Exploring New England: Day Four

A few Autumns ago I was wrapping up a mini road trip around New England. On day four I travelled from Hartford, Connecticut through Rhode Island, where I detoured to visit a corn maze, and finished in Boston, where an unexpected adventure awaited me that night.

I began by visiting the Mark Twain Museum, but I only looked at the outside before starting the drive to Salisbury Farm in Rhode Island.
Connecticut to Boston 030 Connecticut to Boston 035 Connecticut to Boston 042 Connecticut to Boston 051 (2) Connecticut to Boston 060 Connecticut to Boston 065 Connecticut to Boston 070 Connecticut to Boston 071 Connecticut to Boston 073 Connecticut to Boston 075 Connecticut to Boston 078 Connecticut to Boston 081Finding a corn maze open during the week had not been easy, and it was very quiet – eerily quiet in the deserted corn maze. The maze was made of the words ‘Boston Strong’, in tribute to the bombing at the Boston Marathon earlier that year.  Connecticut to Boston 093 Connecticut to Boston 099 Connecticut to Boston 100 Connecticut to Boston 102 Connecticut to Boston 110 Connecticut to Boston 115 Connecticut to Boston 119 Connecticut to Boston 120 Connecticut to Boston 121 Connecticut to Boston 127It took me some time to make my way out, and as I struggled through the ‘R’ I was forced to admit that I had overestimated my maze-routing abilities. Connecticut to Boston 147 Connecticut to Boston 021 Connecticut to Boston 132I was pleased to finally emerge from the maze exit, but I had another challenge awaiting me: driving into Boston in peak hour on day one of the World Series at Fenway Park. And so my road trip story ended after the traditional crisis and climax situation, followed by the wonderful resolution of arriving at a cosy hostel (HI Boston) and the bonus, unplanned activity of World Series Game One that night.

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Haworth & the Bronte Parsonage

One of the first things I wanted to fit in to my two years in the UK from long before my arrival was a trip to Haworth to visit the Bronte Parsonage. I had finished my Master’s dissertation only a few months before landing in London and the Bronte sisters were one of my case studies, and through my research I found they were quite fascinating.

Charlotte, Emily and Anne grew up in the village of Haworth in Yorkshire, which happily is rather well preserved and still very small, making it easy to imagine what their lives might have been like there in the 1800s. IMG_9005 IMG_8985 (2) IMG_8982 (2) IMG_9002 (2) IMG_8980 IMG_9009 IMG_9027 IMG_9034 IMG_9014 (2) IMG_9015 (2) IMG_9040 IMG_9045 (2) IMG_9051 (2) IMG_9049 (2) IMG_9043 (2) IMG_9059 (2) IMG_9352 IMG_9363 IMG_9456The parsonage is on top of a hill on the outskirts of the village, with only moors and I presume some farms behind, and a cemetery, complete with the church where the Bronte family are buried, in front. The day I was there was so incredibly foggy and dark that it was difficult to see much beyond the stone walls that surround the house, but it felt like just the lonely place I had imagined — and that I’m sure inspired many of the well-known homes in the Bronte novels. IMG_9084 (2) IMG_9150 (2) IMG_9140 (2) IMG_9131 (2) IMG_9118 (3) IMG_9126 (2)IMG_9288The reason I was so fascinated by the Brontes, and so eager to visit their home (where the majority of their short lives were spent apart from brief periods abroad, but more importantly where they learned to write and composed some of what I believe are the most beautifully-written books) was because I think anyone that can write the way they did about human nature after rather uneventful lives with relatively little social interaction, not to mention their ages at the time of writing such books, must be incredibly intelligent with an almost supernatural understanding of the world. IMG_9128 (2) IMG_9154 IMG_9178 (2) IMG_9098 IMG_9185 (2) IMG_9213 IMG_9386 IMG_9334 IMG_9340 IMG_9412Perhaps I visited on the one day a year the weather is so poor, but in my experience the village, the parsonage and the moors in particular are just as mystical and gloomy as the most miserable places the Brontes wrote about, and in the end it was a day that fulfilled all of my Haworth hopes. I cannot say I wasn’t happy to return to the bright lights of London though!IMG_9446

The crazy year that was 2015

This post breaks what must be my longest ever drought between posts. Over the past year I have collected a fairly decent number of passport stamps, taken on new projects and relocated twice, which has left my blog a little neglected.

