Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Little Things. For example, laundry.

Wake up. Walk five feet to the toilet. Backtrack two feet to the kitchen doorway and take three steps in. Stand in one place and pivot back and forth between the sink, counter, and electric kettle to make hot water for the coffee. Step sideways two feet to the washing machine and remove the load of whites. Do a left face and walk ten paces to the first radiator in the flat and begin hanging clothes on every vertical surface available. The size of the laundry load is in direct proportion to how much space you have to lay out damp laundry. Forget about washing machine capacity. 

And so begins life in a 560 square foot London flat. It’s slightly larger than the apartment we had in NYC two summers ago. We had a washer and a dryer in NYC. We have a washer in London. No dryer. What is up with that? Something about nowhere to vent, but…I think it’s just weird.

We’re fortunate to have arrived before most other new teaching staff, as we got early picks on items donated by families and staff returning to America. So things like mixer, blender, juicer, mini-stereo, electric tea kettle, microwave…all obtained. Part two of being fortunate is that we found a flat just a seven minute walk away from the school so carrying all those things to the flat, over four trips, wasn’t so terrible. Not even in 85 degree sunshine. Sunny London!

The weather, by the way, has been lovely. It'll be a shock when the days go short (they are soooo long right now, still perfectly light almost until 9:30pm) and grey. I'm hoping it'll happen gradually. I'm told that the lovely cooling breeze will turn into a cold howling wind. I have just the running gear for that. 

Everyone who drives does so like a maniac. Mario cart. They honk at you before they attempt to run you down, though, so there’s that. 

The public transportation is both outstanding and frustrating. Everything is handled by the Oyster card, incredibly convenient. This is your "get everywhere tap in/tap out" card that you load. Like a Starbucks card but more confusing. A bus trip or a tube ride isn’t just £2.20. There’s some kind of daily-cap-logic-depending-on-where-you-start-and-end-at-the-end-of-a-24-hr-period algorithm that I think I won’t ever understand. We have an extra Oyster card for guests because you really can’t get anywhere meaningful without one - those days where you’ve walked your shoes off and just want to sit. It’s not difficult to spend £20 a week on this. 

In our effort to minimise expenses, we walk. We walk a great deal. Five or more miles a day. And we check our Oyster balance daily.  
Kent, at the Tate Modern

Tomorrow, our high speed internet connection is activated. Weeeeee! In the meantime, there are a ton of BT wifi hotspots that we’ve been able to attach to (because we signed up with BT) and conveniently a few near the flat. Not consistently, mind you - it doesn’t take the place of a good reliable router - but it gets us by. In four days our personal belongings will descend upon the flat and we’ll spend the next year figuring out Where To Put Stuff, and all those articles on Apartment Therapy will make more sense. This is good, too, because I need a drying rack or four, and two of them are in that shipment. See above issue with the lack of dryer.

We are five hours ahead of the US East Coast, eight hours ahead of the US West Coast, you can do the math for everything in between. And yes, they move the clock ahead for British Summer Time (BST). Oh the things we're learning. 

p.s. - the visa was finally approved and finally made it into my hands. yay! I can make money in the UK! If only I had a job... 


  1. First & foremost YAY on the visa part, now that you have it that weving instructor/LYS job will come availabe. :)

    If you ask Rachael, laundry capacity can be increased exponentially by putting everything on hangers as drying racks -- in which case then you just need rods and door andles.

    So glad to hear you were able to repurpose all that stuff from the departing teachers and donations. the electric kettle alone, is worth its wt in gold.

    been keeping track of weather.. consistentently 40-50degree diff in temp from you to me. one of these days we need to skype once you are set up for it

    Love Ya Girl! Keep the updates coming

  2. clip pin multiple items to one hanger socks & underwear epcially. hang multiple shirts on multiple hangers and then put the multiple hangers on 1 hanger perpendicularly - clear as mud... right???