, so direct flights between the U.S. and the U.K. are practically empty.

(BTW, I’m looking into donating to a carbon-offset project, because I feel pretty guilty about flying on a nearly-empty plane.)

Non-essential businesses have only just started reopening in London this month, and for the time being, the U.K. has things relatively under control.

Sign: Please no hugs no handshakes during coronavirus season
A local bar’s new outdoor seating on our high street last weekend, which is now closed to vehicles on the weekends

The U.S., clearly, does not. But fortunately the area my in-laws live in is not a big crowded city, and we are pretty much just staying put at their house. We recognized that this could be our only window for the rest of 2020 for flying to America to see our family. And while being locked down and not able to get to each other, we realized just how far away we really are. We decided it was important to go while we have the chance. Continue reading

Day 80: The End of Our Captivity, Sort of / Black Lives Matter

In our America, black lives matter poster

And on the 80th day (which was this past Tuesday), R went back to nursery school, effectively marking the end of this period of isolation for our family.

79 days in captivity chalkboard
Our count-up calendar is over, at least for now

She was so excited. We had talked about how things would be different there, and she seemed fine with it, as long as she got to go back and see her friends and her teacher. Hearing my 3-year-old ask about seeing her best friend again, “Can I touch her?” was just heart-wrenching. Continue reading

Anecdotes, Part 4

{My Anecdotes are posts in which I comment on my observations of unexpected cultural differences, or just amusing incidents that don’t really warrant their own individual blog post.}

1. Well, today is finally The Day. Brexit deadline is finally here, for real this time! No more extensions! Except that no one really knows what’s going on or how things are going to change or what it will mean for them, personally. It’s still a mess that no one knows how to handle. Continue reading

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.

img_1543 Continue reading