So to catch up a little…

2015 started on Primrose Hill in London, before I travelled to Qatar for the 2015 Men’s World Championship — my first of many tournaments last year.  IMG_20150114_181650 IMG_20150127_215941 IMG_20150129_182120 IMG_20150201_020506 IMG_20150202_062953I then raced back to London for 10 days that passed way too quickly, as the two years preceding them had.  IMG_20150208_161800 IMG_20150211_134322 IMG_20150211_183758Then it was on to Morocco with SA, starting with FezIMG_20150213_145916 IMG_20150213_154330 IMG_20150225_215917 IMG_20150214_141233Followed by Chefchaouen, where we were cursed with bad weather that meant we spent a large portion of time huddled together for warmth in the hotel. IMG_20150216_165315 IMG_20150216_174259 IMG_20150225_223430 IMG_20150217_132223 IMG_20150225_224104 IMG_20150225_224452 IMG_20150219_164737 IMG_20150226_130412 IMG_20150226_130441 IMG_20150226_130627 IMG_20150220_170135We had purposefully left some parts of our itinerary unplanned, and decided based on excellent advice to detour via Meknes en route back to Rabat, where our Moroccan adventure concluded. IMG_20150226_130754 IMG_20150226_131443IMG_20150222_121050 IMG_20150222_131746 IMG_20150226_132235 IMG_20150226_132605 IMG_20150226_132804From Morocco I travelled straight to Spain to visit my brother, who was studying in Murcia in the south. It was the end of February and already close to 30 degrees many days. IMG_20150226_180833 IMG_20150226_202825 IMG_20150228_145008 IMG_20150302_174847 IMG_20150304_181907IMG_20150308_165744 IMG_20150308_175538Next was Amsterdam for a couple of weeks before Paris, from where I would say goodbye to Europe for the forseeable future. IMG_20150317_195703 IMG_20150318_143153 IMG_20150318_143748 IMG_20150318_160436 IMG_20150318_173623 IMG_20150318_213212After a perfect couple of days in Paris I endured a 12-hour flight to Hanoi minus on-demand entertainment or sleep, but the tedious hours were forgotten when I arrived in the lively, leafy city, which was waking up for the day very quickly. IMG_20150320_034408 IMG_20150320_033823 IMG_20150320_135624My Vietnam travel companion was Daniel darling, who I met in London and also visited Vienna and Switzerland with. Hanoi was the base for our explorations, which included Trang An, Sa Pa and Cat Ba Island.  IMG_20150321_184055 IMG_20150323_195811 IMG_20150323_194616Processed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcamIMG_20150326_223538Processed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcamFrom Hanoi I flew to Siem Reap, Cambodia, with plans to continue to Phnom Penh which I changed after learning that the lakes were too dry to travel by boat and that the around 300 km journey by road takes approximately eight hours — but this was far from a negative. I enjoyed Siem Reap in every way. Processed with VSCOcamAngkor Wat was probably one of the first places I dreamed of travelling by myself back when I used to pick up travel brochures at my university’s agency, but I had forgotten that until I was walking along the stoney entry road in the dim dawn light and saw the famous outline of the temple ahead of me. At that point waking up at 4 am to make it in time for the sunrise was very much worth it.

As it was a cloudy day the sunrise was a bit underwhelming, but  I stayed sitting there long enough that the sun finally broke through. Processed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcamIn Siem Reap, apart from visiting Angkor Wat, I mainly ate delicious food and drank cheap roadside smoothies, along with a few visits to museums and a cooking class, all of which I would highly recommend. Processed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcam with m3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 presetProcessed with VSCOcamNext I conquered the bus ride from Siem Reap to Bangkok, which involved a lengthy border crossing and a rather longer overall journey time than I was told to prepare for, but eventually saw me settling in for a couple of days of sightseeing and a trip to Elephant’s World before the arrival of my Thailand travel buddy, Rachael. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcamIMG_20150406_003102IMG_20150405_170621IMG_20150405_152840Rachael and I headed straight to the islands: first Koh Mak for three days then Koh Kood for another three. The islands themselves were absolute paradise, but we were hit hard by food poisoning that week which resulted in me hiding in the hotel room for most of the time in Koh Mak and Rachael taking her turn in Koh Kood. IMG_20150406_191506IMG_20150409_074957IMG_20150410_204555IMG_20150410_211117IMG_20150411_190006IMG_20150412_081446IMG_20150409_105853Our recovery was well-timed with our return to Bangkok for Songkran, the massive New Year celebration involving a huge waterfight throughout the city, which was just as awesome as it sounds. IMG_20150413_092500IMG_20150414_111651Then it was time for me to board the plane to Australia, after close to two and a half years away.

