For the past few months, I feel like I’ve just been going through the motions. Figuring out our way around, finding a place to live, shopping for furniture, purchasing all new electrical items, looking into activities and nurseries for our daughter and the list goes on. While I was truly enjoying living here, I wasn’t fully embracing it. I recently signed us up for Storytelling and Music Sessions at Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday mornings. This week as we were walking the mile or so home, with the cold wind blowing in my face and the sky threatening rain, it finally clicked. This is our HOME. We live in London, one of the most amazing cities in the world. I get to listen to talented musicians tell children’s stories while playing beautiful instruments at Royal Albert Hall. To get there we can easily hop on a bus, take the Tube, or walk while passing multiple historic homes and buildings along the way. This is my new life. **Royal Albert Hall was opened by Queen Victoria in 1871 and typically hosts upwards of 800 shows each year. Many of the world’s top artists have performed here and it’s one of the highest regarded performance halls in the UK.
We have weekly Gymboree classes one street away from our home in this stunningly beautiful church built in the 1870s and these pastel-painted Mews houses are just around the corner. **Mews houses consist of rows of stables with the carriage house below and living quarters for the stable workers above. These were typically found behind large homes for the wealthy. Today, almost all of the Mews houses have been fully converted to living quarters. We live in a Mews house that was fully renovated less than a year ago.
We’ve visited the Victoria and Albert Museum three times and have seen less than a fourth of the museum. But no pressure – we can go back anytime we want! **The Victoria and Albert Museum was established in 1852 and the exhibits span over 2000 years of art. It is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design and houses over 4.5 million permanent pieces. And like many of the British museums, it’s FREE!
I’ve taken the little one to the Science Museum multiple times to play in an area called The Garden (since she’s not yet interested in the rest of the exhibits) that is an amazing room just for kids and also free. And though we haven’t yet been, the Natural History Museum is right beside the Science Museum as well as Victoria and Albert, all of which are less than a ten minute walk from our house.
Hyde Park, one of the largest and most well known parks in London, is a 15 minute walk from the house so we try to go at least once a week. They have a lovely, and very large, play area dedicated to Princess Diana and it’s filled with fun things to climb on, dig in and explore. A few more minutes down the road and you can visit Holland Park, where you could easily spend several hours exploring the gardens and playing on the playground. Yes, that’s sand on my daughter’s mouth in one of the pictures below. Sigh…
This is just a small sampling of what has become my daily routine. I’m still in awe that we’ve been blessed with this experience and we keep saying that we want to make sure that we take full advantage of the museums, the travel opportunities and the historic sites during our stay. But what I didn’t expect was that the daily grind was going to have just as much impact, if not more, than the days we set aside “to be tourists”. And as a result, I finally feel like this is home.