Returning home after such a long period is a surreal and bittersweet experience. After many years as an expat I feel increasingly foreign each time I arrive home, and find simple things like talking to people in shops who share the same language and even accent as I do very strange, but I appreciate Australia more every time. IMG_20150508_163012 IMG_20150509_122521 IMG_20150509_123819 IMG_20150509_124541 IMG_20150509_131838 IMG_20150509_132228 IMG_20150510_124548 IMG_20150510_151215 IMG_20150510_153531 IMG_20150510_153814 IMG_20150510_160857IMG_20150520_141618IMG_20150524_133433 IMG_20150528_103313 IMG_20150531_101901 IMG_20150531_102720 IMG_20150531_105755 IMG_20150531_110122 IMG_20150607_084116 IMG_20150607_085240 IMG_20150607_092542 IMG_20150607_093908 IMG_20150607_102559 IMG_20150607_110644 IMG_20150607_165540 IMG_20150607_165918 IMG_20150607_170037 IMG_20150607_170243 IMG_20150607_170703 IMG_20150608_134232 IMG_20150618_124240 IMG_20150620_122126IMG_20150711_130437 IMG_20150712_103027 IMG_20150712_103321 IMG_20150712_134629 In July it was time to hit the sky again. Four flights took me from Brisbane, Australia to Uberlandia, Brazil for the 2015 IHF Men’s Junior World Championship…IMG_20150717_080242 where I discovered Pão de Queijo…. IMG_20150719_095032 IMG_-2jozbsCelebrated my birthday… IMG_20150723_000816 IMG_20150730_173209 IMG_20150731_124329 And France won one of their three world titles of the year.IMG_20150801_203019Then, much sooner than I had expected when I left in February, I returned to London for a whirlwind two and a half-day visit.  IMG_20150803_165331 IMG_20150803_184949 IMG_20150803_185800 IMG_20150804_110730 IMG_20150804_142253 IMG_20150804_143009 IMG_20150804_143035 IMG_20150804_212244 IMG_20150805_165342From London it was on to beautiful Ekaterinburg, Russia for the Youth World Championship. IMG_20150806_185447 IMG_20150808_113246 IMG_20150811_213834 IMG_20150812_204635 IMG_20150815_180657 IMG_20150818_171844 IMG_20150818_175024 IMG_20150821_062209Then it was time to decide what to do next, and so after hours of sitting on planes thinking about my options plus a few work considerations that had popped up over the previous weeks, I settled on moving to Amsterdam. I returned to Australia for a too-short 10 days during which I tried to squeeze in my favourite things, including a visit to the far north coastIMG_20150829_163910IMG_20150829_151521IMG_20150829_172500 IMG_20150830_133556 IMG_20150830_142609 IMG_20150830_144402 IMG_20150830_160421 IMG_20150830_160639 IMG_20150830_161431 IMG_20150830_162634And a last evening of noodles and ice cream.IMG_20150901_191413 IMG_20150901_203330IMG_20150905_123205 IMG_20150905_124636 IMG_20150905_132642 IMG_20150905_132959Before I knew it it was time to say goodbye again.  IMG_20150905_193428Six months later, after an initial arrival period dominated by visa applications and the like, a World Championship and a EHF EURO, and apartment hunting, I am slowly settling in Amsterdam. And this year is shaping up to be almost as eventful as 2015.

Northey Street Market

If you love organic food, you’ll love this market. Sprawled underneath fig trees on Northey Street in Windsor, this market is home to fruit and vegetables galore; locally-made honey (nothing beats Aussie honey); nuts, grains and oils; cheeses; fresh juice; and plenty of inventive breakfast options. It’s popular but when I was there was far from overcrowded; just happy people doing their weekly shopping, enjoying the buskers and savouring laidback meals.

Like with any organic food, prices are higher than your run-of-the-mill supermarket, but you get what you pay for. And if, like me, you were horrified by this recent experiment where a Swedish family switched to organic for a week with rather noticeable results, you might agree the extra dollars are worth it. IMG_7116 IMG_7118  IMG_7124IMG_7128 IMG_7129IMG_7134 IMG_7136 IMG_7143 IMG_7146 IMG_7147IMG_7154 IMG_7155 IMG_7159 IMG_7161 IMG_7170 IMG_7171 IMG_7173 IMG_7175 IMG_7186 IMG_7192 IMG_7193 IMG_7194 IMG_7199 IMG_7202IMG_7210 IMG_7213 IMG_7214 IMG_7216 IMG_7218  IMG_7242 IMG_7244 IMG_7245 IMG_7246 IMG_7253 IMG_7250 IMG_7258 IMG_7259

A day at Elephants World

Elephants have always been my favourite. When I was little I knew every line from Dumbo and used to embarrass my parents by walking around in public pretending to be an elephant, with my arm extended in front of my face in an effort to look like a trunk, occasionally emitting ‘elephant noises’ I’m sure were completely inaccurate impressions. So when I was planning my trip through southeast Asia I knew I had to see some elephants up close.

Prior to my visit to Elephants World I wasn’t aware just how damaging the trekking industry is for the elephants’ health, but I knew that riding one or seeing a show where they were trained to do completely unnatural things was not what I wanted to do. I wanted to go to a place where I could be among them. I came across a list of animal-friendly places to see elephants throughout Asia, which is sadly a very short one. Elephants World was the most practical to fit into my itinerary, so I went ahead and booked. IMG_6109 IMG_6119IMG_6134IMG_6145IMG_6154 IMG_6164 IMG_6199
At Elephants World the focus is on working for the elephants, rather than having the elephants work for the people. It is a sanctuary for retired and rescued elephants, most of whom come with a sad story from their past. The one-day visit includes feeding the elephants, preparing their food, and washing and swimming with the elephants in the river. It’s certainly not an easy day — it was hot and we really did work, but I enjoyed every minute and was happy to know I was genuinely contributing to helping this place fulfil its purpose. IMG_6206 IMG_6217 IMG_6220
Upon arrival we fed the elephants from a big basket of fruit and vegetables. I was a little intimidated at this stage, as I stood in front of this enormous animal which took each piece of fruit from my hands with such strength, but as the day went on I quickly felt quite comfortable walking near them. Every elephant has their own mahout who takes care of and directs them specifically, and they do a great job of monitoring their elephant’s mood and making sure visitors and the elephants are safe.

After the first feeding we watched the elephants go for a swim, then began preparing the sticky rice balls for the older elephants. IMG_6226 IMG_6241 IMG_6243
Some elephants are tied up but it is only temporary — they are new and need to get used to all the other elephants, and the other elephants to them. IMG_6252 IMG_6254 IMG_6257 IMG_6268 IMG_6270
A delicious lunch is included.
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After lunch the elephants were delighted to take a dip in the mud pool. IMG_6276 IMG_6294
Then we prepared the elephants’ fruit baskets ahead of their afternoon feeding. This involved putting all the right fruits and vegetables in each basket according to dietary needs, as well as some hardcore scrubbing to ensure everything was clean. IMG_6302 IMG_6310 IMG_6315 IMG_6321 IMG_6324 IMG_6325 IMG_6326 IMG_6329 IMG_6331 IMG_6332 IMG_6334 IMG_6338
After lunch we finished preparing the sticky rice balls, then fed them to the two older elephants. We were joined by a cheeky elephant who wasn’t supposed to eat the rice balls, but kept coming to us and opening its mouth in anticipation of tricking the unknowing visitors. IMG_6341 IMG_6345 IMG_6352
After the rice balls it was time for the highlight of the day — swimming with the elephants. One of the things we learned that day was that elephants can carry up to 500kg on their neck and up to 100kg on their back; this is why the trekking industry, where elephants carry up to four tourists on a heavy seat, is so cruel. So, the elephants can happily swim with one or two people at a time — and they certainly seem to enjoy the playtime.

At first sitting on this very powerful, large animal was a little intimidating, but apprehension soon turned to laughter as my elephant kept dunking both me and his mahout. He held my legs with his ears — they were unbelievably strong — keeping me quite securely on his neck. It was truly amazing and though the whole day was wonderful, those few moments eclipse all the rest of my memories at Elephants World by far. IMG_6362 IMG_6371 IMG_6378 IMG_6377
A lot of people choose to do more than one day at Elephants World, or stay in Kanchanaburi, the town nearest to Elephants World, overnight. I chose to day trip from Bangkok and found it to be a very easy option. In the morning I took a 6am local bus from the Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Mai), which is oddly enough actually in Bangkok’s west, for 100 baht. It was comfortable and convenient, and I arrived with plenty of time to scout around for a coffee before the Elephants World truck picked me up for the free transfer at 8:30am.

For the return journey to Bangkok I ended up taking a minivan, which stopped at the Victory Monument. That may have been a more convenient final stop but I did regret my decision as the minvan driver was 100% crazy — I really was unsure I was going to make it.

Hanoi

I landed in Hanoi just after 6am after one of the most tedious flights I’ve ever experienced, from Paris. After months of planning interspersed with work trips, the holidays and enjoying my last few weeks in London, which meant I was organised for this leg of my homeward journey much later than I ordinarily would be, I was finally halfway (or something) back to Australia. While I was sad the previous few months, and years in fact, were over, there was a big sense of relief to be in the moment I’d been planning for and thinking about for so long. The lead up had been stressful at times, and now I could relax.

My very first few trips abroad were to parts of Asia — Malaysia and Japan — with my family, but this was to be my first taste of Asia in a while (apart from a work trip to Qatar in January). Driving from the airport I was thrilled at the increasing amount of traffic as we approached the inner city — the number of motorbikes, the number of people on each motorbike, the number of beeps from every motorbike; it was all so lively and exciting.IMG_3425 IMG_3349 IMG_3384IMG_3369 IMG_3371 IMG_3408 IMG_3418
For the Vietnam leg of my southeast Asia visit I was travelling with a dear friend and travel buddy from my time in London. DD had left a few months before I did and is now working in Dubai, so there was a lot to catch up on, which of course added to the anticipation of the morning.

Our hotel was in the charming, bustling old quarter (more on that area another day), which was perfect. As I had absolutely no sleep on the 11 hour flight, we had an easy first day of wandering around the city — and both of us absolutely loved it.IMG_3426 IMG_3438 IMG_3367 IMG_3451IMG_3402IMG_4616 IMG_4646 IMG_4651
I don’t think photos can possibly convey the character of the city properly. The buildings are beautiful, there are trees and greenery everywhere, people go about their own business not paying much attention to anyone else, there are plenty of peaceful spots to be found amid the havoc, and any time you’re bored, you can spice up your day with a crossing-the-road adventure. Hanoi is alive at any time of day or night — we found we could quite easily spend a few hours sitting in a cafe, chatting and people/chaotic traffic watching.  IMG_4680 IMG_4668 IMG_4701 IMG_4686 IMG_4710
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Hanoi served as our base for exploring the other areas of the country’s north on our itinerary. We came and went several times and it began to feel like home, but the bulk of our exploring was left until the last day before we departed. We walked to every point of interest, covering a lot of ground to finish the day exhausted. I must confess that by the end I found the constant beeping a little less charming than I had at first, but that’s just part of what makes the city.  At least it made the streets of Bangkok seem relatively peaceful in comparison.IMG_4747 IMG_4731 IMG_4753 IMG_4763 IMG_4765 IMG_4776IMG_4677 IMG_3457 IMG_3444

The London Wrap-up

Almost two and a half years ago I departed Australia on a new expat adventure. My destination was London, and everything to come was completely unknown. En route back to Australia I travelled through three continents, visiting Morocco, Spain, the Netherlands, France, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, not to mention all the other countries I’ve added to my passport since I was last home. It’s been quite a ride.
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In my first blog post about the move I listed the things I had: a two-year visa and my suitcase, along with the things I didn’t: a job, a place to live, and more than three friends in the city. It really is crazy is to look back on that time and all that was to happen over the next two and a bit years — so many things I could never have predicted or dreamed; so many expectations that turned out to be completely inaccurate, in the best way. I had done the living abroad thing before, so I thought I could plan a little how things would go, but the biggest thing I learned from this experience was to let go of expectations completely.

In that first post I mentioned checking in to a hostel I would call my home for the next ten days. Well, that turned out to be a huge underestimation — in that hostel I found my first home in London where I stayed for 16 months, many wonderful friends from all over the world; a job that would serve as a perfect safety net, allowing me the time to build myself up as a freelancer, something I previously thought of as unattainable; and a tall Italian who would be the star of my UK adventure. That a hostel would play such a huge part in my London experience was definitely the most unpredictable aspect of my time there. It’s not for everyone, but living in the hostel was one of the most fun, hilarious and random things I’ve ever done.
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The time the guys actually rated girls walking past out of 10. They received only smiles in return — how does this work?
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Some kid was born on my birthday:WP_000693  ?????????????????
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Hostel living: the philosophy applied to any and all inexplicable/hilarious/ridiculous events experienced as part of this inexplicable/hilarious/ridiculous living situation.    WP_002173
A man in the park asks to sketch Nathan.Holland Park 092 Notting Hill Carnival 001IMG_20140703_110243IMG_20140503_184837IMG_20140503_183708IMG_20140527_184805IMG_20140421_220204 IMG_9656 IMG_9673 IMG_9682  IMG_9699 (2) IMG_9710Christmas time at Astor 034Christmas time at Astor 036Christmas time at Astor 020Christmas 010Christmas 025Christmas 038Christmas 121Christmas 145IMG_20140416_193448
My farewell from AHP. IMG_0879 IMG_0901  IMG_0990 IMG_0991IMG_1030 IMG_1051
The hostel, Astor Hyde Park, is on a beautiful wide street in South Kensington, one of London’s fanciest neighbourhoods, just down the road from Kensington Gardens. I can’t count how many hours I spent wandering, running and lazing about in Kensington Gardens and adjacent Hyde Park, not to mention walking around South Ken in disbelief that I lived there.
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The time a Hugh Jackman movie (Pan, still to be released) was filmed on our block. There were huge spotlights, fog machines and I could hear the director shouting ‘action’ as I tried to sleep well after midnight. IMG_20140503_005255
All this time I was steadily working on building my client base and becoming busier and busier with work, until I was able to focus solely on that. Serendipitously, in my last week working at AHP my boyfriend was offered the Manager position at a different hostel: Astor Museum, so after a month of summertime travel in France and the Netherlands, I was lucky enough to move in with him in beautiful Bloomsbury.

Leaving South Ken was sad, but discovering Bloomsbury was amazing. I fell completely in love with this gorgeous neighbourhood full of parks and garden squares; handsome old buildings very different — though just as worthy of admiration and photo-taking — from those in South Ken; history; and countless independent coffee shops that served me as excellent offices.
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The location was spectacular for getting to know parts of central London even better. I absolutely loved our weekends: wandering down to Covent Garden for brunch, meeting a friend in Angel to find a new coffee spot, frantic shopping on Oxford and Regent Street, or practising handstands in Regent’s Park.
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At Museum, I found a new hostel family.
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We invented (maybe not) the closed-eye selfie and found it hilarious.IMG_20141229_213633 IMG_20141231_215530 IMG_20141025_200812 IMG_20141025_205022
We made Christmas jumpers mandatory for the whole of December.  IMG_0106   IMG_0214 IMG_0223
The time Kye got locked in the shower and it took at least 20 minutes to get him out. IMG_20140824_220135 (2)
I always believed the expat experience is worth the pain you will inevitably feel at the end when you leave the home away from home you have created for yourself, but I must admit I’ve questioned that philosophy a little over the last couple of months. A piece of my heart will stay in London, and it’s not easy. Maybe J.K. Rowling was onto something when she wrote that every time Voldemort created a new horcrux into which went a piece of his soul, he became a little bit weaker.

Arriving in a new place with little or nothing planned and finding your way is one of the most satisfying things I can think of; it’s why I’m hooked on moving around and discovering new places. There’s nothing like the pride of actually making a life on the other side of the world work, but then the chapter closes and all those wonderful moments become memories — and sharp pangs that haunt you for a long time afterwards.

There are a thousand things I’ll miss about that city:
Markets and festivals
London 101 London 124 (2) London 133 Portobello Rd Market 058 Portobello Rd Market 073 Portobello Rd Market 090 Urban Food Fest 012 Urban Food Fest 032 Urban Food Fest 106  Urban Food Fest 155 Spring begins in London 170 Spring begins in London 182 IMG_3834 IMG_3972 (2) IMG_4149  IMG_4080IMG_4443 (3) IMG_5272 IMG_5322 IMG_5750 IMG_5780 (2) IMG_8562
Iconic buildingsIMG_20140612_221547 IMG_8855 IMG_8796 IMG_8910 IMG_5334 WP_000991  London 001 (2) WP_001529 WP_001459Incredible, free museums Victoria & Albert Museum 004 Victoria & Albert Museum 014  Victoria & Albert Museum 026  Victoria & Albert Museum 009 WP_001894 The crazy fun of Notting Hill Carnival
IMG_4961 (2) IMG_4947 (2)  IMG_4972 (2)
The parks, and watching them changeDavina's Visit 003 Davina's Visit 006 Davina's Visit 013 Holland Park 076 Spring begins in London 036 Spring begins in London 255 March 13th in the park 072 March 13th in the park 095 March 13th in the park 086 March 13th in the park 029 IMG_4482 IMG_4566 IMG_4605  IMG_20140506_200509 Summer evening in Hyde Park 079 Summer evening in Hyde Park 015 Holland Park 041 Holland Park 025 WP_000615